Sunday, 16 October 2016

Spurn Week 17

Spurn 10.10.2016
For the first time in over a week the winds changed from Easterly to northerly. That being said, the winds were only northerly in this immediate area, but it did result in a clear-out of birds, especially the rarer birds.
Seawatching in the morning produced very little, and my walk round the triangle produced a Yellow-browed Warbler in the crown, which was the best of the clear-out. The real highlight was a Common Snipe threat displaying to a Meadow Pipit on canal scrape. It was insane to watch, really quite comical. I ended up doing most of my outstanding odd jobs, like writing up my tern report piece and sorting out the garden.

Species List:
Triangle: Siskin, Robin, Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Wren, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Skylark, Mallard, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Moorhen, Blackcap, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock,

Spurn 11.10.2016
The Easterlies theme continued, and with renewed vigour after yesterday’s northerly interruption. I started the morning down at Seawatching but that was completely dead. As a result I decided to walk round the triangle, which was more successful with plenty of Robins and other common migrants. The walk round was unfortunately punctuated by the presence of rarer birds. The first was a Mealy Redpoll trapped at the warren. Having only ever seen one previously this was an opportunity not to be missed. I cycled down to see a cracking looking bird in the hand, well worth diverting the trip for. I had just started up again when shouts came out of a Hawfinch in the obs garden. As opposed to recent reports, which had been flyovers, this bird was settled down, and after a short wait I finally connected with this elusive finch.
-Mealy Redpoll
The real highlight of the morning however was one of my most wanted to see in the hand birds, and given how obscured my views were on Sunday basically lifer it. Pallas Warbler! One was trapped at Churchfield, allowing me to get up close to this stunning little bird. At absolute cracker! One of my favourite birds to have seen in the hand.
-Pallas's Warbler
In the afternoon I went up to wetlands to count the wildfowl. I was about half way through when the radio buzzed that there was a Woodchat Shrike down the point. This was a lifer so I paced it down on my bike and was one of the few people to connect with the bird before it did a bunk. In the field it was distant but showed well. Another lifer to add to the collection gathered during these easterlies.
As alluded to before, the bird did go missing mid-afternoon and was not relocated until almost everyone had left, myself included. I had just returned to the warren when the last birder looking reported that it had found its way into the trap. I was talking to Adam at the time, and he decided that he was going to cycle down and sort the bird out. It was basically dark by the time we arrived down there, and only myself, Adam and Steve Web were there. The bird was ringed and shown in the light of the ringing lab, not ideal but still enough to get a couple of photos.
-Woodchat Shrike

Species List:
Triangle: Pallas Warbler, Hawfinch, Mealy Redpoll, Robin, Redwing, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Yellow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Brambling, Chaffinch, Common Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Little Egret, Gannet, Common Scoter, Mallard, Moorhen, Teal, Wigeon, Brent Goose,
Kilnsea Wetlands: Redstart, Goldcrest, Lapwing, Greenshank, Wheatear, Black-tailed Godwit, Wigeon, Mallard, Golden Plover, Little Egret, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Ruff, Shoveler, Teal, Robin, Blackcap, House Sparrow, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon,
Spurn Peninsula: Mealy Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Robin, Goldcrest, Woodchat Shrike, Brambling, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Redwing, Song Thrush, Fieldfare,

Spurn 12.10.2016
A more mixed bag of showers and sunshine, along with the continued easterlies. Birds continued to be around in good numbers, especially robins. I started at Seawatching and got a few nice bits and pieces. A Black Throated Diver went south, and a Great Northern Diver and 2 Sooty Shearwaters went north. I stuck it out for an hour and then headed back to Obs. Initially I was going to walk the triangle but instead decided to spend the morning doing odd jobs for the obs.
By the afternoon I decided it was time to go birding again and so headed off to the Wetlands to count the ducks. A report of bean geese sent me up to Holderness field and around Beacon Ponds, allowing me to gather a full count of the wildfowl in the area. The undoubted highlight was a smashing 435 Wigeon, most of which were on Holderness field. 5 Canada Geese and a single Barnacle were also a nice addition. The best bird was a Twite that flew over me calling, Spurn and yeartick.

Species List:
Seawatch: Guillemot, Razorbill, Gannet, Sooty Shearwater, Common Scoter, Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Common Tern, Kittiwake, Black-throated Diver, Wigeon, Jackdaw,
Kilnsea Wetlands, Holderness Field and Beacon Ponds: Chiffchaff, Woodpigeon, Robin, Redwing, Lapwing, Ruff, Wigeon, Teal, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Greenshank, Redstart, White Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, Shoveler, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Twite, Song Thrush, Greylag Goose, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Grebe, Golden Plover, Grey Plover,

