Today is a little different in format as my parents were coming over to visit me and too see the haunts that I work at. As a result I had to get up a little earlier than I would have liked but not to worry, as I was woken anyway by the door being repaired by Paul.
When it was time to meet my parents I decided to wander up to the café meeting point along the coast. This was a very wise decision as it happens as I picked up some great birds along the way. I had hardly begun my walk when I spotted a small brown bird on the wires next to Clubleys. I am surprised myself in hindsight by how quickly I identified it, but it was a Whinchat. I was probably quick off the mark as there has been a couple around, just not in this area. It was a young bird I think, but it was difficult to get hold of, as it remained mobile along the fence. I got a few decent record shots, enough to prove its identification and confirm it as a Spurn tick.
Buzzing from that little find I continued up, along the way counting around 6 Yellow Wagtails, some of which I flushed from very close quarters. Not much further along from the whinchat I found another smashing bird, a Wheatear. I am almost certain it’s the same bird as I had on Sunday as it was in the same area and was of the same age. The only marked difference was that this bird was reasonably happy to sit for photos, and I got a few decent shots of it sat on the beach.
The day was already off to a cracking start and it had hardly begun. I did not linger for much longer as otherwise I would have failed to make the meeting time. I was early at the bluebell though, so wandered round there for a bit to see what I could get. Along my wandering I picked up a Redshank in one of the fields and good numbers of juvenile House Martins sat on the roof tops.
When I met up with my parents we headed up to Kilnsea Wetlands with the intention of walking round to Beacon Ponds to see my ‘office’. The walk produced very little and the ponds were very quiet, as seems to be the norm now-a-days. On the ponds were around 10 Mallards, and 9 Cormorants on the raft. There were a handful of Sandwich Terns but no Little Terns. There was also a few Black-Headed Gulls moving and I spotted one Mediterranean Gull with them. It was a pretty poor showing from the ponds to be honest.
Next I took my parents to the Seawatching hide, since that is an area I spend a lot of time. Obviously there was no movement out to sea, but on the beach there were a couple of Mediterranean Gulls and a few Ringed Plover. There was also a Linnet drinking from one of the puddles on the car park.
Since it was already 5.00 we went out for a meal to the Crown and Anchor, the local pub in Kilnsea. We got a window seat overlooking the estuary, so that gave us the chance to watch the waders as the tide came in. There were good numbers of Dunlin, Knot, Redshank and Ringed Plover as per, and also a Turnstone thrown in for good measure. A Little Egret provided some none wader birds for us to enjoy too.
I could watch the other birders heading down to watch the terns from our seat too, so once my parents had left I headed straight up to the Seawatching hut. It was a quieter night on the Seawatching front, but still over 3000 Common Terns moving south and hundreds of Knot going north. My rosette tern dip continues in fine form as I failed to see one again this evening, though so far as I know none were seen. One Black Tern was spotted at 8.30 but it was very dark and the bird was quite far out so not as easy to appreciate as in previous evenings.
But this seawatch was different as tonight I finally grabbed something worthy of the Spurn Bird Obs. At 18.56 we were just chilling watching the terns. Movement was still a little slow at this point so I had a look around. I spotted a large bird moving over Clubleys and checked it out given the lack of movement. It was difficult against the light but my first thought was that it was a large gull, but it immediately became apparent that was not the case when it revealed broad wings, so marsh harrier was my next guess. But the bird banked, revealing very white undersides and a short tail. I knew what I was thinking, but given my poor form at Spurn was reluctant to call it, so threw it out ‘Is that an Osprey over Clubleys’. I don’t think I have ever seen birders move so fast, throwing their chairs over to get a look, except possibly when it was exclaimed ‘f***, it is an all’ when the birders in the hide made their move out.
The bird was moving across to the Humber side on its trip south, so the two guys with cameras headed down to the Humber while the rest of us rushed up to the edge of numpties and awaited its re-appearance on its journey south. All except Paul, who remained to count terns. The bird took a few seconds to re-appear, initially looking like it was moving out across the estuary, but then came back until it was really quite close and at one point may even have been going to land on one of the telegraph posts, though sadly it did not. After some sublime views it drifted south and was soon lost to the view, at which point we all settled down.
I think it’s safe to say that it’s the first time any bird I have found has ever gone even remotely viral. Apparently my Osprey made it onto Birdnet I am informed, that’s never happened before. It was Spurns second record of the year, and my first after I removed the Bolton Abbey bird on account that it was actually a marsh harrier. Apparently it also means I get my name in the Spurn Bird report, all from one bird. Fantastic! It’s safe to say this is one of the finest moments in my birding courier; to make seasoned pros jump out of the seat was very special. Add to that it’s possibly the best views of an Osprey I have ever had…
-Osprey (Self Found!)
Of course I was buzzing after that. I made my way to my shift feeling very proud. Along the way I picked up 2 Long-Eared Owls, hunting independently over different fields. Initially I wondered if they were barns, but they were not pale and they were far too small for short eared so that leaves us with Long-Eared. Sadly I only had silhouettes to work with so any features were impossible to pick out but it looked atmospheric against the pale sky.
After such a great day could anything bad possibly happen. Well, yes it can, and it’s pretty bad too. I made it to my hut only to find that the bottom lock was bust because of the sand and would not open. As a result I am typing this up sat on a washed up crate against the hut to stay out of the wind, while arranging my clothing in all manner of bizarre ways in order to keep warm. It’s not all bad though, as I have seen at least 5 Shooting Stars, and some of them have been pretty spectacular.
The Daily Oystercatcher
I had hoped to find the Oyks today to show my parents but they were not there, and this was in the middle of the day. I am now wondering if they may well have left for good, as I failed to see them on either shift. If so, it was lovely to watch them grow, see them change and make it to adulthood. I think, given the sparse nature of recent sightings, that it is about right to call time on ‘the daily oystercatcher’ with any updates to be given as and when. So long my beautiful Oyks, live long and prosper!
Coastal Walk: Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Whinchat, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, Common Gull, Woodpigeon
Beacon Ponds: Mallard, Cormorant, Dunlin, Sanderling, Sandwich Tern, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-Headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull,
Humber Estuary: Turnstone, Little Egret, Whimbrel, Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Common Redshank,
Seawatching: Common Tern, Knot, Dunlin, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Black-Headed Gull, Turnstone, Sanderling, Gannet, Mediterranean Gull, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher, Osprey, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Fulmar, Sand Martin, Manx Shearwater, Redshank, Common Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Ruff, Black Tern,