Thursday 30 March 2017

Wednesday 29th March 2017

After the excitement of yesterday things were somewhat quieter today.

The 2♂ Garganey remained for another day on Johnson’s Marsh and this makes eight days so far for these stunning looking ducks.

At Long Nab there were 9 Shore Larks, 3 Wheatears and a Red-legged Partridge all to the north of the hut. Moving south we had 2 Sand Martins and 9 Teal at Cromer Point pond, a Grey Plover was in Jackson’s Bay and another Sand Martin was in the Scalby Nab/Beck area.

At Wykeham South Lake we had 3 Goldeneye, 10 Mute Swans and 3 singing Chiffchaffs and at Seamer Tip Pond we had another Sand Martin and 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Finally in Cayton Bay the ♂ Eider had returned, the ♂ Long-tailed Duck was still present and there were also 3 Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe.

Garganey and Grey Heron - Johnson's Marsh - Joe Bamfield

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Tuesday 28th March 2017

Today was an interesting day with some nice new discoveries and a few old favourites still lingering in the area.

At Long Nab the Shore Larks had moved fields and today there were 10 in the third field north of the Obs, Also here a new discovery was a juvenile Glaucous Gull that went south behind a fishing boat at 09.37 but not seen again and there were 17 Bramblings and 4 Siskin in the ringing plantation, a couple of Goldcrests in Crook Ness, a Golden Plover went south and a Ringed Plover went north.

Garganey had a really good showing today with the 2♂s still on Johnson’s Marsh, a pair were on a small pond between Burgate and Grange Farms but they flew in the direction of Harwood Dale Lake and the ♂ was still on Potter Brompton Carr.

Potter Brompton also produced the highlight of the day when Chris Bradshaw discovered 3 Cranes but soon after discovery they unfortunately departed east at 14.30 and despite searching the surrounding area could not be relocated later in the afternoon. The same location also had 3 Ruff and there was a fourth bird at Seamer Tip bridge pool.

Other birds in the area today included the Great Grey Shrike still at Maw Rigg in Langdale Forest, a Raven flew south over Dean Road, Scarborough this morning, a juvenile Crossbill was with 20+ adults in Langdale Forest, the Brent Goose was still at Burton Riggs and looked a little unwell and Scalby Mills had c95 Wigeon.

3 Cranes - Potter Brompton Carr - Chris Bradshaw
Garganey and Ruff - Potter Brompton Carr - Chris Bradshaw

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Monday 27th March 2017

A Short-eared Owl showed well to the north of Seamer Tip pool in the early morning and in the same area a Long-eared Owl was also seen well but briefly being mobbed by corvids and forced to take shelter in Hawthorns. On or near the pool itself there was a Sand Martin, 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Shelduck, pair of Gadwall and a pair of Wigeon, in the evening 4 Shelducks flew east over the area. Just down the road at Burton Riggs the Brent Goose remained and there were 4 Great Crested Grebes.

In the southern bays we had the ♂ Long-tailed Duck and 11 Common Scoter in Cayton Bay, an Eider in Cornelian Bay and a 3cy Mediterranean Gull and 11 Common Scoter in South Bay, the coincidence in numbers of Scoter would suggest some local movement by the same birds.

There were 42 Common Gulls and a single Buzzard at Wykeham South Lake and the 2♂ Garganey were still being faithful to Johnson’s Marsh.

Garganey - Johnson's Marsh - Kevin Groocock
Brent Goose - Burton Riggs - Tony Clarke

Sunday 26th March 2017

The two drake Garganey were still present on Johnson’s Marsh today.

The surprise today was the latest rediscovery of 9 Shore Larks at Long Nab in the second field to the north of the hut, they will go missing one day soon and not come back! Also today in the Long Nab area reports included a Grey Plover, a Jack Snipe and 2 Snipe flushed from the scrape by the hut, a Peregrine, 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 2 White Wagtails and 17 Pied Wagtails in the field to the east of the White House and 3 Brambling in the ringing plantation.

