Thursday, July 30th, 2015

It’s been all about the sea over the last few days, with five hours from 0540 this morning being particularly productive in what were not the most promising of conditions; however, with the sea-watching season now officially open, surprises are more likely and persistence inevitably pays off.

Velvet Scoter (Mark Pearson)

Velvet Scoter (Mark Pearson)

This morning’s clear highlights consisted of an adult Long-tailed Skua harassing a Kittiwake and then heading south at 0830hrs (and seen passing Flamborough 15 mins later), a Velvet Scoter, and a summer plumage Black-throated Diver out of the bay and north (MJP, CW). A Pomarine Skua, a Little Gull and a Little Tern were the pick of 28th (CW), while the Dams and East Lea have held a Ruff, one Green and two Common Sandpipers.

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Gulls and terns over the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

Gulls and terns over the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

A northerly blow and nine hours observations produced some quality seawatching today, the best of which was a European Storm-petrel north at 1440hrs (the first field record in some years), a Pomarine Skua south mid-morning, and a Little Gull in the late afternoon (MJP). Back up included six Bonxies, three Arctic Skuas and 65 Manx Shearwaters, while a wide range of waders on the move included Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and good numbers of more expected species (including 45 Whimbrel).

Common Scoters and Cormorants (Mark Pearson)

Common Scoters and Cormorants (Mark Pearson)

Otherwise three Green Sandpipers were at the Dams and a Ruff was at East Lea in the evening, while another (and 39 Whimbrel) overflew the Gap yesterday.

Green Sandpiper at the Dams (Ian Robinson)

Green Sandpiper at the Dams (Ian Robinson)

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Little Egret, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Little Egret, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

A quieter few days in the area, with a Ruff south at the Gap and three Dunlin and two Curlews at East Lea the best of this morning. The last few days have seen a steady but modest trickle of common waders over the sea and on the Brigg (including the first two Purple Sandpipers), with odd skuas and small numbers of Manx Shearwaters also passing by. A Little Egret has frequented the Dams and East Lea intermittently.

Purple Sandpiper (Mark Pearson)

Purple Sandpiper (Mark Pearson)

 

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Today provided several notable records in the shape of a Little Tern south past the Brigg this afternoon (MJP), presumably the same juvenile Yellow-legged Gull this morning and this afternoon there (JS, MJP), a Turtle Dove south at the Gap first thing (KC and a Short-eared Owl over Carr Naze this evening (DL).

Little Tern (Mark Pearson)

Little Tern (Mark Pearson)

Two Little Egrets were at East Lea before roosting at the Dams this evening, where two Shoveler and four Teal remain. Yesterday (21st) saw a Ruff at East Lea and 25 Knot on the Brigg, while wader passage on 20th included 22 Whimbrel, 81 Dunlins, 43 Knot and 42 Sanderlings (all south); a (or perhaps the) juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was around the Brigg on 19th, when a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and 20 Black-tailed Godwits went south.

Knot on the Brigg (David Eccles)

Knot on the Brigg (David Eccles)

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

After a somewhat late start to the autumn migration, waders have finally begun to increase in numbers and variety in recent days, with a respectable showing over the land and (particularly) the sea. This morning saw four Black-tailed Godwits south off the Brigg and six past the Gap, with small numbers of Whimbrel past both sites as well as e.g. Dunlin, Golden Plover, Knot, Redshank, Curlew, Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher in small numbers along the coast. In addition, at least 800 Swifts went south at the Gap before 0600hrs.

Dunlin, Tip (Mark Pearson)

Dunlin, Tip (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday saw the first big movement of Knot and Sanderling past the hut, with 203 of the former and 22 of the latter among a good cast of common waders, as well as decent counts of 410 Common Scoters and 122 Sandwich Terns.

The Dams and East Lea have yet to pull in much in the way of note, although a Green Sandpiper and a Little Egret commuted between both yesterday, and five Common Sandpipers was by the far the best count of the year so far at the Dams this morning.

Green Sandpiper, East Lea (Henry Teahan)

Green Sandpiper, East Lea (Henry Teahan)

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

An otherwise fairly quiet five hours or so on the sea this morning (trickles of terns, common waders, Manxies and Common Scoters notwithstanding) produced several isolated highlights, the best of which were a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull over the hut (MJP), an adult Mediterranean Gull over Carr Naze (JS) and an adult Pomarine Skua south (JS, MJP).

