New articles are published here regularly – be sure to check back for new additions
2018 – The Birding Year by Mark Pearson
With its fantastic mix of habitats and exceptional geographical position for migratory birds, Filey is a very special place to enjoy and study birdlife, and 2018 was no different. Here’s a quick look back over another great twelve months in the FBOG recording area. Early winter was characterised by cold-weather movements (birds fleeing plunging temperatures and harsher conditions on the continent or inland), with flocks of up to 26 White-fronted Geese Read more…
The Filey Bird Observatory / Chris Packham Bioblitz 2018! by Mark Pearson
Many of you will know that Chris Packham, as part of his well-publicised and much-needed national campaign to spotlight the rapid loss of biodiversity across the UK, asked us to host one of his special 24-hour bioblitzes here at Filey. Of course we agreed, and given the choice between an exclusively biological records-gathering bioblitz and an open-door, everybody’s-welcome one, you can guess which one we chose. Read more…
Migweek 2018 – nine fine days of birds and community! by Mark Pearson
Well, what a blast that was…. As this year’s Filey and Flamborough Ringing and Migration Week (Migweek) draws to a close, it’s fair to say it’s been the best one ever, and we’re all humbled by the successes and support we’ve had throughout the week. It’s actually been nine days, with our programme kicking off last Saturday (13th) and ending on Sunday (21st), and after a soggy, windy start, Migweek just got better and better. Read more…
FBOG goes global to help save migratory birds! by Mark Pearson
In March 2018, four intrepid Yorkshiremen journey to Israel to take part in the famous Champions of the Flyway bird race – an international event to find as many bird species in the wilds of the Negev Desert… in just 24 hours! Those four Yorkshiremen are not only representing God’s Own County, however – they are representing FBOG on the global stage, campaigning and fund-raising to save our birds as they battle through the Med. Read more…
Filey Dams Resoration Project, Nov 2017 by Rich Baines
My first visits to Filey Dams, way back in the 1980’s, were to see a fine adult Purple Heron and a Rustic Bunting. I remember being struck by how great such a small site can be for birds despite being nestled in between farmland and housing. At that time the site was an open grazing marsh with shallow ephemeral ponds and little in the way of boundary trees or hedges. Fast forward thirty years and the reserve is now a very different place. The ponds read more…
Filey Hedgehog survey 2017
Are you a Filey area resident, or do you visit the area in the spring/summer/autumn? If so, we need your help! We’re conducting an area-wide Hedgehog survey this year in order to better understand their population and dynamics locally, and we’re relying on the sharp eyes and reporting of locals and visitors to make it as comprehensive as possible. How can you help? It’s easy; just email your details of your sighting – date, exact location, state of the animal read more….
Patchwork challenge 2016 by Will Scott
Will Looks back at a very productive year taking part in this national patch-birding competition….Patchwork Challenge is a birding competition with the aim of getting people to record birds on their ‘patch’. A patch can be no more than 3km2 – mine incorporates a small part of Hunmanby (my garden and the water treatment works), the road down to Hunmanby Gap and the Gap itself. Every single bird species on the British list is allocated a point score ranging from 1 to 5 read more….
Ringing & Migration Week 2016
Co-run by Filey Bird Observatory & Group (FBOG) and ringers from East Yorkshire Ringing Group (EYRG), 2016’s Ringing & Migration Week was a great success. Building on the annual Ringing Week (co-ordinated by the ringing team for many years), this year saw us expand the annual event to included walks, talks, workshops and more, which proved very popular with locals and visitors alike. (All events and activities were of course free, inkeeping with Read more….
FBOG’s Roseate terns – end-of-season update
Here’s a late summer update from RSPB Coquet Island’s Mike Harris on FBOG’s Roseate Tern boxes (for the full story see here and here). Lots of success to celebrate, so thanks again to everyone who contributed via sponsorship! Box 161: Two eggs were produced, one when checked on 28th May and the second on the 4th June. Both eggs hatched and two chicks were present on the 25th June. Unfortunately, the younger of the two did Read more….
