Monday, September 9, 2019

8th September 2019 - Day 3 of Spurn Migfest and Fairburn Ings RSPB

This morning we again headed back to the seawtaching hide for 6am and stayed till 09:15, there was far less movement today but the highlights were a Long-tailed Skua (UK tick), two Arctic Skua, one Great Skua, two Little Gulls, 31 Red-throated Divers, 63 Teal, two Wigeon, 17 Common Scoter and a flock of nine Grey Herons in off. A Green Sandpiper also flew north over The Warren.

Spurn Seawatching Hide

On our way back to the car there were c250 Golden Plover on The Humber. Again news from elsewhere was quiet apart from a Pied Flycatcher in Kilnsea Churchyard which we went to look for, we managed to find it but it was pretty elusive staying high up in the canopy. In the Crown & Anchor pub car park were a Lesser Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler whilst a Sparrowhawk flew over causing some commotion amongst the hirundines that were overhead. The last thing walk of our weekend was a look along Vicars Lane in Easington this produced a single Spotted Flycatcher and a Chiffchaff whilst overhead two Meadow Pipits went south. Around Easington Gas Terminal were a Great Spotted Woodpecker seen by Max and lots of House Sparrows and a single Greenfinch in the Siberian Accentor garden. 

We left Spurn around midday and typically a Barred Warbler was trapped at The Warren just as we were approaching Hull. We decided to not turn round but instead to go to Fairburn Ings RSPB near Leeds and have a look for Willow Tits. We arrived after about 1.5hrs and the place was heaving with day trippers most of whom were not interested in birds and were accompanied by screaming children, I was worried that there was going to be too much disturbance but it proved not to be. After a little while we managed to locate one Willow Tit which showed nicely near the first dipping pond around the discovery trail, although I didn't manage to get a photo. A bit further on there were some feeders where we obtained great views of Tree Sparrows and other common garden birds. We had a quick look on the main lake where we found a Kingfisher and an Avocet

Tree Sparrow, Fairburn Ings RSPB

II arrived home at around 11:30pm after what was a pretty bad drive home with there being major delays around Huntingdon. A great trip and some great birds seen! 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

7th September 2019 - Day 2 of Spurn Migfest

The night before we went to bed at a reasonable time as we knew we had to get up early today due to the forecasted strong NW winds. Max and I arrived at the Spurn Seawatching Hide at 6am and stayed through till 11am and were lucky that we got a seat inside. Although it didn't turn out to be an absolute classic seawatch there was still plenty to keep us interested with the main highlights being: three Pomarine Skua, 25 Arctic Skua, 13 Great Skua, one Sooty Shearwater, nine Manx Shearwater, two Puffins, 24 Red-throated Diver, an Arctic Tern and a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose. A Merlin also flew over The Warren early morning causing some excitement amongst the large assembled crowd. 

1 of 3 Pomarine Skuas, Spurn (courtesy of twitter)

A large crowd assembled for the mornings seawatch 

After our swatch we again went back to the Canal Scrape hide and had a look on the wet flash here again the birds of note were a Green Sandpiper, a Dunlin and a Little Egret. We also had some amazing views of recently fledged Swallows right outside the hide, they were so tame you could virtually walk up to them. It was great to watch them and the adults periodically coming back to feed them.

Juvenile Swallow, Canal Scrape, Spurn

Juvenile Swallow, Canal Scrape, Spurn

Dunlin, Canal Scrape, Spurn

We drove back to the campsite and had a bite to eat and then headed to Kilnsea Wetlands where again we found one Curlew Sandpiper, one Wood Sandpiper and had distant views of the White-rumped Sandpiper. Also of note were a lone Pintail and good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls. We drove round to Sammy's Point afterwards and upon arrival found two Whinchat and a Wheatear in the horse paddocks as well as a female Reed Bunting and a juvenile Whitethroat hiding away in some dense scrub. Whilst out on the mudflats were 10 Redshank, 11 Dunlin, eight Knot and two Whimbrel

Wheatear, Sammy's Point, Spurn
Although the sea had really dropped off by the time we left I was still keen to go back and have another look. Max and I ventured back down to the seawatching hide and we added an additional four Manx Shearwater and a single Great Skua. With not much going on we walked halfway down the point and found three Wheatears, a Chiffchaff, a Whitethroat, three Yellow Wagtails and surprisingly a Guillemot which flew straight over our heads low and landed on the sea, presumably it had just come off The Humber? 

