Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Spurn Week 10

Wednesday 25th October - Tuesday 31st October 
This week continued much as the previous had finished, with most of my time spent in Churchfield ringing Blackbirds, other Thrushes and Tree Sparrows. However, at the weekend a few more visiting ringers arrived leaving myself and Paul with nowhere to ring. As a result we spent a bit more time targeting specific birds. A Black Redstart that we spring trapped behind the Riverside was pretty cool, but the Water Rail we baited up and trapped along the canal was without doubt the highlight, without doubt the best bird I’ve rung so far.  A nice adult Siskin was also welcome.
-Black Redstart
-Water Rail

Most of the rest of my time was spent doing work either for the Obs or for the Crown, now that I have started to work there. As a result I did miss the best seabird day of the autumn but it can’t be helped. 

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Black Redstart, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Linnet, Twite, Reed Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter, Red Admiral, 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Spurn Week 9

Wednesday 18th - Tuesday 24th October   
As has increasingly become the came as the autumn has progressed, my time is now nearly all spent in Churchfield ringing. Over the last week I was able to ring an awesome selection of birds including Brambling, Bullfinch, Twite and my first Yellow-browed Warbler. The bulk of the ringing totals were made up of thrushes, particularly Redwing and Blackbird
To keep my bank balance ticking over I started doing some work for Ian Smith in the village, helping him build a deer fence for a new area of land. Whilst this meant most of my afternoons over this week were spent working not birding, we did have a Great White Egret fly right over us, which was something of a bonus.

The 19th of October was an exceptional day that is definitely worth mentioning. Despite the wind remaining a light westerly, there was a massive arrival of Redwing, over 12000 in the area as a whole. We continued ringing in Churchfield, and even though we only managed to catch 86 we could see thousands flying overhead or moving through the hedges. There was also a four figure count of Blackbirds, 1342, and then 213 Fieldfare. There’s nothing more exciting than when a large fall occurs, it really was an amazing day!
-Brambling
-Redwing
-Yellow-browed Warbler
-Twite
-Siskin
Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Black Redstart, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Linnet, Twite, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter, Red Admiral, 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Spurn Week 8

Wednesday 11th - Tuesday 17th October
Due to the fact that I have now become rather busy at Spurn, with ringing, birding, working for the Obs and now working for the crown as well I have had no time to keep writing a short daily update, so have opted for a weekly update of all the goings on at Spurn. With me spending most of time in Churchfield ringing I was not seeing a great deal. The Arctic Warbler, the long-staying bird which had set up around the crown car park and Kilnsea churchyard, made a couple of appearances in Churchfield, showing well in the tops of the tall elders. We also saw the Tawny Owl at roost a couple times, although views were usually poor, looking up at the bird through thick vegetation.
In terms of ringing, there was not a great deal different, mainly Redpolls and Blackbirds. I did get to do my first Sparrowhawk though, which was obviously a bit of a different experience to the Thrushes and Finches I had been used to.
Outside of Churchfield I did not get up to much. I went with Sarah down to Middle Camp to try and catch Rock Pipits and Wheatears but sadly we failed on all accounts. A few Pink-footed Geese were still moving, but not in huge numbers, and Yellow-browed Warblers could be encountered on any walk away from Churchfield.
From Friday until the Tuesday I spent some time away from Spurn, making a long weekend visit to South Wales. Although not really a birding trip, we still managed a few bits and pieces. A Spotted Redshank and Little Stint were nice at Newport Wetlands. Bizarrely, having just left Spurn, probably the most twitched Mega of the autumn happened to turn up in Gwent, a Common Rock Thrush. We dipped on the first attempt, although a healthy number of Wheatears made some compensation, but on the second attempt the bird showed extremely well. People had been leaving mealworms out for the bird, and it had clearly gotten used to people being there so was largely fearless. It was awesome to see it scurrying across the quarry faces, looking right at home.
-Rock Thrush

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Spurn Week 7

Wednesday 04th October
Despite strong westerly winds, today was a rather enjoyable day birding. This was mainly due to an unexpected arrival of Goldcrests. Although only 450 went down in the log, in excess of 1000 was probably nearer the mark. It is nothing like what a real Goldcrest fall could be like but it was still nice to see. In the afternoon I even got a Spurn tick when the local Tawny Owl was finally found at day roost in the trees in Kew. By no means were they the greatest views I’m ever going to get of this species but it was still nice to see.

