Saturday, 15 November 2014

Spontaneous Spurn Trip Day 1

A rather spontaneous trip to Spurn. Matt Bruce messaged me on the Thursday asking if I was up for it and I decided to go for it. We arrived on the Friday at midnight in preparation for a great weekends birding. Dan Wade was also with us.
We set off at first light in the morning, but fog had set in overnight and made conditions very tricky. We started at canal scrape but there was very little going on there, just a couple of Redshank. We decided to head up to beacon ponds to see if there were any snow bunts on the beach or anything else on the ponds. Here we picked up some good birds, including an impressive count of 14 Little Grebe. The highlight was when we were up at the far end of beacon lagoons and a diver flew past us. I got a very dark colour (It was close in), protruding feet and a lack of head movement. It did not look overly bulky so called it as a Black-Throated and the others agreed (Which was just as well as I would never have had the courage to call it on my own). Having thought about it, it was probably close enough in for me to have got a photo but hindsight is a wonderful thing...
We then walked along the back of the lagoons, adding Sanderling to our day list as well as Ringed Plover. We made our way to the Wetlands, but the path to the hide was closed and so could only view from the back. We heard a Little Owl calling and somehow Matt managed to find it resting on a log pile. Thats a Spurn tick for me and a really nice bird to see, looking lovely out in the open. Also from here we spotted a kestrel that was so wet we could not tell what it was, and also the Brent Geese grazing in the field in front of us.
-Brent Goose
By the end of our round trip we had clocked up some good species, and so headed back to the warren for some lunch. On Borough Pits there was another Little Grebe and a Spurn tick in the form of Goldeneye. After lunch we made our way to the Seawatching. Besides Red-Throated Divers there was nothing happening on the sea, but we were joined by a stunning Redwing next to the hide, which showed itself off very well. The fog was lifting so its probable that the bird had just come in.
Since the seawatching was so steady we decided to do the triangle. There was mainly the usual birds around, though a Rock Pipit flew over the C+A Car Park which was a new species for the day. The walk produced good birds, like Turnstone, Grey Plover and the like but the light was already fading and it was only early afternoon.
We decided to meander back to the Warren and chat to the ringers that were up. We had just arrived and were chatting to them when Martin came up with a small bird in his hand. Incredibly it was the one species that I had really wanted from the weekend; Little Auk. I have not seen one for a long time, and I have only ever seen one. But few people will ever get to see one like we saw, sat in the hand. Sadly the bird had lost its left leg, that was in a bad way but the bird had plenty of fight. The bird was released by Tim on the beach, who did a better job that he had done with the guillemot last time I had seen him try doing it!
The bird was great to see, so close you could really get all the detail. For some reason I left my little camera in Sheffield and as such I was unable to get any good shots. Only the top shot is mine, the other 3 are Dan Wades, so many thanks for him for letting me use them. 
-Little Auk
The light was pretty much gone by this point and so we decided to call it a day. We had clocked up an impressive species total. We then got to enjoy Spurns social side, as well as seeing some of the guys I met while working.

Species List:
Canal Scrape: Mallard, Wren, Redshank, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Robin, Little Egret, Kestrel
Beacon Ponds: Greenshank, Little Grebe, Sanderling, Dunlin, Snipe, Wigeon, Mallard, Great-Crested Grebe, Black-Throated Diver, Common Scoter, Gannet, Curlew, Cormorant, Redshank, Brent Goose, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Linnet, Magpie, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Shelduck, House Sparrow, Golden Plover, Common Teal, Song Thrush, Ringed Plover, Common Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Carrion Crow, 
Kilnsea Wetlands: Lapwing, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Mute Swan, Redshank, Little Egret, Wigeon, Curlew, Black-Headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Little Owl, Blackbird, Wren, Woodpigeon, Sanderling, Shelduck, Greenfinch, Starling, Common Teal, Meadow Pipit, Skylark,
Beacon Lane: Goldcrest, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Robin, Chaffinch, Tree Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Goldeneye, Little Grebe
Seawatching: Red-Throated Diver, Common Scoter, Redwing, Great Skua, Mallard, Common Teal,
Triangle: Grey Plover, Knot, Turnstone, Black-Tailed Godwit, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Pheasant, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blackcap, Collard Dove, Blue Tit, Rock Pipit, Starling, Fieldfare, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Little Auk

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