Sunday, October 29, 2006

Garden and around today

Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell (2) and Red Admiral in the garden. Redwings and a couple of Fieldfare west or south. 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers high over the moor going north turned east. Brambling in the garden at midday.

Goth spotting - Saturday 28-10-06

Not a Goth

A wander down into Whitby encouraged a new (temporary) pastime which the children engaged in loudly at first - until one of them was devoured by an especially offended goth. A stroll onto the east pier was not too exciting. Kettleness and a walk (for most) to Runswick was very pleasant - but no birds really, no more goths either. At Kettleness Starlings were still c1,500. At Runswick a Blackcap was by the edge of the lower car park, the House Martins had gone, nothing of note in the bay.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kettleness massive waves.

Huge sea at Kettleness this a.m. The wind stayed resolutely SW and there was a distinct lack of Little Auks - or anything very much. A Whooper Swan swam regally offshore and a R-bM put in a brief appearance. Most notable was the Starling flock which has swelled to c1,500 and a Peregrine was hunting. A few redwing both here and at home but a rather uneventful day - nice pint and f&cs later though.

Windy day, Thursday 26-10-06

Howling winds all night continued through the day and strengthened towards evening. Shipping forecast suggests going NW and pressure map suggests that it could be ok for Little Auks tomorrow.
Sandsend today was pretty uneventful - Mollie and Rosa enjoyed their apple pie/custard lunch (with bacon buttie to polish it off) Ellen required a carry all the way to the cafe - no change there then. A few things were struggling in/off (surprising in the strong winds), 4 Skylarks, 1 Blackbird and 3 Lapwings. A rapid charge to Scaling Dam for the gull roost proved more interesting. Peter rather enterprisingly found a duck that neither of us could immediately id in amongst the Teal. A large generally rather nondescript teal type thing with a round head, dark speculum and (fortunately) a somewhat striking yellow and black bill. (Reference to the web on our return indicated Speckled Teal). Not to be outdone your correspondent finally picked out a 1stW Med from the c5,000 Common Gulls. Also of note was the first Goldeneye of the autumn, 2 Shoveler and good numbers of Teal and Wigeon. The 120+ GB-bGulls might perhaps be attributed to the high winds sending these inland?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh shit probably made a balls of it ...

As so often in birding something mundane becomes AN ISSUE. So why did I not take more care with those grey geese? I didn't even write the number down correctly (let alone identify the b******s correctly) well maybe anyway. So Filey record 8 Whitefronts and I thought these geese were Greylags. ok I only got a rear view- rapidly receeding and they didn't call and at least one showed a pale forewing and none of them showed black/dark flank streaks and I see greylags all the time and they looked like them (even up the bumdisappearingpronto). but... I strongly suspect I got these wrong. Today at home a Fieldfare early with 7 Redwing. Long-tailed Tits in the garden. Redwing going at around 11:00 again with c 150 or so. All this incidental and casual apart from the first 30 mins - Woodpigs moving early also going west (but are they the same ones that come east in the evening and roost?) Best bird a LB-bGull with the CGs on the shit. Then at 17:30 Redwing c70 went West in the rain and cloud .. Coast tomorrow with the famous cupboard inhabiting birder .... interview to follow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Birding today

I got to the golf course early, too early really but a couple of Curlew, and a Goosander went over or past. In the ravine there were a few more grounded redwing and a lovely male Brambling. The treeper from yesterday was still present. At home a Brambling called as i got out of the car and there were a few redwing then at 12:00 flocks of redwing moved through up the dale (west); 60; 28; 7; 17; then at 12:00 3 went half-way and turned back - the cloud was thickening to the west. This may have been caused by the light mist and cloud lifting at about 11:00 and the coastal birds which had been dumped by the cloud and some rain last night moving inland (well it's a theory). Amongst the redwing was another Brambling and a Siskin. Woodpig numbers are on the up with 90 in the dale and the gulls reached c250 CG and 36 Bl-hG. The gull presence has coincided with the slurry pumping of cow manure over the lower fields - last winter this caused a big increase in numbers. A butterfly was seen briefly in the garden, most likely a Small tortoiseshell but i didn't get a good look at it unfortunately.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Golf Course today

The small rare thing continues to elude. However, Blackbirds, Robins, Song Thrushes and the occasional Redwing pack the ravine. Also today, Blackcap, 2 males; a Treeper; Shag, 5; Red- throated Diver, at least 2. No auks, only 1 Gannet, no Fulmars and certainly no terns or skuas.


