Wednesday 18 June 2014

First for Yorkshire- well, Cleveland!

Had the day off to take Sol on his second morning visit to infant school. After lunch, I headed north to the Clevelandic delights of Redcar where I was approached by two young ladies on the beach who asked me what all the excitement was about. I said I didn't know as I had just turned up, but I had come to look for an American bird... Down the beach and I was soon watching a flock of Common Scoters in the heaving swell off the beach. At a low angle, it wasn't easy, but I shortly picked up a drake scoter with a collosal blob of yellow butter on it's bill - the (American) Black Scoter! Not only a first for Yorkshire, but a British tick for me to boot. Smart. Over the next hour, I had several brief views including some slightly more prolonged views when the flock began feeding and came closer in. I satisfied myself that I wouldn't overlook one of these if I scanned a scoter flock again - the yellow was even visible when the bird had it's head tucked in.I got a bit distracted by news of a Marsh Warbler near York (which on checking later turned out to be mistaken identity), and shortly had to head home. So, another good bird in Yorkshire-ish!

No chance of a photo due to the heavy sea and bright light, so I pinched this off Vancouverislandbirds - which is an excellent website - please visit!

The Farne Islands, Northumberland

Spent an hour with my favourite birds, Arctic Terns on Inner Farne. The epic pong, ear splitting noise and dazzling sight of thousands of seabirds enthralled all, including our two nippers who thought the place was amazing. Sol was a bit freaked out by the dive-bombing terns but they were fascinated to see such beauty up close. Many of the Arctic Terns had just hatched tiny chicks, some right next to the path, enabling the kids to have wonderful views. This was a real privilege, marred only by some of the annoying fellow tourists who really didn't get how fortunate they were to witness this wonderful spectacle. If you've never been, then go. Soon!

On Sunday, we called in at Amble. Sadly, the boat was full so I had to make do with distant scope views of c20 Roseate Terns flying around over their nestboxes by the buildings on Coquet Island. Very distinctive, even at long range, especially when harrased by the positively leaden Arctic Terns.

Sunday 15 June 2014

When is a Brunnich's not a Brunnich's?

When it is a Common Guillemot choking on a fish! Scanning through hordes of auks off the Farnes yesterday and my heart nearly stopped when I saw a bill stripe! Looking a bit closer, it was a Common Guillemot with a fish seemingly stuck in it's throat.

May Lily

Went plant twitching with Adelaide to see May Lily at one of only four sites in the UK. A nice plant, growing in shade on acid soils.Addie was pleased, as her middle name is Lily.