Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Three of four Wood sandpipers at East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Three of four Wood sandpipers at East Lea (Mark Pearson)

On the Brigg, the Little Stint remained for its fifth day, while on the sea, single Balearic & Sooty Shearwaters passed this morning (JS et al) and a Mediterranean Gull this evening (MJP). Land migrants were confined to a scattering of Phylloscopus warblers, a Wheatear in off the sea this evening, a Short-eared Owl in the Carr Naze / Rocket Pole Field area (for several days), plus five Whinchats and a Spotted Flycatcher yesterday.

Little Stint on the Brigg this eve (Mark Pearson)

Little Stint on the Brigg this eve (Mark Pearson)

The Dams and East Lea continue to host a fine array of waders, with yesterday’s tallies including four Wood Sandpipers together at East Lea and peak totals of eight Green Sandpipers, 16 Ruff, five Common Sandpipers, three Black-tailed Godwits, 17 Curlew, two Whimbrel, four Greenshank, three Snipe, 25 Lapwing and a Knot, plus two Little Egrets, 35 Teal and eight Shoveler.

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Little Stint on the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

Little Stint on the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

A Little Stint, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and a Little Egret were on the Brigg today (JS, MJP) with (possibly the same or another) Yellow-legged Gull in the Bay corner at dusk (MJP). The two Wood Sandpipers again headlined a similarly varied cast of waders at East Lea and the Dams, where three Black-tailed Godwits were new, Teal are up to 30 and Shoveler up to 12.

Common Seal off the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

Common Seal off the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

A Hobby was over over Hunmanby Gap this evening, while two Marsh Harriers together there this morning may have been the ‘pair’ over Primrose Valley yesterday and the day before. Yesterday (27th) also saw two Redstarts and single Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and Lesser Whitethroat at East Lea, with the Short-eared Owl, both flycatchers, a Redstart and a Tree Pipit at the Tip.

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson)

Red-veined Darter (Mark Pearson)

A quieter couple of days locally, with a strengthening south to south-westerly airflow encouraging a clear-out of land migrants and keeping movements at sea to a minimum; Pied Flycatchers, for example, are down to low single figures and Willow Warblers only in low double figures.

With the dust at least temporarily settled on the last week's migrant bonanza, it seems a good time to share photos of the extraordinary occurrence of three Wrynecks together in the magic bush on Carr Naze last Thursday.... (John Giggal)

With the dust at least temporarily settled on the last week’s migrant bonanza, it seems a good time to share photos of the extraordinary occurrence of three Wrynecks together in the magic bush on Carr Naze last Thursday…. (John Giggal)

The combined head-count of waders at the Dams and East Lea remains impressive however, with a regular changeover of birds; today’s totals included two Wood Sandpipers (continuing a very good year for this species), six Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers, two Greenshank, nine Ruff, 14 Dunlins, 10 Lapwings and three Snipe. One to two Little Egrets continue to frequent both sites, with Teal numbers up to 15 and Wigeon three.

...and even assuming two of the previous day's three birds were involved, with a further three since this week's Wryneck total stands at an exceptional 7+. (James Wild)

…and even assuming two of the previous day’s three birds were involved, with a further three since, this week’s Wryneck total stands at an exceptional 7+. (James Wild)

Yesterday (25th) saw the Wood Warbler still in the orchard, a new Red-veined Darter by Long Hedge (MJP et al), a Short-eared Owl at the Tip, two Marsh Harriers over Primrose Valley, Wood Sandpipers at the Dams and over the Tip, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in off at north Cliff, and 16 Pied Flycatchers and 38 Willow warblers among smaller numbers of common migrants.

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Wryneck (Mark Pearson) - extraordinarily, this bird was latest of at least seven so far this month

Wryneck (Mark Pearson) – extraordinarily, this bird is latest of at least seven so far this month

With promising conditions (both overnight and during daylight hours) and good coverage of the area throughout the day, the recent purple patch continued to prevail, and was arguably at its most impressive so far today. A combination of various scarcities and large numbers of commoner migrants contributed to a memorable day of early autumn east coast birding at its finest.

