Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Sunday, 29 January 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Gannets on Staple Newk

It is always a good feeling to leave my house in Bempton and head towards RSPB Bempton Cliffs in glorious sunshine and frost on the ground. It is even better to spot two Grey Partridge in the fields adjoining the reserve on Cliff Lane!

Grey Partridge



Before the visitor centre was open, I had a quick walk around Grandstand and Bartlett Nab viewpoints to get a feel of the day ahead. I couldn't resist attempting an image on the sun rising over the reserve.


It is a good omen when you can see Scarborough Castle from the viewpoints!



 Many Gannets were in flight around the cliffs and three were on the ledges. At our briefing before opening for visitors it was mentioned that c20 Gannets had been seen on Staple Newk yesterday so this was my first point of call! I was not to be disappointed with a count of c110 visible Gannets!

The "New" Staple Newk Viewpoint


Staple Newk Gannets


It is a great feeling to encounter Gannets on the cliffs and even better to witness their activities.

Glorious Gannets







One flew over the Gannet Colony!




The male Stonechat was still present, today favouring the cliff fencing.



No Guillemots were on the cliffs but small groups headed north along the coast. On the sea were c25 Red Throated Divers. Three Short Eared Owls quartered the fields around the visitor centre during the afternoon. The feeding station attracted two Siskin.


And finally, respect for these volunteers on a training mission below Staple Newk



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Scarborough

Red Breasted Merganser

The weather today could be summed up as grey, greyer and even greyer with a bitterly cold blow, chilling the bones through multiple layers! Heather was not feeling 100% so we decided to head out to Scarborough and investigate several sites in order to (hopefully) increase the year list. Starting at the harbour, we were soon onto the impressive Red Breasted Merganser, my first drake for many years. The tide was low and little else was seen (but the Black Necked Grebe was reported later in the day).

Red Breasted Merganser





A quick look around the derelict Alfred Café on North Marine Drive failed to produce the Black Redstart(s) but a single Rock Pipit flitted amongst the rocks. Next stop was Holbeck to get Heather onto the Mediterranean Gulls with several birds obliging us. The ringed bird 3LAN was also present.

Mediterranean Gull





1st Winter Mediterranean Gull



Black Headed Gull





This was followed by pastures new and a drive around The Mere, which we had no idea we could! The usual wildfowl suspects were present. Finally, a look around the retail units on Seamer Road in the hope of Waxwings but again we dipped! We did, however, find two Mistle Thrushes.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Male Stonechat

I decided to venture onto RSPB Bempton Cliffs as a visitor this morning in the hope that the Gannets and Guillemots would be on the cliffs and that the Short Eared Owls would put in an appearance while the light was good. Needless to say they did not oblige! Guillemots and Gannets were travelling up and down the coast, but at a distance.

Guillemots



At least the male Stonechat was obliging!



I decided to spend some time around the feeding station, hoping that a Brambling might pop in, but again a no show! Still, there are always the common birds!

Tree Sparrow



Chaffinch


Dunnock


Goldfinch




Greenfinch




Blackbird




Great Tit


Blackbird and Greenfinch


Brown Rat


And today's Sightings Board