Friday, 21 September 2012

Yorkshire Belle mini-Pelagic

Saturday 15th September 2012 

With a recent taste of East Yorkshire seawatching , me and Martyn were keen for some more of that and hopefully getting a bit closer to the skua and shear action. We therefore rolled into Bridington Harbour over an hour before the sailing of the Yorkshire Belle to join an eager queue of birders, a few dudey types and some strange grockle folk who did not own a pair of binoculars at all. A few Purple Sandpipers and a lone Guillemot were noted in the Harbour.

The Yorkshire Belle

I hadn’t been on board the Yorkshire Belle since 2008 when the combination rough seas, a fret, plenty of puking (not by me) and no birds forced the vessel back to port early. This time this RSPB-organised cruise was much better in terms of birds and visibility. A great selection of birds were noted, although the winds and weather were a little too nice really for anything too unusual in the mix. But then, you never know for sure what is out there.

The scores on the doors: Bonxie x 4, Arctic Skua x 5 (all dark phase, including a bird in the harbour that was called as Pom – we were unconvinced & veered towards Arctic), Sooty Shearwater x 1 (very close to t'boat), Manx Shearwater x 4, Red-throated Diver x 2, Puffin c8, plus all the other stff you would expect to see in the way of Auks, Shag, 1000’s Gannets, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Common Scoter etc. 10 plus Harbour Porpoise were noted.

Oceanic bully boys - great bird, Bonxie

Manx Shearwater - sadly no Balearics

Puffin - Above 3 images courtesy Martyn Yapp

What I would say is if you go on this cruise, make sure you get a seat in prime position and make sure you use your own eyes, brain and judgement. Don’t rely on the staff of the Belle, helpful and as well-meaning as they are, as there was mistakes being made and stuff getting missed. I am being polite here.

Back in harbour by 1.00pm the quiet fishing town now appeared to have transformed into the Yorkshire version of Benidorm. The number of Purple Sands had increased and the harbour also contained a number of Redshank and some whelks.

Purple Sand - 100% guaranteed in Brid Harbour - image courtesy Martyn Yapp

The rest of the day included a visit to Bempton Cliffs and South Landing. Unfortunately westerly winds had pretty much killed falls of migrants and bush-bashing at Bempton provided us with little more than a singular Whitethroat. Although the auks had left the cliffs there was still a smaller number of Gannets and Fulmar still on the cliffs. Always good to watch.

South Landing, same story in terms of passerines. However here a wader fix was provided with 2 Knot, 2 Sanderling , Dunlin, Redshank and many Turnstones in the bay. A distant Bonxie passed at sea.

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