A very very wet day on the East Coast today with the SBSG (if it wasn’t a planned trip I wouldn’t have gone based on the weather forecast!), but a good time had despite the depressing downpour.
First stop Filey for the Wryneck. The weather at this point was the worst it was all day, and predictably we failed to find the bird, despite finding the bush where it was supposed to hang out. Some of us did see a brief glimpse of a browny-grey something inside, but that’s as far as we got – whether it was a wryneck, other bird, or figment of the imagination brought on by water damage to the brain is anyone’s guess! We did spot a well-known twitcher there, who helped us find the bush, and then seemed to get rather aggitated because one of our party didn’t fancy shimmying to the edge of the cliff and round the bush to flush it for him…
Then on to Filey Dams, where we lingered for a while to take shelter in the hides for a bit, despite the fact the best birds on offer were two Sparrowhawks, some Snipe and a Wigeon… One member of the group did catch glimpse of a probable otter though. Does anyone know if this sounds likely?
Then on to Flam – we joined on to the Rustic Bunting twitch, but the rain and fact some people had waited two hours without a sniff of it made most of us make the decision to head to the cafe, and start again with the wait when we were a bit drier and had a hot drink inside us! On walking back we were greeted by smiling birders who’d finally seen it showing well just a few minutes ago! D’oh! In a way this was quite a relief as we were a bit uneasy about the “organised flush” planned, as it was resting a bit uneasily with some of our principles, and despite the pissing weather we didn’t want to just see the arse-end of a bunting just so we can tick it.
We stood and watched again for a bit, and after not too long a bird flew up into the Rustic’s favoured bush, sadly just as the rain started lashing at its worst again. I got onto it in the scope – bunting, striking head pattern, hint of wingbars! Bingo! As it was quicker to lend my scope than to give directions, and I wanted everyone to get a look before if flitted off, I gave it up to other members of the group, who all had a good look while I tried and failed to look through the fog of my steamed up specs and binoculars. By the time I took my turn back at the scope I had to refind it, as I’d adjusted my tripod for shorter people, and got on to it briefly through the now raindrop-covered scope just as it flitted out of view, and others around us with similarly afflicted optics murmuring about whether it had actually been the right bird? Had I been quite embarrassingly wrong with my initial ID?! But all members of the group who had a scoped look (all fine birders who would pick up on such a stupid error) saw the bunting plain as day, and I wonder if there were two birds in that bush to confuse matters (apparently a whinchat had been up with it when it appeared earlier).
Elsewhere at North Landing were a nice party of red-legged partridge, a yellowhammer, and plenty of gannets and cormorants over the sea, but the weather didn’t encourage us to explore too far.
After that we took the decision to move inland, and ended up at Blacktoft just as the rain stopped, where there were loads of marsh harriers around as usual, and a fine selection of waders that included curlew sandpiper, spotted redshank and black-tailed godwit.
A big up too to Paul who’s run the SBSG coach trips for well over a decade – it was his final trip today as he retires from the role. A big thanks to him for doing this for so long, and we’ve had some great trips with him at the wheel.