Back on mornings, meaning early starts but hopefully a few more birds given I'm now working with the tide. The waders were a very similar set to those that have been around previously, but in greater numbers. Dunlin were well over 2000. I counted 2390 but my counting in tens is probably somewhat off and there could well have been more. Other species were much easier to count; 21 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 15 Redshank.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning was when a Pale-bellied Brent Goose flew in and started chilling with the waders. Its July? What even! The bird was shot to bits, and chatting to some other birders at Spurn it seems to be a 1st winter age, so probably just stuck around. I put it out on twitter and it soon became apparent that it had spent the morning traveling down the coast, first seen at Whitburn up in Durham.
After my shift I headed down to Numpties where the was a few things moving. Sadly I missed the bee-eater but I did get nice views of Swifts and was a more productive use of the afternoon than a power nap.
-Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Beacon Ponds: Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Mediterranean Gull, Sanderling, Little Tern, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Brent Goose, Little Egret, Sedge Warbler, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Swift, Sand Martin,
Tuesday 12th July
Very much a similar affair on ponds. Dunlin numbers seem to have dropped but as the high tide time now matches perfectly with the time most dog walkers are on the beach that is hardly surprising. A few nice things around the ponds; a Mediterranean Gull flew through, as did 6 Little Gulls. I finally spotted the Gadwall female in long-bank ditch, but only with a solitary chick. I was kind of hoping for a few more than that.
In the evening when heading out to my caravan I was stunned but thrilled to find a Hedgehog on the step up to the door. It did not run or anything, just sat there despite me basically being able to touch it. Its not a species I see very often, my last been also at Spurn two years ago. Its also the first time I have ever photographed one. What an awesome little critter.
Beacon Ponds: Golden Plover, Sanderling, Mediterranean Gull, Knot, Little Tern, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Redshank, Dunlin, Little Gull, Gadwall, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Gannet, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Reed Bunting, Skylark,
Wednesday 13th July
Another morning struggling to get out of bed. Today was an excellent morning for birds though, not least because I actually saw the two Little Tern chicks that have hatched within the dunes. At least something going right in the project at last.
Today's main highlight was something rather unexpected really, it being the first one at Spurn this year. Mid-morning, scanning through the terns and I stumbled across the most plumage perfect Roseate Tern I could have ever imagined. Its a species I have seen before, but never properly, so to finally see one on the deck, through the scope was really something. And although I hate the term, it is a 'self-found'. It was really pleasing for me to be able to nail the bird at first sight and then not have to doubt myself until it was confirmed. Sadly I was the only observer, as after I managed a few record shots all the terns got flushed and the Roseate flew off north. What a cracking bird.
Today was a good day for birds. The Brent Goose reappeared in the early hours, as did the Little Ringed Plover during the late morning. Sadly the waders were traumatized by the presence of a Peregrine which came through the colony three times. By the third visit there were no waders left, despite it being high tide, such is the impact that the predator had.
In the afternoon I headed down the canal and onto clubleys field to look for dragonflies but failed to find any. In fact the only thing from the whole walk was a smart Barn Owl perched up on a fence post with a mouse. Aside from that it was a very quiet afternoon.
Beacon Ponds: Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Heron, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Brent Goose, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Knot, Sanderling, Roseate Tern, Little-ringed Plover, Mallard, Mute Swan, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sedge Warbler, Skylark, Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, Common Scoter, Bar-tailed Godwit, Gadwall, Reed Bunting,
Thursday 14th July
A fairly quiet day at the ponds, although still over 2000 Dunlin came in. I sadly failed to find anything massively exciting among them. The best of it were 4 Sanderling and a Turnstone. Other birds around the ponds included 6 Arctic Tern, the first Juvenile Sandwich Tern of the year and a Barn Owl early morning. That aside, it was very much a similar affair to the last few mornings.
Beacon Ponds: Sanderling, Turnstone, Little Grebe, Redshank, Little Tern, Dunlin, Arctic Tern, Common Tern, Greenshank, Barn Owl, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Herring Gull, Gannet, Common Scoter, Skylark, Linnet, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull,
Friday 15th July
Another day with similar patterns of species seen. Again, 2000 Dunlin came in but I once again unable to find anything lurking among them which was rare. A Golden Plover flyover was the only real difference in the variety of wader species on ponds this morning.
There were up to 10 Common Terns around the ponds, plus 5 Sandwich Terns, although no sign of yesterdays Juvenile. Little Tern numbers continued to be high at around 70 birds at high tide, all of them sat around doing not very much when they should be breeding.
Beacon Ponds: Common Tern, Dunlin, Redshank, Little Tern, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Sandwich Tern, Black-headed Gull, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Golden Plover, Herring Gull, Common Gull,
Saturday 16th July
Today really was exciting, with a pretty impressive movement of Little Gulls over the ponds. In total 161 birds flew across the ponds to the Humber, mainly in flocks ranging from 20-50 birds. It really was quite impressive and nice to be sat on long bank just clicking them as they came through.
Other species remained very much the same, although 5 Wigeon at the south end were obviously new. Now up to 3 Grey Herons are frequenting the ponds, and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew north. Dunlin numbers seemed to be down a little bit, with only 1500 coming in, but the tide was not as high and it is possible that they may have roosted in the spartina along the edge of the Humber instead.
Beacon Ponds: Little Tern, Little Gull, Greenshank, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Carrion Crow, Great Black-backed Gull, Linnet, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Bar-tailed Godwit, Yellow Wagtail, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Whimbrel, Redshank, Dunlin, Kestrel, Wigeon, Mediterranean Gull, Little Grebe, Cormorant,
Sunday 17th July
After the excitement of yesterdays little gull movement, it was perhaps surprising that not a single little gull was seen today. In fact today returned to the much quieter state of ponds, with not much actually happening. A Common Sandpiper was nice, and both Sanderling and Ringed Plover numbers seemed to have increased. 3 of the Grey Partridge family were also seen as I moved through the dunes to the hut.
Still, this will be the last time I get to do any proper birding up at ponds for a while, as I moved onto night shifts tonight. What a pleasant treat thats going to be.
Beacon Ponds: Turnstone, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Barn Owl, Little Grebe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Arctic Tern, Ringed Plover, Grey Partridge, Whimbrel, Sandwich Tern, Redshank, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Reed Bunting,