Stuart text me yesterday and asked me if I fancied spending the morning going round a few birdwatching sites in the Scarborough area. Our first stop, bright and and early, was Peasholm Lake. The lake is still hosting a Scaup, but additionally there was a drake Mandarin there this morning. Unfortunately, low light levels meant I could only obtain the filthiest and most upsetting pictures, which I will not upset you by posting here. The lake was also partly frozen over, and, oddly enough, there was not a single goose present on the lake, island, or the surroundings. Probably off feeding in a field somewhere, we decided.

Next stop was the harbour, where most of the recent cast was still present, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Great Crested Grebe, Red-Throated Diver, as well as the Shag, which stood obligingly next to a Cormorant for comparison:

We're not so different, you and I

A little different today was the Grey Seal, which kept popping its head above the surface and pretending to be either a shiny little diving bird, or a buoy. In fact, it was neither. It was a seal.

From the harbour, we went to Seamer Tip Pools, a site famous for the fact that I could never find it when I tried to get there myself. Hopefully I am now cured of that dreadful malady. Recently, Seamer Tip Pools had been home to a Hooded Crow and a Jack Snipe, but today we were instead treated to a female Pintail, which was still pretty pleasant, as well as good ID experience.

From Seamer, we head to Wykeham Lakes, which had recently been home to a Slavonian Grebe. Unfortunately there was a 400mph, -80° wind that made viewing the lake uncomfortable, so we gave up after spotting some Whooper Swans and a Dabchick. As we drove around the lake, we spotted a Hare sat in a field:

And we also saw a couple of Kestrels and a Buzzard sat in a tree only a couple of metres from the car – probably one of the best views of Buzzard I’ve ever had. Unfortunately it flew just as I got my camera out and turned on.

Our last site was Wykeham Forest, where we saw loads of Red-Legged Partridge driving in, and heard plenty of Crossbill within the forest. We checked out the ‘Shrike Clearing’ to see if the regular wintering Great Grey was there, but no sign yet.

Just as Stuart was dropping me off at home, he received a text telling him that the Taiga Bean Goose was back at Flower of May. Stuart had already seen it, and needed to get back for lunch, so I jumped in my car, picked up Rachel, and drove to Flower of May.

I couldn’t find the bloody goose. This is the third time I’ve tried and I’m sure I’ve checked every goose there. Once again, big flock of Canadas, a few Greylag, a few Canada x Greylag Hybrids, and Mungo, the Swan Goose x Canada Hybrid. I probably could have spent a couple of hours waiting, but in a fit of pique, brought on by cold, Rachel stole my hat. Then, in a further fit of pique, she took my car keys, locked herself in the car, and honked the horn until I gave in and drove her home.  On the way home I asked her if she would like to see the Mandarin at Peasholm, but, in a fit of pique, she decided she didn’t want to. I was welcome to have a quick walk round the lake to see if I could get a photo whilst she sat in the car, though. I parked up near Peasholm and, in a fit of pique, Rachel decided that she would walk round with me. At the lake the first thing I noticed was that the geese were back on the lake – but something strange seemed to be going on. On Peasholm lake was Mungo:


Now, either the bird at Flower of May was a different Swan Goose x Canada Goose Hybrid, or Mungo had, with an associated group of  Canadas, flown from Flower of May (just outside of Lebberston) to Peasholm Lake (North Bay of Scarborough) in less time than it had taken me to drive. Theoretically possible, I suppose, but it didn’t seem likely. I will have to make detailed notes on plumage and try and get a photo of the Flower of May bird tomorrow. Tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow. I’m going to stake out the Flower of May pond and either see that Taiga or die trying.

Anyway, the Mandarin was still there, but sat on the bank of the island, so too distant for photos. I suggested we wait a while, but, in a fit of pique, Rachel insisted we went somewhere warm.

In other news, I took a picture of a centipede on the 3rd of December at my mum & dad’s house, and I have identified it today as Stigmatogaster subterranea, a new species for my life list and my sixth myriapod:

Stigmatogaster subterranea