Sunday, 31 August 2014

Spurn Day 53 - LIFER ALERT

Time was running out on my time at spurn, so I decided to finally go for a walk down the point. I had to wait until the tide had receded; as a result I spent some time birding round the warren to see if I could see anything.
First of all I watched from up at numpties where there continued to be plenty of tree sparrows flying overhead, around 500 today. There was also a Spotted Flycatcher hunting around the warren which gave decent views through the bins.
I then headed to Canal Scrape but it was as quiet as Canal Scrape usually is. There was a single Pied Flycatcher hunting along the back but the highlight was when a flock of 7 Little Egrets flew across the pond, sadly not landing but it was a nice sight to see.
When the tide had gone down enough I headed out and down the point. The birds were sparse for the most part of the walk down, the exception being at Chalk Bank hide where there were good numbers of birds still roosted up. The roost included 129 Oystercatcher, 39 Curlew and 28 Greater Black-Backed Gulls.
But I had not really gone down for the birds, only for the nice walk and to see what it was really like. With the exception of the breach itself there did not seem to be an excess of damage. The vegetation was more substantial than I imagined, with high bushes over low scrub. I took plenty of photos from the trip though…
-Spurn Point
As for birds on the point? Well there were a few nearer the end but there was so much shrubbery that there could have been anything there. The highlights where 2 Whinchat which sat nicely and a stunning Yellow Wagtail, the most yellow I have seen one during my time here.
-Yellow Wagtail

I failed to find any megas, but I had a nice time and it was a pleasant walk. On my return I spent most of the afternoon chilling and following the football. In the evening though I headed up to the seawatch to enjoy the tern movement.
I had only been up there around 20mins when I got todays lifer. Steve suddenly announce, quick get on this. He then followed up saying he thought it was a great crested grebe, but as more opinions came in as the bird was picked up it was announced that it was a Red-Necked Grebe. As soon as this came about I doubled my efforts to get onto the bird and managed it just as it came up to straight out. It was certainly a grebe, and the red neck could almost be seen, though it was a little too far out unfortunately. It continued on and had soon passed us.
Another lifer, but this was the final grebe I needed to get all the grebes on the British List. As far as I can work out it is the first full set of British birds that I have, grebes, so that in itself is pretty special. I was thrilled to bits with that, and a great end to the day.
There were other birds during the evening, including 2 Kittywake and a Little Gull, adding variety to the usual Common and Black-Headed Gull. 2 Red-Throated Divers went north too, on about the same line as the grebe, so offering a nice comparison through the evening.

Species List:
Vis-Migging: Tree Sparrow, Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Magpie,
Canal Scrape: Redshank, Snipe, Dunlin, Coot, Pied Flycatcher, Mallard, Reed Bunting, Little Egret, Willow Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Sand Martin, Sandwich Tern,
Spurn Point: Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Curlew, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black-Headed Gull, Robin, Whinchat, Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail,

Seawatching: Red-Necked Grebe, Little Gull, Kittywake, Guillemot, Red-Throated Diver, Swallow, Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Arctic Skua, Kestrel,