FBOG’s Roseate tern families – RSPB update
On the island, the weather hasn’t been kind. High winds; rain, fog and mizzle have dominated, making the job of rearing tern chicks difficult. The Rosys are helped by their special boxes on the island, keeping the worst of the inclement weather out. The number of active nests has, however, just reached 100! Your three boxes (this year at least since there has been an unusual amount of box swaps going on!), are numbers 8, 124 and 161.
Filey Ebor Academy – a new birding frontier by Will Scott
I often joke about school getting in the way of birding. However, if I want to do well in life school is necessary, and Filey School is a good place to find birds. The best bird I have ever had on the school grounds was a Yellow-Browed Warbler in a tree on the edge of the field in 2013 while I was playing Rugby. This made me realise that just because I was at school didn’t mean I couldn’t look for birds. I am fortunate enough to have been able to see Herring Gulls rear chicks on the roof. In 2015, Read more….
Sowing the keys of change by Richard Baines
Anyone who has been birding since the 1970’s will have noticed the lower numbers of ganivorous (seed-eating) farmland birds such as Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting in the wider countryside. One factor which has contributed to the fall in numbers is the decline in available over-winter seed for these birds. During the past ten years, Countryside Stewardship schemes managed by Natural England have offered farmers financial incentives to sow special seed mixes on farms Read more….
Ringing summary – winter 2016 by Dan Lombard
Strong winds and heavy rain between Nov and Feb were unfavourable for ringing, although we didn’t let it stop us all together. Winter ringing started around the Tip – a bumper Hawthorn crop meant lots of thrushes, and several sessions resulted in modest numbers of Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Blackbird and a few bonus birds including Sparrowhawk. Thrush ringing continued at the site into early Dec until the berry crop began to run out and birds moved inland Read more….
Roseate Tern sponsorship – a big thank-you! by Mark James Pearson
As many of you know, last year I decided to pursue a sponsored patch year-list to raise money for Roseate Terns – a beautiful, endangered, long-distance seabird which breeds on Coquet Island off the Northumbrian coast, under the watchful gaze of the RSPB who own and manage the island). There’s a sliding scale of sponsorship, the top level of which is to sponsor a specially made Roseate Tern nestbox for five years – which includes its construction and maintenance, as well as Read more….
2016 Michael Clegg Bird Race by Sue Hull
FBOG members have participated in the Michael Clegg bird race since its inception, and this year we had three Filey teams, all determined to raise some funds for bird conservation and ignore each other all day in pursuit of the largest species count on the day of the event. The day dawned and the weather left a lot to be desired, even for January. The teams trudged through rain, more rain and yes, rain but fun was to be had in spite of this. Craig, George and Dan teamed up Read more….
Conservation update – winter 2015/16 by Nick Carter
Winter is traditionally the time for carrying out maintenance and management work that is best avoided at other times of the year for fear of disturbing breeding birds and other wildlife, and the work parties have concentrated mainly on the Dams in recent months (along with a few away days assisting with habitat management in neighbouring areas).This has included managing the willows by the boardwalk, both to open up access and to prevent encroachment into more valuable read more….
The Empire of the Worm by Dan Lombard
Have you ever watched a Blackbird listening intently before hopping a few steps and then wrestling a big worm from your lawn? For many of us this is perhaps our only regular interaction with the life of the underworld, almost the only time we ever give a brief consideration to the humble worm and its dominion. What if I told you that the worm’s empire, a world untouched by sunlight, held many fascinating treasures buried within the dirt? A world where predators and prey battle …. read more….
