Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Bittern (Mark Pearson)

Bittern (Mark Pearson)

A very busy and entertaining day today, with an exceptional arrival of thrushes spearheading a cast of quality and quantity. A minimum of 10,500 Redwings, 5,200 Blackbirds, 2,300 Fieldfares, 550 Song Thrushes, 15 Mistle Thrushes and 12 Ring Ouzels were recorded, with the action barely pausing from before dawn until after dusk (although the biggest numbers arrived during the morning).

Richards Pipit (John Harwood)

Richards Pipit (John Harwood)

Scarcities were well spread, with the year’s second Richard’s Pipit in the grassland above the Tip (JH), a Grey Phalarope off the Brigg in the afternoon (MJP, GR), a surprisingly high count six Yellow-browed Warblers – one in Long Lane, three in Top Scrub, one on the Brigg and one on Carr Naze (MJP, GR, LM, CR et al), and a very showy Bittern at the Dams, which perched in the open for much of the afternoon.

Grey Phalarope (Mark Pearson)

Grey Phalarope (Mark Pearson)

Plenty of other notables included two Short-eared Owls (one on Carr Naze and one at the Dams), 13 Whooper Swans and 100 Pink-footed Geese south, 45 Bramblings, 25 Robins, 30 Goldcrests, two Goldeneye, a Black Redstart, 12 Chiffchaffs, an interesting ‘green and grey’ Willow Warbler on Carr Naze at dusk, 8 Blackcaps, 180 Skylarks, 1,300 Starlings, six Snipe, two Woodcocks, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Goosander at the Dams.

Yellow-browed Warbler (Mark Pearson)

Yellow-browed Warbler (Mark Pearson)

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

A settled and mainly sunny day with light northerly winds brought a surprisingly good haul of migrants both overhead and on the deck. Pick of the bunch was a Water Pipit (a far-less-than-annual species locally) briefly at Carr Naze Pond in the early afternoon (MJP), with plenty of commoner back-up including seven Whooper Swans south, 19 Twite (some down and some through), a Snow Bunting, 330 Starlings in off, 45 Skylarks (mainly in off), a single Pink-footed Goose, and 15 Robins, three Chiffchaffs, 35 Blackbirds, 20 Redwings, 16 Dunnocks, 25 Siskins, two Blackcaps, 10 Goldcrests and 20 Chaffinches all indicative of passage in the Top Scrub / Country Park area.

Whooper Swans (Mark Pearson)

Whooper Swans (Mark Pearson)

The sea was quiet but for a late Manx Shearwwater and 16 Little Gulls, although the high tide roost on the Brigg held 34 Purple Sandpipers, the highest count of the autumn by some distance.

Twite (Mark Pearson)

Twite (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday (28th) saw some notable visible migration at the Gap, with 14 Bullfinches, 14 Whooper Swans, a Jay and 228 Siskins south, while a Great Northern Diver and two Sandwich Terns were the best on the sea; East Lea & The Dams accounted for 40 Teal, six Wigeon, three Shovelers, two Gadwall, two Chiffchaffs and two Grey Wagtails (with a couple of the latter now regularly observed in the town).

Rock Pipit (Mark Pearson)

Rock Pipit (Mark Pearson)

The upsurge in grounded arrivals was reflected in the ringing totals this morning, with 63 birds trapped (52 new, 11 re-traps): Siskin 3, Blackcap 1, Chiffchaff 2, Goldcrest 3 (1), Blackbird 3 (1), Redwing 1, Song Thrush 1, Greenfinch 14, Chaffinch 2 (1), Goldfinch 1, Tree Sparrow 2, Dunnock 2 (1), Robin 3 (2), Wren 3 (4), Long-tailed Tit 1, Great Tit 4 (1), Blue Tit 6.

Water Pipit (Mark Pearson)

Water Pipit (Mark Pearson)

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Today’s notables included 19 Twite, 117 Siskins and a Great Northern Diver at Hunmanby Gap, while continuingly quiet sea-watching from the Brigg producing two Whooper Swans and a single Little Gull (with several on most recent days). Yesterday (26th), six Whooper Swans went south and a Merlin and 20 Twite were on Carr Naze (down from 40 the previous day), while the 25th produced a Great Northern Diver, 16 Whooper swans and 120 Siskins from the Gap, with 49 Red-throated Divers in the bay.