Feeling pretty windswept and tired we called it day with the sun going down. We headed back to the Crown & Anchor for dinner and a pint of Landlord and enroute we added a sizeable flock of Tree Sparrows but were unsure on how many there were. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

6th September 2019 - Day 1 of Spurn Migfest

First port of call today was to go straight back to Kilnsea Wetlands. Main birds of note here included the White-rumped Sandpiper (only my 2nd in the UK), a Wood Sandpiper, three Curlew Sandpiper, a 3w Caspian Gull as well as singles of Avocet, Little Ringed Plover and Black-tailed Godwit.

White-rumped Sandpier, Kilnsea Wetlands, Spurn
We left the hide as it soon started to fill up with people which led to it get more cramped so we headed off towards the Numpties we had a quick look on the Canal Scape from the hide and this produced a Little Egret, a Dunlin, a Green Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover.

Little Egret, Canal Scrape, Spurn

Green Sandpiper and Dunlin, Canal Scrape, Spurn

We then headed for the seawtaching hide where there wasn't much going on the highlight being a juvenile Black Tern which flew south. Other birds of note included two Bonxies both which flew north and four Redshank and an Oystercatcher flew south. With the sea being dead we opted to go for a long walk along the Canal Path and back round the the Numpties, the mudflats along the Canal Path held 18 Redshank, two Little Egrets and a Greenshank. Whilst Beacon Lane held just one Whitethroat and a late Swift which flew overhead South. There were also c200 Starlings feeding in one of the arable fields. We actually ended up further than intended and had another scan of Kilnsea Wetlands again picking up one of the three Curlew Sandpipers and the Wood Sandpiper. Behind us we had Beacon Ponds and a quick scan produced one Dunlin and a very nice summer plumage Grey Plover

Looking towards the Numpties/Seawatching Hide.

News came through after our walk of two Pied Flycatchers in the Crown & Anchor pub car park. We soon headed round there and we found one but it took some finding due to the high winds and the bushes blowing around all over the place. We had reasonable views if not a bit brief. 

Afterwards we headed up to Easington and walked along the track towards Sammy's Point again winds were an issue and we added a female Sparrowhawk, a Whitethroat as well as a trickle of House Martins and Swallows with the odd Sand Martin

Thursday, September 5, 2019

5th September 2019 - Arriving at Spurn Migfest

Max and I left for Spurn at 12:45, the journey was pretty smooth with no real hold ups anywhere along the way. We arrived just before dark and quickly set up the tent and with just enough light we had a quick scan of Kilnsea Wetlands. In half light we managed to find a Curlew Sandpiper, an Avocet, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover, a Redshank and a Dunlin. On our way back to the tent we had a Bat sp. fly over us, with both of us now slightly regretting we didn't bring the bat detector and also three Roe Deer were out in the arable fields.

A good start given we didn't have much daylight - the rest of the evening was spent in the Crown & Anchor pub tucking into the Timothy Taylor's Landlord, a fine pint.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

3rd September 2019 - Iford Brooks

A walk down the lane from work produced a nice surprise in the form of a Pied Flycatcher also a Spotted Flycatcher, a Blackcap and three Chiffchaffs.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

1st September 2019 - Beachy Head, Newhaven Tide Mills and Swanborough Hill

Far quieter at Beachy Head today than the previous weekend but I managed to glimpse the Wryneck in Shooters Bottom which was found earlier in the week by John and Doreen Cooper. Also in Shooters Bottom were a Grasshopper Warbler, a Whinchat, 20 each of Whitethroat, Blackcap and Willow Warbler and singles of Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat.

With Beachy Head not really producing the goods which decided to have a look at Newhaven Tide Mills here we found two Lesser Whitethroats, two Whinchats and a Sedge Warbler.

Afterwards, we decided to walk up onto the downs onto Swanborough Hill to look for the Montagu's Harrier which had been video recorded earlier in the week. Despite a lengthy walk around the area the best we could come up with were 15 or so Buzzards,  three Ravens and four Wheatears.

Friday, August 30, 2019

30th August 2019 - Goring Gap

I had been out all night surveying bats but when I got home I couldn't sleep. I had a brief and dreary look around the Gap but I probably wasn't at 100% but birds of note included a female Sparrowhawk, an Oystercatcher which flew east along the beach. As well as singles of Green Woodpecker and Kestrel.