Sunday, 11 September 2016

Spurn Week 13

Monday 05th September
After yesterday’s mental day on the sea I was keen to get down to the Seawatching hut in the hope of a corys or something. Sadly the best of it obviously went by yesterday. A few Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars and Arctic Skuas all went past but not in the numbers seen yesterday.
Walking round the triangle produced a few goodies. Snipe and Green Sandpiper were probably the best of it, except for 8 Jackdaw which U-turned. Not a common species here at all. Once the Seawatching died down we spent the afternoon just doing odd jobs, namely cleaning out the caravan. That then turned into demolishing the old decrepit woodshed next to it, but that meant spending time around the Obs, which produced a nice Obs tick in the form of a Corn Bunting.

Sightings List:
Seawatching: Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern,
Triangle: Wigeon, Gadwall, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Reed Warbler, Jackdaw, Willow Warbler, Carrion Crow, Robin, Dunnock, Corn Bunting,

Tuesday 06th September 
Once more I was on Seawatching by 7. This was the first day with any real duck movement, as was apparent as soon as I arrived at the hide. Teal were moving past in large flocks all morning, and among them there were a few mixed flocks of other ducks. A nice gathering of species was accumulated over the morning, including a single Pochard, 9 Pintail (8 in a single flock) a Shoveler and a handful of Wigeon. The Teal total for the day clocked out at just short of 1000. A Pale-bellied Brent Goose also flew south, just to add to the variety.
-Mixed Duck flock (Pintail, Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal)
In the afternoon the sun got especially warm, so I decided to go for a nap. As a result I ended up napping for over 3 hours. We tried ringing Terns in the evening but once again failed. Saw possibly the most spectacular shooting star I’ve seen to date, but that was about it due to a technical fault with the megaphone.

Species List:
Seawatching: Common Teal, Grey Wagtail, Pochard, Shoveler, Pintail, Wigeon, Arctic Skua, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Gannet, Great Black-backed Gull, Meadow Pipit, Swallow, House Martin, 

Wednesday 07th September
This morning allowed me the luxury of not going birding but instead waiting for the gas men to arrive to fit some new pipework at the obs. However, fortunately they arrived fairly early, allowing us to be down at Seawatching by 8. Birds on the sea were limited, although I did miss a balearic shearwater whilst waiting for the gas men.
As a result I ended up heading down to the new narrows in order to watch the spectacular movement of Swallows, Martins and Meadow Pipits. AH was doing most of the clicking, whilst JF did House Martins. I was left at a loss and spent my time picking things out that were none of the above species. Highlights included a Black-throated Diver going north and a Black Tern flying along the side of the Humber. A Curlew Sandpiper flew past in a flock of Dunlin and a handful of Manx Shearwaters flew past. JF also got me a Spurn tick in the form of a Common Seal that swam south close in shore. A rare occurrence here!
-Common Seal
Late morning was supposed to be when we were having a haircut. It was at precisely the moment we were meant to be leaving that the anticipated Great White Egret which had flown south from Hornsea during the morning arrived at the ponds. We were fortunate that the bird was viewable from the road and we were able to stop off on our way up. The views were somewhat distant but there was no bother at all telling what it was.
-Great-white Egret
It might seem sad that we had to leave the Egret for a haircut up in Easington, but in the garden of the house where we were at I got myself another Spurn tick. A long expected Spurn tick at that; a Coal Tit! It flitted around for a little bit before it dropped into the conifer and we lost it. Still, a long awaited Spurn tick finally bites the dust.
In the afternoon I headed off round Beacon Lane and then back down to Seawatching. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was a nice addition to the day list, as were 7 Whinchat along the fence line. At Sea a few more Manx Shearwater were moving, as were a handful of Little Gull. A Merlin flew over the Seawatching hide hunting the now reduced flow of Hirundines going south.

Sightings List:
Seawatching/Vis-migging: Black Tern, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Manx Shearwater, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Oystercatcher, Common Scoter, Common Teal, Little Gull, Kittiwake, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Great-white Egret, Linnet,
Triangle: Great-spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Whinchat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wheatear, Redshank, Mallard, Little Egret, Black-headed Gull, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Tree Sparrow,

Thursday 8th September
Morning was naturally spent down at Numpties, initially watching the sea but then it became more viz-migging. Its worth noting that neither were particularly successful. A Manx Shearwater on the Humber was probably the best of it, giving pretty fine views.
The rest of the day was largely spent sorting out bits and pieces for the Migration festival. I did spend a bit of time hunting for the apparent diamond dove around the caravan site, but again unsuccessfully...

