Thursday 10th March light NW Misty, cloudy with some brighter periods . . . and cold
Past the harbour hoping for an Iceland gull but not getting one, I follow the cycle path and then the road to Flamborough. To North Landing I search the fields along the cliff edge for the reported Richard's pipits. There are only two other birders doing the same, a couple who have just started birding, Steve and Judith from Wakefield. With three large fields scanned after a couple of hours, with some time spent enjoying the massed ranks of kittiwakes and guillemots on the cliffs, and enjoying watching gannets, auks and fulmars flying past, I head back to the bike for lunch.
One thought on the way back to the bike; how did that tyre get on top of that stack?
Steve and Julie had left an hour or so ago and as I reach the first field, the field nearest to the cafes and car park, a crow lands in it. I use my binoculars and experience another 'oh there it is' moment. Richard's pipit goes onto the year list.
I text Phil, The Oracle, the good news and he asks how many. Looking back I can see there are two of them. Brilliant, a possibly tricky to get scarcity is seen.
Now there has been a bittern seen close by each evening for a while and Phil suggests seawatching and then the bittern. I have other ideas. There is a surf scoter twelve miles away at Filey. I set off to find it.
An hour and a half later, and after meeting two lovely couples who are out either walking the dog, Lise and Dave or birding, Julie and Trevor who used to live on Fetlar. I cycle along the cliff top and easily find the first winter male surf scoter. 120 miles in the last three days is well worth it. Two very good birds are added to the year list. Result!
I chain the bike to a fence and clamber down the muddy cliff to get to the shore. I am interested in the rocks that I have seen from the top and want a closer look. Does anybody want to hazzard a guess at what the coral-like structures are in the limestone?
The surf scoter is a little closer and seems to like the company of a greta-crested grebe. I sit down on some rocks and am surprised when I hear a loud cough. Now twenty feet away are two small seal cubs! They're staring at me but aren't too concerned. They yawn and roll and stretch. To be so close to two such wonderful animals is, here comes that favourite word of mine, a privilege.
So the year list is 183, which is still twenty two ahead of this time last year. Almost coincidentally the 182nd bird I saw last year was surf scoter at Hoylake on the 14th of April.
23.95 Miles 1099 feet elevation up 1012 feet elevation down