Wednesday, 4 September 2013



Thursday, 4 July 2013


A fairly quiet week for new arrivals although Spurn kicked off well with a couple of sightings of Cory's Shearwater as well as no fewer than three 'Montys' on the Saturday. The main focus of attention over the weekend was the drake Surf Scoter at Filey which was added to more than a few Yorkshire lists. Many observers then moved on to Wykeham Forest where the 'HB's' showed erratically with the additional draw of Goshawk and the now rare Turtle Dove. After the weekend though, things took a nose-dive with even the Surf Scoter moving on and apart from a few decent birds inland (including a singing Spotted Crake) there was little of note. But, with a Bridled Tern on the Farne's we can only hope......................

Always a good inland bird, this Little Tern visited North Cave Wetlands mid-week - Rich Willison

Friday, 28 June 2013

Late June produces the goods........

Late June is producing a few good birds including this stunning drake Surf Scoter loafing in Filey Bay and still off the Brigg this morning.

Rich Willison
 Other birds this week include a lingering Purple Heron at Tophill, a Pec' Sand' at Kilnsea, a drake Ring-necked Duck in North Yorks' and a one-evening Night Heron at Old Moor RSPB.

Rich Willison

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

swift response!

After a quiet weekend Spurn went into overload today when a Pacific Swift made its way south at around 08.45. Just a handful of observers gathered at 'Numpties' were able to witness it as it passed eventually through not too far from the net - Deja vu! It was the first real day of Swift passage this year with several thousand moving through. If this was the same Pacific Swift that has been seen there before then it is a little early, about a year to be precise as there seemed to have been a pattern of every three years forming prior to this. Later in the day a Spoonbill flew south and a  Red-necked Phalarope made a brief visit to the pools in Holderness Fields.

Below are a selection of Ian Smith's shots of 'the swift' - try to enjoy!

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Woodchat at Spurn Friday - Rich Willison
The weekend was a bit of an anti climax with most of the birds seen earlier in the week having moved on and there was little new to replace them. A few bits remained at Spurn on the Saturday including a Red backed Shrike and the Nightjar whilst a Common Rosefinch made itself heard in Easington. The only Long-tailed Skua reported flew past Sunk Island, not your average sea watchers most frequent stake out and the nearest we got to the predicted Bee Eater was belated news of one reported near Goole Hospital. Sickening!

Request for photos of Wykeham Honey Buzzards The Honey Buzzards have been showing over the last week or so at Wykeham. If anyone gets any reasonable shots of any HBs please could you send them
to John Harwood, (Scarborough) at All photos will be gratefully received and will help with ongoing studies of this species there. Visitors will also have a chance of seeing Goshawk, Turtle Dove, Crossbill during the day and Nighjars can be heard at dusk.

Male Honey Buzzard at Wykehan - Dave Mansell

Friday, 7 June 2013

Red hot June at Spurn?

With the nice weather last weekend came the nice birds, the most popular of which was the Thrush Nightingale that settled in at Sammies Point, Easington. It sang regular, but typically frustrated, by only showing occasionally and usually poorly to most of the gathered throng. That said, some observers did get lucky and it did manage to find its way onto several Yorkshire lists. Sprosser apart, it was mostly Marsh Warblers, Red backed Shrikes and the odd Common Rosefinch, though Flamborough managed a Red-spotted Bluethroat and Filey three Common Cranes. The Sprosser appeared to depart Sunday, but then mysteriously showed up (or should that be sung up?) again Thursday so there will be a few people hopeful of a repeat performance this weekend. As the week progressed the weather and the birds took a dip, but as soon as it picked up again the drift migrants reappeared and by Thursday it was red hot, particularly at Spurn where a fire at the obs’ meant it has had to be closed until further notice. 
 Things are looking up - this Spoonbills looking up
  at a passing Osprey at Denaby Ings this week
 - Justin Carr

Following the recent influx of Long-tailed Skuas, sea-watching at Flamborough in recent days is proving that there are plenty still out there so there might be a few eyes to sea this weekend too. What is presumably the same Great White Egret blogging up and down the coast appeared at Hornsea Mere yesterday and several Spoonbills were seen including the immature has been residing in the Lower Dearne Valley for more than a month. And so on to today and its shaping up to be an interesting weekend with a Woodchat Shrike already on the peninsula at Spurn. So what might we expect - surely a Bee Eater at the very least? Watch this space........