Thursday 05th October
After a week away from it, it was nice to get back to my ringing training today. We caught a few birds, mainly Redpolls and Goldcrests. The steady trickle of birds was more suited to my level and it was useful for me. After lunch Paul and I headed up to the Gas Terminal to try and catch a control Black Redstart that had been lingering on the rocks there. Sadly it evaded capture despite our best efforts. The Wheatears present up there also frustratingly evaded capture, meaning we left with nothing for our efforts.
In the evening it seemed that the birding for the day had been wrapped up when a radio message came through that there was a Slavonian Grebe on Beacon Ponds. Slavonian Grebe was a Spurn tick so I was pretty chuffed when I got there to see the bird still present, despite the distance and fading light.
-Slavonian Grebe

Friday 06th October
Today I had the huge pleasure of entertaining Geoff Gamble, one of our Beeeater volunteers from the summer and one of the nicest men I have ever met. I took him and his neighbour around the triangle and then up to the Kilnsea Wetlands and Beacon Ponds. We got to see a few nice bits and pieces, capped off with the Slavonian Grebe.
In the evening I set off round the triangle for a walk to Canal Scrape to see if there were any Jack Snipes on there. There were not, but two lingering coots were something of an unexpected surprise. It wasn’t the biggest surprise of the evening, as a Nightjar was found on Beacon Lane. It took a while to relocate after the initial sighting, and even then I only saw it a couple of times in flight. Still it’s a Spurn tick, and one that I have really been looking forward to. A pretty unexpected end to the day.

Saturday 07th October
After a late night in the crown I was a little sluggish getting up for ringing. Once up though we had a good time catching Lesser Redpolls. We also had a couple of Goldcrest and a single Garden Warbler to add to the mix. Once ringing had dried up I struggled to find any birds, so spent the remainder of the day typing up log sheets and watching Lord of the Rings. A very good day in my opinion.

Sunday 08th October
As it turns out, my birding for the morning was dictated to me as I was enlisted to lead a guided walk on behalf of the observatory. I decided to lead my small group of 7 participants around the wetlands, Holderness Field and then round the triangle. As it happened, the first major thrush arrival of the autumn occurred on the same day, despite the continued westerly winds. Still not huge numbers, but a good few Redwings and Blackbirds provided a nice backdrop to my walk. Bramblings, Little Stints and Yellow-browed Warblers were also nice, as was refinding the Slavonian Grebe on Kilnsea Wetlands and a very late Avocet on Beacon Ponds. A Caspian Gull flew past us just as the walk started a first year bird that had been tracked up the Humber from the Warren. A small flock of Crossbills flew north over us, and a group of Seven Whoopers flew the other way. My route took longer than anticipated and just before we started round the triangle we heard that an Arctic Warbler had been seen in Churchfield. As a result we headed over that way. Although we didn’t see the warbler we did get to see some Brambling and Redwing in the hand, which was more than enough.
As it happens, a little later the Arctic Warbler made its way to the end of the Heligoland trap and was caught. It was ringed and shown to a crowd of around 100 people, not ideal but decent for the obs. Once I had wrapped up the walk and had lunch I headed out on my own steam but by this point the birds seemed to have dried up, although I did kick three Jack Snipe of Clubleys, which was the standout moment. I spent the evening watching the England game, so did not bother with the OBP which was found at the bottom of Beacon Lane in fading light.
-Caspian Gull
-Brambling
-Arctic Warbler

