Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Spurn Day 55 - LIFER ALERT

Today started like any other. I managed to leave my bed at half six and wandered up to the Seawatching hut, where I was informed that there was no movement. As a result I decided to head over to Kilnsea wetlands to see the waders’ high tide roost there, since there had been some good stuff on there in recent days.
I arrived to find the place very quiet. However the 3 Little Stint were still there and offering great views near the gate. Again it was surprising to see them next to the Dunlin, they are so small and yet don’t really seem it, it seems more like the Dunlin are bigger. I was able to get some more shots of them too…
-Little Stint
I entered the hide and spent a good couple of hours watching the birds coming in. Overall there were fewer than I expected, but the tide quite a low one today. Redshank were in abundance, with at least 600 birds on there. How I were ever to find the Spotted Redshank that had been there was beyond me.
But somehow I managed it. Having seen one before helped no end, I could clearly make out the longer, drooped bill from among the massed ranks of Redshank. I was buzzing at this find, an indication of just how much I have improved over the last year. Also there was one Curlew Sandpiper, an adult still in something of summer plumage, very similar to the bird that was on beacon ponds. So for the lack of numbers, there was huge variety. None waders included the female Pintail and a Sparrowhawk that flew through.
I would love to say that the day remained on this positive note, but alas it did not. In fact it took a very negative turn half way through the wader roost when I carelessly knocked my bag off the bench, with the camera in it. Usually it would have been fine after this, but alas, that was not the case this time and as a result the camera now refuses to take photos. Fantastic! That is going to be an expensive accident I can already tell, and not just in terms of finance.
There were no further birds along the walk, so the camera was not overly missed. I radioed Paul and spent the afternoon sorting out the tern stuff at Kew. As a result I did not expect to see many birds. However, not long after I arrived the radio went off saying that a Barred Warbler had been found at borough pit. There had already been one at the point which I had not gone for, so this was a bonus. Tim took the van and we raced over to have a look. We found the site easily enough, with Kieron, who had found it.
It had taken to a patch of reed, so Tim suggested we organise a flush. Walking through the reeds we eventually put the bird up, though it landed on the far side to me. Tim beckoned me over to have a look, and pointed out the bird sat on the bottom of the reeds not 2 meters away from me. It was a chunky thing, as I had been told, and had obviously just landed as it was not overly fussed about us being there so close. It remained skulky but on occasions it did come out and give a good view.
Another lifer, my 32nd this year believe it or not! A nice big Barred Warbler had now been added to my list. Of course it was at this point that the lack of camera really began to hurt, given how close the lifer had been to me and yet I had been unable to get a photo. Obviously a photo is not the be all and end all and I was incredibly grateful for the views I did get, so close, but it somehow left it feeling a little bitter. Fortunately tim tried to get some shots, which he said I could have, so here are those, not mine but of the same bird (And it meant I got to the watch the bird more instead, which is much better!)
-Barred Warbler (Tim Jones)
I returned to Kew and continued clearing up all afternoon. There were at least 30 Migrant Hawkers hunting during the afternoon around Kew. And the boys caught a Blue Tit in their nets. I have heard rumour of ringing Blue Tits, and the rumours proved to be true. The bird was not happy, it squawked and fidgeted and even bit Tim while he tried to remove it. I then got a fascinating explanation as to the age of the bird, this year’s bird, based on its plumage.
As I was leaving I caught another radio message saying there were 2 Sunfish of the warren. I steadily made my way there, not really rushing but I wandered along the coastal way to see if I could pick them up. I bumped into Ian who had been looking for the barred, but it had not been seen since we lost it and it dived back into the reeds.
I made it to the Seawatching hut where there were a couple of young lads that have been around the last couple of days. I asked about the sunfish and they pointed them out. They were hardly spectacular, a couple of fins emerging ever other second then going back down, but I can now add Sunfish to my list. They seemed to be going in circles around each other, but my knowledge of sunfish behaviour is limited, so who even knows what was going on under the water.
So for the terrible misfortune this morning, the day was really as rather good one. It was sad that it was tinged with such bitterness and disappointment. Hopefully I can continue to borrow photos, and that way it will not be overly missed.

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands: Little Egret, Little Stint, Dunlin, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Shelduck, Mallard, Grey Plover, Black-Headed Gull, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Reed Bunting, Woodpigeon, Pintail, Knot, Oystercatcher, Teal, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Cormorant, Spotted Redshank, Sparrowhawk, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Gull, Mute Swan, Grey Heron,
Mooching About: Willow Warbler, Barred Warbler, Black-Headed Gull, Starling, Yellow Wagtail, Blue Tit, Sunfish, Migrant Hawker,

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