Spurn 13.10.2016
The rain started today, and it did not stop until after lunch. I was in no rush to get up but decided to head off to Kilnsea Wetlands and count the Wigeon early morning, followed by a walk around Easington Lagoons looking for shore larks. Sadly wildfowl numbers were well down on yesterday and there were no shore larks. The best of it was a very confiding Twite that I stumbled across whilst walking along, without doubt the best encounter I have had with this species.
The rain continued, and after unsuccessfully twitching a raddes warbler at Sammies point I made my way back to the Obs, fairly glum feeling not to lie. There was a paddyfield warbler at Flamborough and it seemed like it might be on the cards for the afternoon if nothing else happened. I did get a Spurn tick when four White-fronted Geese flew over the observatory.
-White-fronted Goose
Just after lunch Paul caught a Firecrest. I went round to have a look at it, which was great as nobody else was there. Nick and Sandra Carter came round and got to have a really good look at the stunning bird. 
The paddyfield did not happen in the end, Tim decided it looked too good at Spurn and that we were going to stay. In hindsight this was the best decision ever made.  I decided to have a wander down to the bluebell and see if there was anything round there, when the radio crackled into life with a message that I will never forget…
‘Is everybody listening? I don’t want to cause alarm but there is a Siberian Accentor in Easington now, in front of me. Please can someone come and see this for me’
The message was calm and composed but obviously Lance, who found it, was extremely tense. I immediately began running back to the Obs, hoping that someone would drive past me. Within seconds John Wozencroft was coming down the road and I jumped in with him. The whole area obviously seemed in shock at what they had just heard.
I jumped out of the car at the described location and wandered up, four other birders were there. There, right in front of us, was only Britain’s second Siberian Accentor. It was hopping around on a tarmac slab right in front of us, with only about 20 people there. It was surreal. Nobody could quite believe what had happened.
-Siberian Accentor
Over the afternoon the bird continued to show well and more birders began to arrive, steadily at first but picking up towards the evening as people finished work and people travelling from further distances arrived. In the end about 150 people saw the bird before dark. It was an incredible atmosphere and an incredible bird. To be on the other side of possibly one of the largest twitches ever was a unique experience and possibly something I will never experience again. What a fantastic day. What a fantastic bird…

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands, Beacon Ponds, Easington Lagoons:
Easington: Robin, Goldcrest, Dunnock, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Siberian Accentor,

Spurn 14.10.2016
Early am. I set my alarm for half 6 with the plan to be up in Easington for management at about half 7. However, at about half 6 Tim came running up to the caravan telling us to get up and that Easington was already chaos.
As a result the rest of the morning was spent doing our best to manage the twitchers cars as they pulled into Easington. On the whole we did the best we could and people applauded our efforts. It wasn’t until 10 that parking was considered done, and as a result I was allowed to leave and go birding. Just in time, as the first Dusky Warbler of what would be a minor influx had been caught and was being shown off. Over 300 people turned up to view the bird, and as a result views were distant but it was the only Dusky I saw all day, and it was a lifer so I was not complaining.
I headed back for lunch, and it was just after that I was summoned to do some more martialing. This time though I was stationed at the bird itself, and my duty was simply to watch the bird and occasionally shake the donations bucket. Hardly a hard job. It means I got to spend another 3 hours with the star of the show…
-Siberian Accentor
After my three hours were up I headed down to the triangle to pick up all the goodies found during the day. The Dusky warblers were a little too popular (The crowds too big) but I went and added Shore Lark to my spurn list with a superbly showy bird in the bluebell carpark, followed by ticking Tundra Bean Goose with 8 on the Humber shore. One of the geese could have been a taiga but the consensus seems to be a Tundra with an aberrant bill, structurally it did not look right for taiga. That was all I saw in the afternoon, but a cracking days birding none the less. Great for visiting birders that’s for sure.
-Shore Lark
-Tundra Bean Goose

Species List:
Easington: Siberian Accentor, Brambling, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Dunnock, Woodcock, Woodpigeon,
Triangle: Shore Lark, Dusky Warbler, Lesser Redpoll, Bean Goose, Skylark, Swallow, Brent Goose, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Robin, Redwing, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Wren, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Siskin,

Spurn 15.10.2016
With yesterday’s experience under our belts we were able to better prepare for the Saturdays twitch. The system worked and we were able to coordinate our efforts so that on the whole there was no disturbance to the village. I spent all morning at car parking duty, starting at 6 in the morning and finishing off at 15.00. It was a knackering day, so that when I had eventually finished all I did was crash in bed. Whilst on duty I had a right time, seeing Great-grey Shrike, Woodcock and Short-eared Owl. It’s a great place is Spurn.
I made two trips out of bed in the afternoon, one for a Grasshopper Warbler that had been caught. Initially put out as a PG tips, but turned out to just be a regular Gropper. Even so, I was not disappointed, as Grasshopper Warblers are a species I have never seen up close, only ever having being flushed out of the grass. As a result I finally got to see what a Grasshopper Warbler looks like.
The other species I saw was Bearded Tit, a Spurn tick, when three birds were trapped down at the Warren early evening. Incredibly, two of the birds were actually males with full moustaches. Cracking birds to see in the hand.
-Bearded Tit

Species List:
Easington: Great-grey Shrike, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Woodcock, Short-eared Owl, Redwing, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Robin, Wren, Song Thrush, Fieldfare,
Triangle: Grasshopper Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Lesser Redpoll, Robin, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Bearded Tit, Brambling,

Spurn 16.10.2016
Another morning spent up at the car parking duty. All good fun, and fortunately the day slowed down allowing me to go birding in the afternoon. Just as I got back the heavy rain for the morning started so I decided to have a nap until about half 2.
My afternoon was spent much the same as the previous day, walking round looking at the birds that had been found. I tried initially for the Radde’s Warbler found down the canal, but it was not showing. As a result I headed over towards the Shore Lark showing at the Bluebell. There were two now, and a Black Redstart but they were all much more distant than they had been.
-Raddes Warbler
I headed back to the Radde’s after, and I did finally get to see it. It had apparently been showing well but all I managed to see was it through a bush, an obscured view of its back. That being said I could make out its super, so that was a substantially better view than my previous encounter with this species.

Species List:

Triangle: Radde’s Warbler, Shore Lark, Black Redstart, Redstart, Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Redwing, Siskin, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Mute Swan, Mallard, Little Egret, 

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