Monday 09th October
The relics of yesterday’s birds remained all around. The morning plan was to help Sarah try and catch some of the bearded tits that had been present in the canal for a few days. Despite the set up looking a little bleak we were able to catch two birds, a male and a female. I ringed the female, whilst Sarah ringed the smashing looking male. Really, what a bird! By the time that we had done everything there it was midday.
After lunch I headed round the triangle, but again with little to show for it. A showy Lapland Bunting on the deck was the best of it, but unfortunately it had to be shared with a crowd of around 30 other birders, so I soon moved off. In the afternoon I headed to Churchfield to ring with Paul. We caught a few Redwings, a couple of Brambling and a few Tree Sparrows, all of which were great fun. Then Adam caught the Cettis Warbler that had been found along the canal in the morning, but which had eluded my attempts to connect with. The bird was brought back to Churchfield, and I was given the privilege of processing and ringing it. This is only the second to be rung at Spurn, and was a Spurn tick for me.
-Bearded Tit
-Cettis Warbler

Tuesday 10th October
My morning was spent ringing, as per usual, with the afternoon then spent typing up logs, also as is usual. We caught a handful of thrushes in the morning, as well as quite a few Lesser Redpolls, which seem to be one of the few species having a good autumn in terms of numbers. 

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Caspian Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Ring-necked Parakeet, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Cettis Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bearded Tit, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Spurn Week 6

Wednesday 27th September
With the easterly wind continuing I was optimistic that there would be something new coming in. Sadly I did not expect it turn up three hours up the coast in Durham (Scops Owl). That being said, there were still a good number of birds down with us. A cracking Brambling was trapped and ringed early morning, and the stunning male Red-breasted Flycatcher once again found its way into a net so we were able to get another look at that stunner.
-Brambling
-Red-breasted Flycatcher
Today was the day that my parents were coming down, and this put me on edge in case something turned up. As it happens the rarest bird of the day was found by a bloke not 10 meters in front of me. Yes, once again I found myself radioing out someones elses bird, Arctic warbler this time, without actually seeing it for myself. This bird was never seen again in fact, and was only clinched today as a result of the photos taken by the finder. On the flip side, the night in the crown was once of the best I’ve ever had. Every cloud.

Thursday 28th September
Despite walking across the Spurn area we found very little of note. It was nice to appreciate the continued arrival of Robins and Song Thrushes, which continued to be found in healthy numbers. In the evening my shower was interrupted by the arrival of the Rose-coloured Starling that had been around the area for some time, in the fields behind the observatory. Once I had freshened up and made myself decent I finally had a look at the brown beast, having avoided it for the whole week prior. Yep, it was exactly as I had expected, exactly the same as the one earlier in the year. If I were to say I was a huge fan of Rose-coloured Starlings I would be lying.

Friday 29th September
Another day where I had very little to contribute to the daily sightings! I had a great time walking around Spurn despite not seeing very much. The highlight was finding a recently emerged Red-veined Darter in the hedge alongside Holderness Field. It was so docile I was able to easily pick it up and sit it on my finger, before I put it back in the hedge out of the wind. We also had a Merlin bombing up the beach, which was the only bird worth noting down, besides the usual Yellow-browed Warbler in the Obs garden.

Saturday 30th September
In cold and windy conditions birding was not easy. We saw very little of any note but had a pleasant enough walk around the Triangle and Beacon Ponds.

Sunday 01st October
We spent most of the day out and about birding, despite the fact that the weather was less than ideal. It was a day of frustrating near misses. At Sammies I had a funny looking Snipe fly over us without calling, but I was unable to lock my camera on it to grab some record shots. Then in the evening I helped Sarah try and relocate a Locustella warbler that had given the impression of white tips. The day was topped off with what a single call from a Red-throated Pipit which we were unable to relocate, leaving us with nowhere near enough on the bird to be 100% sure. Then the power went out in the obs. Not ideal…

Monday 02th October
The return of strong westerly winds all but ended hopes of birding, and having fallen behind with the logs I spent most of the day typing up at Kew. The rest of my day was spent trying to fix the blocked plumbing at the Obs. After a day of sweating all possibilities we finally found the source of the problem and cleared it. The only birds I saw were two Redpolls in the Heligoland Trap. Since they were already at the end I decided to extract them, and was able to ring one once I had told Paul.

