Spurn - 12 October 2014

An eager team of birders appeared out of the dawn and after greeting each other climbed onto the Coach for the first trip of the season to Spurn Point.

The weather forecast was good, no rain but a bit breezy. However, the breeze was from the wrong direction, the southwest, but the Spurn website confirmed that this wasn't stopping a large influx of birds, both common and unusual, so all were optimistic.

No problems on the long run over the M62 and we arrived at Spurn and after a quick visit to the facilities the group split into varied groups and wandered in all directions though not before noting Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Mallard, and Mute Swan lurking in the nearby pools and the bushes nearby that were thronged with Tree Sparrows. There were also the usual suspects, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, and Carrion Crow.

Chiffchaff.JPG

A group of us chose to go back down the road and check out the Churchyard and car park but this didn't produce the usual flock of warblers and finches although there were Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers in the bushes and a Goldcrest was very obliging. There were very close views of a specimen in the open on the ground.

We moved on to the Humber shore but found the 'breezy' weather to be a full-blown gale and it was impossible to hold the binoculars steady enough to identify any of the waders! The fact that the tide was out did not assist matters. Nonetheless we battled on and found some shelter behind bushes which allowed telescopes to be set up and binoculars to be put to use to make a significant increase on our Day List. Even though it was low tide Redshank, Little Egret, Brent Goose, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, and Grey Plover, Curlew, Shelducks, and Lapwing were spotted feeding on the sand.

We felt that we then deserved a rest so retired to the hide overlooking the Beacon Ponds for lunch. This is usually a very productive area for birds but they had more sense than us, and they were hunkered down out of the wind. Our only reward was a number of Redwings that battled in.

It became apparent to us at this stage that we would have to work very hard for our birds today.

The next plan was to walk down to the lighthouse in the hope of picking up some sea birds but the wind was so strong that we were being sandblasted and we only made it as far as the Visitors Centre before giving up and we returned along the North Sea shore. Notwithstanding the weather we continued to add to our Day List spotting Stonechat, Meadow Pipits, Blackcap, and Goldfinch as they dropped in. We were also surprised to see a small flock of Swallows and a solitary Swift [editor’s note: a Pallid Swift was reported a couple of days previously. Maybe the same bird?].

We continued our walk to check out the Beacon Ponds adding 5 species of Gulls on the sea as we searched for the hide. We found it as a pile of matchwood in the long grass, presumably a victim of last winter’s storms. This area was slightly more sheltered than previously though telescopes had to be guarded carefully to prevent them from being blow over! We added Wigeon, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, and Dunlin to our list at this location. The route took us back along the sheltered lane where we noted Blue and Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Greenfinch, Brambling, Bullfinch, and other small birds.

We had a last walk down to the Humber as the tide was almost full by now and it swept in several waders including Knot, Sanderling, Turnstones, and Godwits.
The day at Spurn was almost over but as we headed for the Café we noted a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk skulking about looking for an easy supper.

We were still birding as we climbed onto the coach and added Pheasant and Stock Dove as they prodded about in the fields. Then it was off back home and for some a snooze on the Coach for some having had a good day.

CHRIS S

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