17 Aug 15

Mike Day’s photo, taken on 17th August, shows the extent of the plot, dominated this season by Corn Marigold; the lilac tint of Corn Cockle and intense blue of Cornflower can also be picked out. In a few weeks time, when the flowers have set seed, the plot will be ploughed and harrowed to leave a seed bed. Hopefully next Spring our seed bank will wake up and start it all again, the species composition will be different but a colourful display is assured. Manual work next year will be minimal but includes one of my particular favourites: thistle pulling, can’t wait!

Our annual survey was carried out yesterday by Tom Normandale, a co-author of this Report, it’s informative and well illustrated, contact if you fancy a browse.



IMG_2250IMG_2247 (225x300)IMG_2249 (225x300) IMG_2252 (225x300)The Land Girls and Dad’s Army tackling the July tasks: managing water levels and cutting back overhanging vegetation. When the wading birds arrive they will be met with fresh, nutritious mud and the birders who come to see the waders will be able to do just that.



Processing (2)Wood MouseProcessing (1)

Over the weekend of 27th, 28th June we held a small mammal survey on behalf of Filey Festival and an enthusiastic group of adults and kids joined in as we identified, counted and weighed our catch. It’s safe to say that Wood Mouse and Bank Vole are unlikely to make it to the Red Data Book anytime soon, they are everywhere! We did catch Common Shrew and one (unfortunately dead) Water Shrew, but with this many animals fighting to get in the traps they would have to move quickly to be caught.

The FBOG team will be trapping at Flamborough Living Seas Centre and at Bempton RSPB this summer, and in Filey Country Park in September, and we always need help so feel free to get in touch if interested.

Breeding Bird Surveys – help required!

Are you a birder, willing to make three visits to local woodland here in Filey this spring / summer? After beginning Breeding Bird Surveys in the Observatory area last year, we’re keen to target our efforts at local woodlands in 2015 – but we need more volunteers. All you need is basic ID skills and a willingness to contribute to our local studies. Interested? Email Mark at mpearson(at)

Firecrest (Mark Pearson)

Firecrest (Mark Pearson)


A glorious morning found seven of us at Parish Wood and the Old Tip today (17th), armed with ladders, tools, bird boxes and refreshments.

Five new Tree Sparrow boxes went up in the trees and later, after coffee and posh biscuits, we moved on to the Tip where sites for the new Little Owl and Kestrel boxes were identified. Stout posts were prepared and holes dug ready for episode two of the epic trilogy: next Tuesday, 24th from 9.30am.

We should get both posts in the ground next week and erect the Little Owl box on one of them; someone (with a strong stomach) will clean out the existing Barn Owl box. The manufacturer of the Kestrel box is languishing in the Mediterranean so the finale  can wait.

These pictures were taken at random and are not intended to suggest that some worked harder than others!Going up at Parish Wood Seeing red at the Old Tip Team work Parish Wood


After years of volunteering at the Dams and East Lea we had earned a trip out and today was it, so, on Tuesday 10th February, five off us set off for Reighton to clear out a few ponds. Imagine our surprise when we got thrown out, well it wasn’t that bad, we can go back, just not today. Coffee, biscuits, and nowhere to go, back to Filey and out with the loppers!

We removed a few fallen willows which were leaning on the playground fence and lopped a few invasive whips which were threatening the reedbed, a thoroughly successful trip out. Will we ever get an Awayday? Well, it’s planned for Tuesday 17th February at the Old Tip, where we hope to erect a Little Owl box and a Kestrel box; meet there at 9.30am, Ian Robinson in charge.

These shots from today show a couple of old primates behind the reserve fence, a couple of old loppers, and a cat dishing out the biscuits. If all this sounds enticing, join us, there’s always something horrible to attempt.

A pair of PrimatesA nice set of loppersGiving out the biscuits

Appeal for records and photos

If you have wildlife records from Filey in 2014 (not just birds, but anything of note!), please send them to our recorder George by 31st January 2015 so we can include them in the forthcoming Filey Bird Report. Recording forms are downloadable from the website – – or just email the records. George is at recorder(at)

Likewise if anyone has photos they would like to be considered for the upcoming Filey Bird Report, please send the originals (high res please) to Ian Robinson at ianrobinson(at)



Our octet of happy volunteers took on the Tree Sparrow boxes at East Lea yesterday; quite easy: ladder against the tree, up the ladder, smash the lid off and clean it out. It got a little more sophisticated once Nick had been moved to other duties!

