Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Another busy day for the scorers as the month ended with a sustained flourish. Today’s highlight was a Bittern, seen briefly by a visitor at the Dams around midday as it rose and fell over an area of reeds (LB), sadly (but somewhat predictably) not seen again despite searches.

Marsh Harrier (Pete Dunn)

Marsh Harrier (Pete Dunn)

Otherwise a high count of 98 Barnacle Geese south this morning (in flocks of 60 and 38) was notable over the sea, a male Marsh Harrier came in off and toured the northern area before finally departing south-west, three White Wagtails were at East Lea (with one remaining this afternoon), while both Grasshopper Warbler and Great Northern Diver are still favouring Hunmanby Gap.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

A quieter day generally, but not without its highlights – the pick of being no less than three Garganey which frequented East Lea for much of the day before briefly visiting the Dams en route to the Carrs (HJW et al).

Garganey (Mark Pearson)

Garganey (Mark Pearson)

Garganey (Mark Pearson)

Garganey (Mark Pearson)

In a slow spring so far for raptor passage, two Marsh Harriers visited the area today, at Hunmanby Gap in the morning and over the town in the afternoon.

Garden Warbler (Mark Pearson)

Garden Warbler (Mark Pearson)

Other notables included a new male Pied Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler (new for the year) in the Top Scrub, presumably the same three Redstarts and female Ring Ouzel remaining in the hedges, four Whimbrel through at the Dams (with one or two more kicking around in the morning fog) and three Yellow Wagtails, also through.

Pied Flycatcher (Mark Pearson)

Pied Flycatcher (Mark Pearson)

Monday, April 28th, 2014

A memorable spring day here at the Obs, with overnight rain and an easterly airflow providing a long cast of quality arrivals and plenty of turnover throughout. The highlights were many (and liberally scattered), but two in particular grabbed the headlines: a DOTTEREL which flew over the Top Fields calling constantly, only the second Filey record in a decade (MJP), and a RICHARD’S PIPIT, which remained elusive in the same area this morning (MJP).

Richard's Pipit (Mark Pearson)

Richard’s Pipit (Mark Pearson)

The bay off Hunmanby Gap held three species of Diver this morning, with both Black-throated and Great Northern alongside several Red-throats (KC), while a Grasshopper Warbler continues to reel there.

Dotterel (Mark Pearson)

Dotterel (Mark Pearson)

A Long-eared Owl slipped into the Top Scrub late morning (HJW), while a first winter Glaucous Gull went to roost on the football field (J&TGD). Unfortunately now a local rarity, a Corn Bunting frequented the top of Long Lane for a while (MJP).

Corn Bunting (Mark Pearson)

Corn Bunting (Mark Pearson)

Other notable migrants included at least three Redstarts, two Whinchats, a female Ring Ouzel, at least ten Wheatears (including four Greenland-types fresh-in on Carr Naze in the afternoon), a handful of Whimbrel, a trickle of Sandwich Terns and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (as with previous days), and a Common Buzzard low over the Country Park.

Wheatear (Mark Pearson)

Wheatear (Mark Pearson)

Hirundines were on the move in good numbers (with over 100 Swallows, 50+ Sand Martins and five House Martins through), 15 Yellow Wagtails passed though, and the commoner warblers were well spread in moderate numbers.

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Another day dominated by fog and an easterly airflow. A scattering of new arrivals (mainly during the late morning) included a female Black Redstart, five Wheatears and single Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff on Carr Naze, while a belated report of three Bottlenose Dolphins may involve some of yesterday’s individuals (also seen at Flamborough this afternoon).

Today saw the relaunch of the UK’s oldest Bird Observatory at Skokholm Island – our best wishes to them and be sure to check out their website here.

Fulmar (Mark Pearson)

Fulmar (Mark Pearson)

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Plenty of activity today, although for a change the headline-makers were non-avian: a pod of at least nine Bottlenose Dolphins (including several calves) headed north along the cliffs and up the coast late morning.

Bottlenose Dolphins (Mark Pearson)

Bottlenose Dolphins (Mark Pearson)

(More photos of the dolphins are viewable here)

The Dams provided plenty of interest with transient visitors including a Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, a male Goosander, a Little Ringed Plover and three Snipe, while an elusive Scaup-type Aythya is likely a female Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid. A Black-tailed Godwit and two Dunlin were in breeding plumage at East Lea, along with a Redshank, a Curlew, 20 Oystercatcher and a Yellow Wagtail there.