Sightings List:
Numtpies: Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Manx Shearwater, Teal, Gannet, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Swallow, House Martin, Black-headed Gull, Great Tit,

Friday 9th September
The start of the 4th annual Migfest meant only one thing: Parking duty. Much as I love talking to people as they come in, seeing old friends and chatting to new people, I would obviously rather be out birding. In the end though, I did not get much done at all.
The morning had started with promise, a corncrake dropped into churchfield, but our attempts to refind it proved unsuccessful. By the time we had wrapped that up we were called upon to show people the way to park, and so the days birding was done.

Saturday 10th September
The first full day of Migfest is probably the last day of the year that we want to rain. Sadly though, it decided to rain all day. ALL DAY!!! It became apparent early morning that we might struggle for something for the people to do, but that was not the case. People still took up the walks being given out.
Then the big one broke (In Spurn terms anyway). I was checking the book shops with Jonnie when the radio crackled into life. I barely heard the message but I could have sworn it said Kentish Plover. I excalimed this to Jonnie who said that was not what he had heard. I ran round to the next bay where there were more birders. I asked them what they heard, exclaiming what I thought I had heard. Nobody had heard it, and given that nobody was running I presumed I had been wrong. A couple of radio messages filtered through about lifts, so we decided to ask what the species had been. After about 5 minutes of trying we finally got a response that it was indeed a Kentish Plover. We raced to Sammies where it had been but as we arrived the bird apparently flew. Nobody saw it leave but we were not able to see it and it did not reappear.
We searched but it was assumed to be lost, the best hope being that the tide might push it back in. I headed down to the Warren where I was supposed to be leading a wader identification session. Whilst here a young birder told me that the Kentish had apprently relocated to Wetlands. I radioed this and it was very quickly confirmed. Que a mad dash up to Wetlands. I ran up to long bank where there was already a sizeable crowd and got the scope on it. Got it.
Just in time, as the radio buzzed up asking who was doing the wader watch that I supposed to be doing. I ran back to grab a lift and in the end I was only 2 minutes late, although I had to work hard to keep it that minimal, including leaving my scope up at the plover.
Once the session was over I headed back up to Long Bank with a few of the guys that had been on my wader watch. The Plover was still there and reunited with my scope I was finally able to settle on the bird. After a while we headed round to the hide where it showed incredibly well right in front of the hide. Fantastic, the first Spurn record since 2000! Remarkably the bird was too close to digiscope, and with all my optics fogged from the rain I did struggle to get a photo
-Kentish Plover
-Kentish Plover (Matt Hobbs)
In all the excitement it would be easy to forget other species that were about. A juvenile Little Stint on Beacon Ponds was a nice addition to the day list, although there have been birds on Holderness field for some time. A third calendar year gull landed on wetlands which has gone down as a Caspian Gull. It certainly looks like one, although I have concerns about the shape of the forehead, which seems a little steep. Sadly at this age there is nothing diagnostic on them. The consensus is that it is indeed a Caspian Gull though, and I agree despite my concerns.
-Caspian Gull (Matt Hobbs)
In the afternoon I ended up doing a walk in Easington, although I have never birded there before. It was useful to learn some of the locations but we saw precious little. A flock of Long-tailed tits was probably the highlight, an usual species south of Easington for the Spurn area.
By late afternoon people had all but had enough on the rain. I was placed on Parking duty again, probably so an eye was always kept on me to make sure I did not run away from my duties again. 

Species List
Warren: Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Knot, Redshank. Dunlin, Sanderling, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Dunnock, Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Turnstone,
Kilnsea Wetlands: Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Ringed Plover, Knot, Greenshank, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Caspian Gull, Curlew Sandpiper, 
Easington: Whinchat, Meadow Pipit, Willow Warbler, Robin, Wren, Sedge Warbler, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Long-tailed Tit, House Sparrow, 

Sunday 11th September
After yesterdays downpour all day it was a much improved day today, bright and sunny. The change of wind direction had brought a massive meadow pipit passage. Everyone seemed to have gone down there though, so I decided to head up to the Wetlands. Here there was hardly anyone about, leaving the hide largely empty. The plover was not seen again, but there was a nice Wood Sandpiper right in front of the hide which was extremely obliging for photos.
-Wood Sandpiper
The rest of the day was spent doing off bits for the festival including, you guessed it, car parking duty. It was not so bad in clear conditions and I was treated to flyby Peregrine and an impressive flock of Golden Plover.
As we were wrapping up the bits and pieces in the late afternoon I also got a Spurn Tick. We had just left Canal Scrape Car Park when the radio buzzed that a Water Rail was showing. We stopped in to have a quick look but I had no camera as we had been picking up festival bits. Still, its nice to see one showing out in the open like that.

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands: Wigeon, Shoveler, Willow Warbler, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Mediterranean Gull, Greylag Goose, Woodpigeon, Dunlin, 

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