After returning from Spain I have made a couple of visits to the patch, both totally different in nature and both giving me 2 patch ticks apiece. On the 28th Feb I was trying to accrue some last minute additions but it was pretty quiet as the stubbles had been ploughed and their were dog walkers on the beach. Despite this there was a general unrest amongst the Common Gulls. The reason became apparent when a sub-adult Peregrine came motoring over my shoulder. It cant have passed more than 5 yards away using me as a screen as it attempted a pop-up attack. It failed and disappeared over the marsh at the rate of knots leaving me to photograph its arse.
The sun was blazing down so despite the low temperatures there was serious heat haze and thermals. A Buzzard lazily moved along the beach without much effort and at least another 7 were noted moving north along the ridge that is 1 mile inland of the patch. One of these birds seemed to take an extended interest in a small copse north of the ridge so I will have to keep an eye on this. Buzzard is my second Buzzard sp for the site after the juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard from 2010. Little else was seen so I sacked it off pretty quickly.
Yesterday it was foggy. Very foggy initially with visibility about 50m. I almost gave up and turned round immediately but I am glad I stuck to my original plan. The fog made the beach the only option so I walked north to the ford up near Fraisthorpe. The Kumlien's Gull was still about looking pretty ill with little feathering infront of its eyes. If you find it dead please retain the body or at least some juvenile feathers (eg primaries) in case it could be radio-isotoped. Good numbers of waders were kicking about and with the lack of dogs were allowing close approach. No purps for me. Still. Gah! Turnstones, Oystercatchers and Sanderlings were the bread and butter as usual but a Ringed Plover and 3 Redshank were nice. Oh for a godwit or curlew. I'm sure it wont be long though. I headed back south of the Barmston car park and did my hedgerow loop with limited success. The fog was lifting and singing Skylarks and a single Meadow Pipit made it feel more spring like with a bit of sun creeping through the haze. As I arrived at the pine plantation a yelping above me emerged from a fog bank and was a single lost looking Pink-footed Goose. Strangely my first of this species here of what in theory should be the commonest goose. Just Bean, Canada and Barnacle to add aside from vagrants now.
I rocked up in the plantation and there were loads of birds in a tit flock. Despite my searching I couldn't uncover a Goldcrest (although if I manage to go a year here without a Goldcrest I will be in shock) but I did find 1, perhaps 2 Treecreepers which must be migrants as they haven't been present all winter. How far they have come is certainly open to debate but it is nice that stuff is moving. By this time I was flagging after covering quite a lot of ground and despite the flat sea and improving visibility it was still very patchy and I decided to call it quits.
I stuck the moth trap out last night and got...a wet moth trap. Doh. Next time maybe.