Friday 17 May 2024

A Yorkshire Break - Day 4 - 13th May 2024

A adventure:

It seemed rude not to pop down to Bempton for one last visit before heading onwards and it was a wonderful hour from 7.30 watching the Auks, Gannets and Kittiwakes once again.  The wind was from the inland side and the birds were keeping low but it was still wondrous.

Razorbills in the early morning light

Razorbill - ACV

Guillemots down below

Kittiwakes - ACV


No more Gannets, I promise

I said goodbye to the Tree Sparrows and wiggled back through to the Scarborough road seeing the Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings once again on the way.  

A fine male Blackbird in the car park

It only took half an hour to get up to the wooded valleys hemming in the Derwent.  The verges and woodland floor was a carpet of white Ramsons and the smell of garlic was in the air.  To bridge stops were required to find the hoped for Dippers but at the second site we got lucky and had a pair attending a nest under the bridge.  Once we realised where it was we moved on and left then to it.

Dipper - Alan Bishop

Dipper - Alan Bishop

Dipper - Pat Hart

The water is shallow but lacks many protruding rocks so it was great to watch one of the foraging adults throwing itself off the bank into the water where it bobbed around and forced itself under the water for Stone and Caddis larva.

A pair of Grey Wagtails had a nest almost alongside it and two male Mandarins where flying around while Yellowhammers, Song Thrushes and Willow Warblers were in song.

We wiggled through a forest track to get to the Wykeham Valley raptor watchpoint and the number of Willow Warblers that we heard along the way was encouraging.

It was a short walk down to the viewing area through heavily scented plantation pines with an unusually thick and lush understorey of moss and Bilberry.  Garden Warblers and more Willows followed us down and Yellowhammers and Siskins greeted us once we got there.  We spent a relaxing hour scanning the valley and although we did not see any Honey Buzzards or Goshawks we did find a pair of Ravens and Buzzards and two flyover Crossbills. 

Chaffinch - Alan Bishop

Chaffinch - Alan Bishop

Green Longhorn moths danced around the Oaks and Speckled Woods spiralled along the main dappled path where Large Red Damselflies hunted.  We had lunch in the car park and then tried down the road for Turtle Doves.  Again no joy but a lovely spot with two parachuting Tree Pipits in the Birches where three more Garden Warblers bubbled.  A male Grey Wagtail was displaying around the farm buildings and there were more Yellowhammers and Skylarks. 

Speckled Wood

Green Longhorn moths 

Large Red Damselfly

Some of the party headed for home while we wiggled up onto the North York Moors above Grosmont where a single fine male Red Grouse with flaring coxcombs was thankfully found and Curlew, Golden Plover and Lapwings were on the patchwork of heather. 

Red Grouse - ACV

Red Grouse - Alan Bishop

The rest of the crew left here with smiles and headed back south but we wiggled further to the west and above Rosedale Abbey found a stretch of moorland where there were more Grouse – 11 in fact, making a glorious 12.  There were a couple of Curlew and Lapwing and a thriving colony of Black-headed Gulls and Greylag Geese but very few small birds. The views were expansive but at the risk of offending my Yorkshire friends, it found it desolate and battlefield-like in appearance up on the tops. The valleys though...

Red Grouse 

The George & Dragon in Kirkbymoorside was bed for the night and a fine meal and pint were had too.  It dawned grey the next day for the journey home and just beyond Pickering started to lightly rain.  A stop at Barton-on-Humber to check out the garden centre and then a pop next door to Far Ings where the Environment Agency were mowing the Humber River wall back with no mercy or consideration for the time of year.  Quite why it is acceptable for them to cut back to ground level a 4m swathe either side of the bank during the breeding season bordering a NNR is beyond me.  I saw two Common Terns and left...

The rain did not let up until we reached Frampton once again.  I could really get to love this place.  It reminds of those early days at Rainham when there was the anticipation of what could be achieved.  The grassland was littered with the nests of Lapwings, Avocets, Oystercatchers and Redshank and a host of wildfowl too.  I had a good catch up with John Bradley the Senior Site Manager who I have not seen since I left the RSPB. Him, Toby C and the team are doing a superb job.

I headed to the area where the Lesser Yellowlegs had been seen by John earlier but despite scanning through the sedgey scrape I could only find Redshanks and three Greenshanks and even the two Wood Sandpipers eluded me.  A scan round produced the Red-breasted Goose with a flock of Brents out in the middle and happy with that I turned to leave at which point I heard the Yellowlegs calling and picked up it flying around with three Redshanks before departing towards the far fields!

I walked back in the light drizzle and then drove down to the far end, got out and immediately heard the Black-winged Stilt calling. It dropped in and spent a few minutes getting its breath before the Avocets once again chased it back towards the visitors centre.  This 1s female is thought to be one of the young of the successful pair last year.  Let's hope they come back too.  The Red-breasted Goose was a little closer down this end and a fine adult Pale-bellied Brent was feeding alongside it.

Black-winged Stilt 

Homewards now in dreary damp weather with the occasional Red Kite or Brown Hare to brighten the journey.

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