Friday, October 24th, 2014

A better-than-expected day today, with SW winds and unpromising conditions failing to stop a good cast of new arrivals. Top of the list was a Rough-legged Buzzrd which arrived low and in off the sea in the early afternoon (MJP), before casually hunting over Carr Naze and drifting west. A juvenile Long-tailed Skua (MJP) was a surprise on an otherwise very quiet sea, and three Twite and a Snow Bunting were all fresh-in on Carr Naze (with a further two Twite south).

Twite (Mark Pearson)

Twite (Mark Pearson)

A total of 11 Whooper Swans moved south (also off the Brigg), while 43 Bullfinches and 63 Sisking south were among steady visible migration totals at Hunmanby Gap.

Rough-legged Buzzard (Mark Pearson)

Rough-legged Buzzard (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday (23rd) was quiet but for a Snow Bunting south at the Gap and two Pomarine Skuas south off the Brigg, but the 22nd saw a good roll-call during a six-hour seawatch from dawn: the highlights included 20 Pomarine Skuas, a Goosander, 55 Bonxies south, an adult Mediterranean Gull, three Snow Buntings, 100 Pink-footed Geese, and 25 White-fronted Geese (NCt, MJP).

Rough-legged Buzzard (Mark Pearson)

Rough-legged Buzzard (Mark Pearson)

More photos of the Rough-legged Buzzard are viewable here.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Very little of note today in strong westerly winds, with 10 Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes, 12 Wigeon and 10 Teal in the north of the bay and seven Curlew at East Lea about as good as it got. Two Hen Harriers came in off the sea yesterday morning (per J&TGD), when an impressive 33 Reed Buntings, three Twite and 94 Siskins went south early on at Hunmanby Gap.

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

17 Whooper Swans dropped into East lea today, while 200 Pink-footed Geese overflew the town in the morning.

Whooper Swans (Ian Robinson)

Whooper Swans (Ian Robinson)

Yesterday’s notables included a new Yellow-browed Warbler, in Long Lane with Goldcrests (MJP), plus a Ring Ouzel, 15 Goldcrests, 120 Song Thrushes, 280 Redwings, and a Wheatear in the northern area. Two Arctic Terns, two Twite and 23 Little Gulls were recorded at Hunmanby Gap.

Yellow-browed Warbler (Mark Pearson)

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Today was generally quiet but for good migration this morning at Hunmanby Gap, which included three Whooper Swans, three Velvet Scoters and 366 Tree Sparrows through (full counts at trektellen.org). Yesterday (16th) saw a decent arrival of birds in the northern coastal area during and after the morning showers, with a Jack Snipe, 620 Redwings, four Ring Ouzels, 60 Fieldfares, a Stonechat, 35 Goldcrests, 20 Robins, 25 Blackbirds, 15 Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs and 10 Siskins, as well as a close fly-by from a Hen Harrier at the Dams (MD, LD et al), and a Ring Ouzel at Hunmanby Gap. A Yellow-browed Warbler was reported to the news services.

Hen Harrier (Les Day)

Hen Harrier (Les Day)

Ringing Week ended early today due to poor forecasts for the weekend, but not without a good catches on both days. Of most interest was a Chiffchaff trapped yesterday morning showing features suggestive of tristis (more to follow), with the following also processed:

Today: Chiffchaff 2 (1), Goldcrest 1 (1), Wren 2 (2), Redwing 12, Song Thrush 2, Blackbird 7 (2), Dunnock 5 (2), Robin 3 (3), Tree Sparrow 8, Blackcap 2, Chaffinch 7 (1), Goldfinch 3, Greenfinch 5 (1), Coal Tit 4, Great Tit 3, Blue Tit 2 (2), Long-tailed Tit 18.

16th: Jay 1, Redwing 13, Song Thrush 8, Blackbird 6, Blackcap 10, Robin 7 (2), Greenfinch 5, Goldfinch 2, Chaffinch 1, Chiffchaff 2, Goldcrest 13, Wren 3, Long-tailed Tit 17 (2), Blue Tit 5, Woodpiegon 1.

Hen Harrier (Mike Day)

Hen Harrier (Mike Day)

A very satisfactory total of 453 birds were ringed during the week – thanks to all involved and we’ll see you again next year.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Two Grey Phalaropes were at the Dams today (JL et al), the first record for the reserve, while land-based migrants included a Pied Flycatcher, a Ring Ouzel and a Short-eared Owl at Newbiggin, and two Pomarine Skuas and two Velvet Scoters were at sea.

