Saturday, 30 June 2018

June at Spurn

June carried on much as May had finished, working nearly full time in the pub and working on the trip report for Canada. On the occasions I got out birding there were a number of good birds still to be had. The Golden Oriole persisted into the start of June, but as before it had was mobile and difficult to get close to.
-Purple Cloud
-Eyed Hawkmoth
We went and ringed the Peregrine chicks at the Hull gas terminal on the 01st. They were a bit bigger than we had thought they would be, and the whole process was long and slow as a result of the size of the chicks and a BBC film crew trying to have everything their way. They were good fun to ring though. I was fortunate in that they did not scratch and bite me whilst I was ringing them. Paul on the other had was bitten by almost every single one of the chicks. The adults were bombing us the whole time that we were removing the chicks, it was a really fun morning.
On the subject of raptor chicks, we also did a nest of Marsh Harriers on the 11th. We had been monitoring a site just outside Patrington to try and locate the nest to ring them. Once we made our move into the reedbed we immediately became lost and had to fight our way through looking for the nest. Eventually we made it, and found two very healthy chicks in place. We ringed both birds and then withdrew to reduce disturbance.
-Marsh Harrier
We continued to target pulli around the Spurn area, on the 12th we chased after the Avocet chicks on Kilnsea Wetlands. After a short run-around we caught two of the three chicks. We also did another chick on Holderness Field on the 21st. On the 25th we also did the Barn Owl chicks at the Easington primary school. They were not the healthiest looking chicks, and we ringed 2 of the 3 given their condition. It was fun showing them to the children, who were very excitable about the whole thing.
Ringing was generally pretty slow, a Grasshopper Warbler that we targeted on the 5th the highlight until the 24th when a female Firecrest turned up in the high net. It was the latest spring record at Spurn by 20 days. Something of a real surprise when I checked the nets, and the ringing highlight for the month. On a couple of occasions we tried to catch the Marsh Warblers on Beacon Lane. Frustratingly one bird bounced out of the net, and neither bird ever came close again.
The tern colony suffered a lot of damage as a result of a fox breaking through the fence. We went up on the 25th to assess the damage and ring any wader chicks present. We managed 3 Ringed Plover chicks and a single Oystercatcher. On the way back we were able to get distant views of a Bee-eater that was flying over Holderness Field, a late migrant. 
During the later days of the month a Turtle Dove was present occasionally in Churchfield. We set up traps to try and catch it but sadly it was extremely wary and not keen to go in. What did go in the trap was a Hairy Dragonfly, the third record for Spurn. I was pretty buzzing when I saw it settled on the woodwork of the catching area. I held it for half an hour for people to come and see, before letting it go. The first time I have found a rare dragonfly at Spurn, so I was pretty excited about that.
June finished with a real bang. On the morning of the 29th Jonnie found a cracking Squacco Heron on Kilnsea Wetlands on the way back from his night-shift on Beacon Ponds. Paul and I had got up early to try and catch the Marsh Warblers, but had once again failed, so I had gone back to bed. Next thing I knew my phone was buzzing like crazy. When I checked I saw the messages about the heron. We raced up in the truck and got excellent views of the bird perched at the back of Kilnsea Wetlands. An awesome British and Spurn tick. It became more mobile during the day, and it flew past me at several points during the day.

Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Gannet, Cormorant, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Common Tern, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Swift, Barn Owl, Little Owl, European Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Wheatear, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting,

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