Monday 26 October 2009

Suffolk – The Strand & Bawdsey – 24th October 2009

With the weather not too predicable and rain in the air we decided to visit a couple of local sites and catch up on how things were changing now summer is well on it’s way out. From The Strand looking out across the river Orwell the regular waders Oystercatcher, Curlew, Turnstone and Lapwing, were joined by an increased number of Black-tailed Godwits. No doubt these, along with other species will soon increase as winter approaches. Out on the river there were two Shags, a Little Egret and a larger gathering of Cormorants. On driving over to Bawdsey, on the pit the Widgeon had arrived and there were assorted other ducks and a large number of Meadow Pipits feeding around the tamarisk along with Stonechat. Further down, near the picnic site, there was a flock of tits mainly Long-tailed and Blue but amongst them was a Yellow-browed Warbler, a great find! Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 244 Month bird count: 56

Thursday 15 October 2009

Yorkshire – Flamborough Head & Bempton – 27th September 2009

For our last day in the area we headed north up the coast to try our luck at the “Head”. Unfortunately fortune was not on our side and apart from a small flock of inbound Linnets and some passing Gulls, Shags and Rock Doves there was not a lot to be seen, a fact confirmed by other birders in the area casually shrugging their shoulders.
So for the final push we drove up a little bit further to the famous Bempton Cliffs renowned in the breeding season for their quantities of sea birds. Out of season things are a lot quieter, but there are still plenty of Gannets to be seen, incoming after feeding, along with Gulls and interestingly in the water there was a “swimmer”, no not a energetic girl or guy struggling to stay of the rocks but a juvenile Gannet that has departed from it’s nest too young to take flight. These birds will swim for while, then, as they loose weight, will take flight and proceed on their first migration, more than likely to the west coast of Africa, amazing! Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 243 Month bird count: 92

Monday 5 October 2009

Yorkshire – Bridlington RSPB Sea-watch Cruise – 26th September 2009

We found this event advertised a few months ago and decided it would be focal point of our visit to East Yorkshire. The RSPB run several such cruises on the MV Yorkshire Belle though the late summer, early autumn, with idea of getting good view of Puffins and Gannets (earlier events) and Shearwaters and Skuas on the later events. We set sail from Bridlington harbour at nine in the morning and slowly worked a meandering path up the coast and further out in the North Sea, dispensing “Chum” from the stern to attract birds.
Quite quickly a good number of Gulls come in on the chum we saw Black-headed, Herring, Mediterranean and Greater & Lesser Black-backed. Soon a number of Gannets were off the ship and providing excellent photographic opportunities. Passing us, further away, were a number of Shags and Cormorants and the odd Kittiwake, Red-throated Diver and Eider. In the water Harbour Porpoise, Grey and Common Seal were not too difficult to see and some lucky people saw a Sun Fish surface! However for the birders the best views were of an Arctic and Pomarine Skua in the middle distance. Returning at about one in the afternoon, we can not recommend this experience enough. It is a great way of getting views you just can not achieve on land and so close to some of the species. Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 240 Month bird count: 89