Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Spurn Week 23

Spurn 21.11.2016
It rained…
All day…
Spent the afternoon watching films with Jonnie and Paul!

Spurn 22.11.2016
To make up for the day lost yesterday I spent most of the day out birding. I went round the triangle first, then up round Kilnsea Wetlands and finally round the triangle again. I managed a few bits and pieces although nothing exceptional, but it made for a pleasant days birding.
The triangle yielded a few passerines, but most of them were flyovers; Brambling, Siskin, Redpoll and Rock Pipit, and a Stonechat on the fence-line of Walker-Butts was an unexpected turn up. The wetlands was very quiet. The excessive rainfall of the previous day had raised the water-level to a point where there was no shoreline for roosting waders, and as a result the number of species on the site had markedly dropped off.

Species List:
Triangle: Stonechat, Brambling, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird, Redwing, Chaffinch, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Mute Swan, Greenfinch, Black-tailed Godwit,
Kilnsea Wetlands: Wigeon, Teal, Mute Swan, Mallard, Redshank, Curlew, Turnstone, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Woodpigeon, Starling,

Spurn 23.11.2016
The morning was spent moving the ‘tern rafts’ from Beacon Ponds and onto Kilnsea Wetlands for the winter. Despite being up at the wetlands the best I could manage was a Song Thrush in the hedge.
In the afternoon Jonnie and I headed round to Kew to help clear out the sheds and garden. In the garden itself there were a few Long-tailed Tits as the best of it. However, Paul had the nets open and in them went 2 Blackcaps and a Siberian Chiffchaff. The Siberian Chiffchaff looked spot on but Paul, who has seen em all, chose to err on the side of caution and send off some DNA just to check that it was indeed a tristis and not another eastern race. The bird was much paler and greyer than any I have seen previously, and the wing had the glossy green sheen I had expected. It really was a stunning looking bird that’s for certain. Hopefully the results of the DNA analysis will confirm that it is indeed a Siberian Chiffchaff, as it’s a race I have never seen before.
-Siberian Chiffchaff

Species List:
Kew Villa & Churchfield: House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff,

Spurn 24.11.2016
After doing jobs yesterday and hearing of a fairly decent day on the sea, today I decided to make my way down that way for the first time in over a week. I enjoyed a fairly steady but not exceptional morning’s seawatch. There were not masses of birds moving but a steady stream of Red-Throated Divers and auks. The highlights consisted of a single Velvet Scoter going south and a Sooty Shearwater and two Pomarine Skuas going north. A few Eiders were also on the move close in, probably about 13 birds during the morning.
I also did the triangle there seemed to be a dearth of birds, the bushes being all but void of thrushes and very little flying around overhead. A couple of Snow Buntings flew overhead calling and then flew of southwards, and they were the highlight. The only other birds I wrote in my notebook were a Lapwing on the humber, a Rock Pipit flying over the saltmarsh and 8 Black-tailed Godwits off the crown.

Species List:
Seawatching: Great Skua, Pomarine Skua, Gannet, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Kittiwake, Sooty Shearwater, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Guillemot, Razorbill, Golden Plover, Kestrel,
Triangle: Snow Bunting, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Mallard, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Skylark, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Redshank, Dunlin, Blackbird, Redwing,

Spurn 25.11.2016
The morning started with a walk round the triangle. I figured rather than head down to the Seawatching hide, I would enjoy trying to kick something out of the bushes on what was a really nice day. As it happens I failed to kick out anything that different. In fact it was extremely quiet. The best of it was a nice flock of 17 Black-tailed Godwit.
After lunch John Hewitt announced there was a Black Brant in the Brent Goose flock on Easington Straight, so I made my way up there. By the time I got there John had picked out a second bird but had then left. I filtered through the flock and soon picked up one of the birds, but it was a short while before I managed to locate the second one. They remained distant all the time but I was able to get pretty sound views through the scope. Pretty nice to see this rare subspecies.
-Black Brant

Species List:
Triangle: Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Shelduck, Snipe, Wigeon, Mallard, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow,

