Thursday, 4 August 2016

Spurn Week 8

Monday 01st August
Happy Yorkshire day!!!
Sadly, see separate post, today was not actually spent in Yorkshire but in Suffolk, twitching a potential first for Britain in the form of the purple swamp chicken. There was not a great deal around early morning, the highlight probably being 14 Little Egrets all in a line behind the hut. I did not stay around long though, as we needed to get off to Suffolk and there was no sign of any threat to the Little Terns.

Species List:
Beacon Ponds: Little Egret, Dunlin, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Oystercatcher, Grey Heron, Redshank, Greenshank, Little Tern, Swallow,

Tuesday 02nd August
Unsurprisingly today was spent in recovery after yesterdays exhausting adventure. In the end I spent the day catching up with the blog, making sure it was all up to date. I headed up to the ponds early than usual to see what waders were about, and I was rewarded with two cracking summer plumaged Curlew Sandpipers among the overly abundant Dunlin present. I tried to get a photo but it was too dark.
-Curlew Sandpiper
Sadly my evening was badly punctuated by the fox, who made an impressive three appearances along the edge of the ponds. Fortunately it failed to get anything. I know this because on two occasions I found the oldest unfledged chick wandering around outside the fence. Both times I ushered it back into the electric fence enclosure and after the third time it clearly got the idea...

Species List:
Beacon Ponds: Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Knot, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Mallard, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Little Egret, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Teal, Mute Swan, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern,

Wednesday 03rd August
In the morning the wader roost I had hoped for was cut short by a juvenile Peregrine. Before the birds all moved off I did connect with one of the smart Curlew Sandpipers from the previous night, a bird easily recognizable from its pale head.
Today was the day my parents were visiting Spurn. So of course it would be today that a bird I actually wanted to see would turn up. Wood Sandpiper on Canal Scrape according to Twitter. I grabbed my stuff and headed down before the parents arrived. When I got there Pete Kirby was already in the hide and he put me on the bird straight away, on a small island of chopped reeds nearer the far side of the bank. Ultimately I got to enjoy the bird for about half an hour before my parents arrived. The bird was a stunner, but I knew my best chance of a photo was to phonescope it, but the amount of vegetation obscuring the way meant I failed to get any really nice photos. However, its only my second time ever properly seeing this species, which are really beautiful, so I was pretty pleased I was able to connect before my parents arrived.
-Wood Sandpiper
With the parents we wandered down the beach from the Bluebell to the Seawatching hut. Along the way we had a few bits and pieces, mainly birds going south from the impressive wader passage during the afternoon: Dunlin, Sanderling and Whimbrel. There were also a few Swifts moving south, and a Merlin flew past as we were sat on the beach. A really pleasant afternoon in the end.

Species List:
Beacon Ponds: Peregrine, Dunlin, Knot, Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Shoveler, Mallard, Greenshank, Wigeon, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull,
Triangle: Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Redshank, Whimbrel, Dunlin, Sanderling, Wood Sandpiper, Merlin, Kestrel, Moorhen, Carrion Crow, Common Scoter, Sandwich Tern, Linnet, Ringed Plover, Common Gull, Common Tern, Magpie, Curlew, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, 

Thursday 04th August
Once again, my hopes of a morning wader roost were left in tatters by the Peregrines. There were not many birds for them to terrorize, as the tides are now such that high tide has moved past when I'm at the ponds.
Once I had been shopping in the afternoon I headed back down to Canal Scrape to have a look at the Wood Sandpiper again, since it was still present. When I first arrived it was on the island where it had been before but after about 15mins it flew onto the near shore, until it was only a few feet from the hide. The only other of this species I have seen before did something very similar but I was left dissapointed with the photos I got. Despite the poor light, that was not the case today, as I managed to get a few reasonable shots of this simply superb looking bird.
-Wood Sandpiper

Species List:
Triangle: Teal, Mallard, Wood Sandpiper, Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin, Black-headed Gull, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Starling, Moorhen,

Friday 05th August
Crawling out of bed on Friday afternoon, I was hoping for some time to recover before setting off birding but that was something I was not allowed, as news came over the radio of a juvenile Caspian Gull at the warren. I jumped in John Hewitts car and we raced down. The bird was distant and through the heat haze the views were not excellent but the pale long head, and the long body shape was distinctive as a Caspian Gull. I only managed a couple of photos before it flew further out into the Humber never to be relocated.
-Caspian Gull
After that I headed back to Canal Scrape to have a look at the Wood Sandpiper again. It was not on the near shore so there was no point in trying to add to the photos I had already got of it, but it was cracking to see again.

Species List:
Triangle: Teal, Little Grebe, Starling, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Black-headed Gull, Caspian Gull, Wood Sandpiper, Mallard, Little Egret, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 

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