Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A Trip to Wykeham and Scarborough

Ever since our trip to Spurn last month, George Pike and I had been talking about going to the Wykeham Raptor Viewpoint near Scarborough to look for Goshawks, so today we decided to do it, taking in the Pine Bunting at Dunnington on the way and Scarborough Harbour at the end.  Well, it was so close to our road it would have been rude not to.

With the Pine Bunting under our belt from Dunnington (details re in my previous posting) we were soon on our way to Wykeham Forest to look for the Gossies.  This was the first time either of us had been and so it was great that a couple of people who'd seen them that morning were already there with scopes.  It wasn't long before a distant Goshawk appeared and I could put it down as another lifer found.

However, it must be said that I didn't have really good views and, if someone else hadn't seen them, I wouldn't have been sure that I had, especially as Goshawks bear more than a passing resemblance to large Sparrowhawks.  In fact, the only photos I got proved to be Buzzards in the end, and so I was quite disappointed by that.

Other birds we saw there included this Crossbill high up in a tree and a Redpoll of which I didn't get a photograph, but not really much else.

But then we moved on to Marine Drive at Scarborough and boy was that different.  Here the coastal road runs around the foot of a cliff face and we'd been told to look out for Peregrines nesting near lampost 55, so we parked the car there. The first birds that I noticed were several pairs of Fulmars nesting in the cliff and later flying in front of it.

As I was photographing the Fulmars, a passerby asked me if I could see the Peregrine and I said "No". She kindly pointed out where one was perched on a ledge and I had a chat with her and her partner about it whilst taking photographs.

But then a second Peregrine flew by, and the two birds chased across the cliff face before they both landed on separate ledges.

There a few further fly-bys by one bird whilst the other stayed perched on its ledge watching.

This is a great place to photograph Peregrines in flight as the cliffs making a stunning backdrop - much more natural than a chimney or building in a city centre and more interesting that a plain blue sky.

I think I'll be coming back one morning when the sun is in a better place for photographs.

Whilst I had been photographing the Peregrines, George had been sea watching and had come up with a couple of harbour porpoises, some Guillemots and a Gannet. He managed to put me on to one of the porpoises for a record photograph.

From here we went along the promenade to the harbour looking for a fish and chip shop for tea, followed by an ice cream - of course this was all due to George as he loves his fish and chips and he has such a sweet tooth.

There were three target birds for us to find that had been recently reported in the harbour: a Great Northern Diver, a Black-necked Grebe and a mysterious so-called 'funny duck'. It was the 'funny duck that I saw first and although George and I had some discussion about it, my initial ID was correct - it was a Guillemot coming into breeding plumage.

After we had eaten, we chased it around for a bit because it kept diving in and around the boats and coming up somewhere a long way off, but finally I managed a couple of half decent shots. We later saw it (or another bird) out on the sea.

We also had a small group of very tame Turnstones feeding on the harbour wall around the lobster pots. I've always felt that the Turnstones on the east coast are a lot more confiding than those which I usually see on the west coast, ever since I first saw them being fed crisps outside a harbour pub at Whitby.

Later we were put onto the Great Northern Diver by a couple who had just seen it at the end of the harbour wall and so we hurried on down there before it decided to leave the harbour for the open sea. 

We had really good views of it catching a crab and eating it and it came pretty close in at times.
We crossed over a bridge over the harbour at the sea ward end and walked along the harbour wall doing a bit of sea-watching. 

We saw another Guillemot and a couple of Red-throated Divers out to sea, but there was no sign of the Black-necked Grebe.

So George and I had a grand day out and saw a good range of species - so much so that we're thinking of suggesting Scarborough for an L.O.S. Sunday birding fieldtrip.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment by typing your message in the text box, selecting 'Anonymous' from the 'Comment as' drop down menu and then finally clicking the 'Publish' button. It would be nice to see your name in the text if possible - thanks.