Flamborough Head, Filey Dams and Filey Brigg - 15/09/18

31 members and friends left Stockport to head over to the east coast. After a comfort stop at Ferrybridge we arrived, via a brief detour due to a road closure, at Flamborough Head. A Sparrowhawk greeted our arrival, hunting the hedges adjacent to the car park. The sea was very calm with a surprising number of boats dotted around, along with the occasional jet ski and

Sea-watching at Flamborough (Alan & Glo)

Sea watching from the cliffs produced a varied number of species with many of the group picking up on one of our target birds, a light phase Arctic Skua that passed relatively close. There were large numbers of Gannet moving through (both north and south) with smaller numbers of Fulmar and Sandwich Tern. At least one Manx Shearwater was seen, pointed out by a local birder, and a single Great Skua was also recorded. Auks were present with both Guillemot and Razorbill noted but of
particular interest was a party of five Puffins which flew past giving good views. Red-throated Divers were seen flying south with at least five birds noted. Cormorant and Shag were both recorded as were all of the commoner gull species, including Great Black-backed Gull. At the foot of the cliffs Oystercatcher fed amongst the rocks with House Martins wheeling overhead.

Oystercatcher (Alan & Glo)

In the long hedges and bramble patches away from the cliffs we found a charming party of Whinchat, a female with up to four young. Whitethroat and Linnet were recorded with a Wheatear being seen in the adjacent field. In the bramble patches adjacent to the golf course we searched for small passerines. Robin, Wren and Dunnock were abundant, and the only bird of note was a Willow Warbler moving through the vegetation.

Small Copper (Alan & Glo)

Moving on, our next stop was at Filey Dams, the small local nature reserve in the middle of a tidy housing estate. We found a couple of Greenshank with two Green Sandpiper. A Snipe, a Ruff and a Black-tailed Godwit were seen. A handful of juvenile Ringed Plover fed in the exposed mud alongside a couple of Dunlin and, probably the highlight, a couple of Curlew Sandpiper. One of the birds showing a lovely peachy flush to its breast. There were many moulting duck (Mallard, Teal and Wigeon) alongside a couple of Cormorant.

Common Darter (Holly Page)

In the tree’s around the ponds we noted Stock Dove, Bullfinch and a party of Tree Sparrow. Two Hobby’s passed overhead and were seen by a few lucky observers. A couple of our party checked out the abundant dragonflies and a local birder pointed out a stunning Small Copper Butterfly sunning itself off the boardwalk. Our last stop of the day was at Filey Brigg, a walk down the ravine to the
beach producing nothing of note and it wasn’t until we got out to the beach that birds were spotted. A small party of Sandwich Tern rested alongside the abundant gulls.

View from the Brigg (Holly Page)

The rocky shore of the Brigg held Turnstone and Oystercatcher. The highlight though were the Purple Sandpipers with at least half a dozen birds including one sporting colour rings to both legs. Out at sea we found a dark phase Arctic Skua resting on the water, with more Sandwich Terns, Fulmars and Gannet passing through. Red-throated Diver was again noted. Finally, taking the many steps back up the cliff we were entertained by four hunting Kestrel which gave excellent close views overhead.

Kestrel (Alan & Glo)