Monday, 16 February 2015

Filey Twitching Surf Scoter

I was occupied the whole weekend with church to put my new scope through its paces, but with Mondays off I was able to have a little twitch to see what it could do. My options were either the long staying black scoter at Berwick (Which would also include long-tailed duck) or the recently found Surf Scoter which was a new find but was showing very well. I eventually decided on the latter at 10.00 the night before.
So the usual pattern of trains, out of Sheffield at 5.30 before arriving in Filey at 9.30 and then arriving on site itself at around 10.00ish. I quickly got out the scope and scanned the brig for birders, there were none. I then scanned the bay, and saw nothing. I should add at this point that it was absolutely teeming down with rain, and the conditions were not great. Not seeing the bird I decided I had wasted my time, but since I still had time I wandered along the brig to see if I had missed anything.
Of course I had! Even when I was close it was hard to pick out, but I did manage to spot the bird and get it in the scope to see the stunning bill and white on the head and neck. It was close given that scoters are usually far out at sea, and you could clearly make out all the features of what was a stunning bird.
I was about to get closer but another birder appeared at this point. I waited until he had got onto it before we both tried to get closer. We got a bit closer but not much as the bird kept moving. At one point it started to come back to us, so we set up to watch it but it stopped and the tide eventually pushed us back. I did get some reasonable shots but due to the bobbing of the water they are only just in focus and not exceptional by any stretch of the imagination.
-Surf Scoter
The Scoter remained in sight all through our time on the brig before being pushed back by the tide. So other birds. I picked up some partridges in flight from the train, which were a yeartick, but I could not allocate them a species so they remain off my yearlist.
On the brig, despite the weather, there was decent movement of birds offshore, including many yearticks; Fulmar, Guillemot, Gannet and a single Red-Throated Diver. In the bay itself there was a small raft of Common Scoters and a solitary Eider, also adding to the yearlist. There were also plenty of cormorants and a single Great-Crested Grebe.
On the Brig itself there were a good few waders. The usual Redshank and Oystercatcher were present as well as Turnstone which were very approachable and a large group of the delightful Purple Sandpipers, some of which we were able to get close to and I snapped a few shots in a more natural setting than the pontoons at New Brighton.
-Purple Sandpipers
Once the tide had forced us back I headed onto Filey Dams to see if there was anything there. The usual suspects, including a Shoveler, Gadwall and Wigeon. The highlight for me was when a flock of 3 Stock Dove came and landed in front of the hide. Not only are they smashing birds but it was also my first of the year, Sadly the camera had fogged up due to the consistent rain so the photo I managed were very hazy.
-Stock Dove
It nice to meet up with Nick Carter as well, now of the Filey area. It was great to see him again after we both moved away from the Calderdale area. I also bumped into a birder that I had met on Friday at Attercliffe with the gulls. He had mentioned to other birders he knew about 'this lad birding in shorts' so it was a surprise to see him again in a completely different context.

Species List:
Train Journey: Graylag Goose, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Starling, Partridge sp., Herring Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Swan sp., Pheasant, Carrion Crow Roe Deer,
Filey Brig: Great-Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Surf Scoter, Fulmar, Rock Pipit, Gannet, Common Scoter, Eider, Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Red-Throated Diver, Guillemot, Oystercatcher, Common Redshank, Herring Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Grey Seal,
Filey Dams: Stock Dove, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Shoveler, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Teal, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Graylag Goose, Sparrowhawk, Robin, Reed Bunting, Wren, Dunnock, Common Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Shelduck, Woodpigeon, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Canada Goose, Chaffinch, Pheasant,


  1. Good to catch up with you too mate, don't forget any time you want an east coast birding trip just let us know, food and accommodation laid on.

    1. Cheers Nick, it was great to see you and hopefully not long until I'm back over