Hunting for monsters! by Dan Lombard
Apparently there are no such thing as monsters! From a young age, most of us are taught not to worry about those things that go bump in the night, and that monsters are just products of an overactive imagination – but is this statement completely true? With Halloween around the corner, Dan Lombard begins a new series taking a closer look at a hidden world all around us, starting with the search for monsters – some of which are just as frightening as anything lurking on the bookshelf …. read more…
Ringing Week 2015 by Pete Dunn
During the week up to 16 nets were opened when weather and wind allowed and we trapped and processed 473 birds, of which 418 were newly ringed. Strangely enough, the top species this year was Long-tailed Tit with 110 ringed, followed by 78 Greenfinches (nice to see the numbers starting to rebuild after the appalling trichomonosis years) and 76 Goldcrests hanging on from the previous weeks’ fall along the east coast. Star bird this year was read more…
Plumage variation in autumn Willow Warblers by Mark James Pearson
Mark looks at the plumage variation exhibited by Willow Warblers during last September’s major fall of continental passerines, with additional examples of equally striking late autumn individuals from the last couple of years. Within the species list of the about-to-be-published 2014 Filey Report, mention is made of variation in plumage of Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus that we encountered during the memorable fall of migrants in mid-September of last year Read more…
A look back at the 2015 Wildlife Weekend by Mark James Pearson
Our Communications Officer Mark reflects on FBOG’s 2015 Wildlife Weekend here in Filey, our most successful and enjoyable yet.. Well, that was fun. After plenty of preparation, the usual last-minute hitches and the quiet gnawing of fingernails while checking weather forecasts, last weekend (7th & 8th August) saw the third annual Wildlife Weekend here in sunny Filey, and with a few days having passed since, it’s safe to say it was more than worth the effort. Read more…
Moulting warblers in summer by Pete Dunn
During a ringing session on the Country Park this week, we encountered a number of recently-fledged young birds, and this is also the time that adults start to moult and renew their plumage. It was certainly the case with Chiffchaffs today – we trapped and ringed a few, and all but one were a newly-fledged youngsters. The remaining bird was an adult, which had already started to moult ready for its southbound migration. As can be seen from the images read more….
Conservation update – summer 2015 by Nick Carter
Welcome to the second of our regular reviews of the conservation work carried out by FBOG members, with this second bulletin covering the spring and early summer of 2015. March ended with the preparation of the seed bed for the wild bird and bumblebee crops at the Old Tip and no time was wasted in getting the seed down. Once again we used a local contractor who sowed approx 50% of the area read more….
Conservation update – spring 2015 by Nick Carter
Welcome to the first of what will hopefully become a regular review of the conservation work carried out by FBOG members, with this debut bulletin covering the first three months of 2015. As well as having a dedicated team of voluntary naturalists and birders, FBOG also carries out plenty of practical conservation work (mainly in the Filey area but periodically also further afield). With the breeding season not yet underway the early part of the year read more….
The Michael Clegg Memorial Bird Race by Nick Carter
The Michael Clegg memorial bird race is an annual event organised and run in memory of the well known Barnsley naturalist, star of Yorkshire Television’s Clegg’s People and a regular on Radio 4’s Natural History Programmes who sadly passed away in 1995. Each year teams from birding hotspots throughout the county attempt to see as many species as possible in their recording area in 24 hours. This year’s race took place on 4 January and saw FBOG enter three teams read more…..
Large Red Damselflies in Filey by Dan Lombard
Until 2013, the Large Red Damselfly was not considered to be resident within our area, the only records occurring as sporadic influxes of migrants and no breeding noted. In May of that year, however, activity was observed at the Top Scrub pond, and breeding and ovipositing were regularly recorded during the 2013 season, with as many as five mating adults observed at the site at any given time Further to the establishment of this colony, breeding individuals were also noted read more…
What’s French for ‘Snow Bunting’? by Mark James Pearson
As followers of the latest sightings page will know, we’ve been fortunate to host an impressive flock of wintering Snow Buntings in the set-aside / sacrificial crop strip which runs parallel to the path along the North Cliff over recent months. After exceptional numbers flooded into the north and east of the British Isles last autumn, numbers soon dwindled and very few sites around the UK continued to hold substantial flocks read more….
