Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Autumn starts here

First visit of the autumn to the Great White Cape - Flamborough Head.  The weather looked promising, with an easterly airflow out of Scandinavia. A couple of Barred Warblers over the previous few days whetted my appetite, but as I arrived the wind seemed strong so I opted for a couple of hours seawatch. There were hordes of birds moving and milling about which made for enjoyable birding, and several Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal showed brilliantly. Patient watching revealed c20 Manx Shearwaters and a couple of Arctic Skuas, plus an early Great Crested Grebe, a couple of Common Scoters, several Arctic and Sandwich Terns and a couple of Common Terns.

It was time to do the bushes, so I walked my usual route round past Old Fall, with a quick detour down to Booted Gulley and the east end of South Landing to have a look for a Barred Warbler that had been seen earlier. Birding was tricky due to the strong wind, but by working sheltered patches of scrub and the leeward side of the hedges, I picked up four Redstarts and the common migrant warblers. Two Ruff fed with a Knot in a flash in a stubble field adjacent to Old Fall and a couple of Whimbrel whistled overhead. It really is great birding at this time of year. The Barred Warbler remained frustratingly elusive, though I did flush a grey warbler down the hedge near Booted Gulley which dived into a thick bramble patch and never came out again despite a 15 minute wait.

Another quick seawatch added a couple more Arctic Skuas and a lumbering Bonxie to the day list, but time was getting on so I headed home.

Common migrants, from top, Knot and Ruff, Redstart, young Swallow, Willow Warbler in Old Fall Hedge.

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