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Spurn Day 52

I awoke late by birders standards today, and headed up to the Numpties watchpoint to see what was moving. There was good movement with a wide variety of species. The highlight included a Great-Spotted Woodpecker by the warren which was a spurn tick for me. 4114 Swallows went south, 161 Sand Martins and 507 House Martins, though I was not there for all of them I did take part in the counting process. 
There were also a few Mediterranean gulls, a couple of Rooks, and a few waders such as Turnstone and Bar-Tailed Godwit. It was late morning by the time that we had finished up at the watchpoint and it left me with plenty of time to wander around.
I headed off down to Big Hedge first in order to have another look at the Red-Backed Shrike that was still there. It continued to show very well, but today I did not to try and approach it but just to watch it from the hedge. It still gave fantastic views as it moved up and down the hedge. But I did not stay too long admiring.
-Red-Backed Shrike
I wandered all over through the day, including Sammies Point, Kilnsea Wetlands and Beacon Ponds. The highlight of my mooching was the 3 Little Stints that were still on wetlands looking really nice and quite close, so I could try to take a few photos of them. Sadly they were still too far away to get any really good photos. 
On the ponds there were still a few wildfowl, including Tufted Ducks, Wigeon and Teal. The real reason for all my mooching was to do a full Little Egret count for the reserve since Andy had mentioned at log the previous night that they should really get one for every month. The total I managed was 13 birds, most of them at sammies, though I was unable to go down the point to count.
At 6.10 I headed up to the seawatch to watch the terns go past. It was a phenomenal tern count 10360 Common Terns flew past, in the second highest count for over 3 years, the highest also happened during my time. It was fantastic to observe, though it did not feel like such a high count as it had done on the previous night. This time it started slowly and yet subtly built up into the impressive count that we got.
But it was not just the Common Terns that were phenomenal, as there were also a couple of more unusual terns, not least the much awaited appearance of a Roseate Tern, which Tim spotted flying far out with a few commons. At first I struggled to pick it up, but once I had got it you could see how much whiter it was, though most other details were lost due to distance. It was fantastic to finally get one though, and add it to my year-list. 

Species List:
Vis-Migging: Fulmar, Great-Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Snipe, Dunlin, Tree Sparrow, Great-Crested Grebe, Skylark, Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Whinchat, Arctic Skua, Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Reed Warbler, Starling, Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swift, Meadow Pipit, Feral Pigeon, Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Dunnock, Little Egret, Redshank, Knot, Linnet, Cormorant, Marsh Harrier, Mediterranean Gull, Magpie, Turnstone, Ruff, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Rook, Yellow Wagtail, Ringed Plover,
Mooching About: Pied Flycatcher, Red-Backed Shrike, Little Egret, Wheatear, Whinchat, Golden Plover, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Little Stint, Grey Heron, Sanderling, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Kestrel, Teal, Sparrowhawk
Seawatching: Sanderling, Gannet, Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Black-Headed Gull, Arctic Skua, Whimbrel, Fulmar, Puffin, Roseate Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Shelduck, Common Tern, 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Spurn Day 51

I awoke nice and early again to go and enjoy the seawatching. Numbers of birds were low but the diversity was quite high with good numbers of waders including snipe as well as quite a few other bits and pieces the highlights being a reasonably close Red-Throated Diver and a couple of close Mediterranean gulls. There were also hundreds of Swallows moving, with around 7500 recorded during the morning. It was an impressive sight and I was only recording for a few minuets, but it was hard work.
-Mediterranean Gull
I was just leaving the hide when the message came through about a red-backed shrike at canal hedge. Of course that's where I headed straight to, but could not find the bird, and of course I had left my radio back at the warren. I then bumped into another birder who said that he thought he might have seen a greenish warbler, and asked if I would come and have a look. Torn between helping another birder and finding the shrike was difficult, but in the end I went to help him look. Despite the troops being rallied the greenish was never confirmed.  
As soon as the cavalry arrived I headed off to locate the shrike. I had received clear instructions as to its location, which I would have received had I my radio but hey ho. It was sat around the back of the hedge near big hedge. It showed incredibly well but was at a distance and difficult to get any good photos of. Either way I was thrilled to have seen it.
Jobs then took up the remainder of the day, shopping and some tern tasks, but when I had finished I returned to watch the shrike for a little longer. Of course word had spread and there were a few more people about, and of course they were not watching it from a distance as I was. The bird however remained put, never seeming disturbed and as such when nobody was watching it I decided to try and move a little closer.
I deployed a stealth mode, but if at any point the bird looked unsettled I would back off, not wanting to become an irresponsible hypocrite. Fortunately it was just as approachable as it had looked and I got some great shots, one of which even features on the spurn sightings page. The bird remained preening and hunting, giving unbelievable views and allowing me to get some incredible shots.
I did not want to outstay my welcome so left after I got the shots I wanted. The bird moved off to feed on another area of the fence, and I decided to not risk disturbing it but to leave it in peace. It was quite a stunner.
-Red-Backed Shrike
The evenings seawatch was good if not exceptional, with about 3000 terns moving down, sometimes close but often far as well, so it was less of a spectacle than it can be. Other birds were a bit thin on the ground though there were a few swifts moving, which are quite late in the year. It was an enjoyable evening though, and a great end to the day.

