Sunday, 21 December 2014

Grey Seals At Ravenscar

Grey Seals at Ravenscar
Ravenscar, Scarborough

Ekkkkk, months since my last blog, sorry, seem to have been working hard lately, I must try harder in the new year to diary my little adventures.

Today while Adele the good lady wife was laid up in bed with a bout of flu, I venture 8 miles north of Scarborough to Ravenscar a small village high on the cliff tops over looking the beautiful coastal village of Robin Hoods Bay, from there I wandered over the Hotels Golf course and clambered down the rough unmade and steep path for about 400 feet to the rocky shore below to see the small colony of Grey Seals of about 100 in size, but many were in the sea after been spooked by walkers heading over to RHB and a couple of fossil hunters cracking rocks looking for ammonites.

There were 4 of 5 small probably 1 to 2 week old pups around with a couple protected by quite aggressive mothers, which were best kept away from.

The bird life around was a little disappointing with the usual gull population, Oystercatchers, Rock pipits and a number of Wrens flitting in and out of the rocks, which I thought was a little unusual.

Photography was a little disappointing as the sun, though it was a very bright day, never got above the cliff tops so generally the whole area was I shade. All in all though still a remarkable place to see Grey Sea locally.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Tophill Low Nature Reserve

Tophill Low Nature Reserve
Tophill Low, Watton, Near Driffield

There were high hopes of a cracking early morning when I set off for THL this morning, with the sun rising over the fields on the way over the Wold's from Scarborough to Watton, but poor visibility was endured for most of the morning from Driffield onwards, which limited viewing in the short time I had on site, but still all was not lost as shown below.

All morning from the North Marsh hide Water Rails squealed out, with at least 2 on show at various times, a female Roe Deer wandered on the banks of the river Hull and Long Tailed, Blue, Great and Marsh Tits, Robins and Wrens flitted about the brushes on the left side of the hide and a Male Kestrel kept us company for half an hour or so in the trees at the far end of the marsh, along with a flyby of a Sparrow Hawk and a Jay.

No otters were see which was one of the trip hopes and with the onset of Autumn, I was only privileged to have 2 flybys by Kingfishers and one on short fishing trip, but at a distant, from the far side red beds.

After a good couple of hours or so a wander through the north of the reserve saw plenty of various Tits, Chaff and Goldfinch and loads of Goldcrest, with a great viewing of a Stoat taking either a Mouse or Bank Vole, who would have being trying to have a free feed under the bird feeders on the north side of the reserve.

All in all as usual a great few hours on the reserve, leaving time for a wander with Adele back in Scarborough and the sight of 11 Whooper Swans over the North Bay and Castle.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

North Bay, Scarborough

North Bay, Scarborough
Late September 2014
North Bay Beach, Scarborough

Following a heavy mist for about 3 days, I was happy for the best part of the week to see a mixed group of little waders on the North Bay Beach, Scarborough for a few days, feeding well in-between flitting away from dog walkers and joggers (who would run and walk dogs readily between me with a camera and the birds 20 feet away with out giving a dam!!!)

Mixed Flock


 Ringed Plover


RSPB Blacktoft Sands

RSPB Blacktoft Sands
Blacktoft Sands

In a look for a bit of a different day me and Adele ventured south to RSPB Blacktoft sand our first visit to the reserve and were quite impressed with the people we met and the hides all facing away from the sun providing good visibility during the day.

A favourite hide was the Marshland hide which proved great views of Snipe (at least 40+), Ruff, Dunlin and the little star of the day a Pectoral Sandpiper which was very distant but viewable through scopes and decent binoculars. Other good waders seen were Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and Redshank.

On the Wildfowl side, there were Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveller, Widgeon, Tufted, Shell and Teal Ducks, two flocks of Pink footed Geese overhead and a number Little Grebe dotted about

Throughout the day from all hides Marsh Harriers scanned the reed beds without coming really close, but still great to see.

Flitting about from the hides but not close where a group of Goldfinches, a pair of Stonechat, Yellow and Pied Wagtails and the great sight of at least 2 groups (into the teens) of Bearded Tits.

Unusually to us as well were Polish Wild Ponies around the scrapes instead of cattle to keep the reeds and grass at bay and form excellent feeding beds.

All in all a great few hours on site with the added bonus of a quick stop at Numbernholme on the way back to Scarborough to see at least 10 Red Kites, 2 Common Buzzards, 3 Kestrel and a number of Green Woodpeckers



Pectoral Sandpiper


Polish Wild Ponies

Thursday, 18 September 2014


Long Nab, Burniston, Scarborough

First sighting for myself on a very dark and misty evening after work of a Dotterel. After a long search and a couple of walks round the Nab, the bird appeared near the path in front of the hut and actually walked towards a couple of us out in the fog looking for the bird.

Well worth the cold and damp and quite happy with the picture considering 2000 ISO setting on the camera due to the dark.

PS Sorry for the long gap between Blogs, I am determined that this wont happen again!!!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Scarborough Birders Pelagic

Scarborough Birders Pelagic
Off Scarborough

For my second sea trip with Scarborough Birders, the weather, dry though fairly grey, not great for photography, but still better than the very wet weather forecasted, was still good enough for an excellent mini adventure on a Sunday morning. Setting sail on the local Queensferry boat, 22 to 24 hardy folk and a few tubs of extremely rank chum thanks to Nick and Mick set off in calm waters in hunt of rarities, general birdlife and the odd cetacean.

Various birdlife was seen including, HG, GBBG, LBBG, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots, Puffins, Common Scoter, Manx Shearwater, Artic Tern, possible Sandwich Tern, with the star bird of the day being a Blue Fulmar, which stayed after a nervous start around the boat for a good while letting many many many photographs to be taken!!!!

There was not a great deal of luck on the mammal front and all were hopeful of a Minke Whale, but  brief glimpses of a Grey Seal and a couple of distant Harbour Porpoises showed that animals are out there and just a bit more luck is needed.

Once again many thanks for Scarborough Birders, Nick Addey for his organization and chum fermentation including making frozen chumcicles and Mick for having the guts to throw the guts!!! Cant wait for the next trip at the end of August.

Scarborough (a pretty damned good place to live, all within half an hour, the sea, the moors, the wolds and the forests)
Fulmars (up to 12 around the boat at one time and I was shocked at how un bothered by the overhanging photographers they were, indeed they came a bit to close!!!)

Fulmar and Blue Fulmar size comparison
Blue Fulmar (possibly from as far away as Baffin Island)


Common Scoters (North and South bound)

Gannets (buzzed the boat most of the morning but only a couple dived for the chum)

Herring Gulls (Plenty about and very very greedy, particularly the local harbour and marine drive residents). The Orange rings are from the local SBC tip ringing project.

Lesser Black Backed Gulls (Plenty around the boat most of the morning)
Manx Shearwater (long way away but a first for me, you cant beat being a beginner, a new tick every time!!)
Looking forward to the 31st August already, cheers to all involved.