Friday, 29 January 2016

A Busy Year Ahead?

Although 2015 was for many, a fantastic year birdwise, with most birders getting at least one new bird and most getting a lot more than that, for me it was my worst since I'd started birding 31 years ago. My only new bird came in May with the Hudsonian Godwit in Somerset after a frantic drive from Yorkshire having just got off the ferry from a family holiday to EuroDisney. I'd made plans to go for several of the other birds but for one reason or another, it never happened, most of them will come again as with all birds but some I already regret not trying a bit harder for. The biggest one of these was the Wilson's Warbler on Lewis, even though it was the second British record, proving that they all can come again, this was the first (British) record since the Rame bird in 1985, that could really be hard to get another crack at. It wasn't just the fact that I didn't get more lifers but that I didn't actually get our that much at all so I've decided to have a go at a British and Yorkshire year list, crazy eh?

I've set myself a target of 250 British and 200 for Yorkshire, relatively modest targets but I'm hoping it'll motivate me to go for things that I've already seen before and at the very least, get out a little more.

Sunday 3rd January
Being down in Norfolk for a few days over New Year, gave me an opportunity to make a start on the year list. We started at Weybourne for the large mixed Redpoll flock before moving on to Kelling, Salthouse and then onto Choseley. As we had to be back just after lunch, we weren't able to connect with everything we'd intended to but had at least made a start.

Friday 15th January
First stop was Filey Brigg, where the Surf Scoter was soon found close in shore, being flushed by a group of birders down on the rocks, it then flew further into the bay, giving better views.

Surf Scoter (Honestly!!) - Filey

Other birds of note were several Great Northern and Red Throated Divers, Shag and a Rock Pipit. I then headed up towards Scarborough, stopping in at Holbeck carpark for the regular Mediterranean Gulls, which were nearly run over when parking the car!!

Mediterranean Gull - Holbeck

Onto the Scarborough harbour, the Black necked Grebe was soon picked out, fishing in between the fishing boats.

Friday 22nd January
Basically, the wettest I've ever been whilst birding.  No sign of any of the Richard's Pipits at Flamborough in driving rain for the 2 hours I was there, of course by the time I'd driven home and the rain had stopped, they were back!!

British Year: 90
Yorkshire: 73

Friday 29th January
After last weeks wash out, I headed back to North Landing, Flamborough in much drier conditions, even if it was a little windy to say the least. Arriving on site, I opened the car door, only for everything to be blown out by the gale force winds, not to be put off, I grabbed my bins and coat and headed to the first field along from the carpark. However, within about 5 mins I was again soaked to the skin by the torrential downpour that was streaming down the coast. I carried on but struggling to stand up, I decided to head back to the car. 15 minutes later and the rain had eased so I decided to give it another go, now with my waterproof trousers on, I headed back. Immediately, I was greeted with one Richard's Pipit flying into the next field and one still showing in the main field. Although I was a little disappointed not to get all 3 pipits together, I was just relieved to finally connect.

"The Field" at North Landing, Flamborough

3 Richard's Pipits (Photo by Andy Hood)

Next, I headed south to Barmston, hoping to connect with the Kumliens Gull, but with the wind as strong as at Flamborough, there were very few gulls on the beach, a lone Sanderling kept the list ticking over.

Needing to be back for school pick up, I headed home, getting a large mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares on the way.

British Year List: 94
Yorkshire Year List: 78