Red-backed Shrike (Dan Lombard)

Red-backed Shrike (Dan Lombard)

A succession of headliners were uncovered amongst the waves of new arrivals, with a Wood Warbler (less than annual here) in the orchard, a male Red-backed Shrike (new for the year) at the Tip, at least two Icterine Warblers in the Top Scrub (later trapped) and at the Blue Dolphin respectively, and last but not least, two new Wrynecks – fantastically, both of which were watched arriving – at the Tip and Carr Naze respectively (MJP, GD, NCt, DL et al).

Icterine Warbler, Blue Dolphin (John Harwood)

Icterine Warbler, Blue Dolphin (John Harwood)

The best of the rest included an outstanding 62 Pied Flycatchers, 75 Willow Warblers, 11 Redstarts, 12 Wheatears, nine Spotted Flycatchers, 16 Yellow Wagtails, twelve Whinchats, ten Blackcaps, 15 Garden Warblers, three Lesser Whitethroats, eight Common Whitethroats, three Reed Warblers, two Tree Pipits, a Fieldfare, two Marsh Harriers and two Short-eared Owls.

Marsh Harrier (Mark Pearson)

Marsh Harrier (Mark Pearson)

Icterine Warbler

Visible migration was almost constant, with plenty of waders and other species on the move overhead, including one (or perhaps two) Wood Sandpipers, five Common Sandpipers (with three on the Brigg), three Green Sandpipers, 24 Whimbrel, five Greenshank, nine Curlew, five Ringed Plovers, four Golden Plovers, 12 Redshank, a Bonxie and 65 Teal. 130 Common Terns and 28 Sandwich Terns were on the Brigg, while the pick of (many) migratory insects today was a Red-veined Darter on North Cliff (DL). A Little Stint was at the Dams this morning (JH).

Red-veined Darter, North Cliff (Dan Lombard)

Red-veined Darter, North Cliff (Dan Lombard)

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Yet another good day here at the Obs, with a south-easterly airflow encouraging the sea to provide this morning and the land to host a small influx of passerines this evening. Of the former, a Long-tailed Skua, a Red-necked Grebe, two Sooty Shearwaters and four Little Gulls (MJP, MRA, JS, CW, BP) were the highlights of an encouragingly mixed bag, while an initially quiet day on terra firma became increasingly busy later on.

Pied Flycatcher, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Pied Flycatcher, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

A new Wryneck – at least the fifth of the week – dropped onto Carr Naze before bolting inland late afternoon (MJP), where four Whinchats, a Redstart, five Wheatears and eight Willow Warblers were also fresh in. A total of at least 10 Pied Flycatchers were scattered throughout the area.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Pied Flycatcher, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Pied Flycatcher, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Less encouraging conditions nevertheless provided a few notables today, the best of which was a Little Stint south past the Brigg (in the company of a Grey Plover and a Dunlin) this afternoon (MJP), the third this year of a less than annual species locally. The Temminck’s Stint and Wood Sandpiper remained at East Lea (with the former making a brief visit to the Dams), while a late arrival on Carr Naze in the evening sunshine consisted of two Pied Flycatchers and a Whinchat.

Whinchat,, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Whinchat,, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Friday, August 21st, 2015

The good run has continued over the last couple of days, with a decent selection of notable early autumn records in the area. Today has been a little quieter, although a Balearic Shearwater went north this morning (JS, JP), single Pied Flycatcher and Tree Pipit were in the Top Scrub, 50 Swifts moved through, and the Temminck’s Stint and a Wood Sandpiper remained at East Lea.

Temminck's Stint (with Greenshank), East Lea, 19th (Mark Pearson)

Temminck’s Stint (with Greenshank), East Lea, 19th (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday’s (20th) highlights included a Spotted Redshank heading south over Carr Naze in the morning (MJP), a Black Tern south at 1740 (MJP), a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull on the beach (MJP) and presumably the same on the Brigg (JS), plus other migrants in the northern coastal area including a Cuckoo (Carr Naze), four Pied Flycatchers, 13 Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs, four Whitethroats, five Blackcaps, 10 Yellow Wagtails and 45 Swifts through.

Weasel, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Weasel, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Arguably the stars of the show are still Wrynecks, however, with two remaining this morning and an exceptional three together on Carr Naze yesterday (20th). Although three were found within a few hundred metres the day before (see below), it’s perhaps a bit of stretch to chalk them all up as the same birds, and although we’ll never know for sure, it seems likely that one or two may well have been ‘new’.