Another shot of the immature Spoonbill at Denaby Ings
  - Justin Carr

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Baikal Teal added to your list?

The Baikal Teal at Flamborough – Brett Richards
On the morning of 16th April 2013 I was seawatching as usual from Flamborough Head, when, at 0949 hrs. I noticed three ducks flying North just above the horizon. As I swung my ‘scope round onto them I expected to see the three Wigeons which had just flown south, but it was immediately obvious that these were different. One of them showed extensive pale on the side of the head, but views were not good and I could not make anything out clearly. Thoughts of Baikal Teal flashed through my mind, but I knew that Garganeys can at times look pale-faced, and Baikal Teal seemed pretty outrageous. As the birds swung round over Selwick’s Bay, I saw a broad white trailing edge to the secondaries of the pale-faced bird, and Garganey seemed the default choice. Were they all Garganeys?  A quick look at the other two before they disappeared from view showed that they lacked this broad trailing edge, and as they all seemed similar in size, I thought a Garganey and two Teal, and they all appeared to be female-types. I put out news on the radio that a female Garganey or Baikal Teal had just flown inland with two Teal, and could be heading for North Marsh. 
Garganey seemed the most realistic possibility, but I was worried that the outer wing of the interesting bird had not appeared palish as in Garganey, so I hurriedly left seawatching and hot-footed it to North Marsh, thinking that if it were a Baikal Teal, it would be difficult to prove the ID of a female. I arrived at the hide alone, and in just a few seconds I located the bird, but not a Garganey, and not a female – a superb drake Baikal Teal!  I took some quick digiscoped shots, while putting out the news to astounded locals, and then to the pager services.
The drake Baikal Teal at Flamborough - Brett Richards
I kept taking shots while waiting for others to arrive. Suddenly the bird took to flight, in company with two female Wigeons and a pair of Shovelers, just as three friends stepped into the hide.  We picked the birds up in flight, but it was not easy to pick out the Baikal Teal from the Wigeons, as it was only slightly smaller. Luckily the birds came down on Old Fall flash, on the south side of Lighthouse Road, and the Baikal Teal soon revealing itself to be un-ringed. It remained there for about an hour until flushed by two large dogs. It then returned to North Marsh and was still there at dusk, giving many people a lifer and or a good Yorkshire tick. It had disappeared by the next morning.
Martin Garner asked me if I were sure the two birds it had come in with were Teals, as the Baikal Teal was definitely consorting with the two Wigeons, and not with Teals. I replied ‘yes’, but then on reflection how sure was I?  I had barely looked at the other two birds, and had assumed they were Teals because they were about the same size as the ‘Garganey’. In retrospect they were almost certainly Wigeons.
Brett Richards, Flamborough.
The drake Baikal Teal at Flamborough - Brett Richards
There has been some debate about the origin of this bird, largely because of the displaced secondary on the right wing, but this is far from unusual as looking at wildfowl on your local wetland will soon reveal. The occurrence during mid-April fits nicely with the passage of wild birds as they return from Korea (where most of the world population winters) northwards to their breeding grounds where they usually arrive in late April.

The Baikal Teal in flight at Flamborough - Dave Mansell. 
Given the overall circumstances of this bird we feel there is no reason why this bird should not be counted for the purposes of the Yorkshire Listers League with immediate effect, so if you were lucky enough to see this bird please let us know now so we can add it to your tally. Baikal Teal should be added to your copy of the Yorkshire list after Gadwall.