Friday 24 February 2017


Met up with Paul at the airfield early doors to have a look at the Shrike, but sadly she had gone AWOL. Storm Doris had abated overnight and it was a lovely, calm sunny morning, the cool air full of the sound of Song Thrushes and Skylarks. It was great to be out, but after an hour our only reward was a small covey of Grey Partridges.

Home to collect the gang and off east to Scarbados. The skies were clear and a light westerly meant it was almost balmy on the beach, well, about 8 degrees.

The kids and dog enjoyed a good scamper about before we got into the wildlife with fine views of the Peregrine pair on the cliffs, the female of which was hungrily devouring a pigeon. Sol loved the gore of it. Several Harbour Porpoises were searching the break looking for bass and the kids got good views. In the harbour, a fine adult Shag was hanging out on some steps, and nearby the lingering Great Northern Diver cruised around.

 The diver started feeding after a bit, and shortly brought up a Shore Crab which it shook about to remove the legs before swallowing.

Harder to find was the diminutive Black-necked Grebe, but after a chippy lunch, we spied the red-eyed fluffball busily feeding among the boats. It really motored around and took some effort to keep up with it.

About 20 Turnstones were seeking discarded chips and at least three sported some fine leg bling.

It is rude to be out east on such a fine early spring day and not pop into Wykeham on the way back, to see what avian monsters are at large. Sure enough, after a bit of patience and a number of sites, I picked up three adult Goshawks (two females and one male) engaged in some serious display. At one point all three were perched up in separate trees, one of which rather clumsily clambered around on the branches, white undertail coverts exploding everywhere. Although the views through the scope were cool, they were just a bit too far for phone scoping, but I gave it a try anyway...

 We headed back after a top day. It turned out the Shrike was still present, having been seen near Ebor Trucks at midday.

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