If it’s October it has to be Spurn and this year was no exception to the rule. However with a strong warm southerly wind blowing in from the continent our expectations were somewhat reduced; nevertheless we all set off in good spirits. Once we were off the major roads and on to the minor roads leading towards Spurn, there were several sightings of Pheasant feeding in the fields and the coach had to slow and almost stop to allow a covey of Grey Partridge numbering 10 – 12 to scurry for cover giving good views all round.

As usual on arriving at Spurn the group split up into several smaller parties, each going in different directions. We set off around the Triangle, anticlockwise, searching the hedgerows and bushes for early arrivals, but initially only managed to log a Wren and a small group of Reed Buntings. No winter thrushes yet! However the hide overlooking the scrape by the Canal Zone proved to be more productive. Even though the water level was down considerably on last year, it was more than enough for the Snipe probing the muddy edges and the bobbing Jack Snipe. Walking along the Canal Zone we were rewarded with excellent views of two Fieldfares sitting out on the bush tops, their apricot breasts seeming to glow in the bright October sunshine. Then the first Redwing of the day flew in and teased us by popping in and out of the leaf cover giving fleeting rather than good views. Nearby a Brambling called and was finally found.


It was then on to the Humber Estuary a couple of hours before high tide was due. And what an enjoyable hour and a half we spent watching all the activity. There were many Redshank, Grey Plover, Curlew, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper (right) feeding in the inter-tidal zone, with Turnstones close in on the seaweed covered rocks and small pools. A Purple Sandpiper was observed on the concrete blocks near the Crown and Anchor. The Brent Geese were beginning to arrive and it was great to see them flying in from their breeding grounds in the Arctic, skein after skein, honking noisily. Once they had landed on the water they reformed into larger family groups seemingly checking that they were all present. The car park at the Crown and Anchor gave us Tree Sparrows, 10 Goldfinches and a couple of Dunnocks.

Sea watching proved more difficult as the winds were quite strong and a lot of the birds well out to sea giving distant views. Nevertheless Gannet, Common Scoter, Kittiwake, Arctic Skua and Guillemot were seen with Common, Black-headed, Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gulls being closer to shore.


Those heading out to the Point using the hopper bus for one leg of the journey, were well rewarded as Black Redstart, Shore Lark and Short-eared Owl were spotted. Members who walked along Beacon Lane and on to the lagoons at Easington found Little Egret, Wigeon, Teal, a pair of Ringed Plovers and two Pink-footed Geese. A snoozing Scaup was in the pool between the Bluebell and the shore.

There were a few late summer visitors still around, delayed by the strong winds. One Swallow was seen during the day and a female Pied Flycatcher (left) showed well in the churchyard in the late afternoon. There was also a sighting of a possible Ring Ouzel.

Our visits to Spurn usually turn up something special, but today unfortunately that was not the case. However what was seen, was seen well, and it was generally agreed that it was another enjoyable days birding. Our total of birds seen was 73.

Note from website administrator - Liz M took a number of excellent photographs during the trip, a couple of which are shown here. Watch out for a superb view of two Common Starlings in winter plumage in a forthcoming feature. Thanks again Liz.


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