Yesterday the ginger dwarf said the rain would get less the further north you went, so I took notice and didn't cancel today's session in North Yorkshire. This morning's forecast on the TV looked quite different with rain shown on the graphics for North Yorkshire all day. It was too late to cancel, so I drove north with a sinking heart. The terrible traffic chaos just north of Malton didn't help, but on arrival the sky was very overcast, but at least it wasn't raining....yet.
All pics (c) 2012 Tony Robinson
The first birds we saw were plenty of Meadow Pipits, which seemed to be very argumentative, and wouldn't leave each other in peace. The path was much muddier than last week, which made the going much trickier between clumps of heather, sedges and the other specialised plants. Despite the conditions we managed to get a little further than last week, and this was lucky because the Green Woodpecker family had moved several metres further south. We also enjoyed much better views of Whinchats this time, and it was very heartening to find that they had bred successfully - there was a brood of well-grown youngsters. There were also Reed Buntings in the area.
We retraced our footsteps and returned to the gate, and from here we travelled down towards the railway line. Another male Whinchat was perched on a post with a female nearby. A Willow Warbler sang from the trees near the line but there seemed to be very few other birds about. We were leaving again when suddenly I heard the trills of some Redpolls, which were very hard to locate in the leaves of a tree, but most people got to see them.
Later we tried another path through the bracken to try and get a view of a possible Stonechat. Unfortunately, we didn't track it down, but we did find a Siskin. It didn't rain at all while we were there, but some small biting midges made their presence felt, and were far from pleasant. On the way back to the original car park we saw displaying Curlew, so presumably they are still nesting in the area, perhaps they lost earlier broods? Apparently, not long after we left the rain moved in, so we were extremely lucky to remain dry.