Friday 31 December 2021

A First for Lincolnshire at Winter's Pit

We wandered wearily along the track by the pit approaching the site of the old house on the corner when Brian remarked, "What's that bird just beyond the cormorants drying their wings?"  I could see the bird through binoculars but no real details so it was time to get out the new 'scope.  As soon as I lined up on the bird the long yellow legs leapt out at me, making it out as something special, but what I wasn't sure.  Returning to the car it was closer to us and the view through the 'scope was stunning.  Long yellow legs, pale grey/brown back and head, extending down into a shield shape on the breast and a pinky/buffish belly and dark bill.  It was a stunning bird, which after some checking out turned out to be a while-tailed lapwing, most likely the one that had been at Blacktoft Sands for some weeks.  As this was a first for Lincolnshire, it created not a little excitement among the Lincolnshire birding community.  Fame at last!!  This bird breeds in central Asia, west to Iraq and winters in East Africa and India.  It is a very rare vagrant to Western Europe.

Brian and I had arrived about 10.30 am, the aim, apart from some birding, was to try out my new 'scope.  In short it performed exceptionally well for an entry level model and I am delighted with it.  It certainly enabled some superb close-up views and IDs of birds that we might not have made.  After thoroughly checking out the pit we followed our usual route along the Humber bank as far as East Halton Skitter.  The highlights, before finding the lapwing, were a flock of 50+ avocet and one of 64 black-tailed godwit up at the Skitter.  We had hoped for marsh harrier and short-eared owl but were out of luck.  Although it was a mild day a flask of tomato soup hit the spot before heading back for our assignation with the white-tailed lapwing.

Our species list numbered 32; an excellent day.

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Thursday 9 December 2021

Whitby, Day 4. A Whitby Wander.

 The view as we walked down the 199 steps into the old town was spectacular: down into the harbour, across to the new town and right along the coast to Kettleness.  Finally the weather had decided to be kind to us.  At the bottom of the steps we divided forces and Peter and myself headed down to the east pier to look for some photos back up the harbour.  On the way down we could see that a bridge had finally been built across the gap from the inner to the outer pier, excellent.  We enjoyed our walk along the east wall of the harbour impressed with its width; designed to withstand the severest of storms.  We were delighted when a small flock of turnstones landed at our feet.  Annoyingly I had only taken my phone for photographing views and the shots I took of the birds have gone straight into the bin.  I did manage a couple of video clips though, as I did of the lifeboat as it returned to the harbour.  Being able to walk out onto the outer east pier afforded a viewpoint that we had not experienced before.

Having explored the harbour we headed back into town to locate the ladies for coffee.  Peter and I then went up onto to West Cliff for some more photography across the harbour to the old town and abbey.  We ended our visit with a visit to Hammond's Tea Rooms above the jewellery shop.  Sadly there were no crab sandwiches but we enjoyed delicious leek and potato soup with cheese scone instead.  Sadly the only thing left was the drive home after a splendid few days.

To view large, please click on an image.  To play the video clips at the end click on play.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Whitby, Day 3. Boggle Bumble

The roaring of the surf echoed in our ears as we walked down the steep hill to Boggle Hole beach at Robinhood's Bay.  The early rain had stopped so we were in the dry but rain threatened all day.  As always we had a splendid time fossicking and beach combing for a couple of hours.  Wonderfully bright and shiny pebbles and boulders littered the beach and made excellent subjects for photography.   We were wise to keep away from the cliff as, periodically, shale and mud rained down onto the beach.  These cliffs certainly seem to be eroding dramatically.   Later in the day we discovered that the cliff top path had collapsed in one or two places.  Oystercatchers and turnstones were busily feeding amongst the rock pools and seaweed along with gulls.  Once in Bay Town itself we repaired to to the Cove Cafe in the old chapel for excellent hot chocolate.  Our return route took us along the cliff top path where we were pleased to get good views of a whimbrel, the white back and rump and song being particularly distinctive.  A little further on we stopped for lunch before reaching the cars.  It is now beer o'clock back at the hostel while we decide where we are going to eat.  A dull, cold but largely dry day today so a win.

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