Spurn 26.11.2016
The morning was planned to be spent at the Seawatching hut, but upon arrival at the warren we found that there were a few birds moving, so ended up spending it at Numpties instead. The passage was steady but a few bits and pieces came through. A blogging party of as many as 12 Snow Buntings and a Long-tailed Duck were the best of it. Tim also picked out a unusual Shelduck on the Humber, which after much discussion is thought to be a Australian/Common Shelduck Hybrid. A bit of plastic fantastic to kick start the day with.
-Australian/Common Shelduck Hybrid
 And that only got expanded on in the afternoon when we headed up to Easington to have a look for a Ring-necked Parakeet that had been blogging about the village for the last few days. We soon connected with the bird, although viewing was difficult as the bird was against the light. Perhaps if viewing was better we might have noticed that the bird had an aviculture ring on it, so won’t be getting counted on the Spurn list anytime soon…
-Escaped Ring-necked Parakeet

Species List:
Numpties: Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Wigeon, Eider, Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, 

Spurn 27.11.2016
I did the triangle a couple of times today, with the weather being nice and bright it made for a pleasant way to spend the day, even if it did lack a huge number of birds. The best of it was probably seeing the Black-tailed Godwits on the Humber again. Overall though it was a very quiet day! In  the afternoon we did some reading up for the Oman trip we have in February. Whilst we were doing this Tim picked up a Great-northern Diver flying across out to sea. Quite an unexpected addition for the day.

Species List:
Triangle & Obs: Redshank, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Great-northern Diver, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Mallard, Wigeon, Blackbird, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Dunnock, Robin, Woodpigeon, Carrion  Crow, Magpie,

Spurn 28.11.2016
My morning walk took in the Triangle, Beacon Lane, Beacon Ponds and Kilnsea Wetlands. The weather was nice and it made for a pleasant walk, even if there remained a limited number of birds. The best of it was a squad of five Goldeneye on Beacon ponds which included 2 drakes. I also jammed in on four Velvet Scoters going south whilst walking along the shore. They were the only birds during my short stretch along the coastline.
In the afternoon I took to fixing bikes, followed by a drive with John Hewitt and Jonnie to Stone Creek to look at Hen Harriers. We saw probably 2 ringtail Hen Harriers quartering fairly close over a set aside field in glorious evening light. Majestic! Short-eared Owls were also present, as was a perched up male Merlin. We headed on to Welwick after in the hope of catching the pallid harrier but not joy on this occasion.
-Hen Harrier

Species List:
Triangle & Beacon Lane: Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Mallard, Wigeon, Velvet Scoter, Mute Swan, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull,
Beacon Ponds & Kilnsea Wetlands: Redshank, Dunlin, Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Goldeneye, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Short-eared Owl, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Wren, Robin, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull,

Stone Creek & Welwick Saltmarsh: Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl, Merlin, Kestrel, Stonechat, Goldcrest, Reed Bunting, Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank, Meadow Pipit, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Pheasant, 

Spurn 29.11.2016
For my final day at Spurn we headed back to Welwick Saltmarsh in the hope of seeing the Pallid Harrier again. We did see it, but due to the light we struggled to make out if it was actually the bird at first. It was already evening at this point and as a result I failed to improve on my previous photo efforts of this bird. 
-Pallid Harrier
There was a tremendous supporting cast; Hen Harrier flying by close, plus Short-eared Owl and Merlin a little more distantly. A Lapland bunting flew over calling but I failed to pick it up. A fantastic evening for my last night at Spurn.

Species List:
Welwick Saltmarsh: Pallid Harrier, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Linnet, Goldfinch, Goldcrest, Redshank, Snipe, Curlew, Lapwing, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Reed Bunting,

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Spurn Week 22

Spurn 14.11.2016
With the autumn continuing to slow down I had booked my interview at the passport office for today. As a result the day was spent out in Leeds doing odd bits and pieces and finally getting my passport. All in all a productive day if it did mean getting no birding done…

