Sunday, 26 June 2016

Spurn Week 2

Monday 20th June
An extremely promising day that just became nothing. Now on afternoons I could go vis-migging. It looked like good conditions for swifts, but in the morning only about 50 moved and all out over the Humber. Other birds were also at a premium. I gave up at 08.00 and headed back to the caravan for a nap.
Ponds was equally as quiet, the highlight being a Grey Wagtail which went north. An Arctic Tern also dropped in briefly, and a Barn Owl over long bank. Overall though it was an extremely underwhelming day...

Species List:
Beacon Ponds: Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Little Tern, Grey Wagtail, Sandwich Tern, Arctic Tern, Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Avocet, Mute Swan, Swift, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Barn Owl, Dunlin, Linnet, 

Tuesday 21st June
Once more I got up early and headed down to numpties to hopefully get some Swifts. That worked out well, all three Swifts that I saw. And there was hardly a great deal of other birds, but those that there were made a peculiar assortment. At the bottom of the canal I found a young Great-spotted Woodpecker on the telegraph poles. Then whilst watching for Swifts there were 3 Rook which u-turned and a couple of Mistle Thrushes. All not particularly common Spurn birds, especially at this time of year. On my walk down the canal I year-ticked Yellow-legged Gull but it was distant and in the haze, so no photos of the bird, an adult.
-Great-spotted Woodpecker
-Rook and Jackdaw
-Mistle Thrush
Up at the ponds there was a great deal of consistency with a very similar assortment of species on show. A family party of Pheasant was flushed from Long Bank, and there was a flock of Grey Plover that went south. The Arctic Tern that make infrequent appearances flew in and then to wetlands, allowing me to grab a few photos of them as they flew back over my head.
-Arctic Tern

Species List:
Numpties Watchpoint:
Beacon Ponds: Knot, Little Tern, Pheasant, Sandwich Tern, Dunlin, Cuckoo, Arctic Tern, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Avocet, Reed Bunting, Grey Plover, House Martin, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, 

Wednesday 22nd June
Having gotten up early the last two mornings and been extremely disappointed with the birds on offer, today I decided to sleep in. Obviously then, it came as no surprise that today was the day when there was actually a bird getting up for. Fortunately it did not break until I was already out of bed and halfway through breakfast. I was on site, Beacon Ponds, at the same time as all the other birders who had raced up from Numpties.
The bird in question was a lesser golden plover, which was soon deemed to be an American Golden Plover on the basis of the length of its wings and the colour scheme of its back. It was incredibly distant on the ponds, although had I been on duty that morning the views would have been very good from the tern hut. I tried to grab what photos I could but ended up phone-scoping, something I have not done very much, usually because the camera on my phone is somewhat lacking. 
The bird itself was a smart beast, nearly adult full summer but not quite. It has a distinctive thick neck band though, and the vent was showing signs of going dark. The colour of the back was very distinctive, even in the morning light. When it flew, which we only saw it do once (when it left) you could clearly see the dusky axillaries.
-American Golden Plover
Sadly the bird pinged it at 8.00, and when I saw pinged it properly went. Some present thought it had headed over to sammies but it kept going beyond there until it was lost. No coming back from that then. Only birders on site saw it, and it stayed probably around 15mins. 
My walk round the canal mid morning produced very little, just a few dragonflies. On my shift up at ponds I had hoped that the AGP would come back but by the time I left high tide had been and gone with no rewards, so I guess it must have properly gone.

Species List:
Beacon Ponds: Knot, Little Tern, Curlew, Sandwich Tern, American Golden Plover, Black-headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Avocet, Little Egret, Mallard, Mute Swan, Swallow, Reed Bunting, Carrion Crow, Common Gull, Linnet, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Gannet, Grey Plover,

Thursday 23rd June
Another start which was not massively early but nothing happened to make it worth getting up early. A Hobby was about the best of it at Numpties this morning, although a flock of Lapwing was probably more unusual for the time of year.
Ponds was quiet as well, a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit probably about the best of it. Not much more to say really. Overall  a very quiet day.

