COACH TRIP TO SPURN - 12 OCTOBER 2008

An almost full coach left the Guild headed for Spurn again this year. You never know quite what to expect on this trip as it is completely dependent on weather and winds to bring the birds in. Two weeks before, the wind was blowing from the east and had brought lots of Yellow-browed Warblers and other goodies, but unfortunately they were now winging their way to warmer climes. A pity, as they would have had a beautiful, warmer than summer day here on Spurn on the 12th.

Tee-shirts were the order of the day, fleeces and rain coats were left abandoned in the coach; it was glorious just to be out by the sea on such a day and we picked up a surprising 77 species between us as well.

As was expected, Blackcaps were on the berries in the pub car park, with Willow Warbler, Chiff-chaff, Goldcrest and Tree Sparrow in the area also. As the tide was out and not due to come in until afternoon, a few of us took the bus down to the lighthouse on the point, the aim being to walk the three and a half miles back, stopping at the hides on the way. At the point we had lots of Stonechats, Brent Geese on the sea, whilst Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and Little Egret were nice sightings on the shore. It is extraordinary that Little Egrets are now commonly seen this far north.

Those who chose to walk the triangle and the area north of the Bluebell Café, picked up Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Snipe, Wheatear, Kingfisher, Rock Pipit, a Whinchat and even a Green Sandpiper; whilst skeins of Pinkfoot Geese headed south overhead.

Sea watching was quiet, a few Gannets and Cormorants flew past, whilst Steve and I had a good view of a Red-throated Diver flying south not far from the shore. Unexpectedly, lots of Swallows were flying around catching insects with one House Martin amongst them, feeding up for their long journey down to Africa. I was in South Africa at the end of October a couple of years ago when hundreds of Swallows arrived, so dead tired that they were almost falling off the fences with exhaustion.

On the Humber estuary side there were lots of Shelducks and Mallard, but apart from these, ducks were scarce and only one Pochard was seen with a Mute Swan on the pond adjacent to the car park. When the tide came in bringing the waders closer, all the usual Oystercatcher, Redshank, Knot, Dunlin and Golden Plover were plentiful, whilst Turnstone turned over the seaweed just feet away on the sand.

A last treat just before getting back on the coach was our first Redwings of the year, feeding on the hedgerow berries and an enormous flock of Goldfinches on the seed heads in the same field – certainly a charm.

Bird of the day for some was the Whinchat, a very scarce bird nowadays. Mine was the Roe deer seen on the walk back from the point: what an unlikely place for Roe deer. Everyone had a different favourite bird, but all had a very pleasant day out, and at the end of the day, 77 was a very respectable number of species.
TRISH

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