Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Foul weather birding

Jean missed Chough and Stonechat yesterday and opted for a walk from the cafe to the tall cliffs as the seemingly clearing weather produced a nasty sting in the tail.  A birdless soaking.  As soon as the weather cleared, up popped the female Stonechat along the same route and a short detour produced the Chough in the sheep fields.  Earlier coastal coverage saw a few waders counts and a couple of Meds

From now onwards, the onus will be more on visiting year-listing birders to find and "put out" the Chough.  It can be quite time-consuming to locate and we (Malcolm, Jean and Pete) seem to have spent quite a chunk of the last month or so doing that and there are now other things to do!     So if it is not visible on our usual quick circuit: drive by check of the horse paddock, check of the fields next to Half Moon Bay, scoping the southern headland fields from the Near Naze if visibility permits, it wont be further looked for.   However, if there is negative news for more than three days, at least one of us will make an effort and try and find it again.  Birders need to check:

a) horse paddock - favours the fence line along footpath down from Knowlys but has been all over here, albeit not staying long at any of the other parts of this area
b) half moon bay fields just north of cafe (worth sitting and watching with a cuppa!)
c) all along the undercliff between half moon bay cafe and the headland but make sure you are not cut off on incoming spring tides
d) sheep field - can be a bit awkward to check but can be scanned along with the rest of the headland at long range, as can a big chunk of the area, from the Near Naze (south end of ex heliport area)

Med Gull - adults on the sea at Heysham village bay and the usual Czech bird along the north wall
Stonechat - usual female on tall vegetation along the top of the beach about 100m north of the 1/2 moon bay cafe
Chough - feeding well on sheep field along with an increase in Oystercatcher early pm
Ringed Plover - 18 out of the area on SS groyne flew to the horse paddock over HT
Turnstone - 70 on heliport seawall and 5 on wooden jetty
Knot - 150ish heliport seawall
Eider - scan not possible due to tidal state