First full day back at the site where I spent 3 months solid. I got up nice and early, half 5 and was just on my way up to numpties when Steve ran down saying Mick had got Bee-Eater up in Easington and turtle dove at Wetlands. As a result I jumped in the car with Steve and we rushed off to Easington to see if we could track in down on the wires. We could not, which follows the pattern of the bird the previous day.
I decided the wetlands would be a waste of time and instead got a lift back to Numpties where I hoped the bee-eater would go past. There was a steady trickle of swifts moving down over numpties and a few other bits and pieces. It was not pulling up trees but there was enough to keep you sharp whilst seeing some good stuff.
During the morning a reported 3 Grey Herons came in off the sea, though 2 were before I arrived. It was bizzare to see these great big birds which I usually see flying over wetlands or fields, out in the sea coming inland, and made for some more unusual photos of the birds in their habitat.
The wind was an absolute nightmare so we were watching from the downwind side of the seawatching hut. It was just as well as otherwise we would have missed some good stuff. Early in the morning Rich Swales picked out a couple of Egyptian Geese flying in the distance, which was the rarest bird recorded at spurn all weekend, but they were distant and seemed to drop down over the ponds, though we heard nothing.
Next I picked up a flock of Canada Geese at the same sort of distance. However, not yet completely familiar with the workings of Spurn I considered them 'just' Canada Geese and kept them quiet, until I mentioned it in passing later to a cry of them being suppressed. Awkward! Given they were now very unusual and I had only got the facial pattern on one of the birds I told Paul that there had been one Canada Goose and 5 other geese sp. but after seeing that a flock of 6 Canadas had been reported earlier in the week it would make sense that they were all canadas. The weird workings of birds at Spurn have caught me out again.
The highlight of the morning for me came a little later on. It all happened very quickly but simultaenously we heard a call that sounded familiar but I could not put my finger on it, and a pair of birds flew past us, the one closest to me was clearly red and a reasonably large finch sp. Had I time I would have got it, but the others there were onto it straight away, Common Crossbill, my third Spurn Tick of the morning. There seemed some confusion that it might have been two Crossbills and a Linnet but we will never know as the birds kept on going over and beyond the buildings at the Warren. I was pretty buzzing after that to be sure.
The same thing happened again not long after, with another call I knew I recognised but could not put my finger on it. This time we picked up the bird much quicker, though it still went through pretty fast, a Siskin, which is only my second for Spurn.
There had been Cuckoos calling yesterday up at wetlands but by late morning we had 3 flying about over Clubleys. Two went back to canal hedge but one did a full loop of clubleys allowing me to get some decent, if not exceptional, shots of the bird in flight.
By early afternoon the numbers of Swifts had started to pick up and we were soon on over 1000 having passed through. Other stuff continued to be around, and next on the list was a Hobby that one of the birders had picked up coming in over the Borough Pits. Obviously that's a long way away and I managed no photos of it. It kept diving below, and stayed down for a while before coming back up. It did this a couple of times before moving back out to sea and going south, again at a distance.
The Siskin decided to come back, unlike the crossbills, and did a loop over our heads before heading south again. I was keen to try and grab a photo but caught my camera on my bag, breaking the screen. fortunately no internal damage was done but it does mean I have now broken 2 cameras at Spurn, which is far from ideal.
After 8 hours up at numpties I decided to go for a little walk round the triangle, despite Ian saying it was a big mistake. The wind, of course, kept everything down in the triangle and the only birds I saw were Grey Plover and a solitary Brent Goose (Pale Bellied) from Canal Bank.
-Pale Bellied Brent Goose and Grey Plover
I was thinking to myself that I should have stayed at numpties when the inevitable happened; Pete text me saying that the bee-eater had gone south while I had been away. I was gutted, but felt surprising not bothered. Whilst I had not seen the bee-eater, major bummer, I had always wanted to tick it where I could appreciate it, and not some flyby, so I did not feel as bad as I could have done. That being said, it did not help me when I was being ripped to pieces by the guys when I returned to numpties...
I waited at numpties to see if it would come back, but it did not. I helped Steve count Swifts and in the end there were around 2300 that went through, which is not bad going at all. Another fantastic days birding at Spurn, with 3 Spurn Ticks to boot.
Numpties: Egyptian Goose, Gannet, Swift, House Martin, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Black-Headed Gull, Brent Goose, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Carrion Crow, Whimbrel, Mallard, Little Tern, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Jackdaw, Feral Pigeon, Starling, Common Crossbill, Great Black-Backed Gull, Greenfinch, Canada Goose, Collard Dove, Goldfinch, Oystercatcher, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Little Egret, Collard Dove, Common Scoter, Pied Wagtail, Cuckoo, Siskin, Common Gull, Grey Plover, Graylag Goose, Hobby, Tufted Duck, Knot,