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.
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.
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.
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.
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,