Grey Phalarope (John Harwood)

Grey Phalarope (John Harwood)

A good haul for the ringing team after a necessary intermission yesterday for the adverse weather was as follows:
Redstart 1, Siskin 1, Yellowhammer 1, Goldcrest 49 (1), Wren 3 (2), Chiffchaff 1 (1), Blackbird 14, Redwing 7, Song Thrush 1, Robin 5 (1), Blackcap 11, Brambling 5, Chaffinch 3, Bullfinch 2 (2), Goldfinch 9, Greenfinch 5 (1), Tree Sparrow 1, Woodpigeon 1, Dunnock (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Blue Tit (1).

Brambling (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Brambling (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Long-tailed Duck (Mark Pearson)

Long-tailed Duck (Mark Pearson)

Strong north-easterlies were once again the order of the day (especially for the early part), with decent birds on both land and sea. Of the former, a Great Grey Shrike (JH et al) headed an arrival of birds that also included 50 redwings, a Ring Ouzel and 25 Goldcrests. Of the latter, it was an excellent day for both Pomarine and Great Skuas, with 36 of the former and 144 of the latter counted from the hide; other highlights included three Little Auks, two Long-tailed Ducks and over 200 Little Gulls (MJP, JS). Four Velvet Scoters and Great Northern Diver past Hunmanby Gap.

Pomarine (upper two) and Great (lower three) Skuas (Mark Pearson)

Pomarine (upper two) and Great (lower three) Skuas (Mark Pearson)

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Strong north-easterlies, raging seas and increasing precipitation made for a productive day on the sea but an almost blank slate on the land. Highlights of the former included a (particularly dark) Balearic Shearwater, all four skuas totaling two Long-tailed, 10 Pomarine, 15 Arctic and 114 Bonxies, three Little Auks, a Great Northern Diver, a Blue Fulmar, seven Velvet Scoters, 81 Little Gulls, 43 Manx and two Sooty Shearwaters (JS, MJP).

Velvet Scoters (Mark Pearson)

Velvet Scoters (Mark Pearson)

On the land, handfuls of Goldcrests and Redwings were pretty much the only indication of new arrivals. Yesterday (12th) was generally quiet, although 12 Whooper Swans flew south over Carr Naze and another four rested up at East Lea. Ringing was suspended today due to the conditions, and yesterday’s totals are to follow.

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Plenty going on today, with a new Yellow-browed Warbler in on Carr Naze during the early afternoon (AH et al), a Scaup on the Bay ponds (NCt et al), and good numbers of common migrants in the northern fields and hedges including seven Wheatears, 45 Skylarks, 37 Song Thrushes, four Chiffchaffs, 10 Siskins and 15 Goldcrests. Six Whooper Swans went south on this morning’s seawatch, at least 190 Pink-footed Geese headed in the same direction overland, while over 300 Tree Sparrows went south at the Gap among good visible migration there.

Wheatear, Top Fields (Mark Pearson)

Wheatear, Top Fields (Mark Pearson)

Ringing Week got off to a great start, with 121 birds (98 new, 23 re-traps) processed: Blackcap 2, Chiffchaff 4 (1), Goldcrest 4 (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Bullfinch 9, Goldfinch 1, Chaffinch 5, Greenfinch 15, Tree Sparrow 3, Robin 7 (2), Wren 8 (3), Dunnock 4 (2), Song Thrush 4, Blackbird 4, Coal Tit 1, Long-tailed Tit 8 (6), Great Tit 4 (2), Blue Tit 13 (6), Woodpigeon 1.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Lucy Murgatroyd)

The ringers will be in action every day this week (weather permitting) from dawn til dusk, and everyone is welcome to watch the birds being ringed and released. All details here.

Wigeon and Gadwall at the Tip (Mark Pearson)

Wigeon and Gadwall at the Tip (Mark Pearson)

Friday, October 10th, 2014

RINGING WEEK begins tomorrow in the Top Scrub – full details here

Today was notable for excellent visible migration at Hunmanby Gap, with a long list of quality totals from this morning’s watch. Highlights included 423 Tree Sparrows and 34 Reed Buntings (both site record counts), two Ring Ouzels, 226 Skylarks, 164 Pink-footed Geese and 5 Whooper Swans (full counts viewable here).

Yesterday saw scant returns but for a Bar-tailed Godwit in the bay corner and 127 Skylarks through at the Gap.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Today saw another new Yellow-browed Warbler arrive, this one unexpectedly flushed from stubble in the Top Fields before moving inland via Long Hedge this morning (MJP). A good arrival in the northern coastal area included at least 270 Song Thrushes (before many moved inland), along with 15 Robins, 45 Blackbirds, 30 Chaffinches, 18 Reed Buntings, a Redstart, a male Merlin and a Ring Ouzel.

