Thursday 10 October 2019

Wake me up when September ends

Last month featured minimal actual birding but some damn fine birds and a few snakes. It started with a week in Somerset which featured a diversion to Kynance Cove on the Lizard for a brief look at the Brown Booby which put in a rather brief appearance as it headed to roost. I also saw a good number of Curlew Sandpipers and a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls around Stert Point. A post work sally into Dorset saw me come face to face with my first ever Smooth Snake on a small site (handled under licence).

Izzy at MigFest
Isabelle joined me for the morning at Migfest where we represented the Yorkshire Naturalists Union. We saw loads of great people including Jonny 'Lord of Dovestep' Rankin just as he finished his marathon section of a monster biathlon. We recruited a couple of members and I also managed to see my first White-rumped Sandpiper (lazy twitcher) as it continued its residency at Kilnsea Wetlands. On the Sunday I headed out for a seawatch at Flamborough which was probably the only structured birding I did and I saw a juvenile Long-tailed Skua, a handful of Sooty and Manx Shearwaters (I managed to miss a brace of Balearics) plus a returning Pale-bellied Brent Goose.

A second trip to Somerset was enlived by Yorkshire's first Little Crake since 1946 at Blacktoft Sands which showed exceptionally for the assembled masses before undertaking an overnight flit and leaving a dirty great hole in many twitchers lists. Not mine though and also added the same day was a county tick in the form of the Long-billed Dowitcher which had been at Fairburn Ings for a little while. Like the White-rumped Sandpiper, this was a bird I CBA to go too far for. Three Yorkshire Ticks and three lifers in one month isnt too bad.

Little Crake. Showing between the reeds again!
A glorious mid-September day with temperatures in the 20s led to another snake trip, this time to a larger site and we manged to see an array of sizes and shapes of Smooth Snakes with seven gracing us with their presence by the end of the walk. I can't go into much detail due to sensitivity over the site but I improved my handling skills and also saw my first Wasp Spider which was very cool. A couple of probable Sand Lizards evaded a decent look but we did see plenty of Zoots.

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