Friday, 8 October 2010

More migrants at Flamborough

I spent the day birding at North Landing, Flamborough Head East Yorkshire again today. Dave got to mine for 8 and we set off in the mist. On arrival at North Landing an hour or so later we were greeted with easterly winds and zero visibility.

The sound of Redwing, Song Thrush and Brambling was resonating around us as we got out of the car. We set off on our walk kicking out Song Thrush after Redwing after Song Thrush, dozens of them with large numbers of Blackbirds thrown in too. A large thrush broke out of cover, its pale wings and large white crescent immediately evident - a smart Ring Ouzel - the only problem being that visibility was so poor we really couldn't fully appreciate it! (see my phone photo below taken at about 25m range!). Wandering around the bushes we found several Goldcrest, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff with plenty of Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer about with yet more and more thrushes pouring over. We had a female Sparrowhawk sat up in a hedge (see phone photo) continually tilting its head, watching the migrants fly by. Interestingly two Fieldfare dropped in briefly before carrying on inland, these were the only Fieldfare seen today. A change in direction and a warbler caught our eye in the top of a Hawthorn bush, we got the briefest of views, enough to tell it was an Acrocephalus, it was fairly warm buff-coloured so was probably (hopefully) 'just' a Reed Warbler - we waited for another show but had no joy. Reluctantly we moved on.

Continuing around North Landing we came across a single Redstart and more and more Goldcrest and Chiffchaff and as the afternoon progressed in appeared that more and more were arriving. Yet more thrushes too. Continuing along the cliff top a few Skylark and Meadow Pipit, then I noticed a bird on a 5-bar gate - a Great Grey Shrike, awesome! It sat there for a while looking around before shooting off over our head down into a gully where it was promptly mobbed by almost a hundred House and Tree Sparrow, we followed the Shrike for about half an hour watching it hunt, it caught a bee and went for a Meadow Pipit, but the Pipit got away. The presence of a Shrike is really useful - it does the flushing so you don't have to! I managed to grab a couple of photos on my phone (see below).

There was a couple of Great Grey Shrikes at Flamborough last week, though I'm not sure when they were last reliably seen. There seems to have been a few Great Grey Shrikes arrive along the east coast today, so our bird may have been a 'new' bird. Evidently 3 birds were trapped on the Isle of May (Fife) and one was trapped at Whitburn (Durham).

The final act of the day was a Peregrine that shot through the Feral Pigeons, ignored them all took out a Kestrel instead! Awesome.

So nothing mega, but still an enjoyable day. We'll be heading back tomorrow morning for more!

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