Spurn 15.11.2016
The autumn continues to draw to a close, with bird numbers dropping off daily. The bushes felt really quiet today, but I decided to make a real fist of it and see if I could find something. I first headed up round the Wetlands, Ponds and Beacon Lane followed by the Triangle and Canal. Variety was a little thin on the ground, with nothing really different being in the area. A small group of Black-tailed Godwits on the Humber was nice, and a flushed Woodcock flew straight at me whilst I was in the triangle.
After lunch things started to pick up a bit. I headed round Sammies point to have another look at the Richards Pipit at Long Bank Marsh, but on my way across I picked up a few skeins of Pink-footed Geese going south. In the end I probably had somewhere between 200-250 birds going south. It feels quite late for them to be moving, but perhaps this is the first really ideal conditions. Wildfowl was on the move generally, as I also picked up two flocks of Whoopers heading south when I went round Wetlands a second time.
-Pink-footed Geese
-Whooper Swans
The Richards Pipit was still present but continued to be mobile and not particularly easy to work with. I did manage to get a few more photos as it sat out in the open a bit, just a bit distant. Naturally though they continue to need work…
-Richards Pipit

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands, Beacon Ponds & Holderness Field: Gadwall, Greenshank, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Sparrowhawk, Little Grebe, Blackbird, Redwing, Snipe, Goldcrest, Greylag Goose, Whooper Swan, Redshank, Dunlin, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Little Egret,
Beacon Lane & the Triangle: Little Grebe, Stonechat, Stock Dove, Black-tailed Godwit, Woodcock, Skylark, Moorhen, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Blackbird, Redwing, Robin, Reed Bunting, Wren, Skylark, Meadow Pipit,
Sammies Point & Long Bank Marsh: Pink-footed Goose, Shelduck, Lapwing, Peregrine, Kestrel, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Meadow Pipit, Richards Pipit, Redshank, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Blackbird, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Magpie,

Spurn 16.11.2016
Another bright but breezy day to be out and about birding in the Spurn area. As my days here draw to a close, it makes you realise just how privileged I have been to spend the year here. I got up early and headed to wetlands for high tide, but the waders were already beginning to move off when I arrived there. Nothing much different from previous days; but still good numbers of wildfowl, plus a flyover Peregrine and at least 2 Black-tailed Godwits in the roost.
I made my way up Easington Lagoons, through Easington village and then down towards the riding school and Sammies point to make a circuit of my walk. Whilst passing Easington Lagoons John Hewitt announced over the radio that he’d had a ringtail harrier down the Humber, that looked like a Pallid but it had been lost over the Humber. I was a bit peeved to have missed the bird, but it going missing helped disperse thoughts of being gripped off. No matter anyway, as whilst on the beach I picked up the bird quartering the fields on the far side of long bank. Views were not exceptional, but I managed a few pics of the bird over Easington before it drifted further north and apparently out to sea.
-Pallid Harrier
On the rest of the walk there were a few nice bits but it felt generally quiet, with many of the October thrushes already gone. A couple of Kingfishers at Sammies was nice, flying fairly close in the ditch right below me. The Richards Pipit continued to be present in the field, but in blustery conditions it’s a wonder I saw it. The bird was clearly not inclined to fly and was keeping a low profile in the field, but a scanning with the scope through the grass I was surprised to pick out its head poking out from the grass. First time I got to see it through the scope, showing the facial markings much more clearly.
In the afternoon I went round the triangle but that produced absolutely nothing of note, or much at all really!

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands, Beacon Ponds & Easington Lagoons: Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Greenshank, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Grebe, Teal, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Pallid Harrier, Peregrine, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Linnet,
Easington & Sammies Point: Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Kingfisher, Richards Pipit, Lapwing, Little Egret, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Redwing, Blackbird, Pheasant, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Little Egret, Meadow Pipit,
Triangle: Shelduck, Brent Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Blackbird, Redwing, Curlew, Little Grebe, Redshank, Dunlin,

Spurn 17.11.2016
The westerly wind greatly intensified today, making birding harder than it had been all autumn. At some points it was even difficult to stand up in. As per I headed round to the wetlands first thing to try and catch the high tide waders, but I was stunned to find no waders present, despite the tide still being high. It’s possible a predator or otherwise flushed them before I got there.
There remained decent numbers of wildfowl, but the overall totals had dropped from the previous day. Sadly though there was nothing different to the previous day. I finished off my walk by making a loop down Beacon Lane and the top road of the triangle, but saw very little. Once back at the obs I was not inclined to go out birding again, with the wind continuing to be extremely unpleasant.