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull (Mark Pearson)

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull (Mark Pearson)

Checks of the boxes at several sites in the area revealed an absence of any Barn Owl chicks this year (despite the regular presence of adults as usual); Stock Doves were however breeding in two of the boxes, with fledglings ringed at Dams and East Lea.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Highlights on the sea this morning included singles of three skua species (Arctic, Bonxie and an adult Pomarine) and four Little Egrets north (MJP, JS, CW). Two Little Egrets and a Greenshank went south at the Gap, while the Brigg is hosting up to 11 Knot, two Whimbrel and six Dunlin presently.

Reed Warbler at the Dams (Mark Pearson)

Reed Warbler at the Dams (Mark Pearson)

A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was reported from the Brigg area late morning yesterday  (13th) (JS), while a single Crossbill was on Carr Naze first thing. The Dams and East Lea remain quiet but for new broods of the commoner waterbirds, with the pair of Gadwall, four Teal and female Shoveler also still in residence.

Juvenile Great Crested Grebe over the Brigg this morning (Mark Pearson)

Juvenile Great Crested Grebe over the Brigg this morning (Mark Pearson)

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Finch passage was again the story of the day today, with 242 Siskins and 13 Crossbills south at the Gap (with a Little Egret also south there), and a further two Crossbills west over East Lea this morning. Three Red-breasted Mergansers and single Arctic & Great Skuas were the best of a quiet sea yesterday (10th), when (after no reports for almost a week) seven Red-veined Darters were recorded at East Lea, including two pairs ovipositing.

Another single Arctic Skua went south on 9th, when a Hummingbird Hawkmoth flew south along the town seafront. Waders continue to trickle through, with e.g. Curlews, Whimbrels and Redshanks moving in small numbers daily.

Marbled White, Top Scrub today (Pete Dunn)

Marbled White, Top Scrub today (Pete Dunn)

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Med Gull this morning (Mark Pearson)

Med Gull this morning (Mark Pearson)

The stormy northerly blow of the late morning failed to produce any early movements at sea, although a 2nd-summer Mediterranean Gull north (MJP) was some consolation. Otherwise, a Hobby was west of the Dams this morning (NCt), and a Little Egret arrived in off and dropped onto Carr Naze pond briefly.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

An unremarkable couple of days (as might be expected for the time of year) were most notable for finch passage at Hunmanby Gap yesterday (6th), with 57 Siskins and seven Crossbills heading south early on (as well as 565 Swifts on 5th). Otherwise, the sea has been very quiet with a light trickle of waders being the pick, while the Dams hosted another Black-tailed Godwit on 5th, as well as four Teal, the summering Gadwall and Shoveler and a brood of six Tufted Ducks with an attendant female. Little Grebe adults and juveniles are there and on East Lea, where three Red-veined Darters were recorded on 4th (but not since) with two Redshank and a single Dunlin there this morning.

Black-tailed Godwit (Ian Robinson)

Black-tailed Godwit (Ian Robinson)

Conservation work at the Dams today – see here for details

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

The mini-heatwave continues with temperatures rising to 25 degrees celsius this afternoon, and movements are predictably quite slow; however, waders continue to gradually up their game at the Dams, with a single summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwit there yesterday. Sea-watching remains in the doldrums but for a few Manxies and trickles of e.g. Black-headed Gulls and Common Scoters, although a Hobby went south off the Brigg on 2nd.

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson

The main highlights continue to involve Odonata, with at least ten Red-veined Darters (MJP, IR et al) at East Lea yesterday (3rd), when a pair were also observed mating.

Four-spotted Chaser (Mark Pearson)

Four-spotted Chaser (Mark Pearson)

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson)

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson)

The big news of the last few days concerns the multiple arrival of Red-veined Darters at East Lea (MJP et al), with three discovered on 30th, at least three yesterday (1st), and up to six reported today. Otherwise, waders have begin to trickle through, with an Avocet and a Greenshank at the Dams yesterday (MJP et al) and a Ruff there today. Black-headed Gulls, Manx Shearwaters, Common Scoters and Curlews continue to move through in moderately good numbers.

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson)

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson)