Tuesday 7 September 2021

Caspian Gulls - Cromer and Spurn

Saturday 21 August 2021 - Cromer, Norfolk

Three of the Caspian Gulls present on the beach by Cromer pier mid afternoon on a rising tide.

Gull #1 - a pale juvenile

                                                Gull #2 - a dark juvenile

                                               Gull #3 - 1st summer

Tuesday 24 August 2021 - Spurn, Yorkshire (Kilnsea Wetlands)

A yellow-ringed juvenile (probably X23M) present late afternoon.

Caspian Gull videos

Cromer x3 gulls - video footage of all 3 uploaded at Birding UK (Caspian Gulls 2021)

Kilnsea x1 gull - video footage uploaded at Birding UK (Caspian Gull 2021)

Monday 6 September 2021

August 2021 Birding - Blacktoft Strikes Back

Whilst 01 July is the unofficial start of autumn bird migration, things start to get going in August. Before returning home, mentioned in conversation that the fine Yorkshire reserve of Blacktoft Sands RSPB wasn't in the headlines in recent times, was it being overshadowed by Alkborough Flats across the Trent, or should that be complemented by? So, when Mega alert bleeped at breakfast time on Thursday 26 August 2021, surely it was going to be one of the long stayers? I wasn't expecting to be joining Yorkshire's top listers later that morning watching a first for Yorkshire, a splendid White-tailed Plover striding along the muddy edge viewed from Marshland Hide. Blacktoft strikes back!

After the Plover, or as it is now, White-tailed Lapwing, coastal bound and with the wind out of the North and reasonably strong Flamborough it was. Set up on the ledge below the foghorn at 2pm and Sooty Shearwaters were moving by, not streaming through, several in the first hour and some fairly close. Attempted the record photo below with a similar attempt at offshore Great Skuas. Relocated to the cliff top where the view from the impressive Seabird Observatory gave a different angle looking South East. Took me a while to get used to the bird movements looking more into Bridlington Bay. August vis-migging on the coast gives that seasonal crossover with my first Red-throated Diver of the autumn heading south over lingering summering Sandwich Terns, with Sooty Shearwaters on their Atlantic loop being pushed into the North Sea and now heading back out the long way around the Brtish Isles for the South Atlantic. A few more Great and Arctic Skuas seen and a distant subadult Long-tailed Skua moved north allowing for a study of the fast continuous flight and structure, looked like it was dragging its tail in flight.

The Peak District White-tailed Eagle visiting from the Isle of White continued into August, and raptors on the move included Marsh Harriers and Red Kites. Kestrels and Common Buzzards showed well as the young took to the skies.

Elsewhere a Ring Ouzel discovered a berry laden Rowan tree feeding up before setting off south, it tried to be secretive spending most of the time within the tree, but the rattling call soon gave it away. One sunny afternoon saw Spotted Flycatchers hunt from hillside trees along the moorland edge, where Jays began to compete for best food larder sites.

The Monarch of the Clough

Spurn produced a Greenish Warbler along Beacon Lane with a shy Wryneck at Chalky Point. Single Redstart and Pied Flycatcher adding to the start of autumn feel. Nearby Kilnsea Wetlands had many Mediterranean Gulls and the juvenile Caspian Gull one afternoon shown below. It had a yellow Darvic ring, could just about make out X23M on the ring from photos, probably the one seen here a couple of days earlier.

Caspian Gulls, more on them later.