Tag Archives: Gannet

Black Terns are like buses……

2 Sep

30/8/16 A Western Purple Swamphen was founded found at Alkborough Flats early Tuesday afternoon. The thought of getting straight off and beating the crowds passed my mind but having already seen the Minsmere bird at the start of the month and a juvenile Black Tern present since this morning at Hornsea Mere, a bird I’d not seen for nearly three years, proved more tempting. I’d actually done Alkborough Flats on Sunday with JH anyway and as he and ML both need the Swamphen it’s likely on the agenda for Sunday if it doesn’t repeat the Minsmere bird and leave overnight on Friday. Anyway back to Hornsea Mere. Arriving at Kirkholme Point there was no sign of any {real] birders nor the tern. Fortunately met up with ST and assured it did go missing for long times and eventually and picked it up distantly behind tree island and wasn’t too long before it flew back to Kirkholme Point with four Little Gulls [number of the later still well below previous years with a hundred times that number not usual at this time in the past. Don’t know if anyone is counting the evening pre-roost currently.


Juvenile Black Tern at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point 


Little Gull at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point

Next went to North Cliff Boat Club. First checked the set-aside to the north for migrants then did a sea-watch but not really the right winds for either. Strangely did have a Black Tern followed shortly by another two that lingered for a while giving me time to be sure I wasn’t ‘moulding birds’ [RL will understand this term!]. Like buses…. Otherwise a single Fulmar was the best bird, although a few years back they would have been a common sight.

Paid a quick visit to the Seaton Road Hide [see here for access details to keep GB off my back] but couldn’t see the tern or any Little Gulls, in fact couldn’t see much. Some guerrilla conservation may be needed if Wassand Estate don’t do something soon. The only notable ‘wildlife’ was a young couple ‘at it’ in the adjacent field. Decency  and the real possibility they were underage kept my hand from the camera.

1/9/16 Had another look at the Black Tern with RL on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately it was frequenting the south side and only came close to Kirkholme Point while RL was buying an ice cream. We finished the day doing a sea-watch with JH off Far Grange. Although nothing special the number of Common Terns early evening were impressive. 14125702_1159611220762191_2063226160474370919_o

Sandwich Tern [above]. Gannet [below] off Far Grange-RL 

14188541_1159612530762060_3325874748369306297_oAlso a couple of close in Red-throated Divers.14125105_1159608704095776_6588690234018673760_o

Red-throated Diver off Far Grange-RL 

Annual pilgrimage to Bempton Cliffs RSPB and Wykeham raptor viewpoint

14 Jun

10/6/15 To many birders Bempton Cliffs RSPB is seen as a tourist trap best avoided except for the occasional migrant. However with the perfusion of digital camera many of us are tempted with the proximity of birds, usually seen as mere dots from sea watch sites, to pay an annual visit. This is what JH and I did on Wednesday with the hope it might not be too busy. On arrival it was clear even mid-week isn’t quiet with volunteers even needed to control parking. The bulk of visitors as expected were the retired along with several mini-bus loads of school day-trippers. DSCN7324

JH walking towards the new visitor centre

This was my first sight of the new visitors centre and after all the hype was surprised that it didn’t seem significantly bigger although the toilet facilities were now up to motorway service area standards. I remember the little kiosk from my first visits in the 80’s. However this wasn’t a visit to read information boards so it was straight to the cliffs.


The famous Gannet arch.


The only Puffin with in range and it never stirred!

DSCN7329Kittiwake looking away..


…that’s better!




Nesting Herring Gulls


Guillemots on the sea


Gannets and Guillemots


Gannet nests.


Fulmar nest


Gannets in flight

Having got the shots we headed to Wykeham raptor viewpoint. Not my first visit as I’d been on the 13th May with JH and RL after twitching the Balearic Woodchat Shrike. Then it was too early for Honey Buzzards. Also there last Sunday but it was a no show at least while we were there but patience ran out early.


Balearic Woodchat Shrike-Wykeham

As we arrived were told we’d just missed them so suspected we would have a long wait for a return pass. However JH and I were happy for a relaxing sit.


View from Wykeham raptor viewpoint.

While we waited had plenty of other birds to keep us occupied. Several Common Buzzard were displaying joined briefly by a distant Goshawk. Also regular Siskin in flight and in trees below us, a small flock of Crossbill flew over and best of all a Tree Pipit singing in a bush just below the watchpoint. Not long before we planned to pack up I picked up a large raptor flying in from the left on flat wings. This ruled out Common Buzzard and only really Honey or a large female Goshawk were considered. As it got closer it a rolled slightly showing a largely white underwing with black  primaries and I was confident it could only be a Honey Buzzard and gave the call to get everyone else on it. Was joined by a second bird and although not the full butterfly display did gave a few slow stiff wing flaps. Also as the first bird disappeared to the right saw it doing the kite-like tail twist also good for Honey Buzzard. Job done. Amazingly this is only my third sighting in 25 years as we just don’t normally have the patience [or luck] needed.


The watcher not the watched