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands: Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin, Knot, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, Woodpigeon,  

Spurn 18.11.2016
Rather than waste time trying to bird in the howling gale, I headed straight down to the Seawatching hide in the morning. It was a good move, as there were good numbers of Swans and Pinkies moving. In total we logged 80+ Whooper Swans flying out at sea and a similar number of the Pink-footed Geese. A few divers also were on the move, and there was a drake Long-tailed Duck that flew south past fairly close in.
-Pink-footed Geese
-Whooper Swans
-Long-tailed Duck

Once Seawatching had dried up I spent the rest of the day doing odd bits in and around the Obs, the continued wind making birding extremely difficult and not much fun at all.

Species List:
Seawatching: Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Geese, Wigeon, Teal, Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Guillemot, Razorbill, Long-tailed Duck, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,

Spurn 19.11.2016
Continuing from yesterday, the wind remained extremely strong and difficult to bird. As a result I headed off down to numpties in the hope of a few birds moving past. A few swans and geese were on the move, with a few divers also thrown into the mix, including a few sat on the sea. On the whole though it was a fairly quiet affair! A few passerines were moving overhead, but not in any real numbers. As with previous days, the wind was making birding a bit of a challenge and most of my time was spent in the Obs.

Species List:
Numpties: Goldfinch, Siskin, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Meadow Pipit, Wigeon, Red-throated Diver, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,

Spurn 20.11.2016
Today was a complete write off as a result of the previous night’s celebrations of the autumn. As a result the entire day was spent in bed and no birds were seen today

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Spurn Week 21

Spurn 07.11.2016
With northerlies still the main wind on the agenda I decided to finally spend some time at the Seawatching hide. In the hour that I spent though, I missed basically everything that went past. The only time I got were four Snow Buntings flying north along the cliff top, and a few commoner seabirds.
I spent the most part of the day around the obs, trying to catch up on the odd jobs that had accumulated during October when I was too busy birding to be working. I did make one rush out of the garden when the Pallid Harrier from the day before was picked up flying south already at the Warren. We drove down in time to see it circling high above the breach, before seeing it slowly fly down the peninsula and then off the point towards Lincolnshire. It was always distant and against the light, so there was very little I picked up on it unfortunately, It’s just a good thing I connected with it well yesterday.
In the evening when we had all but wrapped up with work I went out again to have a look at a Water Rail that had been trapped in the Churchfield. It was obviously getting gloomy by this point which made taking photos a struggle, but it was a fantastic species to see in the hand, a cracking little bird. It was fairly placid in the hand, which was somewhat unexpected, I had thought it would be kicking and screaming!
-Water Rail

Species List:
Triangle: Wigeon, Pallid Harrier, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Mallard, Teal, Skylark, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Water Rail, Waxwing,

Spurn 08.11.2016
Again we spent all day working in the garden. We burned all the unusable wood from the shed, which helped take the edge off the first frost of the autumn. The only time I left the garden was for a grey phalarope but sadly it cleared off before I connected with it. However, dragging me away from the garden did bring me to a flock of four Waxwings sat in a tree just down the road, which looked absolutely stunning to say the least.

Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Waxwing, Grey Wagtail, Greylag Goose, Robin, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Redwing, Goldcrest, Brent Goose, Mute Swan,

Spurn 09.11.2016
A bit of wasted day, but given it rained all day perhaps I have an excuse. Work started on the shed again, but the cold and persistent rain soon put pay to that idea. In the end, the day ended on something of a damp squib.

