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Birds Without Borders

  • Thu 19th Sep, 2019

Birds have no physical borders to movement, no boundaries to their migration. They can fly anywhere they like. Imagine that, total freedom of movement…

Yellow-browed Warbler at Flamborough © Richard BainesYellow-browed Warbler at Flamborough © Richard Baines

I have been inspired by animal migration and especially birds all my life. I remember peering out of my bedroom window as a teenager and overlooking the industry on Teeside. I would watch with a keen eye the direction of factory smoke. If the smoke was moving right to left that meant the wind was blowing from the east.

I would rush down to the coast in search of magical migrant birds from continental Europe and maybe if I was extra lucky from Siberia. That rush of adrenalin when the first birds arrive from over the sea is amazing. So many questions fly through my mind; how do they navigate? how do they survive flying over the North Sea? Which country did they nest in? How many borders have they flown over?

North Yorkshire coastline © Richard BainesNorth Yorkshire coastline © Richard Baines

In those early days of my birding life it was easy to drop everything when the weather looked good. These days with more responsibilities it becomes harder but its still worth dashing to the coast if you sniff an easterly! There are many places on the Yorkshire coast to seek out. In the North York Moors National Park try any headland such as Boulby, Kettleness or Ravenscar. Even the cinder track disused railway between Whitby and Scarborough can be good.

Later in September the first thrushes arrive; Redwing and Song Thrush. In October the thrush rush gains momentum as Fieldfares join the show and other species arrive in bigger numbers. Anything can turn up on our shores from the smallest bird in Europe the Firecrest to impressive raptors such as Arctic nesting Rough-legged Buzzards.

Birding Flamborough Headland on a free migweek walk © Richard BainesBirding Flamborough Headland on a free migweek walk © Richard Baines

If you want to discover more about bird migration there is a fantastic week-long event happening in October. Migweek is an annual event open to the public celebrating the amazing world of bird migration. The events are all based at our two most northern Bird Observatories; Flamborough and Filey.

Ringing demo at Flamborough Bird Observatory © Richard BainesRinging demo at Flamborough Bird Observatory © Richard Baines 

All events are free! Bird ringing demonstrations, guided migrant bird walks and visual migration events, sea-watching demonstrations, talks by local and national experts, merchandise sales etc. Richard Baines YCN Director and Mark Pearson YCN expert birding guide will be leading free walks during the week, see program for more details (link below).

Ringing demo at Filey Bird Observatory © Richard BainesRinging demo at Filey Bird Observatory © Richard Baines

Yorkshire Coast Nature are sponsoring this event with limited edition T-shirts and Flamborough walking packs. All proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will go to Jean Thorpe Wildlife Rescue Centre and the Refugee Council.

To download the full program Click Here (this leads to the event page with download)

Richard Baines Yorkshire Coast Nature