Some of the boxes have suffered from Squirrel attack and need new metal plates for the entrance holes, on their way from the RSPB shop.

More exciting was the erection of a new Little Owl box, bolted into an ash tree in the hedge not far from the East Lea hide. Mick Callaghan at the top of his game.

A glorious day, where the new island floated enticingly in the ice, Ian lost his hammer, some of us lost the will to live, but we’re all at it again next Tuesday and everyone is welcome.

Hope Mike Day’s photos give a flavour of the morning.DSC_0137 copyDSC_0139 copyDSC_0140 copy

Free talk this Thursday

FBOG’s Mark, Sue, Nick & George will be giving a free talk this Thurs – butterflies, rockpooling, moths, mammals, landscapes and more! All welcome, starts 7pm sharp in the Evron Centre, Filey.

Mark Pearson 150115


                         In a morning of high drama, when tempers were stretched to breaking point and torn up plans fluttered in the breeze, the box went up. It wasn’t easy, at times perilous, it might work, it might not. It’s taken so long I personally don’t care if it’s occupied by a couple of earwigs!

                            GOING UP !                                 READY TO MOVE IN!Going!Home!



After three days lost in the swamp the survivors queued nervously for their turn on the escape catapult.



What we have here is an unlikely pairing: an adult Field Vole and a juvenile Bank Vole (the latter moulting heavily). Both in the same trap (faulty door), they were inseparable. Only two traps failed this morning, the forty two animals caught representing a 95 per cent success rate, mainly Bank Voles and Wood Mice with a few Field Voles.

That’s it for this year, any interest in next year’s sessions most welcome.


STOP PRESS on the Mammal Trap.

Quantity over quality with 26 Bank Vole, 4 Field Vole, 8 Wood Mice on Saturday morning. At it again tomorrow from 9am, all welcome.




These little chaps are heading for an uncertain future, most won’t survive the winter, so this last trap of the year could get emotional. Come along anyway and help survey this fascinating band of creatures. We will be assembling in the car park at FILEY Dams nature reserve at 9am on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th. A warm weekend is forecast, should overnight temperatures fall below 8c we will probably cancel so if you’re travelling far  text me on 07870 341455 for up to date information.


FBOG are pleased to offer the tenancy of this new-build apartment.

Offering single-floor open-plan accommodation, convenient for local amenities and having the benefit of open views over countryside, would suit first time breeder.

No onward chain, viewing is highly recommended (just drop in).

Owl box 1

Perhaps a little higher…..

Burrowing Owl Box

After today’s endeavours a discussion took place on the likelihood of Burrowing Owl using the new box.



Quick reminder:  On Tuesday 30th September the last two tons of shingle goes onto the island at East Lea. It will be emotional of course, there may be tears, but there will also be coffee and biscuits and companionship; the work ethic personified.



Sunday 21st September produced a few firsts: duos of both Field Vole and Wood Mouse in single traps, and a success rate of 91%, that’s 40 animals in 44 traps.Field Vole duo Sept 14

Sisters: Two Field Voles who spent a noisy night in one of our traps, still squeaking when they were shown the door.

Snacking on a worm: One of four Water Shrews prior to release.WS snack Sept 14 The last session of the year is over the weekend of 18th / 19th October, then the number crunching starts!


Saturday 20th September

Constant effort mammal trapping today at FILEY Dams: 44 traps caught 23 Bank Vole, 2 Field Vole, 9 Wood Mouse, 1 Common Shrew, 1 Water Shrew. It was wet and uncomfortable but nothing died and we’re at it again tomorrow. All welcome.

More voles than birds.

Saturday 14th September: Public trap in the Country Park concluded today, with yet again seven species, a remarkable result. The best were one Harvest Mouse, four Water Shrews and the fact that less of the shrews were dead. This alarming die-back of adult shrews has long puzzled naturalists and used to be known as the ‘autumnal epidemic’. It’s a jungle out there!