On the way into Musicport on Saturday morning - a no birding weekend as the world music festival was on - 10 Whooper Swans flew in off low over the Spa and headed on over St Hilda's - magic. Terrafolk, Kiki Dee, Eliza Carthy, Yasmin Levy, Robert Maseko, Bonga, Reem Kelani, Culture Clash (with the legendary Rise Kagona) also magic - dancing feet (and legs) now in disrepair. Workshops by Roop Singh and Simba Mugadza much enjoyed by small people (and bigger ones too).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Golf course blues

What is it about Filey? That was an outrageous number of rare birds in a week, high quality and lots of them ..... meanwhile ..... A few more Redwing today in lovely late afternoon light. A few things buzzing about in the foliage that i failed to get to grips with so there is hope.

First flock of gulls into the dale for the autumn yesterday, about 60 or so, 40 CG and 20 Bl-h. Louise had another Hummingbird Hawk the day before.

Oystercatcher answer

389 in the pic, I'd estimated c300 which was too big a variance really.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

How many Oystercatchers in the photo?

Answer tomorrow .... well later in the week anyway.

Redwing dusting

30 Redwing buzz over Kettleness Farm first thing and then ..... very little. Some Blackbirds were coming in, 1 Siskin, but it all proved a bit disappointing. Goldcrest were much the same as yesterday Long-tailed Tits were confiding. Down on the point it was much quieter than yesterday, so I went home after a couple of hours - I suspect a drop of rain would have made all the difference. At homes bikes were mended and a Buzzard drifted down the dale.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bionic Robin noise reveals mega finch

Kettleness this morning and no inpouring of Redwings as partially promised by Scottish Blogster - actually 2 redwing and they bogged off pronto. Sea rather quiet, with 35 assorted larger auks in 30 mins mostly at some distance. On the point lots of Blackbirds and in the gully grey Song Thrushes dropping in. Also Chaffinch on the move with 25+ mostly SW. A flock of 16 Skylarks went east. The sea fret came in at about 09:30 and I began to wind up the search. Lots of noise by the old station loudly from football playing scouts but then -- the bionic Robin ticks were clearly of some interest and behold in the bottom of one of the sycamores there was a hawfinch. No chance for a photo as it quickly flew east into the fret. First time I've seen a coastal migratory one and a nice find, so well chuffed.

Golf course produced little more than Blackbirds and then the fret came in there also.

At home Siskin and noisy tawny Owls were of note + Red Admiral and Small White.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blackbirds on the move

Two high over the house going south as I went to the car this morning. 27 at least in the Golf Course Ravine late this p.m. (and bog all else).

John Peel

Right time, wrong speed was released today in advance of John Peel Day (2nd anniversary of John's death) on 25th October. A wonderful selection of tracks although I've yet to find anything with any whistling - John was very partial to some whistling.

This has reminded me that at some point I must list favourite tracks with birdsong samples - and name the samples maybe (that's quite tricky on some tracks) eg Beta Band. Will be pleased to hear of good birdsong samples on albums/singles for inclusion - to my email address please.

Can't currently find an image of Peter Blakes' portrait without a horrible red sticker on it (bit of a faff to scan the cd) so this is part of the image.

Polish road protest

A highway in Eastern Poland is planned to begin building at the end of the year - protest here
by using the links please.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Not a House Martin

One of 26 Turnstone on the beach at Runswick today. Could the lone Barwit have relocated from the golf course?