Species List:
Seawatching: Wigeon, Teal, Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Swallow, Mediterranean Gull,
Mooching About: Red-Backed Shrike, Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Woodpigeon,
Seawatching: Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Gannet, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Black-Headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull,

Spurn Day 50

Day 50. I was hoping for some lovely weather to go with today's landmark but alas it started pretty grim. And that includes the birds too, as morning seawatching was very quiet, hardly anything moving at all. I guess the easterly winds do have some downsides, and quiet seawatching is one of them. Red Throated Diver close in was nice though, you could almost make out the summer plumage!
However, just as we were wrapping up seawatching a couple of day visitors came in and told us about a Little Stint on canal ponds. I headed over while the others continued seawatching, but to tell them if it were the case. Indeed it was the case, as I arrived to find the bird along with a small group of Dunlin and no less than 13 Snipe. It was too distant to really get any great shots, though they are certainly an improvement on whats been before. It was certainly the best view I have ever had of one, and the first time I have ever confidently been able to recognise it. The stripes down the back were very clear, along with the scaling and pale colouring. The size also stood out, seeing it run around with the dunlin and yet being half the size was something new to witness, having previously only ever seen them on their own. I grabbed a few shots, not brilliant but much better than anything I have had in the past.
-Little Stint
The Stint was great to see, the first time I have been properly able to appreciate one. However, as I mentioned, there were a lot of snipe on the scrape. And when Snipe are there, most other birds fall into the back seat, in my eyes anyway. I was treated today to 13 individuals, some of which came incredibly close and I was able to take increase the number of photos in my snipe gallery. Just look at them, they are just so lovely!
-Common Snipe
It was my plan to go and find migrants on Sammies point, as it was an area that needed to be patched. It just so happened that I was almost at the paddocks to see what migrants had dropped in when the unthinkable happened. 
The radio buzzed with news that an Icterine Warbler had been caught at kew and that it would be released in 10 mins. I hate running for birds, but this would have to be done. I ran pretty much the whole way back to find Mick Turton leaning on his car. I asked if the bird had been released (Since I had no idea of time having had to focus on my lack of fitness). He informed me that the bird had been released and had flown over the hedge. I was a broken man! He had a little chuckle to himself, of course the bird had not yet been released, a little birder banter I think...
Paul came round about 5 mins later with the bird to show to a small group. It was an agitated thing, so Paul had to hold its wings down. But I was still able to see the head and tail, getting a few photos to improve on the record shots that I had gained 2 days ago. It was a different bird to that individual, meaning I have now seen 2 Icterine warblers. In the hand you get a different appreciation for birds, and as such I put myself in a better position to identify one next time.
-Icterine Warbler
I returned to sammies after the bird had been released to give the place a thorough checking. I found good numbers of migrants, with Whinchat, Redstart, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher all found in different numbers. There were also a few Mediterranean Gulls flying over, so a good helping of great species.
After the excursions of the morning I could not face much more walking after sammies and so headed back to the warren for so much needed rest. After about an hour recovering from my run I decided to take my washing up to Kew, picking up a few Pied Flycatchers and Whinchats on the way. I bumped into Steve who told me about an adult male pied fly in the roadside bushes, but I could not find it on the first attempt. I had intended to try again, but the radio struck again with news of a Wryneck at sammies (!). I grabbed a lift off a couple of birders and headed straight there, just in time to get one good view of the bird before it dived into a ditch not to be seen again that evening. I still saw the bird and all its features but the view was all too brief.
I got a lift back down to the terns, of which we had a decent night with around 3000 Terns moving south, including 4 Black Terns. But the real highlight, and I mean real highlight was when Mick (who was up the coast) radioed that a Spoonbill was flying down south. We all followed it from a speck until it was almost above us, giving me the best view of the species I have ever had and a chance to properly get a view of the bill, not something I had got at Fairburn.
 It was the best view of the species I had ever had ( though that's not saying much) and thoroughly unforgettable, as these recent days all have been.
In the evening I went down with Paul and Tim to see if we could ring some terns, but we failed to catch any and called it quits quite early. We did see plenty of Shooting Stars though, including one absolute monster, the biggest I have ever seen. A great end to the day.