An acredula-type Willow Warbler was in the churchyard, while Wheatears arrived in reasonable numbers, with at least 15 along the clifftops from North Cliff to Reighton, while the first two Swifts of the year headed over in the morning. A total of 20 Willow Warblers, 20 Blackcaps and 15 Chiffchaffs were in the northern coastal area, where two Redstarts (a male and a female) were on Long Hedge, a Yellow Wagtail and two Snipe were on the Tip and a Marsh Harrier overflew Newbiggin.

Male Redstart (Mark Pearson)

Male Redstart (Mark Pearson)

A foggy and damp day yesterday (25th) provided a few notable arrivals, including a male Pied Flycatcher, a male Redstart, a Tree Pipit and a Ring Ouzel, while an Iceland Gull was belatedly reported at sea.

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Light easterlies and early drizzle turned to thick fog this afternoon, bringing with them a decent scattering of new arrivals. The pick of the bunch was a male Firecrest in the clifftop conifers by the golf course (MJP), a barely annual species here in recent years. A Whinchat was new for the year on Carr Naze (where there were also several Wheatears), an acredula-type Willow Warbler was in the churchyard, a Jack Snipe was at the Tip, a Jay went over and a Cuckoo sang from the Dams in the morning, several Whimbrels were doing the rounds, and Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Phylloscs were all well represented.

Firecrest (Mark Pearson)

Firecrest (Mark Pearson)

Whinchat (Mark Pearson)

Whinchat (Mark Pearson)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

A southerly airflow and a mainly warm and fine day produced some visible migration, with the highlight being a fine male Blue-headed Wagtail which briefly alighted on the golf course this morning before being flushed and continuing southbound (MJP). A further 21 Yellow Wagtails, plus over 100 each of Linnet and Goldfinch, over 50 Swallows, a Wheatear and a smattering of other passerines were also on the move.

Willow Warbler (Mike Pearson)

Willow Warbler (Mike Pearson)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Morning rain and easterlies held some promise today but ultimately failed to deliver overall. There were however a few new arrivals, the best of which were in the Carr Naze area – a Tree Pipit, an Arctic Tern, a Wheatear, a Fieldfare and a Willow Warbler. A small arrival of Phylloscopus warblers were the best of a modest showing in the Top Scrub / Long Lane area. Small numbers of hirundines and Blackcaps were also recorded.

Yesterday (21st) was also quiet, although two Grasshopper Warblers – one the previous day’s at Butcher Haven, plus a new bird at Hunmanby Gap – were both in song.

Fieldfare on Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Fieldfare on Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Another fairly quiet day in the area today, although with two notable arrivals – a Grasshopper Warbler was in song at Butcher Haven, and a Jack Snipe was present in a restricted area at the Dams.

Male Sparrowhawk at the Dams (Mark Pearson)

Male Sparrowhawk at the Dams (Mark Pearson)

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

A quiet day today, with few new arrivals in the cold northerly winds. Yesterday’s (18th) highlights were a Ring Ouzel at Hunmanby Gap, and a Great Northern Diver (as well as 30 Common Scoters, seven Eiders and several summer plumage Red-throated Divers) in the bay.

Both Barn Owls are showing well yesterday evening at The Dams; perhaps explaining their apparent success, a small mammal trap held at the site this morning produced good numbers of four species. The best (and photographed here) was a Harvest Mouse found in the very first trap.

(Jack Whitehead)

 

Harvest Mouse

(Hilary Atkins)

 

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

This morning’s increasingly strong south-westerlies and cloud produced a better cast of new arrivals, the stand-out highlight being a SERIN that headed north past Hunmanby Gap at 0815 (KC, NC) – just reward for the dedicated team at this vismigging hotspot in the south of the recording area.

Another unexpected finch likely from the other end of Europe completely, a male (presumed) Northern Bullfinch flew north over East Lea mid-morning (MJP), initially picked up thanks to its apparently diagnostic toy-trumpet calls. (If we can establish those calls, combined with the photos, are indeed diagnostic then we’ll drop the ‘presumed’ in due course – watch this space).

