Sunday, 30 October 2016

Spurn Week 19

Spurn 24.10.2016
Without rain the easterlies did not deliver in the way that the previous set had. That being said there was still a host of goodies to be had. We started the day by going down to the Snow Bunting that was present at Sandy Beaches and had continued to show well. We were able to get fairly close to it and get some nice photos.
-Snow Bunting
We walked the triangle and ended up back at the Obs. Whilst snacking at the obs we received news of a Long-tailed Duck at Kilnsea Wetlands. We raced up there but the bird had already gone, shortly after to reappear on the Humber. Having got to wetlands in the first place I could not face continuing to chase the duck around and proceeded to count the wildfowl. However, when we had finished there the duck was still present, so I headed down. At this point the bird, which had been sat in the middle of the Humber, began to move closer and soon was paddling just offshore allowing fantastic views of the species which previously I have only seen out at sea.
-Long-tailed Duck
Buzzed from that I decided to have a walk round the triangle, for which I was joined by Mick Cunningham. We had a good walk, the highlights being the presumed Northern Bullfinch, but we did not hear it call and see the bird at the same time. We also saw a Yellow-browed Warbler in Canal Hedge, which was the first one I have seen for some time.

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands: Mallard, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Teal, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Knot, Little Grebe, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Curlew,
Triangle: Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Siskin, Blackcap, Robin, Bullfinch, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Snipe, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow-browed Warbler, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Chiffchaff, Brambling, Peregrine, Black-tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Redwing,

Spurn 25.10.2016
Of the most recent easterlies period today looked the most promising. However it started slow and until the afternoon not much really happened. A pine bunting was seen briefly but flew north and was not seen again. The search round the area did not produce much and by lunchtime I had all but given up on it reappearing.
As a result I made the plunge and went down the point again to have another look at the Stenejers Stonechat. Given the wind change tomorrow, I doubt it will be staying overnight. I got down there and soon got to grips with the Stonechat. It was not showing massively close but was showing well and I was able to get better views of the rump.
-Stenejers Stonechat
I made a small detour to have a look for a reported Little Bunting, but I did not look particularly hard. I wandered round the point but became disillusioned with not finding any birds. As a result I called it quits and was about to set off back when the radio buzzed into life that a Red-flanked Bluetail had been found at the point. Despite a few rare things turning up back at the top I decided to stay and have a look at the Bluetail down here. On my way through the shrubbery to the location described I spotted a passerine lift up from the path into the bushes, and when I got onto it through bins I was surprised to see that it was the Little Bunting. It sat in the open for a few seconds before it dived into the shrubbery calling. I had a quick look but decided it was not worth chasing.
I got to the Bluetail location where a handful of people were already. Dave Constantine showed me the back of his camera and was absolutely stunned. The bird was a fully blue adult male. Now seriously excited I continued looking for the bird. The relief and awe when we first picked it up, before we got to enjoy it all and revel in what was a truly stunning bird. We saw it a few more times but the bird was mobile and quite elusive. It sat out when it showed but not for long, before it would drop into the bushes and go missing. Over an hour or so we had a few good views of it, but nothing that would allow me to get the cracking shots that would do the bird justice. After an hour it dropped and did not show again for long enough for me to decided that the time had come to leave and head back up north. Views through the bins were almost exceptional, and the bird was without doubt one of the best birds I have ever seen.
-Red-flanked Bluetail
Back up top I decided to check out the rarest bird of the day in Easington; an Eastern Black Redstart. Not a tick, but a really smart bird. When I got up there the light was fading but the bird was showing well and I was able to get a few acceptable photos of it. Obviously the bird is only a subspecies but it’s still a stunner and I’m glad I went up to see it.
-Eastern Black Redstart

Species List:
Spurn Peninsula: Little Bunting, Siberian Stonechat (Stenejeri), Red-flanked Bluetail, Reed Bunting, Siskin, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Brambling,
Kilnsea: Long-tailed Tit, Common Snipe, Stock Dove, Black Redstart, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Swallow, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow,

Spurn 26.10.2016
The weather changed again, from the short easterly period into a period of prolonged south-westerly. I was hoping for an insane vis-migging session, but sadly movement as very steady and there was not a great deal moving. The undoubted highlight was when a shrill call alerted us to the presence of a Waxwing on the bushes at the Warren and showing nicely. It showed for about 10 mins before it turned around and flew north.
Late morning/afternoon was spent wandering round the wetlands and the triangle to see if there was anything new in. Wetlands was fairly quiet, with a large clear-out of wildfowl but still a few bits and pieces. Paul caught a Woodcock at Kew which I went to have a look at. During the afternoon I walked round the triangle where I had a smashing Merlin north and a flock of six Whooper Swans south.
-Whooper Swan
A much quieter day overall than yesterday…