At Wykeham South Lake there was a ♂ Common Scoter and 3 Goldeneye and on Throxenby Mere a ♂ and 2♀ Goosanders.

In the southern bays we had an Eider and 2 Grey Plovers in Cornelian Bay whilst in the north at Ravenscar there were 2 White Wagtails with c15 Pied Wagtails in the sheep field to the south of the hotel.

2f Goosanders - Throxenby Mere - Mark Hepples
m Goosander - Throxenby Mere - Mark Hepples

Monday 27 March 2017

Saturday 25th March 2017

On Johnson’s Marsh today the 2♂ Garganey were still present and there were also 2 Shelducks.

At Potter Brompton Carr the ♂ Garganey was still hanging around and also here we had 2 Shoveler, 2 Shelduck, 2 Wigeon and 4 Gadwall.

The Seamer Tip pool area had a Short-eared Owl hunting the rough ground to the north of the pool, a ♀ Red-breasted Merganser was seen flying west over Seamer Tip, a Jack Snipe and 6 Common Snipe were present on the Taylor Way pools and on the main pool we had 2 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Shelduck, 2♂ Gadwall and a pair of Wigeon.

In Cornelian Bay we had 3 Red-throated Divers, 11 Common Scoter and a Velvet Scoter and to the south in Cayton Bay there were a ♂ Eider and a ♂ Long-tailed Duck. To the north of Scarborough at Scalby Mills the Wigeon are now down in numbers with just 52 there today.

Long stayers in the area still present included the Maw Rigg Great Grey Shrike and the Royal Albert Drive Black Redstart, although another of the latter was seen at Wykeham Nurseries today.

Eider - Cayton Bay - Chris Bull
Long-tailed Duck - Cayton Bay - Chris Bull

Friday 24th March 2017

The 2♂ Garganey remained for another day on Johnson’s Marsh where there was also 6 Teal, 3 Wigeon and 2 Oystercatchers; nearby at Scalby Mills 73 Wigeon, 4 Purple Sandpipers and 16 Redshanks and at Wykeham South Lake today just 5 Goldeneye and 8 Common Buzzards.

In Falsgrave Park there was a singing male Blackcap, the Black Redstart was still on Royal Albert Drive and the Great Northern Diver was still in the harbour.

Peregrines - Castle Headland - Joe Bamfield

Saturday 25 March 2017

Thursday 23rd March 2017

The 2♂ Garganey were on Johnson’s Marsh again today and there was another on Potter Brompton Carr where there was also a pair of Wigeon, 14 Teal, 4 Gadwall, 4 Egyptian Geese, 8 Snipe and 2 displaying Curlews. At Wykeham South Lake the Common Scoter had increased to 2 today, the Goldeneye to 4 but still just the one Gadwall, at Burton Riggs the Brent Goose with a seemingly damaged wing was still present and at the Mere there were 2♂2♀ Goosanders present today.

There was a mixed flock of birds feeding on seed on the verge towards Cockmoor Hall, Snainton including Yellowhammers, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Brambling, Tree Sparrows, Blue and Great Tits.

6 Lesser Redpolls were seen at Birch Hall and along the cinder track, south of Ravenscar, there was a Woodcock and a couple of Goldcrests.

Long stayers still present in the area included the Great Grey Shrike at Maw Rigg in Langdale Forest, the Black Redstart on the sea defences along Royal Albert Drive and the Great Northern Diver was in the outer harbour.

Brent Goose - Burton Riggs - Joe Bamfield

2m2f Goosander - The Mere - Joe Bamfield

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Well the big discovery today had a distinctive taste of spring. Two drake Garganey were located on Johnson’s Marsh just before 08.00 this morning by Micky McNaghten and despite going missing for some time at 09.57 they came back later in the day and were still present at 17.15.

Off Long Nab today were a Great Northern Diver and 15 Common Scoter, a littoralis Rock Pipit was just south of Crook Ness, a Dunlin was on the flood just north of Cromer Point pond and a Whooper Swan went south over Scalby Lodge Pond.