Swallow, Carr Naze Pond (Mark Pearson)

Swallow, Carr Naze Pond (Mark Pearson)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Wryneck, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Wryneck, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Quite a day here at the Obs, particularly for so early in the autumn, with classic seasonal continental scarcities illuminating a frenetic morning in the northern coastal area. Within a couple of hours, no fewer than three Wrynecks were found (one on Carr Naze, one in the Top Scrub moving to North Cliff, and a third also in Top Scrub), soon followed by two Icterine Warblers (both also in Top Scrub); back-up was provided by three Pied Flycatchers, two Spotted Flycatchers, a Whinchat, a Short-eared Owl, three Wheatears and a sprinkling of commoner warblers in the same area (DL, MJP, GD et al).

Icterine Warbler #1, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Icterine Warbler #1, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

A fine cast of waders at the Dams and East Lea was headlined late in the day by the discovery of a moulting adult Temminck’s Stint at the latter site (MJP, NCt, DL, GD, HJW) and combined totals of four Wood Sandpipers, eight Ruff, four each of Common and Green Sandpipers, c20 Dunlin, four Greenshanks, six Snipe, six Redshanks and 25 Lapwing.

Icterine Warbler #2, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Icterine Warbler #2, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

 

Wryneck #3, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Wryneck #3, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

On the sea, three Black Terns went north, while a Spotted Redshank went south yesterday (JS).

Wood Sanpiper at the Dams (David Eccles)

Wood Sandpiper at the Dams (David Eccles)

 

Monday, August 17th, 2015

A quiet day today with few reports of note, except for a decent cast of waders at the Dams: over the last few days, the mud there has hosted 11 Ruff, up to four Common and Five Green Sandpipers, three Dunlin, three Snipe, eight Curlew, 20 Lapwings, two each of Redshank and Greenshank and a long overdue Wood Sandpiper yesterday, the first of the autumn (NCt et al).

Knot on the Brigg (Dan Lombard)

Knot on the Brigg (Dan Lombard)

The sea has been unremarkable but for a good day for Little Terns on 15th, with four north in the morning (JS, CW) and two north in the afternoon (MJP). Notable land-based migrants included an early Fieldfare in Parish Wood, a new Short-eared Owl at the Tip and both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers in the Top Scrub area (all also 15th) in addition to a modest sprinkling of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps in suitable habitat and up to three Whinchats on Carr Naze.

Friday, August 14th, 2015

With high pressure over Scandinavia, a north-easterly airflow across the North Sea and suitably murky conditions here on the coast, an early window of possibility regarding contintental drift migrants opened today; unlike most such occurrences this early in the season, however, this one provided, with the discovery of Filey’s 15th Greenish Warbler freshly grounded on the end of a damp and foggy Carr Naze this morning (MJP et al).

Greenish Warbler, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Greenish Warbler, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Other passerine migrants were hard to come by, although efforts in the Carr Naze area also produced a Grasshopper Warbler, four Whinchats and a Chiffchaff. Additionally, a Little Stint was on the Brigg (JS), a new Short-eared Owl was in the Tip area (as were a Yellow Wagtail and two Greenshank), while a generally quiet sea produced 40 Manx Shearwaters and 580 Common Scoters among more expected totals.

Dunlin on the Brigg yesterday (Dan Lombard)

Dunlin on the Brigg yesterday (Dan Lombard)

Yesterday was also productive in very different conditions, with a Red-necked Grebe south, an adult Pomarine Skua, two Minke Whales and at least 13 Harbour Porpoises at sea (MJP) and 27 Black-tailed Godwits among a good cast of waders off and around the Brigg. Additionally, two Ruff were the pick at the Dams, 150 Linnets were at Reighton, and interestingly a flock of 16 Tree Sparrows flew SE over Carr Naze and out over the bay.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

The main story of the last few days has concerned the number of Gannets taking advantage of developing ‘bait balls’ both out at sea and, most spectacularly, close inshore – particularly on the morning of 11th, when up to 2,700 were counted, often in amazingly tight feeding frenzies. Doubtless attracted by a similar penchant for the increasing marine bounty, Minke Whales have been seen daily, with a peak of three north-east of the Brigg this evening (MJP).

