Monday, April 25th, 2016

A slow few days, with an unhelpful northerly airflow setting in and new arrivals thin on the ground. A Cuckoo to the south of Primrose Valley today was the first of the year, while hailstorms brought 140+ Swallows to the Dams yesterday; several more Whitethroats are now on territory alongside good numbers of other warblers and 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls yesterday has been the pick of sea passage.

Swallow, Dams (Ian Robinson)

Swallow, Dams (Ian Robinson)

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Another quiet couple of days enlivened by the year’s first Osprey powering into the cold northerly wind along the cliffs this afternoon (MJP); otherwise, very much as you were, with trickles of hirundines, Yellow Wagtails and other expected migrants in the log.

Osprey (Mark Pearson)

Osprey (Mark Pearson)

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

High pressure settling over us at this time of year usually means a dearth of interesting visible movement (conversely because conditions are ideal for high-flying, pit stop-free migration) but a healthy arrival of expected, often local breeders, which has been just the case over the last 48 hours.

Whimbrel, East Lea - 19th (Mark Pearson)

Whimbrel, East Lea – 19th (Mark Pearson)

Warblers are out (or rather, in) in force, with Blackcaps especially numerous in all suitable habitat, as well as Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers in good numbers, at least one Reed Warbler at the Dams, Lesser Whitethroats at the Dams, East Lea and Hunmanby Gap, and the year’s first Common Whitethroat at the latter site.

Surf Scoter this morning (Mark Pearson)

Surf Scoter this morning (Mark Pearson)

Waders include a Whimbrel at East Lea both days and a Common Sandpiper at the Bay pools today, migrant Common Buzzards numbered two yesterday and two today, a female Sparrowhawk was high and north over the sea this morning, while the Surf Scoter remains off the south side of the Brigg. Sandwich Terns and Lesser Black-backed Gulls have trickled past in single figures with hirundines well into in double, ten Yellow Wagtails moved through today with the female White Wagtail still at East Lea, while single Fieldfare, Redwing and Tree Pipit overflew the Gap yesterday.

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Common Buzzard, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Common Buzzard, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

The pick of a mainly dull day with a brisk, cool north-westerly was another Marsh Harrier north-west over East Lea / North Cliff late morning, the same route taken by three more Common Buzzards (all of which were ‘non-local’ birds on photos). A pair of Little Ringed Plovers were at East Lea, as were single White and Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear, with two of the latter also on Carr Naze. The male Redstart remained at the Dams, as did a Shelduck, four Gadwall, a Lesser Whitethroat and plenty of Phylloscs, while a Little Egret and Common Buzzard both headed north at the Gap this morning.

Marsh Harrier, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Marsh Harrier, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Common Buzzard, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Common Buzzard, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Cool northerlies hardly inspired much enthusiasm today but a few new migrants arrived, notably a Marsh Harrier high and west over North Cliff, a Reed Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat at the Dams (both firsts for the year), three Bramblings in the Rocket Pole Field and male Redstarts at the Dams and at the Tip. Other records included a scattering of Goldcrests, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and a couple of Buzzards in the northern area.

Brambling, Rocket Pole Field (Ian Robinson)

Brambling, Rocket Pole Field (Ian Robinson)

 

Yesterday (16th), a pair of Long-tailed Ducks headed north past the Gap (KC, NCt) and a pair of Red-legged Partridges were in the Reighton area.

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Today is, remarkably, the four-month anniversary of the arrival of the immature male Surf Scoter in the bay, which is still showing no inclination to return to the homeland (much to the dismay of the local razorfish population).

Surf Scoter this morning (Mark Parson)

Surf Scoter this morning (Mark Parson)

Other highlights consisted of an adult Yellow-legged Gull on this morning’s sea-watch (JS) and a Ring Ouzel in off at the Gap, while the arriving weather front mid-pm brought 25 Swallows and 35 Sand Martins to East Lea and the Dams.

Goldcrest, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Goldcrest, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

 

Blue-headed Wagtail (Mark Pearson)

Blue-headed Wagtail, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Another day of notable new arrivals, despite generally unhelpful conditions. Two male Blue-headed Wagtails (one showing a probable slight flavissima influence, above) were at East Lea this afternoon (MJP, DL), as were four Yellow, one White and three Pied Wagtails, as well as the year’s first Common Sandpiper. A remarkable four Black Redstarts (three in the north of the town and one on the Brigg) were recorded (J&TGD, GD) and a Marsh Harrier flew south at the Gap, where steady vismig included over 300 Meadow Pipits and 200 Linnets. The year’s first Sedge Warbler sang from the scrub at the eastern edge of the Dams, while both Swallows and Sand Martins were moving through in double figures.

Yellow Wagtail, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Yellow Wagtail, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Late news from yesterday concerns a Blue-headed Wagtail and a Green Sandpiper (first of the year) at East Lea (MM), and a report of a Spoonbill at the Dams – if anyone can verify the latter we’d be happy to hear from you (see contacts page).

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Visible migration watches this morning at Muston Sands and Hunmanby Gap accounted for most of today’s notable records, with several-hour early morning watches at both sites and then later counts from the northern coastal area combining for final totals. The highlight was a Woodlark which headed low and north-west past Muston Sands at 0740 (MJP), a male Redstart by the watchpoint there (first of the year), a Tree Pipit over the Gap (first of year), several Yellow Wagtails, over 250 Linnets, 70 Sand Martins north (and others around potential colonies), and several Swallows, House Martins and Siskins among others.