At least 400 Linnets (250 Top Fields, 150 Blue Dolphin), 75 Skylarks (40 over and 35 down) and 150 Goldfinches were present in the same areas, while a male Stonechat, four Snipe, 10 Wigeon and five Teal were at the Tip. A Lapland Bunting, 195 Skylarks and five Rock Pipits were among this morning’s counts from Hunmanby Gap.

Yellow-browed Warbler (Mark Pearson)

The ringing team have been in action this and yesterday morning, with plenty of interest both days – totals as follows: Today – Chiffchaff 2, Goldcrest 3 (2), Blackcap 2, Garden Warbler 1, Robin 1, Blackbird 1, Song Thrush 8, Greenfinch 3, Chaffinch (1), Great Tit 2 (1), Blue Tit 4 (2), Wren 3 (1).

Garden Warbler (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Garden Warbler (Lucy Murgatroyd)

7thYellow-browed Warbler 1, Goldcrest 3, Robin 3 (1), Blackcap 1, Tree Sparrow 1, Chaffinch 2, Greenfinch 5, Dunnock 6, Song Thrush 7, Blackbird (1), Wren (2), Reed Warbler (1), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (1).

Song Thrushes (Mark Pearson)

Song Thrushes (Mark Pearson)

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

An interesting day in the area with brisk southerly winds and plenty of movement. An increasing feeding assemblage / local movement of Little Gulls reached a minimum of 1200 offshore this afternoon (with many more birds likely of this species just out of range), with the year’s first Sabine’s Gull (MJP) within their distant ranks at 1620 (and presumably the same bird at 1650hrs). Three Pomarine Skuas, 11 Sooty Shearwaters and 18 Arctic Skuas were also recorded.

Treecreeper (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Treecreeper (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Visible migration at Hunmanby Gap was impressive, with totals including the season’s first two Whooper Swans, nine Jays, 188 Tree Sparrow, 14 Mistle Thrushes, a Lapland Bunting, two Goosanders, a Merlin and 100 Chaffinches. Full counts at www.trektellen.org.

The ringing team had another good session at the Top Scrub this morning, with 74 birds caught in total (67 new, 7 re-traps): Treecreeper 1, Goldcrest 2, Blackcap 2, Reed Bunting 1, Chaffinch 9, Goldfinch 5, Greenfinch 10, Tree Sparrow 2, House Sparrow 1, Dunnock 6, Song Thrush 1, Blackbird 1, Great Tit 6, Blue Tit 15 (2), Robin 1 (2), Wren 4 (3).

Yesterday was quieter, with a Short-eared Owl and a Stonechat at the Blue Dolphin the only reports of note on the land and a Red-necked Grebe and six Pintail on the morning seawatch.

Whooper Swans (Nick Carter)

Whooper Swans (Nick Carter)

A reminder that RINGING WEEK begins next Saturday – all details here

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

A strong SSW wind during this morning’s four-hour seawatch, with three Pomarine Skuas heading south and a good cast of wildfowl doing likewise, including a Pintail, a Red-breasted Merganser and over a hundred each of Wigeon and Common Scoter. 23 Little Gulls and 16 Red-throated Divers also passed the Brigg.

Pomarine Skua (Mark Pearson)

Pomarine Skua (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday (2nd) was generally quiet, although another Jay was in the Top Scrub, where ringing totals  were as follows (retraps in brackets): Chiffchaff 2, Willow Warbler 1 (1), Reed Warbler 1, Pied Wagtail 1, Chaffinch 4, Greenfinch 9, Bullfinch 1, Long-tailed Tit 7 (6), Great Tit 3, Blue Tit 4 (1), Blackbird 1, Dunnock 3 (1), Wren 3 (2), Robin 2 (1).

Bullfinch (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Bullfinch (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Fairly quiet on the land and at sea today, with a Redstart on the Brigg and 50 Teal, two Snipe and five Lapwing at East Lea & the Dams the only reports of note. Ringing activities proved more interesting, however, with 46 birds caught today (retraps in brackets):  (38 new, 7 re-traps, 1 control)

Yellow-browed Warbler 1, Chiffchaff 3, Goldcrest 1, Great Tit 4 (1), Blue Tit 3 (1), Coal Tit 1, Long-tailed Tit 10, Bullfinch 1, Chaffinch 2 (1), Greenfinch 7, Dunnock 1, Wren 4 (5).

Yellow-browed Warbler (Lucy Murgatroyd)

Yellow-browed Warbler (Lucy Murgatroyd)