Oh boy, was today hard work. Birds on the sea were reduced to a limited stream of Auks, and the highlights were five Eider that settled and then headed south. With news of a nightjar at the obs the enduring watchers all gave up and headed up, but there was no sign of the bird when I arrived. Since I was back, I settled in to wait for the weather to warm up in the hope that something would pop out of the bushes.
By 11.00 in the morning I decided to go to Wetlands to have a look at the Little Terns again. For unclear reasons I decided to head up by Beacon Lane, probably so I could check the Triangle again for anything. Of course, there was nothing. Wandering up Beacon Lane I had spoken to a few birders about how hard the days birding had been, and that nobody had gotten much at all. I was just thinking about going home that evening whilst walking up Beacon Lane when I glanced left and there, right there, sat next to me was a male Red-backed Shrike. I was stunned, the canal bird was still present so far a I knew, so this had to be a new bird. I diddnt have time to process these thoughts as the bird saw me the moment I saw it, and in a flash it was gone behind the bushes.
It took 20 mins before I managed to relocate it, but the sheer sense of relief when I did. I managed to get a text to Tim Jones that I had an RB Shrike but I had lost it. Now I had it again all I had to do was check for rings. It was unringed, and this was seconded by Tim Sexey who joined me as he had walked down Beacon Lane birding. This must be a new shrike then, and as such is my first ever self found scarce drift migrant. What a moment, and a stunning bird too.
Sadly only Tim and I saw it, as it dropped into bushes not long after and was not seen again on Beacon Lane, although I read on the website that it moved to Rose Cottage in the late afternoon. Really brought the best out of the day.
-Red-backed Shrike (Self found)
The ponds were quiet, only 10 Little Terns present, and no waders of any note. On Wetlands there was a White Wagtail which was a nice addition to the weekend list. There were also three very young Avocet chicks along the edge of the shoreline quite close, allowing me to get fantastic views of them. What little cuties.
Despite the Shrike, it could not persuade me to stay, especially with the northerlies set to continue and get stronger, meaning even fewer birds around. I decided to head home that evening, to spend my last few days at uni actually at uni. Especially since now I will be working at Spurn again for the next three months on little tern wardening as a result of the current warden getting a job at Blacktoft. Excited would be an understatement.
Spurn: Canal and Warren: Eider, Common Teal, Gannet, Linnet, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird, Herring Gull, Swallow, House Martin, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Common Scoter, Guillemot, Razorbill, Sanderling, Kittiwake, Oystercatcher, Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail, Greenfinch, Sedge Warbler, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Shelduck, House Sparrow,
Spurn: Beacon Lane, Beacon Ponds and Kilnsea Wetlands: Chaffinch, Starling, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Swallow, Lesser Whitethroat, Red-backed Shrike. Avocet, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Linnet, Whitethroat, Shelduck, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Dunlin, Gadwall, Meadow Pipit, Sand Martin, Ringed Plover, Little Tern, Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern,