Monday, 29 June 2015
East Coast 'date'
On Sunday I took Danni (the girlfriend if you didn't know!) across to Yorkshire to try and pick her up some new species.
We started off at Wykeham Forest raptor viewpoint to look for Honey Buzzards. It's proving a bit of a nemesis of ours now though as we've already tried multiple times this year with no success, with the exception of the day I went back to 'our site' on my own and saw a Honey in the same bins view as an Osprey! Typical!
The weather was far from favourable with light drizzle showers every so often and reasonable wind and cloud cover. It was fairly warm though, so we gave it a go anyway. With several Common Buzzards and Kestrels up, we were kept occupied and things got a bit more exciting when I picked up a Goshawk which seemed to hang/hover in the wind which was an interesting behaviour I'd never seen before. We decided to give up and head to Bempton Cliffs as Danni had never seen Puffin.
Bempton is pretty special to me as this is where I joined the RSPB back in 1998 when I was just 6. As we approached the cliffs, we got our first waft of seabird colony smell which takes me back to all the fantastic times I've had in colonies such as Puffin Island and Hornoya in Norway etc. Superb!
We had fantastic views of about 10 close in Puffins and about 50-75 birds flying around and landing on distant cliffs. It was great seeing Gannets flying around at all ages, including fantastic 1st summers looking very striking with dark plumage and white head. A single 'Bridled' Guillemot was nice to see too and again took me back to Hornoya spending time with the hyperborea race that were almost all Bridled. My highlight however, as is often the case were Kittiwakes. They're so smart and that striking red inside of mouth is just so amazing.
After we had our fill and Danni's cheeks were hurting from smiling at Puffins so much, we thought we'd try Wykeham Forest again as the weather was improving. When we arrived we instantly had a Common Buzzard circling with a very impressive female Goshawk. The views were great and really prolonged. This bird also hovered on the wind which made tracking it in the scope remarkably easy as it just didn't move! Sadly Honey Bs didn't show all day, so we decided to head home via Pennington Flash looking for Willow Tits late afternoon....The tables were almost empty which made it even more difficult to see what have been increasingly more difficult to see of late. Aside from a group of 9 Stock Doves and a couple of Bullfinch, the feeders were pretty quiet. Bunting Hide has always been and always will be one of my favourite hides though, so enjoyable nonetheless.
A rather lovely day out despite missing a couple of targets as I got to visit some of my all time favourite birding spots with my girlfriend. Brilliant :)