Saturday, 6 January 2018

Spurn Week 20

My final week at Spurn for this current term! Unbelievable to think how fast the last 20 weeks have gone, but here we are at the end. Next stop, India!
My last week could have been slow and birdless but that was simply not the case. Ringing has been steady with a few passerines caught when the wind has dropped sufficiently to get the nets open. We also had another wader ringing session on the 5th, where we caught a few Redshank, Knot and a single Dunlin. Earlier in the afternoon we went out to try and drop a net on a Jack Snipe. Since we had no idea if the snipe was even going to be there I had my doubts, and when all the Common Snipe got up before we were even close I really began to question the method. We had just put the net down and was wandering round straightening it up when out of the grass beneath my feet out pop a Jack Snipe, straight into the net. Outstanding. What a stunning little bird.
-Jack Snipe
-Redshank
-Dunlin
Given its mid-winter the prospects of anything unusual were fairly low. On the 4th a Waxwing was seen in Easington and I went up with Paul to have a gander. Waxwings are obviously stunning birds and this one showed rather nicely feeding on Juniper berries  in one of the gardens. Since we were already in the area we decided to have another look at the Rose-coloured Starling. We saw it, and that’s all there is to say on the matter really.
On the 5th we had a great surprise when a Green-winged Teal was found on wetlands. Sadly it quickly moved out to sea where I was able to get brief but satisfactory views. This is my most dipped species, so to finally see one provides something of a relief. My first lifer of 2018, what else is to come?

Species List:

Spurn Bird Observatory: Wigeon, Teal, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Gannet, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Waxwing, Starling, Rose-coloured Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting,

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Spurn Week 19

HAPPY NEW YEAR
I returned to Spurn on the 27th after going back to Halifax for Christmas. As before Christmas the birding was hard work but still enjoyable. Because I had Dan up for New Year’s I spent a lot more time out in the field rather than typing in Kew.
There were a good number of highlights to be had from our walks round; Barnacle Geese, Pale Bellied Brent Geese, a drake Pochard, Jack Snipe and Snow Bunting. We tried to catch the Bunting, but unfortunately our attempt to pin it down with seed was unsuccessful. There were a healthy number of thrushes around too, especially Fieldfare with over 100 coming in off the sea on one day.
We also spent an afternoon looking for the Rose-coloured Starling in Easington. Having spent so long trying to avoid this bird, it finally seemed time to actually look at it. It took longer than I expected to find it, but once we had located it we got ‘excellent’ views of it in the bushes right next to us. Its undergone extensive moult from when it first turned up, so it’s slightly prettier now compared to what it was. Still not glorious mind!
-Rose-coloured Starling 
On the 29th we decided to twitch the Desert Wheatear in Whitby. In my head it would have been a spectacular bird in glorious light. Sadly that was not the case as the weather took quite a drastic turn for the worse on the day we decided to visit. The Wheatear could be found sheltering under the cliffs looking absolutely sodden. It did meant that we were able to get extremely close to it, but it did not look as amazing as I had hoped. We also had a Red Grouse on the drive over, a Shag, Eider and a Whooper Swan at Whitby and then a BTO ringed Herring Gull in Filey. An excellent day out in the end.
-Desert Wheatear

Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Gannet, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, Rose-coloured Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting,

Whitby: Desert Wheatear, Whooper Swan, Eider, Shag, Fulmar, Rock Pipit, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Starling, Rook, Song Thrush, Redwing, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, 

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Spurn Week 18

Because I left for Christmas on the 22nd this is going to be a very short post! Despite spending a bit of time out in the field, I failed to see a great deal, no real highlights at all.

However, on the night of the 20th I went wader ringing for the first time. I had a great time, with a reasonable catch of birds of a few different species; Redshank, Dunlin, Knot and Oystercatcher. It’s exciting getting to handle a range of different birds and the experience as a whole was new for me. Hopefully it won’t be long before we are able to do it again.
We tried again for the Tawny Owl resident in Kew. We saw it a couple of times but once again it failed to go into the net. 

Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Scaup, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Gannet, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Spurn Week 17

Not a great deal happened during the week. Most of my time was spent in Kew doing work, whilst keeping an eye the nets. The number of birds caught was fairly minimal, a few Chaffinch and a Bullfinch being the highlights. A few thrushes coming in off the sea was nice, and there did seem to be a general increase in birds in the area, but we failed to catch any of them
-Brent Goose
The only other birds were on Kilnsea Wetlands, where the two Scaup were still in place along with a very dapper drake Pintail. A fairly slow week on the whole, but given the time of year its hardly a surprise.

Species List:

Spurn Bird Observatory: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Scaup, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, , House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting,

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Spurn Week 16

On the 7th December the Yellowlegs departed, on the day that I decided to have another look at it. Still, my checking of the areas numerous wetlands did provide me with a number of goodies; a tame female Snow Bunting was nice, as were the two Scaup still in residence on Kilnsea Wetlands. Just the sheer number of wildfowl was also nice, including well over 100 Brent Geese. A Jack Snipe was also a bonus.
-Snow Bunting
On the 8th I headed down for a weekend away in London with Dan. Whilst the birding down there was obviously limited we did have a good time in the parks. Hand feeding the Squirrels, Robins and Parakeets were great fun. We also recorded the ringed Black-headed Gulls and Coots, as well as any other ringed species we saw. The beauty of the parks is being able to get so close to many species, things like Grey Herons which are often wary were nearly feeding from our hands.
-Grey Squirrel
-Ring-necked Parakeet
I did not get back until late on the 11th and the 12th was mainly spent sorting out all the bits and pieces I had missed whilst I was away.

Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Scaup, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Gannet, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, , Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, , House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting,
London: Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Robin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Spurn Week 15

December is here. And whilst most birders brace themselves for the weariness of winter birding, at Spurn its seems things are only just kicking off. As it was on the first of December that Spurn finally got its new bird for 2017 when Jonnie found a LESSER YELLOWLEGS on the puddle in Northfield, the field two across from Churchfield. I was busy with the nets when the news was announced so was not able to stop and look at the bird for long, but in the afternoon once Paul and I had finished running our errands I went back for another look and was treated to some excellent views by this very smart bird. A very graceful bird; much more delicate than a redshank with spangled plumage like a wood sandpiper. An excellent way to kick off December!
-Lesser Yellowlegs
The 29th was also an excellent day, but not on the bird front. Spurn awoke to a blanket of snow, the first time I have ever seen it at Spurn. It continued to snow throughout the day, but it was clear that it was not going to last, and by the following morning the vast majority had melted, with the remainder being little more than slush. Still, it was beautiful whilst it lasted, and it caused chaos among the local birds. I was not able to open the nets as a result of everything being so wet but I laid out a spiral trap as I had most mornings in an attempt to catch moorhen. It had an excellent day, catching three Pheasants (Including two at once), a Greenfinch, a Blue Tit and finally the Moorhen, although the bastard slipped out of the trap before I could catch it fully.
-A Snowy Obs
The weekend was taken up by a work party to repair the Churchfield paths. I was responsible for breaking up the large concrete slabs we had been left. It was a thankless job, but we had a few bits and pieces to entertain us whilst we worked, including a Woodcock and a few Snipe, as well as small flocks of Siskin overhead. On the Sunday we caught half the flock in the Heligoland trap, quite by chance, so got to ring 10 Siskin.
-Weekend Work Party
In addition to all that has been going on over the week we have had the nets open most days. A Bullfinch was nice, as was a Blackcap. A German ringed Blackbird was the first of the species that we have controlled this autumn and about time too. We also tried wader ringing, and although we did not catch anything, we did see the Scaup pair that have set up on Kilnsea Wetlands, along with hosts of Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin, as well as the odd Black-tailed Godwit mixed in for good measure. 
-Sunset over the Humber

Species List:
Spurn: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Scaup, Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Woodcock, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Spurn Week 14

This was a very busy week mainly spent trying to catch up on typing up logs. Not the most inspiring job the observatory has to offer but just as important as many others. It does allow me the opportunity to get the nets open though, something to prevent the mind from turning to mush from excessive typing. Without doubt the highlight from the handful of birds that we caught was two more Water Rails, bringing my autumn total for the species up to a very healthy four. Water Rails have an E overlap ringing, which is more tricky to fit, so every time it presents a challenge.
-Water Rail

Since most of my time was spent either typing at Kew or checking the nets in Churchfield I did not really see a great deal. The Kew Tawny Owl was still present on and off during the week. Woodcocks were also seen occasionally, as were Snipe. All in all a fairly steady week, as is expected at this time of year, but still with a few goodies on offer.