Tuesday 03rd October

My intentions for the day were rudely interrupted by the reappearance of the Durham Scops Owl. With lifts being offered I decided to make a move and finally see it. Once there the bird showed constantly, although it was not particularly active. It was a really smart bird and well worth going for, consolidating my views that I’d got the birds in Spain earlier in the year. On the way back we called in for the Red-backed Shrike that was around Easington. Despite the windy conditions we were able to get some decent views, and I was able to practice my digiscoping. 
-Red-backed Shrike
-European Scops Owl

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Ring-necked Parakeet, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Rose-coloured Starling, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Spurn Week 5

Wednesday 20th - Saturday 23rd September
Most of my time was spent ringing in steady south-westerlies with little change in species composition; Tree Sparrows, Lesser Redpolls and common garden birds making up the majority of species. I also spent a lot of time typing up logs for the observatory hence a lack of updates from these dates.

Sunday 24th September
Today there was finally a change to an easterly wind direction. Almost immediately there was a small arrival of Redstarts, with the first few birds appearing at the Warren. I was at Kew with Paul having rung a few bits and pieces. No sooner had the first birds appeared at the Warren did we have a Redstart appear in our nets, a smart young male, which Paul allowed me to ring.
-Common Redstart

Monday 25th September
With a little rain first thing and continued easterlies we were hopeful that there would be some arrival. I spent most of the day birding the Triangle, Beacon Lane and then a few other areas likely to be less checked. Sadly I failed to really find anything new, although it was clear that birds had arrived, with an obvious increase in Garden Warblers and Blackcaps. A Cettis Warbler was found singing at the bottom of the Canal Zone. Sadly I only heard it distantly and did not see it, although I barely tried given there were quite a few people waiting for this Spurn rarity.

Tuesday 26th September

Expectation was high that today there might finally be some birds. A layer of fog covered the area and this added to the anticipation. Ultimately though the anticipation failed to materialise into anything major! A few new Yellow-browed Warblers were nice, but the undoubted highlight was a stunning adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher that was found at warren. It was tricky at times but at other times showed quite well. In the afternoon it was found in the net, before being ringed and released. An early contender for the best bird of the autumn! 
-Red-breasted Flycatcher

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Ring-necked Parakeet, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White,  

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Spurn Week 4

Wednesday 13th September
The storm really hit us today. The rain that was forecast did not really materialise but the wind was extremely strong and meant an end to most forms of birding. The only real bird of note was the Long-billed Dowitcher, still present, which finally put in some time in front of the hide. I was finally able to get some decent shots of it, beyond my crap efforts from before.
-Long-billed Dowitcher

Thursday 14th September
Once more the rain and wind meant no nets open once again. I headed down to Numpties to hopefully get some passage and Seawatching. Sadly it did not really materialise in that way, with not many birds moving and not really spending time looking at the sea. I did see two Long-tailed Skuas fly past, birds that were called up from the hide.
In the afternoon, with birding still looking off in the weather, I chose to have a nap. I had just woken up from my nap and was sat a little dazed in the cabin when I heard the distinctive whistle of a Yellow-browed Warbler. Jonnie was also there, but he had his headphones in and hadn’t heard it. I let him know, and seconds later the bird called again. Whilst I only saw it for a fraction of a second, it remained vocal. This is the first Yellow-browed Warbler at Spurn this autumn, my first contribution to the Spurn autumn.

