Monday, 30 September 2013

Living the dream...

After Friday's excitement with the Brown Shrike and the long drive home, I wasn't sure I'd be out of bed and at Bridlington in time for my scheduled boat trip next morning. In the end the lure of the coast was enough, and I was on the quayside watching Purple Sandpipers on the sea wall by early morning.

Bridlington Bay - Saturday 21st September 2013

I was joined by my friends Sue Gale and Andy Kisby, and we managed to claim the best seats on the Yorkshire Belle. But, this didn't help much when there aren't many birds about... A few Razorbills, Guillemots and Puffins were the main players, with a few gulls as background noise. Two distant Great Skuas were a brief blip of excitement, with the odd Arctic, Common and Sandwich Tern adding some colour.

The biggest talking point was a potential adult Yellow-legged Gull which was seen circling the boat. I saw it from underneath well - it clearly had yellow legs and a clean, unstressed head. On the water, we could see the bird with its darker grey wings, but most people (including the spotters) were struggling to get on to it. When they did, much debate ensued until we all realised the bird we were looking at now was different to the one we saw earlier...

After a while, the Fulmars started to show close in - these are always a joy to see - but there was little of real interest until a few minutes from the end. An eagle-eyed punter spotted a close-in Red-necked Grebe on the sea. Very nice. We turned back for a closer look and everyone got to see the lovely bird close up. A nice adult moulting into winter plumage.

Red-necked Grebe, Bridlington Bay, East Yorkshire - Saturday 21st September 2013

The westerly breeze put us off the idea of hedge-bashing on Flamborough Head, so we settled on a trip to Filey Brigg for a reported Yellow-browed Warbler. We weren't disappointed. The little sprite - one of my favourite species - was on the seaward (and leeward) side, in very non-Yellow-browed habitat. A real cracker.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Filey, North Yorkshire - Saturday 21st September 2013

I'd earmarked the following day for birding too, but when you're offered a free ticket to the Manchester derby, playing at home, in a box with free booze and food, and a pitch tour and freebies, etc, you don't say no. Did I mention it was free? Anyway, City were great, Utd were pathetic (I'm being kind), and we won 4-1. The perfect end to a great few days.

The view from the posh seats...

Blue Moon...

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