Thursday, 11 August 2016

Spurn Week 9

Monday 08th August
I arrived in the obs early afternoon to the news that a juvenile Spotted Redshank could be seen from the upstairs window of the obs. So I headed up to have a look at it before it flew off into the Humber. I headed out round the triangle for a walk but failed to see much, and the evening tern roost was quite limited.

Species List:
Triangle: Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Swallow, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Gannet, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Magpie, Starling, House Sparrow, Little Egret, 

Tuesday 09th August
A fairly unproductive day as the weeks of nightshifts begin to catch up with me. In the end the only birding I actually did was the evening seawatch, although that was nothing to be sniffed at with my first Sooty Shearwaters of the year going north, fairly close in too. A couple of Arctic Skuas were also thrown into the mix to make light of what was a poor evening tern movement.

Species List:
Seawatching: Common Scoter, Gannet, Sooty Shearwater, Fulmar, Arctic Skua, Common Gull, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Black-headed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Swallow, Woodpigeon, 

Wednesday 10th August
Finally the last two birds had fledged thus ending my weeks of night shifts and restoring me to something like normality. So today when I eventually got out of bed from my final night-shift I decided to head off down the canal to seawatching in the hope of maybe picking up some seabirds.
There was nothing down the canal and the sea was fairly quiet too, although there was a healthy number of Oystercatchers moving, with 200+ in the two hours that I was there for. The only other birds of note were two Arctic Skuas, but they were somewhat distant, which was a real shame.

Species List:
Seawatching: Knot, Oystercatcher, Gannet, Kittiwake, Arctic Skua, Common Scoter, Sanderling, Sandwich Tern, Whimbrel, Common Tern, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Herring Gull, Common Gull, 

Thursday 11th August
In trying to restore my sleeping pattern to something like normality I decided not to push myself but to get out of bed at a more reasonable 08.00. By that time news of the morning had been filtering through, and it appeared that the Wood Sandpiper was now back on the canal scrape. So thats where I headed first. The bird was indeed back and showing very well. Sadly the poorer weather conditions meant the light was rubbish but I still managed a few more photos of what has been a very obliging bird throughout its stay. Also of note on the scrape is a young Coot, which is a pretty unusual bird for Spurn.
-Wood Sandpiper
Once I had finished with the Sandpiper I headed down to seawatching for a bit. The birds were not really moving at all, only a handful of waders and a few duck. The only seabirds not Gannets were two Arctic Skuas, which were both closer than the previous days birds.
Up at the ponds in the afternoon for a couple of hours rewarded me with my first sight of the last two Little Tern chicks, a bit bigger than I expected but still looking a little young to be flying. Still, they look healthy, and no matter, they can fly so should soon be well on their way out of ponds. Other birds at the ponds were few and far between, but Kilnsea Wetlands was absolutely heaving with birds; mainly Common and Sandwich Terns, plus Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls. Really quite impressive.
-Little Egret
-Terns and Gulls

Species List:
Triangle: Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Wood Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Dunnock, Mallard, Swallow, House Martin, House Sparrow, Curlew, Magpie, Linnet, Starling, Little Grebe, Reed Warbler,
Seawatching: Arctic Skua, Eider, Common Scoter, Knot, Sanderling, Gannet, Sandwich Tern, Teal, Cormorant,
Kilnsea Wetlands and Beacon Ponds: Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, House Martin, Dunlin, Sanderling, Cormorant, Ringed Plover, Little-ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Little Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Little Egret, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Teal, Arctic Skua, Skylark, Common Gull, Mute Swan, Herring Gull, Gannet, Kittiwake, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Turnstone, Swift,

Friday 12th August
This morning did not start well. I thought I had left my radio on overnight so anything stupidly early would wake me up. Turns out that was not the case, and as a result I did not see the bittern that landed on Canal Scrape at 5.00 in the morning. Most of the morning was spent waiting for its reappearance but no such thing happened. The Wood Sandpiper was still present though, as were a couple of Snipe.
-Wood Sandpiper
The day passed with still no sign of the bittern reappearing. In the evenings seawatch though there was something much better with the first major Tern movement of the year. 7370 Terns were clicked going to roost, the most by some distance this year and obviously really impressive to see. I always maintain that evening tern roost is the best thing I have seen at Spurn and to have gone a couple of years without a decent count has been extremely disappointing.

Species List:
Canal Scrape: Common Snipe, Mallard, Teal, Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin, Woodpigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Meadow Pipit,
Seawatching: Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Gannet, Common Scoter, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Arctic Skua, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,

Saturday 13th August
The event of the day was a Wader ID course being run by the Obs. I decided to combine wader spotting with a couple of hours up at the ponds ensuring that the last couple of chicks were still Ok. There were not masses of Waders but there was a good variety around Ponds, Wetlands and Holderness field. As a result I understand the event was a success.
The best of the waders were the two juvenile Little Stints still on Holderness Field, but the Ruff were still on Wetlands (Looking amazing) and there were still a handful of Little Ringed Plover knocking about.
In the evening the tern roost nowhere near lived up to the excitement of last night, but a very distant Osprey was a much appreciated yeartick. That being said, it was so distant it could have been a Greater Black-back so far as I'm concerned...

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands, Beacon Ponds and Holderness Field: Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Mediterranean Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Little Tern, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Turnstone, Knot, Wigeon, Sanderling, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Greenshank, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Mallard, Teal, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,
Seawatching: Osprey, Manx Shearwater, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Fulmar, Common Scoter, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Oystercatcher, Knot, Dunlin, Arctic Skua

Sunday 14th August
Once again duty called upon me. Today was the day of the official launch of Andy Roadhouses book 'The Birds of Spurn'. A fantastic volume covering all the species ever seen at Spurn. But to make sure all the people coming the launch got the book they had ordered there was some setting up to do.
But before all that I got to settle a score with possibly my most missed species at Spurn. I was just getting dressed in the morning when a message came over the radio of a Treecreeper in the Obs garden. Having missed 4 at Spurn, it was well known my desire to see one, so Pete, who found it, specifically radioed me up. Withing a minuet I was alongside the birders watching it climb along the hawthorn hedge. About a hour later it was trapped and ringed at Kew, so I got to appreciate it out of the morning gloom as well.
It was a good day at Spurn overall too. As we were packing books news came over the radio of a Sabines Gull flying north. It had been picked up at Easington Caravan Site, so our chances were slim. As soon as news broke, all the birders raced to their vehicles. I jumped in with Tim and Jonnie. With an absurd amount of speed we made it up to the Gas Terminal. We jumped out and began scanning. We had overtaken the bird and Jonnie picked it up as it flew slowly past us. Slower birders kept arriving all the time but the bird continued north and soon it was not much more than a dot. A cracking bird.
-Sabines Gull
The book launch was extremely successful. Once it was over I headed up to the ponds to do a little shift with the Terns. Both chicks were still present and looking ready to leave at any point really. A Garganey on Kilnsea Wetlands was new, and somewhat unexpected for the day list.
In the evenings seawatch there continued to be hardly any terns, another disappointing evening on the whole. That being said, when you have a fully spooned Pomarine Skua going past, no matter what else flies past its got to be a success!

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands & Beacon Ponds: Garganey, Black-tailed Godwit, Wheatear, Sanderling, Little Tern, Common Tern, Dunlin, Redshank, Sandwich Tern, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Mallard, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Teal, Wigeon, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Great Black-backed Gull,
Seawatching: Common Tern, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Common Scoter, Herring Gull ,Fulmar, Gannet, Sandwich Tern,

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