North York Moors - We spent the weekend up north near Whitby attending a family wedding. The journey up on Friday was a predictable nightmare with traffic-choked motorways and service areas (or lack of them) typical of overcrowded, `Broken Britain` - goodness only knows what foreign tourists must think... The only positive to emerge from the eight hour, snail pace journey was the opportunity to count raptors with Buzzards easily the most numerous, closely followed by Kestrels and then Red Kites in the East Midlands.
On Saturday morning we went up onto the North York Moors, a National Park of breathtaking beauty with the Esk river valley, woodlands and moorland, and so different to the flatlands back home. At Fen Bog, a Yorkshire WT reserve, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Willow Warblers were commonplace and busily feeding hungry broods, along with a few pairs of Wheatears, Whinchats and Spotted Flycatchers. On the open moor several Red Grouse and Curlew were noted, plus a cracking male Merlin, and every so often parties of 50-60 Swifts would sweep in low off the sea and head inland. Along the river Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher were present.