The NGBs arrived last night so there was a good squad of us in the warren in the morning. As a consequence of the weather we had taken the day slowly and by 7 there were only 3 of us up. It was at that point that news broke of a laughing gull at Beacon Ponds. I have never seen birders move so fast.
We arrived at the wetlands to be pointed a distant bird heading south over Beacon Lane to be told that was the bird, before it was lost to sight and was never seen again. Guys at numpties did not see it go south so it was assumed to be still in the area, though it was not seen again.
Since we did not know this we went to numpties to see if it would come south but it never did, and we soon gave up as the rain continued to fall.
By mid morning we decided to actually do some birding. Zac had already decided to quit being lazy and had gone to the point. As a result, the rest of us decided to go to Sammies. This was an excellent choice as it resulted in us finding a Marsh Warbler, which was the first of the year for spurn and a lifer for me.
We heard it calling first and all picked it up at roughly the same time before discussing it among us before releasing it as a Marsh Warbler. It was typically elusive and difficult to pin down, but I got a couple of nice enough record shots. Some of the other guys took sonograms of the bird too. Jonnie kept a list of all the birds being imitated, which included Bee-Eater, Yellow and Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Great Tit and a host of other species. Super.
Other birds were thin on the ground, the only other notable being a Barn Owl. We the returned to the Warren. When Zac arrived back from the point Jonnie, Matt and I took him up to the site to see the Warbler again, but it remained flighty and elusive. After a while we left Zac to try and get a photo, whilst we headed to Patrington to grab a few things.
We returned to the warren for more laziness. Then, once again, the radio buzzed that a Bee-Eater was flying about sammies, then Churchfield, then the canal before settling down in Sammies. We raced up to numpties to pick it up over the canal before racing round the roads trying to find it, before we pulled up in Churchfield.
In churchfield the bird was calling frequently, sat closely and whizzing round our heads. It was a better experience than last time as it was closer, flying around us and calling. It was unbelievably awesome. It just does not get any better than this really. It nearly did as Tim set up the nets to try and catch it, and it so nearly went in, landing on the net poles twice and dodging the net only narrowly. What a superb bird and experience. Sadly the battery on my compact died so I only managed a few shots with that.
Paul said he was off to catch the Marsh Warbler, but with the bee eater still around I did not want to leave should it be caught. As soon as Paul had left with the other NGBs though the bee-eater flew off, so I grabbed a lift with Mick to long bank and ran through the sodden grass to catch them with the Marsh Warbler.
I was in luck, they had only just set up when I arrived and within 2 mins the bird had gone straight into the net. My lack of compact camera meant I had to stand well back but I'm still pleased with the shots I got, only that I did not get the feet, which were incredibly distinctive when you saw the bird up close, bright yellow. What a superb little bird and lifer.
We let the warbler go without putting it out. We then wandered along Sammies where Zac spotted a Kestrel ripping apart a wheatear. Jonnie wanted the feathers so we waited until the kestrel had done before he went to go and get them. By now, with the thick cloud cover, it was quite dusky so we decided to call it quits on the day. Despite the weather we had got some fantastic birds seen and had a great days birding.
Sammies Point: Marsh Warbler, Kestrel, Barn Owl, Wheatear, Woodpigeon, Black-Headed Gull, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Swallow, House Martin, House Sparrow, Linnet, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Sand Martin, Ringed Plover, Cuckoo, Meadow Pipit,
Churchfield: Collard Dove, European Bee-Eater, Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Barn Owl, Swallow, Swift, House Martin,