Redstart, Muston Sands (Mark Pearson)

Redstart, Muston Sands (Mark Pearson)

A total of 10 Wheatears arrived along the coastal strip, eight Common Buzzards drifted south (including six together), and further single Redstart and Yellow Wagtail were at the Tip. The Surf Scoter is still in the north of the bay, with a male Common Scoter today, and a northbound passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (c12) was noted.

Common Buzzard and Carrion Crow, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Common Buzzard and Carrion Crow, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday (12th) was generally quiet in the thick mist, but saw the first Whimbrel of the year over Carr Naze and a small influx of passerines there and in the Top Scrub, with five Fieldfares, four Song Thrushes, 10 Robins and a total of 15 Chiffchaffs.

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Fairly quiet over the last couple of days, with a modest trickle of new migrants including several Willow Warblers, widespread Chiffchaffs, a few hirundines and a single Wheatear on Carr Naze today. Yesterday (10th) saw 121 Pink-footed Geese, 319 Meadow Pipits and a Little Ringed Plover north at the Gap (with two of the latter also present), with the Black Redstart still present there on 9th. The Surf Scoter remains in the usual place.

Black Redstart at the Gap, 9th (Will Scott)

Black Redstart at the Gap, 9th (Will Scott)

The first brood of Mallards were out of the nest at the Dams today (nine ducklings), and we’ve also had a report of a female at a nest with seven eggs in a garden in the middle of the Wharfedale estate. A Brimstone at the Dams today was a notable record of an uncommon butterfly in the area.

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Willow Warbler, the Dams (Mark Pearson)

Willow Warbler, the Dams (Mark Pearson)

A quiet day today with a trickle of hirundines, four Sandwich Terns north and the Surf Scoter in the bay (associating with a couple of Common Scoters intermittently today); yesterday (7th) saw the female Black Redstart still on Carr Naze (along with three Wheatears and an outbound Woodcock at the same site), presumably the same Egyptian Goose heading back south (and to Flamborough), 513 Meadow Pipits, 120 Linnets and the year’s first flava Wagtail north at the Gap, at least 25 Swallows and five Willow Warblers at East Lea / the Dams, and a total of 16 Chiffchaffs well spread throughout.

Goldcrest, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Goldcrest, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Black Redstart, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Black Redstart, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Another changeable day with a more blustery south-westerly wind and heavy hail and rain showers. Notable records were headlined by a female Black Redstart on Carr Naze (MJP), where there were also three Wheatears, five Sand Martins and a pair of Rock Pipits showing signs of breeding. A late Snow Bunting came in off the sea at the same time as, extraordinarily, two calling Coal Tits (all of which continued westwards inland). The White Wagtail and Willow Warbler remain at East Lea and the Surf Scoter was off the Brigg.

Chiffchaff, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Chiffchaff, Top Scrub (Mark Pearson)

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Egyptian Goose coming in off at the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

Egyptian Goose coming in off at the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

A cool south-westerly wind and changeable conditions brought more early spring activity to the area today, the highlight being a Crane which headed south-east over Hunmanby Gap this morning (KC). Other notable records included an Egyptian Goose in off and west (MJP, J&TGD), two White Wagtails in off and west at Carr Naze this morning (with one still at East Lea), a Ring Ouzel at the Country Park this afternoon and 12 Wheatears freshly arrived in the same areas (with most or all quickly filtering inland).

Chiffchaff, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

Chiffchaff, Carr Naze (Mark Pearson)

At least 15 Sand Martins are prospecting around Carr Naze and about 15 Swallows and five House Martins moved through the general area this afternoon (with one of the latter at the Gap yesterday being the first of the year). A heavy passage of passerines in off at Carr Naze included 320 Meadow Pipits, 115 Linnets, three Siskins and three Reed Buntings. The Surf Scoter is still in the bay, again staying further out today.

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Pied Wagtail, Hunmanby Gap (Will Scott)

Pied Wagtail, Hunmanby Gap (Will Scott)

A very changeable day with a south-westerly airflow, and early humidity and misty drizzle giving way to heavy hailstorms and cooler temperatures. Plenty of notable sightings were headlined by a Black Redstart at Hunmanby Gap (KC), a Corn Bunting at the Tip (J&TGD), a Willow Warbler at East Lea (first of the year – MM), a total of at least ten Wheatears during the day in the Carr Naze area, one or more likely two Short-eared Owls in the coastal area, five Fieldfares, a continental Song Thrush on Carr Naze, the Surf Scoter in the bay, c10 Chiffchaffs, a female Blackcap in Top Scrub (first of the spring), a Sandwich Tern off the Brigg and a handful of Sand Martins through. Several Yellowhammers have been noted in the northern area over recent days, an unfortunately noteworthy occurrence.

Wheatear (Mark Pearson)

Wheatear (Mark Pearson)

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

An encouraging start to the new month with several firsts for the year and a trickle of summer migrants. Of the former, a Marsh Harrier was at the Dams and a Little Ringed Plover was at East Lea on 1st, while at least one Sandwich Tern was in the bay today. Of the latter, small numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins have been seen each day (with 10 of the former and 29 of the latter today), with Chiffchaffs well scattered (including regular new arrivals).

Knot on the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

Knot on the Brigg (Mark Pearson)

Two Wheatears were in the Carr Naze area today, a few Redwings have been recorded most days, and the Surf Scoter has remained in the bay throughout. Commoner migrants include trickles of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Reed Buntings, Linnets and Chaffinches, although visible migration had yet to kick in as yet.