(Presumed) Northern Bullfinch (Mark Pearson)

(Presumed) Northern Bullfinch (Mark Pearson)

Other new arrivals included a Little Ringed Plover and a Whimbrel at East Lea, and the first big surge of hirundines through the Dams, with a minimum of 60 Swallows, 50 Sand Martins and a single House Martin there. The Great Northern Diver, first seen a few days ago, remains off Hunmanby Gap.

Little Ringed Plover (Mark Pearson)

Little Ringed Plover (Mark Pearson)

Swallows and Sand Martins at the Dams (Mark Pearson)

Swallows and Sand Martins at the Dams (Mark Pearson)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

A fairly quiet couple of days under blue skies, with a singing Lesser Whitethroat, a decent trickle of Sand Martins and Swallows and two Buzzards at the Dams being the best of today. Yesterday (14th) saw a Merlin went south past the Brigg and a Velvet Scoter and a Great Northern Diver were in the bay off Hunmanby Gap.

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

A pair of Garganey were at the Dams today. The best of yesterday’s (12th) sightings were the first House Martins of the year at Muston Sands and Hunmanby Gap, the first Yellow Wagtail of the year on the golf course (with 17 Pieds), over 1200 Meadow Pipits and 300 Linnets past the Gap (heading inland along the Wolds), and a Velvet Scoter and a Sandwich Tern in the bay.

Yellow Wagtail on the 18th fairway (Mark Pearson)

Yellow Wagtail on the 18th fairway (Mark Pearson)

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Very little to report today, but yesterday (10th)’s sightings included a Black Redstart in the Country Park, single Black-tailed Godwit and Little Ringed Plover briefly at East Lea, a Blackcap singing at the Dams north path, and a Wheatear at Newbiggin Fields. Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks are widespread in good numbers.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

More impressive visible migration this morning from the Hunmanby Gap watchpoint produced over 1500 Meadow Pipits, 500 Linnets and 100 Goldfinch (with smaller but still good numbers yesterday).

A male Long-tailed Duck went north this morning off the Brigg this morning (JS), ten Sand Martins were around Carr Naze this afternoon and a Willow Warbler was in song at the Dams yeserday.

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A stormy and windy day with few notables, although two male Wheatears and two Bramblings were on Carr Naze, and 25+ Swallows went through at the Dams after the rain. Late news for yesterday – 15 Sand Martins were at the Dams in the evening.

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Strong visible migration continued today, with over 600 Linnets, a Whooper Swan, a Little Ringed Plover and a Twite among the notables past Hunmanby Gap (with a Velvet Scoter offshore), while a Green Sandpiper was new at the Dams and a Swallow was near East Lea.

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

After a sustained period of unhelpful conditions, the winds swung into the south-west today and the result was an excellent day’s visible migration. The highlight of the day was a Crane which circled the Brigg at 1150 before moving west (MJP), but there was plenty of quality and quantity besides.

Combined observations from Muston Sands and Hunmanby Gap produced some exceptional counts, including a spring record of 1083 Linnets south (and 290 north), and high numbers of Goldfinches (over 500). A Red Kite, a Short-eared Owl, five Common Buzzards (three of which were moving through), a Lapland Bunting and a Corn Bunting were further highlights, while up to 30 Sand Martins, four Swallows and nine Bullfinches were also noteworthy.

Reports from elsewhere in the area included a Merlin over the Dams, a Black Redstart on Carr Naze and a couple of Sandwich Terns past the Brigg. A Mediterranean Gull with in the gull roost off the Gap late evening.

Full counts of today’s visible migration watches can be viewed on Trektellen here.

Crane (Mark Pearson)

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Two Avocets dropped into the Dams for about 15 minutes mid-morning (mo), while three Common Scoters (one south, two in the bay), seven Eiders (one North Cliff, six off the Brigg) and a scattering of Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and thrushes were also recorded.

Avocets (Mark Pearson)

Avocets (Mark Pearson)

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Wheater at The Tip (Mark Pearson)

Wheatear at The Tip (Mark Pearson)

The fog and cool easterlies persist, but a trickle of new arrivals are getting through, including four fresh-in Wheatears and a few Redwings, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Fieldfares this morning; a single Wheatear and a few thrushes were the pick of yesterday’s (2nd) sightings.

The sea and the bay have been very quiet (and barely visible), with a Blue Fulmar on 1st and up to six Eiders the only notable reports.