Species List: 
Canal Scrape: Little Stint, Common Snipe, Dunlin, Redshank, Coot, Wheatear, Mallard, Woodpigeon, Willow Warbler
Mooching About: Whinchat, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Blue Tit, Shelduck, Mediterranean Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Little Egret, Redshank, Grey Plover,
Seawatching: Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Black-Headed Gull, Common Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Spoonbill,

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Spurn Day 49

Today was a bit of a come down from yesterday, but it was still pretty incredible. There were fewer scarce migrants, though the icky was ringed at 06.05 and a wryneck was seen in the afternoon, but I saw neither.

I started up at Seawatching but it was dead, and I decided to go for a walk round the canal instead. I was due up a Kierons to finish the report at 10.00 so could not do a long walk, but headed off to see what I could find. Along the canal I found a Sedge Warbler, Willow Warblers, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat. And finally, finally, I managed to get a proper record shot of Lesser Whitethroat. It was a little distant but given my previous attempt was no more than a brown smudge I will honestly take absolutely anything, and it’s pretty clear despite the distance. It’s also the first time I have clearly seen one in the full rather than flying away or skulking through the bushes.
-Lesser Whitethroat
I then had a quick look in Kew but the icky was not there, so I headed along to see Kieron and finish the report. That finished off my morning but the report was all but done. After that I headed back for lunch and to rest before the afternoon.
First thing in the afternoon I headed up to Clubleys to have a look. There were a few Emperor Dragonflies and Common Darters around, but the most surprising thing was when 2 Green Sandpipers were flushed from over the hill and flew over the scrape making a right din. I tried to grab a few record shots of the encounter but they did not come out to well.
-Green Sandpiper
I then headed down to ‘bush bash’ canal hedge, and in doing so found a few Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler. It was then that I received a message about a wryneck at Sammies, and as such I speeded straight there without further ado. I did pick up a few Whinchat and Wheatear along the way; they were both sat along the fence posts.
I arrived at the spot to hear that the wryneck had been lost, but it had been photographed while sunbathing. I’m not a cynic by nature but if it was sunbathing why did it feel the need to move? I am wondering if the photographer may have flushed it getting to close, but who is to say, and I am not. It did not show again but during my time at Sammies I found some good birds; Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler and a Redstart, which was a Spurn tick for me. It was a young bird flycatching from the edge of the bush, but it was ample compensation for the wryneck dip. I also had a very nice Ruff on the estuary which was quite close to the bank.
I returned to a more central position in case anything turned up. I had a look in the car park of the pub, where I got great views of Pied Flycatcher and another Garden Warbler. The Pied Flycatcher showed very well even on the floor.
I returned to the warren to have some dinner before the seawatch. Seawatching was dead, with only 238 terns flying south, with a few Oystercatchers and one Arctic Skua. The highlight of the evening session was when I went down to make coffees and Paul collard me saying he had a Pied Flycatcher to ring. I finished off the coffees and then went to watch him ringing it. I asked for a few photos but they were too flighty to hold properly, so I could only get a headshot. It certainly gives a different perspective on the birds I have been seeing for the last few days.
-Pied Flycatcher

Species List:
Mooching about: Collard Dove, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Snipe, Coot, Mallard, Wren, Dunnock, Little Egret, Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Garden Warbler, Whinchat,
Sammies: Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Ruff, Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Wheatear, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler
Seawatching: Gannet, Arctic Skua, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Oystercatcher, 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


The Day dawned with high expectations when the easterlies blew all night with a little rain. As you have read in the title, it paid off for me, but it started slowly. I awoke early again and went for a stroll round the triangle to see what would be around. It was very quiet, but I managed to find the juvenile Cuckoo from yesterday which was good, and a nice start to the day. I had expected more migrants, little did I know that they don’t really show their faces until the afternoon.
Next time I headed up to the Seawatching hut to join the party up there. Even as I arrived things showed promising signs. An adult long-tailed skua flew past incredibly close as I arrived, but sadly too late, only in time to see its shape fly away. I decreed it not a significant view to tick and proceeded to add LTS to my list of bogey birds.
However, the skua passage was incredible, with over 60 Arctic Skuas moving, and a few Bonxies too, including the best view I have ever had of a Great Skua. 2 flew past really quite close giving clear views of all the features of the birds, especially the white wing patches which are so significant of this species.
But then, as the movement started to dry up, Jack spotted a smaller skua moving with 2 Arctics, and it was deduced that the 3rd bird was in fact a sub-adult Long-Tailed Skua, finally seen on what was my 3rd chance at the species. It was clear to see just how small it was in comparison to the 2 Arctics, so much slighter in flight. being able to watch it move from north to south the whole way, I got a full view, taking in the bird completely. I was unable to get any photos as it was so far out but obviously it was a lifer, and the first one of the day, what a way to start.
After the buzz of that I headed over to Beacon Lane to have a look for any migrants. On the way I bumped into Jack and Tim, who had just found a Garden Warbler which was skulking but could be seen. It’s only the 3rd time I have seen one. Next we wandered through Canal Scrape to see what we could find, and Tim found a Pied Flycatcher which I managed to spot under the bushes. The first one for me of the day and a fantastic spurn tick!
Throughout the day the number of Pied Flycatchers continued to increase, and I even found my own in the field at the bottom of Beacon Lane. It showed incredibly well as it scurried around the field foraging on the floor. It then moved through the hedge along the edge of the field flycatching as it went.
-Pied Flycatcher
 I moved along the lane to the ponds. Along the way I picked up 2 Whinchat and 2 Wheatear, one of which was an adult male, a stunning bird and the first one I have seen at Spurn. Both species showed quite well along the fence posts, frequently moving along as I walked down the path.
On the ponds I was disappointed by the lack of waders, but there were decent numbers of wildfowl, including a Pintail and a Wigeon. A few Teal flew in too, though they threw me into thinking they were Gadwall for some time. The other wildfowl gave nice views too, but they were too far away really to get exceptional photos.
 I moved onto the Wetlands to see what was there, but it was incredibly quiet. A few Dunlin, Yellow Wagtails and an injured Redshank were all that there was to offer. As a consequence I did not stay long. I headed back to the Warren along the road and Canalside, picking up the Pied Flycatcher in canal hedge but nothing else, in order to spend the afternoon relaxing.
…That’s when it all kicked off…
No sooner had my toast popped out of the toaster when the message came down the radio that a common rosefinch had been seen at Kew Villa. I immediately began to think about the prospect of a double lifer day, getting way too far ahead of myself.
I got a lift up there to find out that the rosefinch had been seen for a few seconds about half an hour before I arrived. It failed to show again, though I waited for about an hour until 3.00 before I decided to give up on the bird, thinking my time could probably better spent elsewhere. While I waited I did find another Pied Flycatcher in the garden, which served as mild compensation.
In the end I left and headed across to the Crown and Anchor car park where there had been a bit of stuff around. 2 Pied Flycatchers were in the car park, along with plenty of Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff and another Garden Warbler.  I spent a good half an hour watching the Pied Flys, as they showed incredibly well along the bushes. In the sunlight they looked phenomenal.