Species List:
Numpties: Hobby, Sandwich Tern, Curlew, Swift, Meadow Pipit, Starling, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Lapwing, House Martin, Herring Gull, 
Beacon Ponds: Little Tern, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Woodpigeon, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Swallow, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Cuckoo, Great Black-backed Gull, Starling, Little Egret, Mallard, Mute Swan, Magpie, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit,

Friday 24th June
The first day of real Swift movement. It started slowly but soon picked up and by the end of the day we had over 2000 birds gone south. Many had gone through flying so low they could have parted out hair. Always a fantastic spectacle, one of the real highlights of the year at Spurn. I diddnt spend time taking photos of the Swifts, only sifting through them looking for something rare.
In between bursts of Swifts there were a couple of other things about, namely a very smart Ruby-tailed Wasp alighting on the fence posts around the watchpoint. They move so fast and are so tricky. The one decent photo I got is still slightly out of focus, but since its the only one I got I'll throw it in for good measure.
-Ruby-tailed Wasp
Up at ponds it was very quiet so I spent most of my time clicking Swifts. I counted a decent number but most went over long bank it seems. Just as I was leaving I got a fright, with a pale, sandy brown plover on the beach. I had no idea what it was, but fortunately it flew revealing black armpits, so Grey Plover. Honestly, it looked like a hybrid golden plover-sand plover. It had me until it flew.

Species List:
Numpties: Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Grey Plover, Redshank, Arctic Tern, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Teal, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Mallard, Shelduck, Little Egret, Cormorant, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Swift, Sand Martin, House Martin, Oystercatcher, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull,
Beacon Ponds: Sparrowhawk, Swift, Little Tern, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Little Egret, Swallow, Reed Bunting, Greenshank, Curlew, Grey Heron, Woodpigeon, Common Scoter, Grey Plover, Common Teal, Avocet, 

Saturday 25th June
Usual craic first thing, down to Numpties for some vis-migging. On my way down I was stunned to come across a Turtle Dove sitting pretty on the wires near the warren. Sadly it flew north before I was able to get any photos of it but always a cracking bird to see. Sadly it turns out Steve had got it first and put it out whilst I was still in bed, so I suppose you snooze you loose...
Other cracking bits and pieces from watching: Barn Owl in the Triangle, a Red-throated Diver over our heads and a Red-breasted Merganser close in. 
-Red-breasted Merganser
Up at ponds it was very quiet, so I spent most of my time clicking those Swifts that were going through overhead. An early evening shower put the steady trickle down for a while but once it had passed they came through with vengeance, with good numbers passing through.

Species List:
Numpties: Barn Owl, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Fulmar, Gannet, Swift, Turtle Dove, Little Gull, Grey Wagtail, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Golden Plover, Common Teal, Curlew, Dunlin, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Mallard, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Starling, Great Tit, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, 
Beacon Ponds: Little Tern, Grey Heron, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sandwich Tern, Little Egret, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Avocet, 

Sunday 26th June
Another morning down at Numpties. The Swift movement of the last few days had all but dried up, but still over 800 birds went through. We were treating to a smashing flyover from a couple of Spoonbill, which then landed on the Humber and fed for a short while before continuing south. We did see another bird go north, probably a different bird from one of the earlier ones.
Other species of any note were a Peregrine north, a flock of 12 Tufted Duck (Fairly unusual here) and a couple of shearwaters. I can't comment but more experienced birders were perplexed by the birds, seeming halfway between Manx and Balearic. There were a couple of shouts for Yelkouan but in the end nothing came of it. However, from the subsequent discussions I do now know what to look for in a Yelkouan Shearwater.
It was another quiet evening up at the ponds. We did manage to catch the pair of bikers that had been eluding us all week, which was good. The only bird highlight was the first Turnstone of the year back, which alighted with the Redshank early evening. I spent most of my time trying to get some photographs of the Little Terns, something I have not done much of despite watching them daily. In the end though I only got a couple of reasonable efforts.
-Little Tern

Species List:
Numpties: Spoonbill, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Teal, Swift, Peregrine, Kestrel, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Swallow, Sand Martin, Curlew, Dunlin, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull,
Beacon Ponds: Turnstone, Redshank, Dunlin, Cuckoo, Little Tern, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, 

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