Saturday, 28 May 2016

NGB Spurn Weekend Day 3

The first day with any NGBs actually on site. Of course I headed up to numpties first. The sea was like a millpond, incredibly flat. the only time that changed was when a Porpoise breached the surface, which they frequently did. The total count at the evening log was of 12 individuals roaming around offshore. For birds moving on the sea, not so many. Auks were moving in a few good numbers, including my first Puffins of the year, MY 200th SPECIES OF 2016 (!!!), and a Red-breasted Merganser going North. So there was some variety, just not very many species. Bizarrely for May there had been 700 Brent Geese still on the Humber as of Friday, but there was something of a clear-out this morning, as at least 200 birds headed off out to sea.
-Brent Geese
Perhaps one of the highlights of the weekend was the stunning male Grey Wagtail that was caught whilst we were up at Numpties. In the hand you really got a different perspective on this really beautiful species, for example I never noticed the white markings around the face. What a beautiful bird.
-Grey Wagtail
Yesterdays Red-backed Shrike continued to perform along the canal, but the rarest new birds were a pair of Turtle Dove that Steve found behind the Crown. I jumped in Tims car and we raced up but we had only just left the Warren when news changed that they were now heading south. We swiftly pulled up in time for the doves to fly straight over out heads. We thought that was that but they then circled round and landed on the wires above the Warren before continuing south towards Lincolnshire.
-Turtle Dove
Considering how badly I wanted this species at the start of the year, to have seen four individuals at different points has really been something. These were probably the best view I have had so far, such lovely birds.
Without a radio it was less tempting to go out hunting for birds on the off chance something rare turned up and I ended up missing it. As a result I stayed around the Warren for most of the morning, and this reaped rewards when a dark headed Yellow Wagtail went overhead. I can't claim to know much about Yellow Wagtail subspecies, but this was clearly something. Tim managed to get a good shot of it in flight, but thats when the real problems started. It obviously lacks a Supercillum, seemingly ruling out flava. However, the sub-moustachial stripe seems to rule out thunbergi, and then there is the issue of its apparent chest band. The popular school of thought seems to be a flava x thunbergi hybrid type, but in reality we will never really know the birds ancestors. Also at the Warren was a very smart micro moth chilling on my scope. If anyone has any suggestions to its identification that would be appreciated.
-Probable flava x thunbergi
-Micro-moth sp. 
The winds had looked good, but the bushes were very quiet. The only birds in any real numbers were Spotted Flycatchers, with 18 seen over the day. My wanderings around the canal were fruitless, and with nothing seeming to happen I went for a nap. Not long after I had re-awoken I received a text about 2 Crossbill heading north, so rushed outside on the off chance that they might go over the obs. I yelled to Sims, who was also in the Obs, that they were coming and we waited outside. As soon as we were outside Ollie started about how there was zero chance we were going to see them, and that they could be anywhere. I told him in no uncertain terms, to hush up so I could hear, and that he clearly did not know Spurn well enough. I wish I could have appreciated the dead silence when one Crossbill came over the Obs not 60 seconds later, calling frantically. It then looped and landed in the tree at the back of the Obs, for a short time before it flew off North again. More interestingly was that this was a different bird to the two that had been reported. Still, another yeartick for me. What a result that was. 

Sightings List:
Spurn: Canal and Warren: Swallow, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Carrion Crow, Spotted Flycatcher, Greylag Goose, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Bar-tailed Godwit, Gannet, Gadwall, Mallard, Mute Swan, Meadow Pipit, Collard Dove, Magpie, Cormorant, Avocet, Oystercatcher, Kittiwake, Starling, Fulmar, Brent Goose, Common Scoter, Little Egret, Red-breasted Merganser, Goldfinch, Feral Pigeon, Tufted Duck, Sanderling, Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Swift, Linnet, Red-throated Diver, House Martin, Razorbill, Black-headed Gull, Common Teal, Chaffinch, Puffin, Black Tern, Common Tern, Turtle Dove, Barn Owl, Crossbill


  1. Daniel, your micro is a female Esperia sulphurella.

    1. Thank you, I really should try to learn my micros. There's just so many.