Saturday, 27 March 2010

Scarborough and the Forests of the NYM

Friday 21 March 2010

Well, as I haven't been out this week, there's a little time to catch up on last week's outings. I had a bit of a trip out to Scarborough, Wykeham Forest and Langdale Forest.

First stop, Wykeham Forest for the raptor viewpoint, hopeful of a Goshawk, Buzzard or Hen Harrier, anything really! After an hour or so, zip zero. Well, excluding the usual suspects like Greenfinch, Siskin, Coal Tit and so on.

Then I called in at Hackness to check for Mandarins. I was in luck hear with a single pair although distant, with the added excitement of viewing from a narrow, soft roadside verge, through established, dense trees. A few Canada Geese, Mallards and the odd Moorhen and Pheasant were present. A good range of Tits too, with Coal, LT, Blue and Great seen. A pretty little village and far easier access than Wykeham Lakes (fishing) with their welcoming "Absolutely no birdwatching!" sign. At least it's not as pretentious as the one at Ripon Fishing Club, sorry, Piscatorial Association...

After battling through the convoy/roadworks of West Ayton to get to Hackness, plodded on to Scalby at the coast. Good numbers of Oystercatcher, Redshank, Ringed Plover and a Curlew on the beach of Jackson's Bay. BH, Herring, LBB, Common and a single Little Gull seen along the shoreline too. A good number of RB Mergansers in North Bay. A pair of Stonechat and a good sizeable flock of Woodpigeon along Scalby Beck kept me entertained heading back to the car.

So on to Maw Rigg, up past Langdale End in Langdale Forest, hoping for the highlight of the day... a Great Grey Shrike, which had been reported on Birdguides, Scarborough Birding and by Steve Race.... After a good walk along Forestry Commission tracks, I finally arrived up at Maw Rigg, in the clear-felled areas, with their strategically left perches for Nightjar etc. and after a good scan around, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just as I was about to head home, a car approached at slow pace (bearing in mind the gates were locked) and I was greeted by the customary birders greeting, "Any joy yet?". It was Andy Malley, recently appointed chairman of Flamborough Bird Observatory. He was kind enough to give me a little tour of Maw Rigg, but after perhaps another hour, still no GGS. WEll, you win some, you lose some. A good number of Common Crossbills were passing through at this point and occasionally dropping down to drink from the puddles in the tracks.

Common crossbill male

Common crossbill male

Common crossbill female

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