I set off bright and early from Barnetby,as most people were still snuggled up in bed and headed into the home county.Thankfully the roads were frost free and the journey up to Scarborough a good one,with a couple of hunting Barn Owls brightening the journey,1 near to Hutton Cranswick and the other near to Driffield.
As i arrived at the Sea Life centre at Scalby Mills,it was just beginning to become light properly and i got the gear together,Scope check,Camera check,Binos check and plenty of layers as it was bloody cold.Thankfully it wasn't long before target number one was in the bag,so to speak.
The long staying Drake American Wigeon was seen,as he swam around with his Eurasian cousins giving some good views to start with,but eventually he came really close,showing just on the weir where Scalby Beck flows out into the sea.I could have had some cracking photos,but the light was dire,a feature which continued through most of the day unfortunately,but the scope views were excellent.It appears that this male is paired to a female Eurasian bird and it made me wonder if it is the same bird that was around last spring in East Yorks.This is my first American Wigeon since seeing the returning Drake at Angler's Country Park in December 2012.
After meeting up with Chris we decided to head over to Holbeck and see if the Med's were performing and sure enough after a little encouragement with Chris's super,stale bread they were just feet away.We managed some amazing views as always and today recorded a total of 7 individuals,which comprised of 5 adults,a 2nd winter and a 1st winter bird.One of the adults had a colour ring(3 LAN) on a white darvic ring in black lettering and had been ringed in Belgium,so just goes to show were some of our birds originate.
After enjoying my fill of the stunning Med's i said my goodbyes to Chris and made the short journey over to Filey for target number 2 for the day.
After some very welcome lunch and a good chat with John,i wandered down to the Brigg.Along the Brigg side there was a mixed flock of waders feeding on the falling tide and included 10 Oystercatcher's,Curlew,9 Knot and the stars of the Brigg,7 Purple Sandpiper.I spent a good hour or so watching this flock and managed some decent images,oh for some proper light one day though!.
After enjoying the lovely wader flock,it wasn't long before i was adding target number 2 to the day's sightings,the wintering immature Drake Surf Scoter.
Today he was more distant than on my last visit,but i still managed some decent views through the scope as he dived for shellfish in the company of a drake Common Scoter,which made for a nice comparison.This was the second species of North American wildfowl for the day,something i can't remember doing before,so was well chuffed to say the least.
Elsewhere on the sea,good numbers of Guillemot were seen along with a few Shags dotted about over the bay,but nothing else of note was observed.
Back to the car again and up into the forest for the final destination for the day,the Wykeham Forest raptor viewpoint.
Thankfully on arrival at Wykeham,the weather began to break and i enjoyed some welcome spells of sunshine at last.This seemed to have the desired effect,with a party of 4 Common Buzzard lifting into the air and thermalling.A few minutes later,one of the birds was displaying,with that distinct,tumbling display,great to watch and a certain sign spring is on it's way.
It wasn't long before i saw one of the hoped for birds,a Goshawk soaring over the opposite hillside giving decent scope views,they are such impressive birds and always give the impression of power.
Not long afterwards a Peregrine flew east distantly and a Kestrel became the fourth species of raptor for the day.A few Siskin flocks passed overhead while i scanned the valley,but no Crossbill's today unfortunately.
The best was left to last,as another Gos,probably the one from earlier,began to display with that distinct slow flapping,tumbling display flight,the flight action being reminiscent of a Harrier sp,just brilliant to watch and a certain highlight to any birders day out.
So what a great day out today in the best county for birding and i travelled home a happy boy after another great day out.
|Drake American Wigeon and Eurasian Wigeon,Scalby Mills,Scarborough.|
|Drake American Wigeon,Scalby Mills,Scarborough.|
|1st winter Mediterranean Gull,Holbeck,Scarborough.|
|2nd winter Mediterranean Gull,Holbeck,Scarborough.|
|Adult Mediterranean Gull ringed in Belgium,Holbeck,Scarborough.|
|Adult Male Mediterranean Gull,Holbeck,Scarborough.|
|Purple Sandpiper,Filey Brigg.|
|Purple Sandpiper,Filey Brigg.|