Species List:
Spurn: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Water Rail, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Woodcock, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Tawny Owl, Ring-necked Parakeet, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Spurn Week 13

Sadly it took until the Thursday before I was able to get out and actually do anything again. Ringing was seriously slow now, and most of my time was spent doing typing in Kew. That said, we still caught a few Blackbirds and a Fieldfare was a nice treat. The Tawny Owl graced the trees at the back of Kew throughout the week, every day becoming more obvious as the number of leaves on the trees drop off.
-Fieldfare
Monday was a day that promised very little. I was heading off with Paul to Patrington to do some jobs, but when Paul came along to pick me up he announced that we had a little detour to Hull to pick up a bird. The bird in question was a European Storm Petrel, only the second one I have ever seen. It stayed with us all afternoon before I ringed it in the evening and released it after dark. The bird was very healthy, and flew off strongly out to sea. Hopefully we will see it again sometime in the near future.
-European Storm Petrel

Tuesday was another day of very little event. But we caught another Water Rail, the second of the autumn, and this time I was able to complete the ring myself. A pretty satisfying experience to say the least. 

Species List:
Spurn: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Pheasant, Little Grebe, European Storm Petrel, Cormorant, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Tawny Owl, Ring-necked Parakeet, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Spurn Week 12

Wednesday the 8th was an exceptional day for the time of year. My morning started when Paul tapped on the window of the cabin with a full grown Barn Owl in his hands. It had obviously been roosting in the mouth of the Heligoland trap and had been pushed through when Paul had walked through in the morning. It was extremely docile in the hand, a real pleasure to ring. Beyond unexpected was a Bluethroat that was trapped and ringed at the Warren. I had the privilege of going down to ring the bird. I was surprised by the amount of blue the bird actually showed on its breast, a superbly beautiful bird. The morning continued to give when Jonnie picked a Firecrest out of the Heligoland trap, the only one to be ringed at Spurn this autumn. What a day.
-Barn Owl
-Bluethroat
-Firecrest
The 9th was also an excellent day. After a steady morning ringing I decided to head up to Beacon Ponds to put some seed down in the hopes of pinning down the large Snow Bunting flock that had been present in the area. I walked down the beach so far as Beacon Ponds and was unable to locate the flock. I was just about to turn around and head back when I spotted movement on the beach in front of me. I raised my bins and was shocked to see a Shore Lark looking back at me. A closer inspection revealed that there were in fact three of them foraging among the rocks. After setting some seed down for them, I headed back and found the Snow Bunting flock right at the top where I had set off from. I put down my remaining seed and left.
-Shore Lark
-Snow Bunting

I had hoped that my seed would entice the birds down and that we would be able to trap and ring both species. As it happened though, fate was not on my side. I was struck down with a severe case of man flu, and the rest of the week was spent in bed with the exception of work and going out to ring a Woodcock. By the time I had recovered the birds had all left.

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Woodcock, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Shore Lark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Robin, Bluethroat, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting, Red Admiral, Comma, 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Spurn Week 11

Another, although much smaller than the previous, thrush fall during the week was very welcome. This time though there were a lot more Blackbirds, with large numbers of birds coming through Churchfield, in addition to the Redwings which still numbered over 3000. In the end we ringed over 100 Blackbirds in a single day, plus I got to ring my first ever Fieldfare, followed quickly by the second. This is hardly a surprise given that there were 1000 in the area. A Ring Ouzel was also a nice surprise, a stunning male.

Blackbirds and Starlings were seen coming in off throughout the week, and as a result Starling numbers built up to over 10000 birds and the roost movements were extremely impressive. A small flock of Whooper Swans flew over the Churchfield whilst we were ringing, and occasional flocks of Pink-footed Geese could be seen going south.
-Ring Ouzel 
-Fieldfare
Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting, Red Admiral, Comma,