Friday 15th September
After finally making a contribution to the Spurn autumn the following evening I was keen to get out and consolidate my efforts. Sadly it did not happen. The Yellow-browed from the previous day was now joined by a second bird, but all other arrivals seemed to be kept to a minimum. I tried to work the triangle, but quickly got disillusioned when there were no birds.
For the afternoon I headed up round Beacon Ponds and Kilnsea Wetlands, plus Easington Lagoons. Once again the birdlife was very limited, but a couple of Mediterranean Gulls were nice, and I got to inspect a small flock of Pink-footed Geese which had settled on Easington Straight. So not a complete loss for my efforts. 

Saturday 16th September
With the weather far from ideal I was not able to go ringing with Paul, but instead spent the day working through typing up old log sheets. I nearly managed to clear an entire month of backlog. Despite the weather there was some arrival, and although I saw very little of it during my short between-showers walk round the canal, the undoubted highlight was a smart female Red-breasted Flycatcher that was trapped at the Warren late afternoon. A really smart bird and only the second time I’ve really got a good view of this species.
-Red-breasted Flycatcher

Sunday 17th September
I was expecting today to be something of a fairly slow day. Andy Roadhouses ashes were being scattered at the Numpties at lunchtime, and after that I expected to be in the pub for the afternoon. The morning did not quite transpire that way, as early on an Arctic Warbler was found in Easington. I grabbed a lift up and after a short wait I was finally able to end my long beef with this species, after my non-encounter in Norfolk some 6 years ago. The bird was not overly showy, but at certain points it would sit out in a tree which was bare of leaves, and on those occasions I was able to get nice and clear views. It was also very vocal, which was a cool feature to pick up on. The escape Ring-necked Parakeet from last November was also flying around.
-Arctic Warbler
After that I headed back to the Obs. I headed down to the Warren to see a Yellow-browed Warbler in the hand, the 201st ever rung at Spurn. It’s also the first one I’ve seen properly this autumn. I then worked the triangle but with nothing to show for it. After the scattering of Andy’s ashes I headed off to the Crown and spent the rest of the day in there. The only other bird I saw was a flyby Manx Shearwater on the Humber.
-Yellow-browed Warbler

Monday 18th September
With the wind too strong, instead of ringing I spent the morning birding the triangle. I tried to stick to areas where people would be spending less time, and as a result I saw very few of the lingering goodies. A couple of Pied Flycatchers and a Yellow-browed Warbler were just about all I managed for my effort.
In the afternoon I cycled down to the point for a few hours down there trying to find something new, knowing that nobody had been down. Sadly it turned into a futile exercise, with only 3 Wheatears and a Lesser Whitethroat to show for my trouble. Still it was good to get out and back down the point after a week away during the howling westerlies.

Tuesday 19th September

After yesterdays limited success with the peninsula I decided to try it again today. Fortunately today was much better and I had a great time birding. In the end I had six Yellow-browed Warblers, although I only saw two of them, against a backdrop of migrating Pinkies. It was really pleasant birding, with a light scattering of Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers also present. 

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Ring-necked Parakeet, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Arctic Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White,  

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Spurn Week 3

Wednesday 06th September
Ringing in the morning was somewhat stalled by very poor weather conditions. As a result I spent the morning catching up on odd jobs. The only time I went out all morning was to go out and try and catch the Pectoral Sandpiper again. We once again failed but on this occasion we also failed to see the bird on the deck. We got one flyby before we lost it. Not the greatest days Spurn birding I have ever had.

Thursday 07th September
As per usual I spent the morning ringing with Paul. We caught a few bits and pieces, all common birds, but the Goldcrests and Willow Warblers were both nice to see in the hand. The continuing westerly wind continued to make birding hard so my walks round the triangle after lunch produced absolutely nothing of any note.