Autumn 2013 in Filey – part three by Mark James Pearson
Mark’s autumn bulletins from the east coast conclude with an October of classic storm-blown seabirds and Siberian waifs and strays. For those of us predisposed to a bit of seasonal OCD, repetitive over-analysis is an intrinsic part of autumn birding, not just of weather charts and Bird News Extra, but of comparable past form. Being relatively fresh off the boat, my first-hand comparisons were limited to last autumn versus the one in progress read more….
Autumn 2013 in Filey – part two by Mark James Pearson
In Part II of Mark’s seasonal birding journal, Yellow-browed Warblers steal a show that gets better as the autumn wears on…With August having delivered mixed fortunes, September was an altogether tastier prospect which, in time, would make good on its promises; but not before certain tests of faith, of course. Echoing last autumn almost exactly, the first three weeks of the month were dominated by a satanic westerly airflow read more….
Autumn 2013 in Filey – part one by Mark James Pearson
The sights, sounds and smells in the first part of Mark’s seasonal patch-birding synopsis include sought-after seabirds, stunning waders, Elton John and burning barbecues, with some being more welcome than others. An east coast bird observatory as a backyard playground, autumn in full swing, and the decks (and diary) duly cleared. Sounds like paradise, I know, and on those occasions when events, conditions and read more….
Trapped versus eaten – small mammals & Barn Owls by Sue Hull & Jack Whitehead
For the last few years we have been trapping small mammals during late summer on FBOG Reserves in order to determine what occurs where. This is for several reasons: not only because we’re fascinated by small furry animals, but also because they’re a valuable indicator of the health of the reserves – from a more cynical viewpoint they are food, especially for the Barn Owls nesting in the box at the Dams read more….
Feeding habits of Minke Whales at Filey in 2013 by Dan Lombard
Minke Whales are the smallest and most abundant baleen whale found within the North Sea region. Baleen whales include the largest whales in the world, notably other Roquals such as the Blue Whale, Fin Whale and Sei Whale, as well as the scarce North Atlantic Right Whale. These whales do not have teeth, but instead have complex comb-like structures attached to the upper surface of the mouth, known as baleen plates read more….
Filey Ringing Week 2013 by Lucy Murgatroyd
Filey Ringing Week 2013 was unfortunately not one that will be remembered for the birds – once again the week was plagued with bad weather and less than favourable conditions for migration throughout the eight days. With heavy rain and persistently strong south-westerlies, two full days and two half days were lost. However the jovial atmosphere and good company amongst the team and members of the public kept spirits up read more….
Colour-ringed Shags at Filey by Jenny Sturgeon
As part of a collaborative project between the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the University of Aberdeen, we are using resightings of field-readable colour-rings to locate shags in winter to discover more about where they go outside the breeding season. On the Isle of May, Fife, large scale colour-ringing of shags has been taking place since 1997. Each year the majority of chicks on the island have been ringed with a BTO metal ring and a coloured plastic ring engraved read more……
The Harlequin Ladybird in Filey by Dan Lombard
Alien species are of considerable conservation concern due to the pressures that they can exert on native fauna and flora. In 2013 the FBOG recording area had its first, somewhat overdue, record of the Harlequin Ladybird (IR et al). The species has been present along the Yorkshire coastal belt from at least 2007, with a colony at Flamborough and an abundance in the Scarborough area It would seem most likely that the species has been present in Filey read more……
Filey recommended – selected highlights from 2012 by Mark James Pearson
Arriving with the vanguard of spring migrants, as of April 1st, we were duly installed in our home town. Exploring the new patch with an unjaded enthusiasm and fueled by the mouth-watering contents of previous Filey bird reports and colourful tales from the old school, the first month fortuitously turned out to be another kind of honeymoon altogether read more…..
For those interested in such things, here’s the Filey listers league (NB please contact our recorder re: any descrepancies!)