Species List:
Triangle: Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Wigeon, Robin, Siskin, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Song Thrush, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Wigeon, Teal, Turnstone, Redwing, Waxwing, Woodcock, Jack Snipe,
Kilnsea Wetlands: Mallard, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Knot, Brent Goose, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Goldcrest, Magpie, Carrion Crow,

Spurn 27.10.2016
With a RL buzzard on the east coast I was out at Numpties for first thing. Sadly though the bird never appeared and the steady state of passage that we had seen yesterday continued into today. In fairness though there were still plenty of good birds. Up to three Swallows went south, which could well be the last ones I see this year and are almost certainly my latest birds ever.

As yesterday, there was clear highlight when 3 Shorelarks flew south flying past numpties. Common Buzzard, Twite and a reasonable passage of corvids and tree sparrows made for a reasonable supporting cast. However once passage had slowed down the day ground to something of a halt, with previous days remaining birds seemingly moved on leaving us with not much at all.

Species List:
Triangle: Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Shore Lark, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Starling, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet, Twite, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Kestrel, Little Egret, Wigeon, Greylag Geese, Brent Goose, Mallard, Golden Plover,

Spurn 28.10.2016
With a Spurn wedding later in the day, the birding force at Spurn was vastly reduced. I was left in charge of the daily log and sorting the daily recording. I started up at Numpties, which was where I spent most of the morning. The passage was fairly average, with a good variety of species but no massive movement. A couple of Twite, a Merlin and a Short-eared Owl were the best of it, the Merlin especially giving great views as it flew by.
Come early afternoon I decided to get on with some outstanding jobs around the Obs garden. Whilst I was doing this the radio buzzed into life that a Rough-legged Buzzard was flying over Kilnsea. I rushed over the Obs to see everyone in it rushing out! The Buzzard was already on it was down being mobbed by a crow, but once it had entered the triangle to settled down and spent the rest  of the day blogging around. At times it showed incredibly well, sat on a fence post before flying only a few feet over our heads. So far as showing well goes for raptors, it does not get much better than this. The bird is thought to be an adult male, possibly a returning bird from the last couple of years.
-Rough-legged Buzzard

Species List:
Triangle: Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Mistle Thrush, Twite, Woodpigeon, Ringed Plover, Siskin, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, Redpoll, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Common Scoter, Merlin, Pintail, Swallow, Long-tailed Tit, Skylark, Jackdaw, Rook, Grey Wagtail, Knot, Golden Plover, Short-eared Owl, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Rough-legged Buzzard,

Spurn 29.10.2016
The continued lack of Spurn birders (for the morning at least) left open the possibility of glory, in that fewer birders to notice things meant more chance of picking it up myself. However, I was keener to test myself Viz-migging, see how much I had learnt. As a result I headed up to numpties where, for over an hour, I was on my own. It was a challenge but also rewarding, as I picked up a Lapland Bunting going down the cliffs, and a couple of Long-tailed Ducks going south on the sea.
After a while I was joined by a couple of other Spurn birders who were still on site. As the morning drew on we added a Waxwing going north and a pair of Snow Buntings going south. Overall it was a very successful morning. By mid-morning though birders started to return, so I spent most of the day either napping or doing odd-jobs.
Perhaps the most exciting bird of the day was when Barry radioed up that he had caught a Bullfinch and asked if we want to see it. I should state that I was unaware of the issues surrounding Bullfinches and ringing, so I blissfully photographed the bird. Fortunately the bird did not keel over and die in the hand, but in future I will think twice about Bullfinches in the hand.

Species List:
Triangle: Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Rook, Lapland Bunting, Long-tailed Duck, Jackdaw, Siskin, Rock Pipit, Greylag Goose, Skylark, Linnet, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Whooper Swan, Common Scoter, Waxwing, Twite, Snow Bunting, Pied Wagtail, Wigeon, Carrion Crow, Tree Sparrow,

Spurn 30.10.2016
The continued westerlies meant a lack of new birds incoming and as a result it made birding a bit more challenging that it had been the last few weeks. I headed down the point to check the beach for wheatears, but I failed to find any. That being said I did have a few nice bits and pieces, including a Snow Bunting, Purple Sandpiper and a personal highlight; Firecrest.
By midday I had returned from the point and spent the afternoon clearing up the garden by doing a host of outstanding odd jobs. In the end it felt like a rather productive day despite the lack of birds. That is all that I can really say for it to be honest…

Species List:

Spurn Peninsula: Snow Bunting, Purple Sandpiper, Firecrest, Blackbird, Robin, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Fieldfare, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Sparrowhawk, Wren, Dunnock, 

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