Sunday, 24 July 2016

Spurn Week 6

Monday 18th July
After my first night-shift in over two years I was looking forward to a proper days sleep with no interruptions. Alas that this turned into one of the most hectic mornings imaginable. It started pleasant enough, when on my way back I spotted a lovely juvenile Wheatear behind the tern hut. In the morning light I was able to snap a few nice enough photos of one of my favourite birds.
I waited for Mick on long bank and headed off home once he had arrived. This is when the real horror of the morning began to set it. On my way back over long bank I flushed a young Reed Bunting out of long bank. The bird could obviously not fly very well, judging by the fact that it crashed into the ponds about 10 meters out. Initially it looked like it would be Ok, as it spluttered its was towards the shore, but it then decided to turn back out into the middle of the ponds. It was at this point I decided to go it after it. I had to remove all the electronics from my pockets first and then waded/swam out to it. Sadly though by the time that I arrived at the bird it was already too late, and nothing more than a sodden corpse. I brought it back to shore and Mick tried to give it mouth to mouth but we were unable to save it. A really sad end to the night shift.
And that should have been that. I was soaking wet, stinking of pond and absolutely knackered. Ready for a shower and bed. I was so close, not more than 100 meters away from the obs when Mick crackeled over the radio that he had a pale legged stint up at the ponds. Now, rather than crawling into the shower and bed I was running for my scope and then back up to the ponds. When I arrived the birders were well into their discussion as to the stints identity. Least seemed to be favourite, but was clear that the light was a real problem and that the legs might not actually be yellow as they seemed. It took time before the bird moved and better views could be had, revealing after all that the bird was just a Little Stint.
-Little Stint
Once I finally made it to bed I struggled to get to sleep given that the day was not already very bright and warm. In the end I dragged myself out of bed around two in the afternoon and once I had woken up I made my way to the ponds for the high tide wader roost. I was rewarded with my first Curlew Sandpiper of the year. It was a stunning summer plumage red brick bird, the only downside was that it was very distant and that was reflected in my poor attempts to phone-scope it.
-Curlew Sandpiper
Sadly though I was still exhausted and once I was satisfied I had gone through all the waders and seen all the unusual species among the Dunlin I headed back to the obs for tea and then off to the night-shift.

Sightings List:
Beacon Ponds: Wheatear, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Dunlin, Knot, Little Tern, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Pheasant, Common Tern, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Redshank, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover,

Tuesday 19th July
Today I am leaving Spurn for a few days for my graduation. Sad but true. The morning was thankfully nowhere near as eventful as the previous day but there was not a great deal about, only the usual Dunlin and other waders. A cracking Bar-tailed Godwit behind the hut was about the best of it.
-Bar-tailed Godwit

Sightings List:
Beacon Ponds: Dunlin, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Bar-tailed Godwit, Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Reed Bunting,

Sunday 24th July
After a week of Graduation partying, plus not sleeping well in the hot weather had all but broken me sleep wise. As a result I was in no rush to get up on my first morning back at Spurn. I missed a red-necked phalarope on ponds, but that was the only species I missed, so I consider that a blessing in disguise.
I made my way down to seawatching once I got out of bed. There were a few waders, mainly Sanderling but a few other species thrown in too such as Dunlin and Knot. A quick check of Clubleys field produced a Snipe, but no dragonflies. The real highlight of the morning as an Arctic Skua that flew south, my first of the year and long overdue at that. It was a smart dark phase individual that flew fairly close in, affording nice views through the scope.
In the afternoon I went to bed in a desperate attempt to recapture something of a sleeping pattern before I began night shifts again...

Sightings List:
Seawatching: Sanderling, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Scoter, Arctic Skua, Swallow, Swift, Meadow Pipit, Common Snipe, Knot, Redshank, Whimbrel, Sand Martin, Red-breasted Merganser,

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