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,

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