Kettleness this morning and I had reinforcements, Halifax stalwart Nick Carter accompanied me.
Driving through Goldbrough Blackbirds scattered and things looked good. However, the customary seawatch could not be avoided and good job too.
First up were a few piles of Wigeon and Common Scoter, Gannets were notable by their absence and there were two or three Red-throated Divers on the sea along with the now dwindling numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills. Black-headed Gulls were heading west as were Common Gulls in a steady trickle.
Good things began with a distant Red-necked Grebe going west. A dark-bellied type Brent Goose went east all alone. Then a veritable flock of Great Northern Divers went west (=3), this looked like 2 adults and a juv, family party - and maybe they weren't BigFeet perhaps they were BananaBills, these days we should be sp-ing these perhaps. A Red-throated Diver trundled east for a nice comparison.
Next for our delectation were two scoterish things, just off Denmark, that could, maybe, just have been Velvs but we agreed to ignore them. An Arctic Tern fished briefly close in and the Gannets picked up to a rush of about 10 or so every 5 minutes.
2 Eider drakes went east, another Great Northern / BananaBill went west and two close Common Terns fished their way into the bay. 2 Grey Herons drifted west. And then in one of those amazing flurries of activity all of a sudden there were 3 Wigeon, 2 Teal and 5 divers coming west. 4 of the divers were clearly of the standard Red-throated type but one caused some debate. Larger, with a slightly different wing beat, broader wings, serious extension feet out the back, but generally similar in shape to the Red-throats and having a dark face with small pale smudgy cheek patch and the head held level it had to be Black-throated Diver, (a very uncommon species for the Kettle).
All this excitement was a bit much for us so after a Tufted Duck had passed we called time to check out the undercliff bushes and we hadn't seen a Kittiwake or a Fulmar in the 90 minutes.
The railway line was quiet at first but as we approached the dell legions of thrushes fled inland. A Fieldfare was first for the year. A smart male Bullfinch sat out smartly. And then Nick called a maybe Yellow-browed and there it was moments later showing us all its glory.
Totals included 80 Blackbirds, about 40 Redwing, 20 Robins, 5 Stonechats, 9 Siskin, 8 Tree Sparrows, a few Skylarks and about 4 grey Song Thrushes.
At Runswick Bay the House Martins had finally departed, a weird leucistic Robin was glimpsed and a Grey Wagtail perched uncharacteristically in a bush.