Spurn 10.11.2016
The ongoing shed project is doing a good job of keeping us busy. However, good progress was made and it looks like it will be wrapped up in the next few days freeing up more time for birding and other odd jobs
However I did get out birding a little bit today, namely a long overdue look for the Richards Pipit at long bank. Given its now in its fourth day present and it’s a lifer I should have probably gone earlier, but just chose not to. However, I finally cracked today and made my way up. It was only a short while in the area it was frequenting before I heard the diagnostic call, alerting me to the bird incoming. However, I was looking directly into the sun and it took a few heart stopping moments before I was able to connect the bird to the call. The bird’s silhouette was everything I had imagined it to be against the sun, looking more like wagtail than any species of pipit I have previously seen.
The bird landed in the field not too far in front of me. I dropped my bag to try and get the camera, but the next thing I knew was the bird was calling from the next field south. It took some time before it returned, following exactly the same pattern as before. This time I had my camera and eventually managed to grab some record shots. Sadly though, when it landed it did exactly the same as before, leaving after only a few seconds. In all I managed to get one acceptable photo of the bird…
-Richards Pipit

Species List:
Long Bank Marsh: Richards Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Starling, Skylark, Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird, Peregrine, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Wigeon, Mallard, Mute Swan, Knot, Grey Plover, Dunlin,

Spurn 11.11.2016
We spent the day burning off the excess wood from the garden livestock shed that we were stripping down. I did go out birding a bit, mainly round the triangle, but there was not much to see. A bit of viz-mig early morning soon died off leaving us only with what there was already present. A few Waxwings were undoubtedly the best of it, but even they were only flyovers as they headed north out of the area.

Species List:
Triangle: Waxwing, Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Shelduck, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brent Goose, Meadow Pipit, Skylark,

Spurn 12.11.2016
Today was something of a write off given that it rained all day, not letting up until the evening. I decided to venture out into the downpour once, which was during mid-late morning in the hope of something dropping in. I made my way up round Kilnsea Wetlands and Beacon Ponds. The overall number of birds was quite low, with wildfowl moving about in the rain, the best I could manage for Wigeon was just over 150, but I did not count Holderness Field due as a result of a lack of effort on my behalf.
The undoubted highlight was a Black-throated Diver that flew in over the ponds before getting lost in the mist. When I first picked it up I thought it might be grebe, but when I saw clearly that it was a diver I made a move to photograph it, just putting it down as a red-throat. It was only when I came to do log that I thought to have another look, which is when my suspicions were aroused. Consulting with other birders the consensus was unanimous that it was indeed a Black-throated Diver.
-Black-throated Diver

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands & Beacon Ponds: Little Grebe, Black-throated Diver, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Mute Swan, Black-headed Gull, Reed Bunting, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,

Spurn 13.11.2016
The weather was much improved on yesterday’s poor excuse and as a result I actually did get outside to do some proper birding. There was tree planting planned for the morning so as a result I headed up to Kilnsea Wetlands first thing. The numbers of birds was well down, but there were a few nice bits and pieces, namely a Brambling on the fence line and a Goldeneye female on the wetlands themselves.
Tree planting was done by lunchtime, being out and about at Spurn even whilst busy still brought out some good birds, including a Waxwing that flew over us whilst planting the trees. In the afternoon I went for a walk round the triangle, but sadly that was extremely unproductive and there was nothing of any particular note. A Merlin flying distantly down the Humber was probably the best of it, but it was so distant it hardly warrants a mention.

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands: Goldeneye, Starling, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Brambling, Reed Bunting, Wigeon, Mallard, Mute Swan, Teal, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow,

Triangle: Shelduck, Redshank, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Curlew, Blackbird, Redwing, Robin, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Waxwing, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Mallard, Mute Swan, Little Egret, 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Spurn Week 20

