Bank holiday and a frosty but clear winters day and what better way to spend time than a days birding locally.
We started out at Wykeham Lake and although nothing too rare, common wildfowl included Egyptian Goose, Shoveller, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Little Grebe.
Moving onto Seamer Pools and finally connecting this year with single Jack Snipe on the pools with Common Snipe also in the area. Walking down to Star Carr we saw 2 Little Egret, Sparrowhawk, Teal and some distant Geese down the fields. On closer inspection we found 18 White Fronted and 6 Pink Footed Geese on the fields with a further 34 Pink Feet flying over. In the ditches a Kingfisher and 100 Fieldfare in the area.
Onwards to Filey Bay and a Red Necked Grebe and Velvet Scoter in the bay with Red Throated Diver, Eider, Great Crested Grebe, Purple Sandpiper, Curlew, Snipe (?), Auk sp and a very confiding Snow Bunting on Carr Naze.
Returning home we stopped off at Rudston Bridge and immediately had a Tawny Owl, a very dark phase Barn Owl with 2 other Barn Owls on the road back home.
A very enjoyable day.
White Fronted Geese on Star Carr
After what seemed weeks of wet miserable days, Boxing Day was a lovely, windy, crisp winters day, so I decided on a local walk up Ellerburn to Sandale and down past Wilton Heights.
Quite a few Common Buzzards were seen over the Forest and Coal Tit, Marsh Tit and Willow Tit were in the areas near Papermills/Pexton Ponds.
Over Sandale a brief view of a Peregrine flying East and then a ♂ Goshawk having a sortee around his local woodland.
Very good numbers were seen and heard of Common Crossbill and with the amount of calling, I suspect it won’t be long before these early breeders are soon looking to establish their territories.
Past the Quarry a large finch flock of predominantly Chaffinch and Yellowhammers were in the Stubble fields, however despite lots of searching I could not find any Brambling.
With very little daylight a walk onto Filey Brigg was very uneventful, with only a handful of Knot worthy of note.
Walked along the coastal footpath to Blue Dolphin and only a couple of Stonechats were seen.
In the bay a ♂ Velvet Scoter was off Coble Landing, but generaly a very quiet day.
A winters day birding at Filey and a 2 hour Sea watch to start the morning off. Lots of Red Throated Divers on the Brigg end and a few Common Scoter in the bay, but generaly quiet, with Auks, Gannets and Grebes at least providing something to get excited about.
After lunch and bumping into the Filey oracle we headed down towards the beach as a Black Redstart was present in the area. Thankfully the walk down the steps prooved very fortuitous as a 1W Iceland Gull flew over our heads and towards the Brigg, Alas we never relocated this bird again and suspect it carried on flying South towards Flamborough.
The Black Redstart was very showy and with it a Stonechat and a Rock Pipit.
As the tide was now at its lowest, we walked onto the Brigg end and were rewarded with Purple Sandpiper, Knot and Curlew.
Scarborough Harbour is rocking at the moment with the Long Staying Black Necked Grebe, a Juvenille Great Northern Diver, a Red Throated Diver and good numbers of Purple Sandpiper.
In a few minutes it is possible to see all these species within a few hundred yards of each other.
Juvenille Great Northern Diver
Seems to like the Crabs it finds within the Harbour.
Red Throated Diver – For Comparison
A weekend of moderate weather so stayed locally to try to see some different species. Earlier in the week (as so often is the case) a Green Winged Teal had been seen at Staveley Nature Reserve, so Saturday afternoon was spent trying to see this American Version of our Common Teal.
There were good numbers of Wildfowl on the First Lake including a ♀ Scaup, Teal and Goldeneye. Moving onto the Public hide lots of Reed Buntings and a Willow Tit and Tree Sparrows were on the feeders.
No sign of any Green Winged Teal but we did manage to see 2 Otters very briefly on the lake, which was the highlight of the day.
A walk around the reserve to the Main Hide and apart from a Couple of Ruff no one had relocated the Teal, so after checking everything out, and the light finally going we headed home but thankfully the Otters brightened our day.
Sunday’s forecat was for heavy rain all day, but by 10am it had brightened up a little, so a quick stop at Nosterfield for the third time to try to find the Slavonian Grebe. Fortunately this time, within a few minutes the Bird was located, however as usual it was at the furthest point of Lingham. With dreadful light and no chance of any photographs we checked out the large Geese flock and found 1 Immature and 2 Adult White Fronted Geese mixed in with the common Canada and Greylags. So the weekend in itself was a huge success.
Lots of Waxwing sightings over recent days and so a look around Housing estates in Pickering is the best places to try to locate these birds.
Sure enough Poole Court was the place with at least 25 plus birds flying around and dropping down to feed on the Berry bushes. Waxwings are infrequent winter visitors so its always nice to find them.
Waxwing in Pickering
Waxwing in Pickering
Waxwing in Pickering