Friday 17 May 2024

A Yorkshire Break - Day 3 - 12th May 2024

 A adventure:

The weather precluded any attempts overnight for aurora hunting and it was still murky as we met at North Cliff country park in Filey at 9.30 the next morning.  I have seen a few good birds here over the years with Spectacled Warbler (seven hours of tracking down), Red-footed Falcons and Red-rumped Swallow in the spring and a mad dash up one October afternoon 30 years ago for a Pechora Pipit grovelling around the white telegraph pole that was still visible in the top fields today.

The sun was coming out as we wended our way towards the end stopping to watch the Sand Martins coming down to the small pond to have a splash bathe in the same way as the House Martins and Red-rumps at the Pela.  Some sat on the fence to dry out.  They are such cute little birds and were dwarfed by a male Reed Bunting a little way up from them. 

Sand Martins

Sand Martins

Linnets, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits were coming down to drink and what was to be our only passage migrant of the weekend, a female Whinchat, was perched up on the Rosa rugosa.

Skylark with nest material

Our first view down to the north gave us views of a small cliff face with Guillemots and Kittiwakes jostling for space with Razorbills looking down on them from crevices above.


Sea Scurvy?

Gannets passed in over the Brigg which was fully exposed on the low tide and a quick scan produced 12 tardy Purple Sandpipers and a single Turnstone along with a single Knot that tried to sneak by with a group of noisy Oystercatchers.


Purple Sandpipers way down below

A couple of Rock Pipits were down below and out in Filey Bay we scanned for cetaceans but had to be content with a pair of Common Scoter, several Shags and a big bull Grey Seal that was taking an interest in the little dirigibles used for marshalling a dingy race.

The increasing warmth drew out some small Andrenas along with a delightful Ashy Mining Bee and eight Wall Browns.

Wall Brown

One of many small Andrenas

Ashy Mining Bee - Andrena cineraria

There were no migrants at all in the trees and scrub and so had lunch overlooking the Bay with a  Kestrel happily hunting amongst the silent model power gliders performing loops over the cliff top.

Back down to Bempton for round two and this time it was in glorious sunshine although the wind still had bite to it.  The difference this time was the fact that it was coming onto the cliffs and this was pushing the birds up towards us along with the wall of smell and sound that goes with such days.

We spent a wonderful couple of hours immersed in the sights and sounds around us.  The Kittiwakes were particularly playful and would dread out in swirling flock of grey and white with inky wing tips flicking in the flock while others were busy collecting vegetation from the grassy slopes.


The Gannets were visible from the car park and by the time we got down to Staple Newk, they too were collecting grass from the cliff top and we spent  an age watching them glide in, hover, stall and drop into a free spot before launching themselves back into the aerial melee.

Several birds with the now telltale black irises of blue flu survivors were seen and sometimes it did not even seem to be both eyes. Nature is resilient.


As expected almost all the Gannets were adults with a few 3rd and 4th year birds and one Albatross-esque 1st year bird caused a momentary flutter as it cruised close by.

A strange effect caused by the breeze

Marbled eye of another flu Gannet

Gannets - just magnificent

Gannets - Alan Bishop

Gannet - Alan Bishop

A few Puffins whizzed in and out with the other auks and there were more Fulmars down this end of the cliffs.  





Rock Doves

We walked back with the sound of Tree Sparrows around us and back at the centre they joined us outside for a chipping send off.  The small pond on the way back to the cars in the second overflow car park was home to tadpoles and some huge Horse Leeches which were snuffling around looking for a snack while we were almost pulling out when a strikingly white Barn Owl came down the hill and across the fields. A fine way to end any day.

Linnet - ACV

Goldfinch - ACV

Goldfinch - ACV

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Horse Leech

Water Crowfoot

Barn Owl

No comments:

Post a Comment