Friday, 11 March 2016

Incredible. Migration Surprises Me. Filey Brigg.

Friday 11th March light SE to fresh sunny 7C

After all of the effort of the last few days since leaving Norfolk I decide a rest day is deserved. I head for the Brigg in lovely sunshine and with only a light wind from the south east, things are a tad warmer.

Carrying the bike down the muddy cliff path, I reach the limestone pavement at the Brigg's base and after chaining it to a bench I start to walk to the far end. There are two ecologists from Hull University on their way out to laminaria beds as the tide is incredibly low.
The area is fascinating with many seaweed species, some shore crabs and periwinkles. I hadn't realised how far the Brigg extends out into the sea. It reminds me of the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and it's limestone structures seem to me to be as interesting as that more famous place.


There's a group of purple sandpipers and turnstones that allow me to sit close by and watch. One turnstone has four colour rings on; two on each leg.


Birds are passing, mostly heading south; gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes, red-throated divers and fulmars. The surf scoter is as faithful as ever to his blue plastic bottle and there are a number of shags and cormorants feeding close by.

The two young seal pups are still on the rock ledge close to the muddy cliffs. They seem to be extremely relaxed and don;t react too harshly even when a border collie goes over to them to investigate. People come and go all morning, taking photographs of the sleeping pair.

Returning to the bike I sit and seawatch as more people come to see the seal pups. I am talking to one couple when a bird flies past from off the sea. I jump up and chase after it. It's a ring ouzel! Unfortunately it just keeps flying and is soon off over the cliff top. I text Phil about what I feel is an almost unbelievable sighting. To see a ring ouzel at this time of year and coming off the sea is incredible and I am buzzing, telling anyone who will listen for ages.
A couple I met yesterday. Lise and Dave, arrive with their two dogs. Lise is a keen birdwatcher eager to learn more. Dave is a photographer who likes to photograph birds yet confesses to knowing nothing about them. Together we watch and chat. Maybe it is because the hour is getting late but there are now a few puffins flying past as well as the masses of guillemot.
The wind has got up during the day and the temperature has correspondingly fallen. It is downright chilly!
I decide to go and search for birds in the sheltered trees and hedges along the cliff tops. On the way back up the cliff path two birders replete with scopes on tripods come down to look for the surf scoter. I wave goodbye to Lise and Dave and stand with the two birders and get great views of the scoter through one's telescope. Hence I meet Tim Isherwood and Adrian Johnson. Tim tells me he started birding as a kid when Mum and dad put up a red bag full of peanuts. The birds attracted to it were diverse and colourful enough to start tim's life of loving birds. Adrian's story s amazing.
Many years ago Adrian before he was a birder saw a bird in his garden that he didn't recognise. Local organisations dismissed his report as a redwing. It wasn't. It was a spring male eye-browed thrush! How can one top that as a garden tick?

So the year list is 185, which is still twenty four ahead of this time last year.


3.69 Miles 245 feet elevation up 245 feet elevation down

1 comment:

  1. What a great day at the Brigg. Thank you Gary for sharing your birding knowledge, I learnt more from you today than pouring over my books. You are my birding mentor whether you want the job or not. If your wonderful quest ever takes you to West Yorkshire you will always have a room with us for the night. Thank you and best of luck, Lise.

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