House Martins

2 pairs at least were still feeding young in the nest at Runswick today.


2 skeins of Pinkfeet at Runswick Bay went past Kettleness one following the other at 11:45 a 110 and then a 118 going south (well east at the time). As we drove into the dale a further skein of 130 were going south high over the moor at 13:30.

Great views of Kettleness from Runswick over the Kelp beds at low tide.

Crabby Day 2

In the band of stones -usually low tide mark - every one of these banded shells contained a Hermit Crab, tasty gull snacks judging by all the activity.

Crabby Day

The very low tide at Runswick (0.36m exceptional) exposed lots of good crab habitat - I'd wondered why all the herring and GBbGulls had been heading in to the bay yesterday morning. I was just too slow with the camera to catch this Velvet Swimming Crab on the surface, it quickly reversed under a covering of muddy sand.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Butterflies / moths today

Today; Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma - one of each - and maybe a Brimstone (brief glimpse), also a couple of Silver Ys.

The moths Giles gave me last weekend which he had found (just) alive a few days earlier proved to be Privet Hawkmoth.

Barn Owl strangeness

On the way to Kettleness this a.m. noticed a Barn Owl sitting on the kerb at the Lealholm junction. Picked the bird up which although weight seemed ok was almost comatose. However, it gradually recovered and after about 5 minutes flew off hunting - appeared to perhaps have some damage to right eye. A vehicle collision seems the likely cause.

Kettleness very quiet - Gannets both ways, 18 Sandwich terns south in the hour and almost no auks were most notable. A grey heron and a Turnstone went west.

Scaling was a bit more lively with in excess of 148 Teal - there were more tucked out of view mostly. A Shoveler, Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruddy Duck and 3 Pochard were new. Some Skylark movement with a three and then two more individuals or samll numbers heard going north. There had been plenty of Pinkfeet on Tuesday.

Pinkfeet on Wednesday

A flock of at least 100 reported (by SLA) over the house on 4th october, midday. There were 1,000 over Kettleness the same morning.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Golf Course today

A Redwing finally put in an appearance and was a new bird for the site for me. 10 days later than RHB or Whitestone. The gusty wind from the west meant birds were sheltering in the bushes around the main path with blackbirds in evidence - a small influx perhaps. The mega crop of hawthorn berries is going to take some devouring so there should be plenty for all the Waxwings that will shortly be here in abundance ...... One large flock of auks went east c50 (there's no auk sp slot on birdtrack) they were tooooo far out in poor light to id. A few Razorbill inshore, no Guillies. 2 sandwich Terns only.

A 10 minute stop on the way home at the eastern end of Sandsend - the western edge of the golf course patch really, produced just 2 Red thr Divers on the sea.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On pishing

Never been a great believer in pishing and never found it worked very well when i have tried it but with very few migrants today I decided I wanted to see the chiffies calling in the big gully. Bit of a pish and bingo as you can see - one of at least 2 Chiffies that popped out.

Kettleness Razorbill day

Interesting 2 hour seawatch with Razorbills moving 1,296 went east and not a Guillemot amongst them. Very few Guilly's in evidence, 4 on the sea just off the point and the only auks to go west (3) were probably Guillemot. Of course the flocks miles out might have been Guillemots but that seems a bit unlikely - most flocks were mid range, a good proportion were close and these were identifiable. The other day off the golf course c1,200 auks went east in 30 mins, at the time I presumed they were Guillemots but I now wonder especially as most of the birds at close range on the sea were Razors (from the Golf course they are miles away because it's in the bay). Other bits and bats included a slightly puzzling skua that looked a bit Ltish but was probably a 2ndcy Arctic - it was an Arctic in any case and a couple of Knot on the flats before the tide pushed them off. The sandwich terns do seem to be leaving now, 55 went east, none the other way and only one or two hanging about in the bay. At Sandsend later, those that appeared went through going east, although there was food available. 2 Grey Seals and 1 Harbour Porpoise off the point were the mammals of the day.