Friday 08th September
I spent the morning ringing with Paul, but it was only a short session before I headed off to help set up the Migfest. Once the set up was complete I was placed on car parking duty for the rest of the day. Whilst it’s nice to see and chat to so many people, it’s not an ideal way to see birds.
-Chiffchaff

Saturday 09th September
The first full day of Migfest! After a week of westerlies, the idea of a bird filled day seemed somewhat unlikely. That being said, the arrival of a wryneck the previous evening sparked some hope, and as the day unfolded it turned out to be one of the best birding Migfests Spurn has ever had. Sadly working at the festival I missed all the goodies, until mid-afternoon when news broke of a Long-billed Dowitcher that had just come to Holderness Field. Of course, no amount of duty was going to stop me from twitching this bird and I raced off with every single other volunteer. I hadn’t brought any optics with me so was relying on borrowing people’s scopes and other equipment, but was still able to get good views of the bird, only the 3rd record for Spurn. It was so awesome to be there for the bird breaking and feeling all the positivity and good vibes that followed.

Sunday 10th September
After the crazy day that was yesterday, today was somewhat tame by comparison. Still there were a few nice birds for people to see. Sadly though I was not one of those people, as I was busy working at the festival. Once it had all been wrapped up I just crashed into bed, it had been a long weekend.

Monday 11th September
After a weekend of Migfest work I was looking forward to finally seeing the weekend’s stars for myself. Sadly the weather had different plans as heavy rain and lashing wind set in, reducing the mornings birding effort to nil. Kieran and Andre were also leaving that morning, so I waited around the Obs until they left before setting out.
My initial plan was to go to the Wryneck first, but changed my mind on news that the Long-billed Dowitcher was apparently in front of the hide. It wasn’t! But, at the same time, it was nice to finally see the bird through my own optics and get my own record shots, no matter how bad they were. Whilst watching the Dowitcher I also had 2 Black Terns come in off the sea and fly over the ponds.
Once I’d had my fill of Dowitcher I headed round the where the Wryneck was. It took us a short while to relocate but myself and Rich Swales eventually located it. The bird then performed incredibly well, without doubt the best views I’ve ever had of this species. The way it was feeding was also something I had not seen before; climbing tall plants and then using its long tongue to pick off insects.
-Wryneck

Once I was done with my shameless twitching I wandered down to the Seawatching hide. Sadly there was not much happening, although a late Swift was possible my latest ever.

Tuesday 12th September
The strong westerly wind that had dominated much of the last week remained the dominant force dictating the birding today. As a result the only realistic option seemed to be Vismig/Seawatching. Both of these options were pretty decent, with over 3000 Meadow Pipits moving during the morning, plus a healthy scattering of Hirundines. Also thrown into the mixer were a few Waders, Swifts and a couple of nice flybys from Short-eared Owls.
The sea was less interesting but still had a few goodies to keep us interested. A small passage of Great Skuas and Arctic Skuas was nice, with a number of smart pale-phase Arctics coming south quite close. The first Pink-footed Geese of the Autumn also flew south at sea, with just short of 200 birds going south during the day.

In light of the very windy conditions, it was a really nice days birding. 

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Cormorant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Wryneck, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White, 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Spurn Week 2

Spurn Day 8 - Wednesday 30th August
After the high of yesterday evening I awoke with great anticipation of many migrants. I was, however, over optimistic as the numbers of birds had gone down rather than up. Early morning ringing before the rain set in produced a Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Wren and a Reed Warbler. The latter was without doubt the highlight, the feathers were so incredibly soft to touch. After the rain and a rather intense nap I headed out and round the triangle. Sadly though there was nothing to gain from this, as the numbers of migrants were still well down. A handful of Willow Warblers and a single Wheatear were just about all that I could muster. I ended my walk by finally having a look at the Black Redstart at Sandy Beaches caravan park. It was not a showy bird, and remained extremely elusive.