Gannets in the bay, 11th (Mark Pearson)

Gannets in the bay, 11th (Mark Pearson)

Otherwise, highlights have included a Red-necked Grebe south this morning (JS, CW), an adult Pomarine Skua harrying Kittiwakes offshore on 10th (MJP) and one north this evening (KC), and a decent selection of waders both offshore / on the Brigg and at the Dams and East Lea; the latter two sites have held up to three Greenshank, nine Green Sandpipers, five Black-tailed Godwits, eight Dunlin, a Little Ringed Plover, a Ringed Plover and six Snipe between them, while a Water Rail has resumed squealing there.

Gannets in the bay, 11th (Mark Pearson)

Gannets in the bay, 11th (Mark Pearson)

Little Egrets were reported from the Tip (10th) and the Dams on several occasions, while Marsh Harriers were over the sea and south on 10th, in the Top fields on 11th and (possibly the same) at the Dams today. Perhaps just a single Short-eared Owl, meanwhile, accounted for sightings in the Carr Naze / Rocket Pole Field area over the last couple of days.

Grey Heron landing on the Brigg, 10th (Mark Pearson)

Grey Heron landing on the Brigg, 10th (Mark Pearson)

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

The Woodcock Festival yesterday (Nick Carter)

The Woodcock Festival yesterday (Nick Carter)

(With apologies for delayed reports – we’ve had a busy weekend!) Relatively quiet (thankfully) over recent days, with the pick being a Kingfisher and three Pomarine Skuas on / off the Brigg on 7th (MJP, JS) and a Short-eared Owl at the Tip on 8th. Good numbers of the commoner waders are on the move and a decent selection are also at the Dams, including up to four Greenshank, five Snipe, 18 Dunlin, seven Green Sandpipers and a Black-tailed Godwit.

The most notable reports, however, have involved mammals, with a Minke Whale several miles offshore yesterday (8th) (KC et al) and both Nathusius’ Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s among bats detected at our Dams event on Friday (7th).

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

More quality today in what has been a pleasingly productive period of late. Today’s pick was an adult Sabine’s Gull briefly off North Cliff (TGD), with three Marsh Harriers at large in the northern area and the Little Stint reported from the Dams as well as Greenshank and Green Sandpiper there; a variety of other waders passed through in small numbers. Further Greenshanks were at the Tip and over the sea, while Swift passage was heavy early on with 486 through at the Gap and 250 south at the Dams before 0800hrs.

Grey Heron, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Grey Heron, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

A Velvet Scoter was the best of the sea yesterday, while the Little Stint intermittently frequented both the Dams and East Lea during the day.

Greenshank, Dams (Mark Pearson)

Greenshank, Dams (Mark Pearson)

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

A busy and high quality day in the area from dawn to dusk, with highlights over the sea consisting of two Spotted Redshanks south (MJP), an adult Roseate Tern south (MJP), three Little Terns south (JS) and a Yellow-legged Gull south (MJP); a long list of other waders recorded from the Brigg included Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Plover among many others. The Dams began to fulfill its muddy promise, with a Little Stint late on (NCt, SCt, MJP), five Green Sandpipers, a Little Egret, two Snipe, 25 Whimbrel (over) and five Curlew.

Thanks to Mark, staying at the Blue Dolphin, for his assistance in rescuing the juvenile Kittiwake at the Dams first thing this morning.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

The pick of today’s reports consisted of a Marsh Harrier hunting in the East Lea / Top Fields area in the afternoon, a Ruff, a Green Sandpiper and three Dunlin at East Lea, a Dunlin, a Kittiwake, eight Teal and a Shoveler at the Dams, with an adult Water Rail also showing briefly at the latter site, after a long-suspected but unproven breeding presence was confirmed this week.

European Storm-petrel (Mark Pearson)

European Storm-petrel (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday (1st) saw the month beginning with the first attempt at catching European Storm-petrels on the Brigg after dark, resulting in quick success – one was trapped, ringed and released at 2308hrs, when a further two were present around the nets. A brief seawatch prior to dusk produced a Little Egret south (plus a few Manxies and the commoner terns, and single Bonxie and Arctic Skua), while earlier a Hobby hunted at East Lea, and the Dams variously held Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, two Greenshank, two Snipe, up to 15 Lapwings and seven Curlews.

Hobby, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Hobby, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

July ended with juvenile Cuckoos at both East Lea and Top Scrub on 31st, with up to 25 Lapwings at the former and a redpoll sp. also at the latter site. The Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the town centre have successfully fledged a single youngster.