COACH TRIP TO SPURN – 17 OCTOBER 2010

Spurn was restored to its regular location as our October field trip in 2010, having been rested last year in favour of Saltholme. It did not disappoint, producing one of the best days that we have had at this migration hotspot, and although everyone couldn’t see all the birds on show, most people were well satisfied with the selection that they managed to find.

Things started well when, having got off the coach near the church, we learnt that a Red-breasted Flycatcher had been seen in the trees by the churchyard. It looked like it might have eluded us, as it couldn’t be found over the next 20 – 30 minutes, but news soon came through that it had been captured in a mist net in Kew Villa garden, next to the church. Having been processed by the ringers, it was brought to the gate to be shown to an admiring public, before being released again in the churchyard. Fortunately, for those squeamish about ‘ticking’ a bird in the hand, it settled in the area between the church and the pub and gave excellent views to those who were prepared to give it some time.

As is usual on this trip, the group split into many smaller groups, ranging from the Point, to Beacon Lane and Easington Lagoons, and over to Sammy’s Point, though most of the effort was probably concentrated in the area between the Warren/Observatory, the Bluebell and the Crown & Anchor at Kilnsea.

It was here that some members had fantastic views of a Rough-legged Buzzard low overhead, (just one of four birds recorded by the observatory on the day) and most people seemed to manage to see at least one of these raptors, fresh from their crossing of the North Sea having left their breeding grounds in Scandinavia. The hide overlooking the scrape by the Canal Zone also provided some good birds, with a bobbing Jack Snipe probably the pick of the bunch, as it can be so difficult to get really good views of this cryptic species. It was run close by a Waxwing which came down to drink at the water’s edge before conveniently sitting up on the surrounding bushes. It was also nice to see Chiffchaffs, Robins and Meadow Pipits so well, as they fed on the short grass in front of the hide, while Redwings and Fieldfares shared the berries with the Waxwing, and Snipe probed the muddy edges. Elsewhere in the triangle, a Little Grebe was in the Canal and a Mealy Redpoll frequented the bushes near Southfield Farm, while Ring Ouzel was in the area behind the church and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (not a common bird at Spurn) flew down towards the Warren.

Seawatching was also productive, with a number of Red-throated and one Black-throated Divers, a scattering of Gannets, and Wigeon, Eider & Common Scoter all passing offshore along with a selection of the commoner gulls. Surprisingly, the scrape between the Bluebell and the shore held an Egyptian Goose.

There was the usual good selection of waders on the Humber with Redshank, Turnstone, Knot, Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpiper and Dunlin feeding close in to the shore while Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Greenshank fed further out. The Humber shore was also the place to see Little Egret, Shelduck and Brent Geese.

Those who ventured up to the lagoons were rewarded with sightings of Snow Bunting, while others who took the bus to the Point saw ‘Northern’ Bullfinch, a larger race of Bullfinch which breeds in Northern Europe and migrates south as winter approaches.
There were plenty of other species in evidence, too many to detail in this report, but enough to ensure that there is a pretty good chance that Spurn will feature high in the list when the programme of field outings is created for next year.
BRIAN

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