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.
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.
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.
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,