Our secretary and veteran Bird-racer Sue Hull takes a look back at this year’s Michael Clegg Bird Race, earlier in the month
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 together and adopted the Black-tailed Halfwits name. They had an excellent overall total of 80 species – this was the result of a bit of luck, hard work and an early start scouring the woodlands, fields and coast. Highlights for the day included Surf Scoter, Little Gull and Great Skua. The team reported having great fun with friends for a good cause, and enjoyed catching up with other team members at the end to see which birds they had seen and missed, with some Filey specials refusing to show – Peregrine, Siskin and Great Spotted Woodpecker to name just a few.
Nick, Jack and Keith teamed up to form a new team named Avril’s Army (out of respect for Jack’s wife Avril who recently passed away), and decided to look gorgeous and smile a lot! ‘We certainly managed the latter but the former was open to question, horrible weather rather affecting the sartorial elegance! We made the decision to start late allowing for the fact that the weather forecast had suggested a dire early morning, we didn’t really hit the field until 10 am and in fact could have been out earlier as the forecast was a bit off.
By early afternoon the weather had really set in and birding was very uncomfortable, so a final score of 70 was pretty respectable we thought. Obvious highs were the Surf Scoter, Little Gull (left) and a day-flying Barn Owl (above), best record however was a count of 44 Snipe flushed from the Bay Development area (sadly this patch of land is earmarked for an extension to PV caravan park). Biggest dips were probably Skylark (only two of us saw it) and Linnet.’
The Filey Originals had one original member, Ian (our Chairman) who recruited the recorder (George) and the secretary (Sue). On paper, a combination of skill, experience and dedication – but in reality, the team most likely to be in the wrong place at the wrong time accompanied by some serious comedy moments with collapsing tripods, binocular disasters and muddy backsides. It started well; on Carr Naze just after dawn with the Surf Scoter and Little Gulls smugly ticked, plus a surprise Lapwing on the Brigg. A day-flying Barn Owl made a visit to the Tip worthwhile.
We hit the Dams in an optimistic mood, but the ducks were in hiding, sparrows had vanished and East Lea was deserted – it took the rest of the afternoon in pouring rain to find a House Sparrow! Siskins were a nice treat but we missed so many species as the rain set in (Sparrowhawk and Grey Partridge to name a couple).
Despite the rain, wind, mud, comedy trips and slips and equipment failure, all three Filey teams raised an excellent total of £360.50 for the fund. Last year, FBOG were at the receiving end of all the funds raised and this year the monies will go to another good cause. If anyone fancies joining in next year, form a team and we’ll make sure you get the information. It really is a grand day out.
Sue Hull & the FBOG teams