Saturday 13th September, this morning’s mammal trap was a rather disturbing but very successful affair: there were 14 dead shrews this morning, all leaving lots of food behind them. Even though all adult shrews are doomed to this fate in autumn, it’s better to see them nosing around. The trap was almost unique in producing seven species, including, Water Shrew and Harvest Mouse. We’re repeating it tomorrow, hopefully with less mortality.




Water Shrew and Harvest Mouse, very much alive. Mike Day

PA close look at this poster promises a rather special Mammal Trap!

This is an annual public event which FBOG run with the Friends of Filey Parks, it’s fun, open to all and will probably run from 9 am to about 11 am both mornings.


Well, more than one actually, and some strangely effective coffee, had us charging about with wheel-barrows shifting stone all over the place.

EL slavery

Only Mike Day is missing and he took the shot (and the one below), there’s John Ives and me, Nick and Sandy and Hilary – the rake – Atkins.

The first incoming flight to the new runway at East Lea International landed safely this morning:

EL Wheatear

Looks like Little Ringed Plover to me!

I should add that Work Parties will take place on Tuesday 16th and 23rd September from about 9 am, with enough volunteers that should finish the job.


imageHELP !

Challenging conditions on East Lea yesterday. The loader struggled to reach the central ridge of the island and had to deposit lots of the gravel along the edge; it’s not a disaster but the “stroll in the park” just became a long, hard slog.

We need wheelbarrows and rakes but most of all, manpower. A couple of  us are nibbling away at the mountain almost daily and a more co-ordinated attack will be made on Tuesday when we host the weekly Work Party. 44 tons to go, we start at 9am and coffee and biscuits are free!  More info. from Jack on



imageSo far, so good: these pictures say it all, the pain on the faces, the inappropriate clothing and dubious digging techniques. No matter, the liner is in place and there, looming in the background, is 40 tons of gravel. The big toys will be on site soon, the island will be covered and the volunteers will retreat to the hide….and wait.


Members are entitled to a key to East Lea, if you haven’t yet got one, or are interested in the work, ring Jack on 07870 341455 ( (swap -at- for @)


Photos by Nick Carter and Mike Day

Trap of the month


“You distract ’em and I’ll make a run for it”.

These two pals were found together in one of the tube traps on Sunday morning, both females. Despite a rusty look they were clearly Field Voles, two of 12 caught in the session. Other species were: Bank Vole, 1, Wood Mouse, 5, Pygmy Shrew, 1, Common Shrew, 6, and Water Shrew, 4. The whole event was enhanced by a constant fly-by of Greenshank and Ruff, in and out of East Lea International.

Saturday 30th August

Pygmy Shrewimage

New birds on Saturday were in at the Dams  –  eight Black-tailed Godwits. These were somewhat overshadowed by the nine species of mammal: Fox and Squirrel, three shrew species, two voles and Wood Mouse, mainly in traps at East Lea. Waders at East Lea still include 12 Ruff, six Greenshank and lots of Snipe. Though not given to prediction, I would advise wader watchers to be at the Dams on Tuesday morning; the island at East Lea (pictured above) is being worked on and disturbance is unavoidable.

Both the Pygmy Shrew (all 2.5gms of it) and the island, by Mike Day.


Saturday 30 August 2014

STOP PRESS Mammal Trap results from this morning:

Despite the slugs, 17 traps worked effectively, producing a remarkable six species : 5 Water Shrew, 3 Common Shrew, 3 Pygmy Shrew, 1 Bank Vole, 2 Field Vole and 3 Wood Mouse. We’re at it again tomorrow from 9am, fingers crossed!


imageOn Tuesday 2nd September we embark on an ambitious project: the re-surfacing of the large island with gravel. Most of the work will be handled by machines driven by people who know what they are doing, where you come in is in the preparation. Basically we will have strimmed the vegetation and need to lay a plastic membrane; this has to be buried at the edges so a spade (and wellies) are needed, the perimeter is 120 metres so I hope for a few volunteers. Simply turn up at East Lea (the gate will be unlocked) anytime after 9.30, or ring Jack on 07870 341455.


Thursday, August 28th, 2014

We’re proud to announce that the 2013 Filey Bird Report is now available, and is bigger and better than ever – and only £8! See here for more details and how to buy.