Saturday, 31 December 2016
Wishing I Was Skinny
After it had held out for a month or so I'd been wishing that the Eastern Black Redstart would hang out at Skinningrove on the Cleveland coast long enough to be incorporated into the increasingly traditional Poyser/Witheringate Boxing Day trip out to the Yorkshire Coast. Boxing Day dawn frosty and crisp, freshly laundered blue skies. A splinter group headed out early, headed to a supermarket carpark in Thirsk so must have been looking for Waxwings, and drew a blank. Arriving at Skinningrove I was taken with the place immediately, an understated village would be genereous, but a wooded valley ran down to a broadening valley floor where the river met the sea. Big cliffs threatened to the South and in the carpark a nice bit of knowing stencil art endeared me further. A brief walk through an old railway cutting led to an almost secret sweep of sandy beach beneath less imposing cliffs, it reminded me of a favourite beach, Bethell's, from our time living in New Zealand. The icy blast raging across the sands was not so reminiscent but there was shelter amongst the boulders where the cracking Eastern Black Redstart quickly showed itself.
Initially appearing at a little distance it became clear that with a little patience this little cracker would make it's way to you so I made as one with the rocks and waited.
There's nothing better than a great looking bird being as confiding and I enjoyed a great quarter of an hour before the cold got the better of the kids and we beat a retreat to Fish and Chips, a walk on the beach and a pint in Whitby.