Spurn Day 8 - Thursday 31st August
Mornings are now spent in Churchfield with Paul, learning to handle birds. Once again though there was not a huge number of birds present. Tree Sparrows were once again the most common birds we caught, plus a few Willow Warblers and other odd bits and pieces. Just as we were wrapping up news broke of a Pectoral Sandpiper on Kilnsea Wetlands. I rushed off to try and see it, by the time I got there though the single bird had become two Pectoral Sandpipers. Sadly both were distant and I was unable to get any decent photos. That being said, I was able to get nice views through the scope. I returned to the Wetlands in the evening, but in between I took on the challenge of the point. As per there were not many birds to be seen down there, just a few Lesser Whitethroats and a couple of Stonechats. By evening only one Pectoral Sandpiper remained, but there were a few nice Ruff to see, Curlew Sandpiper plus a few wildfowl.
-Pectoral Sandpiper

Spurn Day 9 - Friday 1st September
The mornings ringing was slow! We caught a few bits and pieces, the highlight being a Woodpigeon. I was impressed by the strength of the bird, even despite Pauls warning, it managed to wriggle out from grasp. Another Reed Warbler was also nice. We finished up at midday, at which point I collapsed into a very deep nap. Once I had awoken I tried to bird the triangle but there remained a distinct lack of new birds in. The best of it was a juvenile Cuckoo, which will probably be the last I see this year.

Spurn Day 10 - Saturday 2nd September
Ringing was even slower than what it had been the previous days. Still, we caught four Tree Sparrows and three Great Tits. A Sparrowhawk was in the net but it wriggled out before we had got to it. Once again we wrapped up at around midday. We reopened the nets later in the afternoon but still struggled to catch anything. Still, it was a nice sunny day and pleasant to be outside just chilling.

Spurn Day 11 - Sunday 3rd September
The morning was spent photocopying, with no birds at all being caught in the nets. After which, I headed up to the Wetlands following the news that the Pectoral Sandpiper was right in front of the hide. Unfortunately when I arrived the bird had once more flown to the back of the wetlands. The Curlew Sandpiper was still around though and showed quite nicely in front of the hide. My afternoon was spent strimming and working on the garden, before a quick evening jaunt up to the wetlands following the news that a Bittern had dropped into the reedbeds up that way. Bittern would have been a Spurn tick for me, so I was pretty chuffed when the bird did a couple of close flybys around the ponds before it roosted in the reeds.
-Bittern

Spurn Day 12 - Monday 4th September
The wind remained somewhat unfavourable for large numbers of migrants, but there was a light scattering of a few migrants, plus some really nice birds around. The morning started with the first Barred Warbler of the autumn, which was trapped at the warren. It was rather fidgety in the hand and not overly cooperative. Once released it went straight back into the Heligoland trap like an absolute muppet.
We then began our quest to try and capture the Purple Sandpiper at the breach. It was one of the most ridiculously tame birds I have ever seen, coming far too close for my camera, but unfortunately eluded capture on both attempts we made to net it. I was still able to get a few nice photos of it, frame filling with no crop required.
Between attempts to capture the Purple Sandpiper a juv Red-necked Phalarope was found on Kilnsea Wetlands. It was a rather stunning bird, but remained distant for most of the time we were watching it. There was a short period where it flew a lot nearer to the hide in the company of a small Dunlin flock, which it was frequently harassing.
The day finished up after the final attempt to net the Purple Sandpiper, when a Citrine Wagtail was found on Kilnsea Wetlands. It was right in front of the hide in the company of a small group of Pied Wagtails. It showed very nicely and I was able to get a few photos. Another Spurn tick in the bag, a species which is now nearly annual at Spurn! An amazing end to a day which, on the face of it, really did not promise much!
-Barred Warbler
-Barred Warbler
-Citrine Wagtail

Tuesday 5th September

The mornings ringing was still pretty decent today, although there was not a great deal of variety in the catch; mainly Tree Sparrows with a few Phyloscs thrown in for good measure. Most of the day was spent trying to catch the extremely bold Purple Sandpiper at the breach. Sadly we were unable to catch it, but the bird itself more than made up for it, showing incredibly close. It was too close for my lens as it happened, but I was still able to get some nice shots which I am very happy with. 
-Purple Sandpiper

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Cormorant, Hobby, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Bittern, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Pectoral Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Barred Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Common Emerald Damselfly, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White,