Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Opening the batting! 26th January,2012.

We journeyed out to the Tophill Low Reserve operated by Yorkshire Water. The regularly visiting Cattle Egret was nowhere to be seen despite an intensive search around the site itself and a wider farmland area. Given the weather was reasonable we moved on to the coast and the RSPB Reserve at Bempton Cliffs. Always a stunning site to visit the vertical , white cliffs were virtually devoid of birds other than Fulmars contrasted against the teeming thousands of breeding birds which would be present later in the season. A single Gannet and a few auks offshore were a minimal indication of what would be an ever increasing of their numbers.

We walked southwards towards the fields where the Desert Wheatear was regularly appearing and began to scan around. The bird was located in a well vegetated area of ground and showed reasonably in what were deteriorating weather conditions. Unfortunately a couple of absolute idiots walked into the area and began pushing the birds around ( and earned a "telling" in the process ) and it moved into a nearby field where it gave much better views. After looking at it in detail we returned to the feeding area near the Centre and watched a variety of common species, including Tree Sparrows.

As we were on the coast already we set off northwards and called in at a couple of sites, although little of interest was discovered. Finally we arrived at Scarborough which, surprisingly, held good numbers of people walking along the Marine Drive and the harbour area. Unfortunately the wind had risen and conditions were far from ideal as we scoured the cliffs below the castle for sight of a reported Black Redstart. We spent quite a time on this "mission" , enjoyed no success ( with anything ! ) as there was precious little over the sea  and then got caught in the most horrendous rainstorm. Returning to the car with the wind in our faces we were absolutely soaked and the next two hours were like walking around in a wet nappy body suit!!

The day wasn't quite turning out as expected so we retraced our steps to Tophill Low in the hope of catching the egret coming into roost. It didn't, at least while we were there, and so we retired with our spirits and beings somewhat dampened.