Spurn 31.10.2016
Another day largely built upon westerly winds. The strength of the wind had dropped off markedly, but there did seem to be a large number of thrushes in, with Blackbirds lining the road and fieldfares in most of the bushes. I decided once again to head down the point, but the trip was punctuated by other birds. It started fairly poorly, when I returned at the breach to have a look a couple of Twite that had been caught at the Warren.
Once down the point I struggled to concentrate as not long after I arrived at Chalk Bank, news broke through that a shrike sp. had been seen in Canal Hedge, but it had only been seen briefly. I initially stalled in the area so I could race back if I needed to, but when no more news was received I decided to continue down the point. At the lighthouse I stumble across 5 Snow Buntings, including a bird that appears to be an Icelandic individual based on how brown it is.
-Snow Bunting
Not long after this the radio buzzed again regarding the shrike, suggesting that it ‘looked interesting’ but nothing more would be said. I made a call to head back to make sure I was near if anything was going to become of it. I was just on the far side of the breach when the Paul French announced that he had seen it clearly, and thought it looked like a Brown Shrike. Panic set it and I fair paced it back to the hedge.
The Shrike proved difficult at first, showing clearly but not for long at all. However, with only Spurn Regulars on site it was easy to manoeuvre ourselves into a position where we were able to see it clearly. The bird was clearly much more uniform brown than would be expected for a red backed and was obviously too dark for either Isabelline race. Its mask was also striking. A cracking bird, and Spurns seventh MEGA of the autumn (Five of which I have connected with).
-Brown Shrike
In the afternoon we continued with the ongoing odd jobs associated with the observatory garden. However we did see the four White-fronted Geese that were knocking about in Easington, although from a distance.

Species List:
Spurn: Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Twite, Snow Bunting, Dunlin, Sanderling, Knot, Grey Plover, Mallard, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Brown Shrike, Woodpigeon,. Swallow, Water Rail, Moorhen,

Spurn 01.11.2016
The first day on November brought with it cold northerly winds, leaving the whole of the Spurn area feeling rather wintery. I headed down the point early on to try and find whatever was down there first. Sadly though I failed to find anything good and, despite good numbers of thrushes, there was a general dearth of species variety. The undoubted highlight was relocating the Icelandic Snow Bunting on the beach. This time I was sure to get some rump shots, the dark centres of which confirm the bird to be of the subspecies ‘insulae’. An interesting and extremely educational bird!
-Snow Bunting
In the afternoon, with the bushes continuing to be hard work, we continued to work in the garden, clearing rubbish and storing firewood. In the end a rather steady day but a pleasant affair anyway!

Species List:
Spurn Peninsula: Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Brambling, Chaffinch, Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting, Curlew, Common Scoter, Turnstone, Starling, Wren, Robin, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Dunlin, Sanderling, Great Black-backed Gull,

Spurn 02.11.2016
November is meant to mark the slowing down of autumn with fewer birds and generally colder weather. My parents were coming today, so I was in no rush to really do much, rather try and keep myself in order. After a lie-in I headed down to the Seawatching hide in the hope of something flying past.
And something did. We were all watching out to sea, when the radio crackled into life with obvious excitement. The only word I heard clearly was Egret flying north over the warren, but a quick pivot round quickly put me on a Cattle Egret flying straight over my head. If only I had picked it up sooner, as my photos were all of the bird flying away from me. It looked initially like it might drop in, but instead it flew off out over the Humber and then north. It was only when it was out over the Humber that I finally got decent views of its bill and a more general impression of its overall structure. I had rattled off record shots as soon as it had come over, a lifer after all, sadly though all but a few were of just the wings and feet. I managed a few of the bird in profile when it flew more westwards towards the Humber over the triangle. I scoped it out over the Humber and followed it as It drifted up river until it was pointless following it anymore. Another lifer this autumn and only the third record for the Spurn area!
-Cattle Egret
Once the excitement had reduced I realised I should probably head back up to the obs in order to meet my parents. I had only just got back when the radio again crackled with the news of the Rough-legged Buzzard in the triangle. It was apparently flying north, but neither myself nor Ian who were there could see it. However the behaviour of the crows suggested it could be flying quite low, and when I checked the Humber we had it flying low down going north. Again, if we had gotten onto it sooner we would have got cracking views and shots, but sadly not to be.
The afternoon with the parents nice. I took them out to see a couple of birds in the hand, which included a Twite and a Woodcock. Both cracking birds and really nice to see in the hand, especially the Woodcock, which was docile enough to be held in a ringers pose without too much bother.
Species List:
Triangle: Woodcock, Twite, Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Rough-legged Buzzard, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Gannet, Guillemot, Common Scoter, Mallard, Wigeon, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Common Snipe, Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Robin, Dunnock,