At Wykeham South Lake this morning the wildfowl included 4 Shoveler, 3 Goldeneye and a Common Scoter whilst at Seamer Tip pool we had 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Pink-footed Geese and a Little Grebe and at Burton Riggs a solitary Brent Goose.

The Harbour was still holding on to the Great Northern Diver and on the Lighthouse Pier there was a littoralis Rock Pipit.

Elsewhere we had 12 Whooper Swans over Leigh Rigg at 09.00, 3 Little Egrets at Folkton Bridge, 70 Wigeon at Scalby Mills and on Lingholm Court estate 35 Fieldfare and 2 Redwings.

Finally, Chiffchaffs are now widespread in our area with many singing birds already on territories including 5 birds in Scalby Beck of which 4 were singing birds.

2 drake Garganey - Johnson's Marsh - Tony Clarke
Common Scoter - Wykeham South Lake - Terry Hobson
Goldeneye - Wykeham South Lake - Terry Hobson

Tuesday 21st March 2017

The only news today concerned the flock of 100+ Bramblings that were still in the field at the top of Lang Gate on the edge of Wykeham Forest and accompanied by some Yellowhammers with a few Crossbills also in the area.

Bullfinch - Open Air Theatre - Deb Schild


Monday 20 March 2017

Monday 20th March 2017

Unfortunately but not unexpectedly it was only negative news on the Cattle Egret at Ellerburn today.

The immature Glaucous Gull was back with the seals at Ravenscar today and the Great Northern Diver was again back in the Harbour.

At Seamer Tip pools today there were 2 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Grey Partridges, 2 Shelduck and a Chiffchaff. Throxenby Mere still had 2♀ Goosanders, Wykeham South Lake had 11♂ Shoveler and a ♂ Goosander and there were 38 Wigeon and 5 Teal on Johnson’s Marsh.

A ♀ Blackcap was in a Crossgates garden, Lingholm Court Estate had 49 Fieldfares and 26 Redwings and on Folkton Carr a single flock of 38 Curlew, 3 Herons and 5 Little Egrets.

Finally at Long Nab today’s species included 2 Red-throated Divers (1 south), single Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser (both north) and a single White Wagtail (south).

Turnstone - Scarborough Harbour - Chris Bell

Sunday 19th March 2017

Well it might not be as impressive as a White-tailed Eagle but the discovery this afternoon of a Cattle Egret at Ellerburn by Andy Malley is certainly more unusual as it is a first for the Scarborough recording area. The bird was first seen at about 14.45 but soon it had disappeared and was not relocated until about 15.40 when the remote location meant that there was no mobile coverage. Fortunately, although unsettled, the bird remained in the cattle field after the fish farm long enough for a few other observers to see it before flying off northeast towards the fishing lake at 17.36. The final appearance was about 17.55 when it came back high along the valley and then departed high off to the east and out of view. Also in the Ellerburn area today were 3 Chiffchaffs, Grey Wagtail, 12 Fieldfare and 2 Common Buzzards.

At Folkton Carr there were 2 Barn Owls and a Little Egret, at Throxenby Mere the 3 Goosanders remained, there were 2 Chiffchaffs at Harland Mount YWT reserve, 2 Long-tailed Ducks were off The Spa in South Bay, on Johnson’s Marsh we had 10 Wigeon and 5 Teal and at Cockmoor Hall Car Park half a dozen Bramblings.

Cattle Egret - Ellerburn - Dave Mansell
Brambling - Cockmoor Hall Car Park - John Harwood

Saturday 18 March 2017

Saturday 18th March 2017

Early this morning, 06.30, the Little Egrets on Folkton Carr near the bridge had increased to 8 birds.

Also this morning at 08.00 115 Whooper Swans flew north along Staxton Ridge, which must have been some sight.