After a bit I decided to call it quits and head back, but decided to have a quick last look in the villa to see if the rosefinch had turned up. It had not, but now apparently there was an icterine warbler too. This had been seen by a couple more people, but neither of them had a radio and as such it did not come down.
I decided to call it quits regardless. Then the message came through: ‘Wryneck, behind rose cottage’. I was all over the place, where was rose cottage, where was Andy (who had called it), where could I find someone who could tell me. In the end Jack asked Roadhouse where he was viewing from, he was on Canalside looking across. This was the one I really wanted so I dashed straight there, picking up another Pied Flycatcher along the way. Que Lifer number 2! The beauty of finally seeing a Wryneck, one of my first and most spectacular mis-identifications, was incredible. It sat upon the post and settled there for about 10 mins, sunning itself there giving incredible views. It then went down, then out to the top of a small tree where it spent some time, before moving across and hiding away in a small tree where it remained until it dropped down and was difficult to see. But I had still got great views, showing so incredibly well. It was the bird I had really wanted to see, so I was absolutely buzzing after that. The only down side was that it was too distant to get a great photo, but I managed a few record shots that will do, but they were not exceptional. 
 When the bird had gone down and seemed likely it would not be coming back up, I decided to go back to Kew to see if the birds there were showing. The icterine had now come down the radio so any personal doubts I had were laid to rest. As a consequence I headed on to Kew to see if the Icky was still showing, but of course it was not. We were stood there waiting and keeping an eye open for it when a few birds started to show all at once. It was one of those things. Apparently the icky did show at this point, but I was too distracted because a small finch like bird had come down and landed right in the open on the branch. It was pretty clear what it was given the circumstances so I grabbed the camera to hopefully grab a photo and lay al doubt to rest. It was very placid, just sat in the tree in the open and showing so well. I had a look at the photo and it confirmed what we all knew, the Rosefinch had made a re-appearance. Obviously I still had a little doubt but the 3 of us there decided we should radio it out. Sadly the radios were dead, so nobody knew about the re-appearance. The bird then dropped, but I had got great views and some photos for proof so I was chuffed to bits, lifer number 3. Not long after Jack came through checking his nets so I collared him and told him. He was also thrilled and went to go and get Roadhouse. He came out and asked to see the photo, which had fortunately come out very well. It was then confirmed as a Common Rosefinch and he commenced ringing all the people he knew to let them know.
The bird did show again a few times, often sitting out and not being skulky, but it would often disappear for long periods leaving arriving birders on edge. It showed significantly better than the icky though, and late arrivals only saw the Rosefinch. It was a drab individual but it the sun it looked fantastic, especially when it perched out in the open as it did initially. It mainly stuck to a plum tree in the garden, where it would sit before dropping down. I got fantastic views, of my four lifers it was the best shower and I got some pretty decent record shots.
-Common Rosefinch
 Of course, while the rosefinch was incredibly to see, it was not the only lifer to be had in the garden. Though it took a while and was incredibly skulky the Icterine Warbler did show on and off throughout the afternoon, before it disappeared in the evening. Sadly during its brief and intermittent showings I decided to watch it and view its key features rather than to photograph it. It was difficult as it was often obscured, but I did manage a few shots for record purposes, of which one was decent, though it was taken through a willow tree, hence the dull greenish tinge. Forth Lifer!!! Sadly quite a few people missed the Icterine due to its nature, but fortunately I was there all afternoon once it had been called and got the best of it. It was fantastic to see, and of course I was really buzzing now from all that had happened.
-Icterine Warbler
I stayed all afternoon taking the birds in whenever they showed. In addition there was also a very showy Garden Warbler which gave great views through the afternoon more often than either of the passage birds. The grey collar was clearly visible, the best view I have ever had of this species, though that in itself isn’t saying much.
By the time I left it was already early evening. The Icterine had not been seen for some time, and the rosefinch was starting to do the same. I walked back along the coast but there were no birds moving besides a few Oystercatcher, and as such I decided to not go to the Seawatching hut but to go back to the warren and celebrate an exceptional day. I was wrecked, but it had been worth it. One of the best birding days I can ever recall having.

