Two things I can’t abide; royalists and mindless patriotism. The only saving grace of the Jubilee Weekend was an extra couple of days birding granted kindly by our lovely Queen. East Yorks was the destination.
I was keen to all avoid media coverage as far as was humanly possible. This was pretty much achieved apart from encountering a Jubilee special edition of the Daily Fail in a McDonalds and some commemorative tat being sold in the shop at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. There was also bunting there. Sadly, not an Ortolan or anything like that.
Arriving mid-afternoon sadly did not allow time for a full day in the field, however I was very keen to see the Roller that had been at Aldbrough since 31st May, following initial sightings at Kilnsea and Spurn.
This superb adult Roller was still present, feeding in the ploughed roadside field and returning to its favoured post regularly, where it was often mobbed by meadow pipits. The colours on this bird were absolutely breathtaking and it looked at its most stunning when it was in flight. Despite the miserable weather the bird seemed to be feeding very well.
|Roller - image courtesy of Mark Rayment|
A Marsh Warbler had been singing here in recent days and we decided to have a go for this next. This however turned out to be a mistake as it was now raining heavily. Attempted to wait it out, but with the weather not getting any dryer we reluctantly decided to return in the morning.
Monday 4th June 2012
Next morning an entirely different story at Blacktoft. Along with other warblers this reedbed was now alive with singing warblers including sporadic song of Marsh Warbler, something I had not heard before. This is much more varied than Reed Warbler song and can contain a lot of mimicry. The Marsh Warbler occasionally sang from visible perches, views were very good allowing to observe the subtle differences from Reed Warbler including a slightly shorter bill, a more uniform brown rump and pale edging to the primary tips, which in this case was quite subtle.
|Marsh Warbler - above images courtesy Mark Rayment|
Also noted at Blacktoft – Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat feeding young, Tree Sparrows including juvenile birds, Avocet, Common Tern and Reed Bunting.
An adult male Red-backed Shrike was entertaining the crowds near the car park/lighthouse area. We watched this for a while then had a walk down to the plantation. It was a little quiet however 3 Lesser Whitethroat were noted, Corn Bunting (heard) and there was a lot of Gannet and Auk activity out at sea. A Painted Lady butterfly was noted.
I had never actually visited Bempton before and apart from the annoyingly large crowds of people I was really impressed. The seabird colony was much larger than I had expected with Gannets spilling out on to the top of the cliffs. Gannets hanging in the wind, trying to land could even be captured by my little Lumix.
|Gannet flight path|
Also here, rather unexpectedly a Bonxie high over the seabird colony, around 6 Puffin, 1000’s of Guillemots, Razorbill, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Herring Gull and more young Tree Sparrows.
Tuesday 5th June 2012
Frampton Marsh RSPB
The journey home was via Lincolnshire, stopping in at Frampton. There’s always usually something to see here and this was no exception. I noted a drake Garganey from 360 Hide and there was also a lot of wader action, particularly from the North Hide; a single Curlew Sandpiper moulting into sum plum, a Little Stint, 3 Sanderling, c20 Dunlin and c50 Ringed Plover. A few LRP were from 360 and other birds noted around the reserve included Avocet, Reed Bunting, Sedge & Reed Warbler and Tree Sparrow.