Coach Trip to Spurn - 15th October 2017

The first trip of a new season and the members of The Birdwatching Group gathered for a 7.30am start with good weather promised and reminding each other what the weather was like last year! Pouring rain!

Being an inveterate birder I started the day list as soon as I was on the coach and as we made the long journey I noted Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Mute Swan, and House Sparrow when we stopped at the Service Station. Then Black-headed Gull, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Collard Dove, Starling. Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kestrel, Rook, and Pheasant. 14 species and I was still on the Coach!

Starlings.JPG

We had planned to go straight to Spurn but after consulting the bird sightings on a whizzy phone we decided to make a slight deviation to the village of Easington to twitch for the prize of a Rose-coloured Starling. We parked in the centre of the village to find other birders with binoculars trained on the church tower and wow! There were hundreds of Starlings on the tower and in the adjoining trees. It was reminiscent of the famous Hitchcock film. But no matter how much we gazed and viewed the site from every angle we couldn't see a bird that was different to the rest. We then wandered around the village and gave it a thorough examination. We met several other birders who explained that they had seen our target bird and that it was just around the corner. We went around several corners but the bird remained elusive.

Notwithstanding this we added to our bird list with a small flock of Goldfinches, Brambling, Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail, a pair of Herring Gulls perched on a gantry in the Gas terminal. As we returned to the coach we could see the rather gaudy shape of a Ring-necked Parakeet. From the coach as we moved on to Spurn we added a Great Black-backed Gull to our list.

We arrived at the Spurn site a bit later than originally planned and the coach parked in the usual place on Easington Road.

Most of the group headed for the toilets but quickly moved on to the sea to find a small flock of Twite pecking about in the rough ground adjacent to the Sandy Beaches Caravan Site.

The Coach Group then split up to explore the varying habitats of the Spurn Reserve.

The first habitat for me, Easington Road, is low trees and dense bushes. It was very quiet and despite searching all of the inlets the only bird noted was a Redwing. We made our way to the car park of the Crown and Anchor pub to see if we could find the reported Arctic Warbler. There was a large group of birders there all with telescopes trained into the trees but there was no movement and no birds at all.

Whinchat.JPG

On to the second habitat, the Canal Path and the view over the Humber. This was the opposite of the Road in that there were a lot of waders on the water’s edge and we quickly increased our day list. Little Egret, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Shelduck, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, and a flight of Brent Geese. There was only a handful of our Coach load in the group that I was with by now as we continued to the next habitat, the Seawatch Hide. There was not much about, it was a bit misty, but on the sea we did add Wigeon, Gannet, and Cormorant and then a ‘dark coloured bird’ was spotted flying in from the sea towards us and much to my surprise it turned out to be a Short Eared Owl! We got a close fly past. The Ranger at the hide told us that there was a Yellow-Browed Warbler in bushes adjacent to the hide and that it had showed every half hour or so. Nothing for it then but wait for half an hour! We were eventually rewarded when the bird popped out. An unsatisfactory viewing but good enough for our day list.

The last habitat is the fields and pool along Spurn Road. This area was almost bare of birds due to the construction of the new Visitors Centre and Car Park but we did add Mallards on the pool, a Stonechat, a Reed Bunting, and a very obliging Whinchat which sat on the fence in the sunshine in which by now was a rather warm sunny day.

We had now completed the circuit of the reserve and still had 45 minutes to spare so back down the Easington Road to the pub car park to see if the Warbler would oblige us with a showing. Still a crowd in the car park but this time they were all very animated and showing us where to look for our target bird. Sure enough we were rewarded with clear views of an Arctic Warbler.

A good day as we set off home into the sunset!

Not everyone sees all of the birds that are ticked off in the record book but 64 species were noted by the group as a whole.

CHRIS S

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