Species List:
Seawatching: Red-Throated Diver, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Common Scoter, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Common Teal, Oystercatcher, Long-Tailed Skua, Sandwich Tern, Gannet, Swift,
Mooching About: Coot, Woodpigeon, Shelduck, Snipe, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Greenfinch, Magpie, Common Scoter, Knot, Mallard, Linnet, Common Gull, Yellow Wagtail, Cuckoo, Swallow, Whinchat, Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Whitethroat, Wren, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Ringed Plover, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Linnet, House Sparrow, Starling, Wigeon, Pintail, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Pied Wagtail, Redshank, Dunlin, Chiff-Chaff, Garden Warbler, Wryneck, 

Kew Villa: Garden Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Woodpigeon, House Martin, Swallow, Icterine Warbler, Common Rosefinch, Willow Warbler, 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Spurn Day 47

I decided that my spurn patch weekend list was in need of a boost. So I awoke with the intention to find as many species as possible so that I may be crowned NGB champion. I started as usual at the seawatching, where I added Eider to my list of species for the weekend.
I next headed along the canal to try and pick up species. I got a great tick when a Marsh Harrier flew over me. It was quite muggy in the morning so my photo was not very good, even when it flew straight overhead. I grabbed a few shots to include on the website but I have only included them as a record purpose.
-Marsh Harrier
. I spent a bit of time with Tim looking over the estuary. I found Golden Plover to add to my list while Tim found Greenshank and Yellow-Legged Gull that we both added. I then moved along the triangle towards Beacon Lane which I then wander up in order to spot as many species along the road. Stuff was about along Beacon Lane, including Grey Partridge, Wheatear and more Whinchat, the latter of which I got some photos of. Also along Beacon Lane on a none avian front was a lovely Common Lizard that I spotted basking on a rock. 
-Common Lizard
On the ponds I added a few Wildfowl like Wigeon and Mute Swan, not overly rare but very important in a bird race. I then headed along to wetlands to see what was on there. The best things I found were Pintail, Common Sandpiper and plenty of Yellow Wagtails. As soon as I arrived there was one on the fence which was as close as I have ever been to one, allowing me to get some of my best ever shots of the species.
-Yellow Wagtail
Also on wetlands, and the highlight of the walk was a juvenile Little Ringed Plover which had been there for a few days but I had not seen. Its a Spurn Lifer for me, so I was very excited to see it, the first one I have seen for a few days.
-Little Ringed Plover
I continued round picking up odd bits, the highlight being a Spotted Flycatcher on Beacon Lane, Spurn Tick. In the evening I also patch ticked Razorbill going north which was nice. Overall, a sound day and a great list to help me on my way with the NGB patch challenge.

Species List:
Seawatching: Arctic Skua, Gannet, Common Scoter, Knot, Common Teal, Wheatear, Oystercatcher, Fulmar, Sandwich Tern, Yellow Wagtail, Eider, Red-Throated Diver, Redshank, 
Mooching About: Whinchat, Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, Lesser Whitethroat, Great Tit, Wren, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Blackbird, Whitethroat, Curlew, Golden Plover, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Mallard, Robin, Yellow-Legged Gull, Collard Dove, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Grey Partridge, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Wheatear, Linnet, Yellow Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Dunlin, Wigeon, Little-Ringed Plover, Shelduck, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Pied Wagtail, Little Egret, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Chaffinch, Collard Dove, Spotted Flycatcher, Greenfinch, Meadow Pipit, Coot, Starling, House Sparrow, 
Seawatching: Gannet, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Razorbill, Common Tern, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Arctic Skua,

