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, 

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