Thursday, 13 October 2011

Wild Goose Chase?

On the last day of September a Red-breasted Goose was photographed feeding on the beach at Saltburn before later moving to Scaling Dam but should we take it serious? First reactions were no, but as time moved on the Cleveland lot soon liked what they saw and at the time of writing many appear to favour it being a wild bird. So why? Well, in its favour the bird is un-ringed, in pristine condition and perhaps most intriguing of all it is a juvenile, something which certainly won't harm its cause. Also, according to the locals it spent the first three days of its stay constantly feeding which might indicate a long journey previous, although pessimists might suggest it wore itself out cutting through the cage! On the flip side since it moved to Scaling Dam it is not particularly keeping good company (Canada Geese) although neither are the recently arrived Pink-feet which are presumably wild? So what to do? Easy really, what else is there to do in Yorkshire during an autumn of westerlies!

      The Juvenile Red-breasted Goose 'shaming itself' at Scaling Dam.
       Photographer - Edna Scruples

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Roll on the easterlies!

It's been a quiet start to the autumn so far for the Yorkshire lister, with a lack of easterlies ensuring very few drift migrants have appeared on the coast. Although predominately from the west the occasional switch to northerlies has at least kindled a bit of sea bird passage allowing one or two fledgling listers to add species such as Balearic Shearwater and Long-tailed Skua to their tally but the only real rarities reported (Black-browed Albatross, Fea's Petrel and probable Yelkouan Shearwater) were seen by just a tiny number of observers in total and could end up getting a rough ride with the BBRC. Undoubted highlight so far has been the juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper which was found at Beacon Ponds during the early evening of September10th but although it remained until dusk it had departed by next morning meaning that in the main only the Spurn regulars caught up with it. Amongst those who were able to add it to their Yorkshire list was finder Mick Turton, whilst his work colleague Rich Swales went one better and added it to his Brit’ list. Roll on the easterlies!

Action at last on September 29th when news broke that the Sandhill Crane which had previously been seen in Scotland was heading down the east coast. First picked up in Northumberland it continued south finally crossing the Tees into Yorkshire at about mid day. By this time many Yorkshire listers were heading to Spurn hedging their bets on the ‘funnel effect’ but alas when the bird got to Whitby it headed inland, and although it had been clocked at a few Yorkshire sites, it was generally only enjoyed by a select band of Cleveland listers, leaving those posted at Scarborough and all points south totally frustrated.

the Semi P' at Beacon Ponds, September 2011 - John Hewitt