Sunday, 21 August 2016

Spurn Week 10

Monday 15th August
No birding at all today. Having seen the forecast; Easterlies at the end of the week, we decided to was probably best to dig the trench required for the new Combi-Boiler at the Observatory. In the end it was a long days digging, and we were left knackered. So much so that the prospect of Seawatching in the evening did not tempt us, and instead we just crashed at the Obs.

Tuesday 16th August
Sadly the same as Monday, working the trench until it was done. It was not finished by the end of the day but good progress had been made, probably only another days digging at most before this job is over and done!

Wednesday 17th August
The first easterlies of the autumn, so there was much promise in the air. There was no rain or cloud overnight so I did not expect much,  but that soon changed as it became apparent that there were a few more common migrants around; Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, and then the rarer stuff started dropping in, with an Icterine Warbler caught at the Warren. Sadly it was not a sitter, so I was not able to get any good photos, and the bird was not held long due to its obvious distress.
-Icterine Warbler
I headed on up to Sammies, as I feared it was an area that might not get done otherwise. Birds there were a little thin on the ground, but a Snipe and Green Sandpiper from the ditch were good to have, and a pair of Peregrine hunting over the Humber was pretty smart.
By early afternoon though I was back at the Obs and decided to have a nap. During said nap the radio crackled into life about an Ortolan Bunting in Cornerfield. I have possibly never moved so fast in all my life. But sadly when I got there it had dropped and not been relocated. After a short wait I decided to have a wander around the triangle to see if anything new had dropped in. It was when I was at the furthest distance I could have been from Cornerfield that it came across that the bunting was showing again. I could hardly muster the energy to run, so just steadily made my way round. When I was still a little way off Steve called me saying it was showing again so I ran up. The bird was still there, but somewhat tricky to connect with. It did sit out nicely for a short while and I would have been able to get some cracking phone-scoped shots, but sadly I had lent my scope to someone else and as a result I could only use my DSLR and so only got record shots. Still I’m happy with the results. It’s great to connect with one of these rapidly declining species, before the French eat them all.
-Ortolan Bunting
Evening Seawatching remained poor, as per the norm it seems these days. The best of it was a Puffin that went north, possibly the first Auk recorded during August.

Species List:
Triangle: Whinchat, Redstart, Icterine Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Grey Heron, Lesser Whitethroat, Little Grebe, Ortolan Bunting, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Starling, Mallard, Teal,
Sammies Point: Wheatear, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Sedge Warbler, Green Sandpiper, Snipe, Whinchat, Dunnock, Robin, Magpie, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull,
Seawatching: Puffin, Common Scoter, Gannet, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Shoveler, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Kittiwake,

Thursday 18th August
We were heading off to Birdfair at some point today, I knew that much. However, when exactly that was something of a mystery, and Tim was not overly keen to share such information. This was nothing to be complained at though, as the weather remained fantastic and there was every reason to stall going until the last possible moment.
The morning started as yesterday had finished: with good birds. The Barred Warbler that dropped into the net was a pretty sweet addition to my yearlist, and nothing to be sniffed at that’s for certain.
-Barred Warbler
However as the day drew on we decided to spend it around the Obs where possible to ensure that when Tim did eventually decide to leave we were ready. This paid off, as we did not miss anything via the radio. Or so it seemed until the moment when we had just driven out of the Spurn area on our way to Birdfair when news of a greenish warbler broke. We failed to get a signal so raced back but once back at Kilnsea I was able to pull up a report, showing it down the point. Sadly, we did not have time to chase it and as a result we had to let it slide…

Species List:
Triangle: Barred Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Yellow-legged Gull, Teal, Eider, Willow Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Swallow, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow,

Birdfair 19-21st August 
Birdfair was pretty amazing. Sadly I did not get any birding done, but it was not something I was massively choked up about. In the end I got to meet and talk to loads of great people, catch up with old friends and just generally have a pretty amazing time. Through working for Spurn I did not make it to many talks or go round the stands more than once, but it was not an issue. I had a fantastic time promoting Spurn and telling people how awesome it was. 

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