4 Shore Larks were reported at Crook Ness today and the 3♀ Goosanders were still on Throxenby Mere.

At the Wykeham Raptor View Point today between 14.30 and 16.30 just a single male Goshawk but some 6 Buzzards, passerines included 10+ Crossbills and 30+ Siskins and there were also 2 Grey Herons. 

female Goosander - Throxenby Mere - Dave Mansell

Friday 17th March 2017

The first House Martin for the year was reported at about 17.30 this afternoon at Hayburn Wyke.

Goshawks were in evidence again at Wykeham Raptor View Point with a maximum 3 in view at any one time and also a couple of Buzzards plus 4 Crossbills and 3 Siskins flew over

At Wykeham South Lake today’s count was 2 Shelduck, 2 Goldeneye, a Gadwall a singing Chiffchaff but more unusual was a Water Rail flushed by a dog near to the observation spot.

As spring moves forward the number of Chiffchaffs is increasing and today there were 5 singing birds at Burton Riggs this morning.

Friday 17 March 2017

Thursday 16th March 2017

After the excitement of yesterday today was the quietest day for a while with very little being reported. The Shore Larks remained in the Crook Ness area and today numbers were back up to 17 and at Pickering the Waxwings were seen again in the Hawthorn Lane playpark but today there were a few less with 20+ being noted. 

Peregrines - Redcliff - Chris Bull


Wednesday 15th March 2017

Not just the highlight of the day but the highlight of the year so far was the discovery of an adult White-tailed Eagle seen from the Wykeham Raptor View Point from 10.45 until it was lost from view at 11.20, this is the sixth record of this species for the Scarborough area, The previous records were:-

A bird that had been trapped and shot was picked up dead at Cloughton on 12th March 1942 (W J Clarke).
An immature present from 20th January to 17th February 1948 roosted at Dovedale Griff, below Bridestones and flew down the valley into the Vale of Pickering each day (R M Garnet, M F M Meiklejohn, A J Wallis).
An immature previously seen at Filey flew over Marine Drive on 27th October 1985 (R H Appleby, S A Stirrup et al).
An immature that flew north over the town on 13th April 2011 had been seen previously over Filey (S Wignill).
One was seen at the Wykhem raptor viewpoint on 21st and 22nd March 2014 (B Richards et al) and presumably the same bird at the same location on 1st June 2014 (J Law et al).

Interestingly, what was presumably today’s bird was seen a few hours later over Hull, surely too much of a coincidence for it to have been a different individual.

Also in the Wykeham Raptor View Point area today at least 2 Goshawks, 4 Buzzards, a Peregrine and a Kestrel plus plenty of Crossbill activity and nearby at the top of Lang Gate a mixed flock of c100 Bramblings with 20 Yellowhammers, 6 Reed Buntings, 30 Chaffinches and a few Greenfinches plus a couple of flyover Crossbills.

At Crook Ness at least 5 of the Shore Larks were still about today and nearby in the Long Nab area there were several Goldcrests and Brambling.

Johnson’s Marsh played host to 4 Egyptian Geese in the morning but they didn’t stay for long and also this morning there were 3 Goosanders on Throxenby Mere.

A Red Kite was seen at Ravenscar today at 15.40 when it was slowly drifting south. on Folkton Carr there were a couple of Little Egrets and the Long-tailed Duck was still in Cayton Bay in the company of 11 Common Scoter.

My thanks to Chris Bradshaw for the details of the previous White-tailed Eagle records in the Scarborough area.

Goshawk - Troutsdale - Mark Pearson
Goshawk - Troutsdale - Mark Pearson
Long-tailed Duck - Cayton Bay - Chris Bull

Thursday 16 March 2017

Tuesday 14th March 2017

The first reported Sand Martin of the year today at Cromer Point pond where there were also 3 Scandinavian littoralis Rock Pipits. Another first for the year involved an immature Little Gull that flew east through Wykeham South Lake where there were also 2 Gadwall and 2 Goldeneye.

Waxwings were in the news again today with a flock of about 30 birds being seen in trees at the Hawthorn Lane playpark in Pickering but they soon flew off north into the Tay Home housing estate.

