Saturday, 15 June 2013

A Trip To Yorkshire


There has been nothing to write about from the patch over the last few weeks so a welcome break on a trip to East and North Yorkshire with the Steve Ashton sunshine tours was a much needed spirit lifter. I picked Alan (Ashdown) up early on Sunday morning and we had a couple of hours at Grove Ferry before meeting Steve at his place, as we were departing Grove Alan caught sight of a second calendar male Montagu’s Harrier as flew past the Ramp and we watched as it flew up river before being lost behind the tree line behind Hersden Industrial Estate, a great start already.  We then picked Tim (Gutsell) up and met the second part of the crew at Brenley Corner at the start of the M2, with Pete (Hemmings), driver, Steve (Ray) and Mike (Gould) before setting of for ‘the North’. First port of call on arrival was Bempton Cliffs where after passing through the visitor centre we encountered a very large group of Tree Sparrows around the feeders and nesting in boxes on the centre as well as under the roof tiles, it was then down to the cliff where we had spectacular views of Gannets, Guillemots and Razorbills with a supporting cast of Puffin, Kittiwake and Fulmar to name but few.

Tree Sparrow Bempton Cliffs
Tree Sparrow Bempton Cliffs
Tree Sparrow Bempton Cliffs
Guillemot Bempton Cliffs
Razorbill Bempton Cliffs


Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs
Monday was a pre-booked day with Yorkshire Coast Nature led by Steve Race and Richard Baines across the North York moors looking for Red Grouse and other moorland specialities. Alan and I were up early so we had a wander down to the cliffs at the North Landings and walked the cliff top to Flamborough head. There were no Gannets on the cliffs here but there were a lot more Guillemots and Razorbills plus several Shags and the odd Puffin, scores of Auks were flying past low over the sea and small groups of Gannet were passing by.  On the Moors although we did see the Grouse none were ever close enough for great photography and Golden Plovers were always distant but we did get Spotted Flycatchers, Common Redstart, Lapwing, Curlew, Mistle Thrush and Ring Ouzel throughout the morning and, as we were just about to leave an area we had seen but not got close to whinchats, Tim spotted one just in front of the car. Fortunately for me, I was in the front passenger seat and was just a few yards away from it so was able to run of a few half decent record shots (sorry Mike). The day ended in woodland after our evening meal at the Falcon Inn where I earned the nickname of ‘two puddings’ as I couldn’t decide between Roulade and Warm Fudge Cake so plumped for both! Here we added Tree Pipit and at least five Nightjars, two flying close past us.

Whinchat male North Yorkshire Moors
Red Grouse North Yorkshire Moors
Next day (Tuesday) the decision to retrace yesterday’s route was taken so we headed back to the moors to take a leisurely look around the moors and hopefully get a closer Red Grouse or two. In the evening it was back to Bempton for some more Auks and Gannets.

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Kittiwake Bempton Cliffs

Kittiwake Bempton Cliffs

Pied Wagtail Bempton Cliffs

Puffin Bempton Cliffs

Red Grouse North York Moors

Red Grouse North York Moors

Red Grouse North York Moors

Red Grouse North York Moors

Red Grouse chick North York Moors

Red Grouse chick North York Moors
Wednesday saw most of us heading for Bempton before breakfast then back again afterwards although the cloud had rolled in from the sea and there was a little light drizzle but that did not deter from the very close seabirds and the extraordinarily tame Tree Sparrows, the faces of these little cutties seeming less white in the face than the few left in Kent.

Fulmar Bempton Cliffs

Fulmar Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Gannet Bempton Cliffs

Guillemot Bempton Cliffs

Guillemot Bempton Cliffs

Guillemot Bempton Cliffs

Puffin Bempton Cliffs

Puffin Bempton Cliffs

Puffin Bempton Cliffs

Puffin Bempton Cliffs

Razorbill Bempton Cliffs

Razorbill Bempton Cliffs

Razorbill Bempton Cliffs

Razorbill Bempton Cliffs

Tree Sparrow Bempton Cliffs
Thursday was time to return home so again, after a trip to Bempton cliffs before breakfast it was time to pile into the cars with a stop at Lakenheath Fen in Suffolk where the adult male red-footed Falcon had been in residence but had sadly departed before we arrived although it was nice to see the F14 Tomcat jets flying in and out of RAF Lakenheath whilst we were there.
I would like to say a big thank you to Steve Ashton for arranging the trip and for allowing me to join the Jolly Boys, a thanks to Steve Race and Richard Baines at Yorkshire Coast Nature for the Moors tour and to Alan, Tim, Steve R, Mike and Peter for the great company. An excellent trip with Great people, great birds, great food and some great beer, Theakstons Terrier being a personal favourite.

Visiting the Patch again on Saturday morning was no different to any other weekend of late and after a full circuit of boredom I suggested to Chiddy a visit to see if the Bee-eater was still at Stoneless Pegwell Bay and, although Mark had already seen it yesterday (Friday) he thought it was worthwhile. We had spent a good hour wandering Stonelees and the Country Park at Pegwell without any luck and bumped into ‘Chip Shop’ Chris (Deyer) and stopped for a chat and during our colloquy a familiar shape buzzed past my head and there was the Bee-eater in it full resplendent explosion of colour on a bush in front of us. The next hour and half was spent following the bird around Stonelees and the Country Park before a phone call of Chris Gibbard had us tearing up the A299 Thanet Way to Brenley Corner to see a superb looking Black Kite that had been found the day before. This is only my fourth Black Kite for Kent after one at Collard’s on 25th May 1992 when the Red-footed Falcon influx was there, the Seaton bird on 20th May 2006 and a bird I found at Collard’s on 7th June 2008 despite the fact that Black Kite is reported almost annually in the Stour Valley.
Bee-eater Stonelees Pegwell Bay

Bee-eater Stonelees Pegwell Bay

Black Kite Brenley Corner near Faversham

Black Kite Brenley Corner near Faversham
 

3 comments:

  1. Great write up Martyn and some great photos.A good time all round and see you next year 2 pudds.

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  2. A very nice read Martyn with excellent photos it all went to quickly, roll on next year.

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