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Spurn Day 46

Since easterlies are due tomorrow I decided to spend today writing the tern report so that it was done and out of the way so I could enjoy tomorrows delights without worry. However, I quickly realsied that I had no idea what I was actualy doing for the report and by 12.00 I had given up and went out to enjoy the afternoon.
I did not know where to go really, but ended up in Canal Hedge doing a little bush bashing in case any early migrants might be hiding within the bushes. They were not, but the Southern Hawker that has been around was showing very well and even landed in a photograph-able position. It meant I could get some proper decent record shots, good enough to prove once and for all that there was a Southern Hawker, placing it beyond all doubt. It is the only one recorded at Spurn this year, so that is certainly one of the best finds I have had since I arrived.
-Southern Hawker
I moved along and up the canal to check no birds were in the bushes along there. There were nothing unusual but there were a loads of young swallows sat on the bushes along the edge of the canal. They were incredibly approachable and as a result I was able to get some pretty decent photos of them looking lovely and sweet.
That was about it until the end of the day with the evenings seawatch. It was quiet again but there were a few waders moving including Sanderling, Knot and Oystercatcher. Overall though it was quite a poor night by Spurns standards.

Species List:
Seawatching: Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Gannet, Arctic Skua, Sandwich Tern, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Sanderling, Common Scoter, Knot, Mallard, Common Gull, Grey Plover, Dunlin,

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Spurn Day 45

There was a lot of anticipation about today that there may be some birds about. As a result I crawled out of bed early and headed out to the canal to see if I could be the first to see something. There were plenty of birds about but nothing that had been brought.
I started at canal hedge. The main birds here were a very vocal family party of Reed Warblers. There were quite a few parties too. They were so noisy its a wonder that they had not been eaten already by some hungry predator. They were obviously very skulky but I on one occasion I got sight of them so I took a few photos of the juveniles. 
-Reed Warbler
I continued on my walk around the triangle area but did not really pick up much else. The highlight of my walk was when a young grey Cuckoo flew across the canal path and landed on the fence near Canal Scrape. It stayed there for a few minuets while being mobbed by the local passerines. In the end it decided it had seen enough and that staying there was not worth the harassment.
I arrived back at the warren with a decent list for the NGB patch challenge. I did not know where to set up in order to maximise the number of species I could get in the afternoon but I saw that Adam was up at numpties and wherever he is you stand a good chance of getting something, As soon as I arrived he picked up a Red-Throated Diver on the sea, which is a yeartick for me more importantly. Sadly he left pretty much as soon as I arrived.
I therefore spent the afternoon around the warren hoping to pick up some commoner species on the feeders there. I got a few bits and pieces such as Great Tit, Blue Tit and a lovely Wheatear in top of the heligoland trap, which sat nicely for a photo.
That was is before the evenings seawatch. Movement was slow again but I got a spurn tick in the form of a Shag that went north. In terms of other birds there were Fulmar, Arctic Skua and a Razorbill. So the variety was decent but the numbers of terns was not particularly impressive, or at least compared to what it could have been.

Species List:
Mooching About: Robin, Whitethroat, Blackbird, Shelduck, Carrion Crow, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Little Egret, Knot, Whimbrel, Feral Pigeon, Reed Warbler, Linnet, Mallard, Coot, Magpie, Whinchat, Goldfinch, Blackcap, Wren, Willow Warbler, House Martin, House Sparrow, Kestrel, Yellow Wagtail, Greenfinch, Pied Wagtail, Herring Gull, Wheatear, Black-Headed Gull, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Sedge Warbler, Cuckoo, Great Tit, Dunnock, Snipe, Grey Plover, Curlew,
Vis Migging: Red-Throated Diver, Swallow, Common Gull, Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Redshank, Common Scoter,
Seawatching: Oystercatcher, Common Scoter, Gannet, Fulmar, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Common Gull, Common Tern, Razorbill, Cormorant, Sandwich Tern, Shag, Manx Shearwater