3 Goosanders flew over Crossgates and may have gone down on Burton Riggs where this morning the Pochard remained and Great Crested Grebes were back to 3.

A ♀Merlin was seen braving the wind this afternoon on Folkton Carr,

Pochard - Burton Riggs - Deb Schild

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Monday 13th March 2017

The day began early with the discovery of 6 Waxwings by the main road in Rillington seen by Chris McNaghten on his way to work at 07.20.

At least 10 Shore Larks at Crook Ness today in either the first or second field south of the car park.

A Goshawk and a singing Chiffchaff were along Charm Park Lane about 09.00 and nearby at Wykeham South Lake there was a Brent Goose, a Gadwall, 2 Shelduck, 12 Teal, 5 Wigeon, 6 Great Crested Grebes and 7 Oystercatchers.

At other locations in the area we had 11♂6♀ Mandarin Ducks at Hackness, 4 Little Egrets at Folkton Carr, 2 Ravens and a Peregrine at Ravenscar, c120 Brambling at the top of Lang Gate on the edge of Wykeham Forest, Chiffchaff singing top of Peasholm Glen, a Long-tailed Duck and 4 Shelducks in Cayton Bay and at Burton Riggs there were 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Tufted Ducks, a Pochard and a Chiffchaff.

An interesting butterfly record concerned a Brimstone at Burton Riggs.

Brent Goose - Wykeham South Lake - Terry Hobson
Peregrine - Marine Drive - Joe Bamfield

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Sunday 12th March 2017

The highlight of the day was without question the Bittern seen flying low over the Ayton Soccer Field this morning at 11.15 in the direction of Wykeham Lakes.

The Great Grey Shrike was still showing this morning at Maw Rigg in Langdale Forest and the sometimes elusive Shore Larks were again in the field south of Crook Ness although only 14 were counted today

At Seamer Road Mere today the records included 2 Pink-footed Geese, 19 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochards, ♀ Goosander, 7 Siskins and 2 singing Chiffchaffs meanwhile at Throxenby Mere the 2♀ Goosanders were still present.

Pink-footed Geese were on the move today with four notable flocks being reported -  c70 north over High Park Farm near Ebberston at 12.30, c70 over Flixton Carr at 15.00, c80 north over Ravenscar at 16.00 and finally c100 northeast over Hutton Buscel at 18.15.

A singing Chiffchaff was by the Open Air Theatre and another in the gully at Crook Ness.

At Ravenscar there were 2 Ravens seen today and down on the rocks 10 Purple Sandpipers and just down the road the 2 Shelduck were still frequenting the Rudda Road Flash.

Scalby Mills hosted a first winter Mediterranean Gull and 4 adult Lesser Black-Backed Gulls plus 56 roosting Oystercatchers. On the opposite side of Scarborough in South Bay the Great Northern Diver was seen again and a male Long-tailed Duck was off Holbeck.

Around the Carrs there were 4 Barnacle Geese seen flying north from Cayton Carr and on Starr Carr there were 60 Fieldfares meanwhile nearby on Burton Riggs the Great Crested Grebes had increased to 3.

Finally in the Wykeham Forest area a mixed finch/bunting flock with c120 Bramblings, c30 Yellowhammers and a few Chaffinches above Wrench Green at SE960888.

Great Grey Shrike - Maw Rigg - Chris Bell

Great Grey Shrike - Maw Rigg - Chris Bell

Saturday 11th March 2017

The Great Grey Shrike was seen again at Maw Rigg, Langdale Forest this morning.

The immature Glaucous Gull was seen again at Ravenscar today and there were also 3 Ravens in the area.

4 White-fronted Geese were still present at Harwood Dale Lake and at Burton Riggs there was a Chiffchaff, ♂ Shoveler and 2 Great Crested Grebes. South Bay and the harbour had Great Northern Diver, 2♂ Long-tailed Ducks and a ♀ Velvet Scoter during the afternoon.

Great Northern Diver - Scarborough Harbour - Jilly Mitchell Greenwood