Tuesday, 19 August 2014


As you have read indeed, today was a double lifer day. Since I no longer had to go up to the ponds I allowed myself a lie in, the first one I have had since I arrived. However it was still short as I wanted to make my way up to the Seawatching hide in order to ensure I did not miss any potential lifer seabirds going down.
Fortunately it had been a quiet morning, though I was left gripped by red-throated diver, which would have been a year tick. I settled down to watch to see if any late birds would come, but it remained quiet. At around 9.00 Mick called out that he had spotted a large raptor, and he worked it out as an Osprey moving over the sea. To be honest it was too far for me to do anything with, but I took their word for it and added Osprey to my day list.
At around 9.15 the first of the day’s lifers passed through. I was scanning along and spotted a cormorant flying north, but continued to scan. Not 2 seconds later Steve called out that he might have a great-northern diver, which I knew immediately would be the same bird. Indeed it was. As the other guys got onto it they decided it was not bulky enough for a great northern diver, and its feet extension was not right, therefore it must be a Black-Throated Diver. I had hoped my first Black-Throat would be a bit more than a silhouette moving along the horizon. It was clear to see it was a diver, and with the points they had made I was willing to agree with them on that front and add it to my list, though I can only wish the view had been better so I could properly appreciate it.
Obviously pleased with another lifer I headed out into the morning to have a look round prior to my moving to the ponds to remove the fence. I headed up to canal scrape but was informed that there were no birds there, so decided to have a look in the bushes along the road along the triangle walk. Not far up the road from canal scrape and I spotted a Whinchat, sat along the fence post at the back. I got a few photos, but it was too far really, and it was nice to just watch it.
Carrying on along the road there were ample Willow Warbler, bushes aplenty with them. Some I was able to get really good views of, as they flitted around the undergrowth. Along the top road I found a couple of Lesser Whitethroat too, calling to each other from the bushes, but as usual I was reduced to fleeting glimpses. I tried my best to get some photos but it was not happening, the birds were showing too irregularly for me to get any.
Down Canalside it was much quieter, though I could see the waders out on the Humber, including vast numbers of Bar-Tailed Godwit and Knot, along with Dunlin, Redshank and Ringed Plover. When they all took off it was spectacular to see.
-Bar-Tailed Godwit and Redshank
The afternoon was spent removing the fence and so I could not really watch the birds, though I did have a check on the Little Tern chicks and saw the youngster flutter off when I approached the area, not convincingly I must admit. The Oystercatcher family also put in an appearance, looking really grown up, though the chicks still have the distinctive dark patches at the ends of their beaks.
The evenings seawatch promised much but was very quiet on the whole. There were good numbers of Manx Shearwaters out to sea and 1740 Common Terns, which is low compared to some of the totals we have had. Numbers of all the birds were down really, save for 1.
Paul had some ringing guys up at spurn for the last few days, and they joined in for the early part of the watch. At around 7.00 an Australian guy suddenly called out, ‘whats this close, is it a sooty or a Balearic?’. All jumped up to check but it turned into a nightmare to find, especially given it was mid distance. It was quickly announced as a Balearic, and fortunately I was one of those lucky enough to find it, and watch it was it glided north. Because it was so close I made the fatal error of trying to photograph it, try and break the horrid lack of photos from lifers that has emerged over the last few days. As a result I did not watch it as much as I would have liked, but I did see enough of it, including the duskier belly and otherwise Manx like Jizz. The view was good when it banked up and I could see the lack of white on the underside. I have to say that of the 3 species ticked a spurn Seawatching, this is the only one I feel I could confidently do again, but that is probably as a result of the good view we got.
Spurn only get a few Balearic every year, so to be there for this one was special, and of course it’s another great lifer to add to my growing list. It’s a pity with Seawatching that the birds move through so fast, but either way I was thrilled.

Species List:
Seawatch: Gannet, Arctic Skua, Feral Pigeon, Oystercatcher, Swallow, Common Scoter, Black-Headed Gull, Ringed Plover, Cormorant, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Osprey, Black-Throated Diver, Sandwich Tern,
Triangle: Bar-Tailed Godwit, Knot, Redshank, Dunlin, Little Egret, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Whinchat, Willow Warbler, House Sparrow, Wren, Linnet, Starling, Blackbird, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Woodpigeon,

Seawatch: Fulmar, Gannet, Common Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Common Scoter, Manx Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Common Gull, Swallow, Oystercatcher,

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