Thursday 12 May 2022

Early May Bank Holiday 2022 - Regal Birding

Back home for May Day Bank Holiday weekend and a Saturday afternoon up on the South Yorkshire moorlands where a Ring Ouzel sang alongside Stonechats and the afternoon sun brought out a basking Common Lizard.

Common Lizard

Willow Warblers in full song in a moorland Beck and the heather packed with Meadow Pipits. Up high a Red Kite tangled with Buzzards, one of which was a pale form. After 4pm a raptor low over the moor flying away flashed white underside, thought it was the pale Buzzard, but it didn't look right. I kept on it and it soon started to gain height and circled in the valley drifting north, revealing itself to be the equal top raptor in the World, an Osprey, sharing top position with Goshawk and Eleonora's Falcon. The latter not (yet) on the Barnsley list. The Osprey had probably flown W up the Beck and then drifted out over a Clough. A local Buzzard had seen the migrant raptor, flew in to investigate and after a bit of a tangle they drifted apart. The Osprey didn't seem to know where it was going, headed NW then it came back S and then more determined it flew strongly to the SW towards the reservoirs over in Upper Derwent Valley. 


A bit of twitching on Sunday, connected with the immature drake King Eider on the coast at Marske-by-the-Sea, a Yorkshire tick. It showed well in calm conditions but whilst fairly close in it was a challenge for a phone scoped record photo. A scan to the left and a group of 3 Red-throated Divers had a Black-throated Diver alongside with a Great Northern Diver just a scope's width to the left. Are Great Northern Divers getting more commonplace wintering on the North Sea coast?

King Eider

Late morning and decided to chance the bird of the year/decade/century Yorkshire's Black-browed Albatross, driving the scenic route along the coast past Whitby and Scarborough to Bempton Cliffs RSPB where 'Albie' had been seen around the cliffs on a couple of occasions that morning. Arrived to uncertain news, it had been in the area but was on the sea and had probably drifted out of view. After about 30 minutes whilst at Bartlett Nab viewpoint news came over a RSPB radio that it was flying past the next viewpoint to the south, Grandstand. A bit of a panic and a scan to the right towards Staple Newk, and there it was circling around the cliff edge with Gannets. A wander down the coast path to beyond the Staple Newk viewpoint and was lucky to enjoy 'Albie' arcing around Staple Newk for about 30 to 40 minutes, occasionally landing out of sight on the cliffs. It then did a final loop and glided out to sea on bowed wings where it landed not too far out, and drifted slowly south. Apart from the rare visitor 'Seabird City'  looked impressive and the Tree Sparrows by the centre can be, but shouldn't be, taken for granted. A Corn Bunting jangled from the fields/hedgerows.

Black-browed Albatross

Back on the moors on Monday and similar birding to Saturday, Osprey aside, and with a Redstart singing from a wooded valley. Mountain Hare now in 'sum-plum'.

More average photos uploaded at 'Latest UK Bird Photos'. Please enjoy.