Spurn 03.11.2016
Having discussed with Sarah about trying to catch Snow Buntings down the point today we headed off in the hope of finding some by the lighthouse. It quickly seemed like we might not have to go down, having come across three approachable birds at the breach, but they were not having any of it. One bird took a long look at the spring trap before changing its mind, and that was as close as we got. On the other hand I did get a cracking view of the buntings, two of which I reckon were Icelandic Snow Buntings judging by its brown rump with dark centres. Being around the breach meant we were in luck when a Waxwing was caught at the Warren. Its great to see these stunning birds up close like this. 
After a while the buntings took flight and headed south down the peninsula. We did not come across them again on our trip down the peninsula. To be honest, we did not find much of anything, the best of it probably a Woodcock flushed. The highlight was a single run of the Heligoland trap at the point, which produced a whopping 17 Blackbirds, plus a single Redwing. That was extremely exciting, as I scribed or Sarah who ringed them.

Species List:
Spurn Peninsula: Woodcock, Robin, Redwing, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Goldcrest, Turnstone, Cormorant, Snow Bunting, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,  

Spurn 04.11.2016
After a night of drinking it was remarkable that we all woke up at a reasonable time and that we continued with our original plan of going down the point. The walk down was good fun, but we saw very little. There was an obvious clearout of birds down the point, with thrush numbers much reduced on what they had been the previous day. Still we ran the Heligoland trap a couple of times and caught a small sample of Blackbirds which was nice.
The obvious highlight was an absurdly tame fox on the main loop path. When we first saw it we all quietened down in order to not scare it, but then it came running up to us. We were able to touch it the thing came so close.

On the way back we spotted the three Snow Buntings that Sarah and I had spent the previous morning trying to trap. We tried again, but sadly we were not successful once again. Whats worse is that this time one of the birds actually stepped into the trap but failed to set it off. After at least an hour of trying the buntings all got up and flew south, and that was the end of that. Two of the birds were Icelandic Snow Buntings, and this time I got a few pictures, although nothing spectacular.

Species List:
Spurn Peninsula: Woodcock, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Redwing, Robin, Dunnock, Dunlin, Sanderling, Curlew, Knot,

Spurn 05.11.2016
The weather started cold, wet and windy. It was not pleasant. When I did eventually get out birding I went round ponds and wetlands but it was a waste of time. Besides the usual wildfowl species there was not much happening. The wind made it a struggle to hold the scope steady. It felt good to get out though, even if it was pretty unproductive.

Species List:
Kilnsea Wetlands, Beacon Ponds & Holderness Field: Wigeon, Mute Swan, Teal, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Grey Plover, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Redshank, Greenshank,

Spurn 06.11.2016
I could have got up early and gone to Welwick to see if the Pallid Harrier came out of roost, but I didn’t. As a result, when I was proven wrong and the bird was seen in the morning there was a massive sense of disappointment, even though it was my own stupid fault.
We walked up to Sammies to hopefully pick it up flying over the saltmarsh. A few other birders were also there and after a bit of time I did manage to pick the Pallid Harrier up. It was distant but a clear view, with a distinctive white rump and rusty underwings both obvious in flight. It then dropped and despite our efforts we were unable to pick it up again from Sammies. As a result I managed to flag a lift round to Welwick to try and spot it closer and showing better. Sadly though, despite two hours waiting there, the heavy rain and hail meant that the bird did not show again.
The heavy rain, wind and cold temperature put pay to most of the rest of the days birding. On the way back we had a look at the putative Greenland White Fronted Geese in the fields in Easington. I would rather spend the time in the Obs warming up after the morning’s cold session.
In the afternoon we headed out again, back to the Harrier site at Welwick marsh. After a  short while it showed much better in the evening gloom, slowly flying across the saltmarsh. This time I was able to fully take it in, including the neck collar among the other features. A cracking bird that’s for sure.
-Pallid Harrier

Species List:

Sammies Point/Welwick Marsh: Pallid Harrier, Turnstone, Little Egret, Sparrowhawk, Greenland Whitefront Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Mute Swan, Marsh Harrier, Reed  Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Redshank, Common Snipe, Dunlin, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull,