Thursday, 24 July 2014

Spurn Day 15

Well today I got very familiar with fog. I arrived on site at 5.00 to a blanket of fog. You could sort of make out some mass of waders on the ponds edge but that was about all. As a result I slept off the first few hours, finally waking for good at around 9.00, to still thick fog. The conditions did not improve much over the day and as a result birding today was very quiet.
Once I had awoken I set about seeing what was about. Given the fog counting terns would be a waste of time, as half of them I would not be able to see. I set about scanning the shoreline, and the first bird I came across, the very first bird, was the adult Curlew Sandpiper that has graced me with its presence for the last 3 days. Since today had the makings of a quiet day I decided to go down to try and grab some photos of it. It flew off before I even got close, but moved round to behind the hide to join a small flock of Dunlin. Now these Dunlin behind the hide were a very approachable lot yesterday, and so I hoped that it would remain the same with the addition of Curlew Sandpiper to their ranks.
It was indeed the case, and I spent most of the morning getting great views of the Curlew Sand as it went about feeding among the dunlins. In addition, I also got some great shots of the bird to add to my gallery that I have built up over the past few days. These are without doubt the best of those I have got so far.
-Curlew Sandpiper
There was not much happening otherwise, though the Curlew Sand did grace me with its presence for the whole day, even when the tide was well and truly out. I tried to do a tern count from Long Bank and got most of them I think, but there were areas that were just too foggy to work out, and that made it very difficult.
On my tern counting trip I flushed a Common Sandpiper from the bank, not especially common here, so I tried to grab a few shots of it as it was on the bank. However it saw me before I spotted it and flew off round and presumably over the bank as I never re-found it. However I managed a flight shot, which tells you all you need to know.
-Common Sandpiper
The morning passed and afternoon came on, just as quiet as the morning had been. There was only one assault on my terns during the whole day, from a Herring Gull, but they soon saw that off. Other highlights from the tern area were small numbers of Little Gull of a variety of ages which came and went during the day, always nice to see.
The best pics I got from the afternoon were of birds that came close during a Curlew Sand photography session, namely Ringed Plover and Little Tern. The terns were fishing quite close to the area, while the Ringed Plovers were just doing what the always do.
-Little Tern
-Ringed Plover
And that really sums it up. I left early there was so little going on and headed back to the warren to sort out some food. All in all a decent day by average standards, but the high calibre of days recently has made it feel a little quiet.

The Daily Oystercatcher
But at least these birds kept busy. Always running around and feeding, whilst pestering their parents for more food. Once more the chicks tended to have an adult each whilst going round in pairs. The parent also left the chicks alone at times today, and indication of how well their developing. The chicks also showed a lot of wing stretching, revealing that their feathers are becoming more and more developed daily. They are growing up fast.

Species List:
Beacon Ponds: Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Little Egret, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Dunlin, Little Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Arctic Tern, Common Tern, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Herring Gull, Great Black-Backed Gull, Skylark, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Starling, Sand Martin, Curlew Sandpiper, Grey Plover, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Wall Brown, Red Admiral, Ruddy Darter,


  1. Great reports Daniel. Some valuable experience for you to enjoy.

  2. Its been incredible, not just from a work point of view, but I know I'm becoming a better birder while I'm at it