Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Spurn Area....Saturday 12th October 2013.

With the forecast looking good for a visit to the coast and the good omen of the 12th October 1988 sticking well in my memory,Chris and myself headed for Spurn.This particular date was special,as,as an up and coming young birder i had walked from Marshchapel to Donna Nook on the Linc's coast in similar fall conditions,with thousands of winter thrushes and hundreds of Crests and found a Yellow-browed Warbler in a little wood at Marshchapel,a Richard's Pipit on fields between Horseshoe Point and Grainthorpe Haven and Red-breasted Fly and Dusky Warbler at Pye's Hall,the Dusky being my first proper rare that i had found.And also on the same day a Red-flanked Bluetail had been trapped at Crook Bank at Theddlethorpe,a very rare bird in those days,a great day!.So it was with thoughts of this in mind we headed with anticipation towards our destination for the day.We arrived at Windswept Spurn,parked at the Warren gate and quickly got the layers on.We started proceedings by looking on the sea,but it soon became apparent it was going to be hard work in the poor visibility,but fine compensation was had as a Juv. Long-tailed Skua  was seen flying along the breakers on the beach before heading further out to sea and a lone Woodcock flew in off.A message came over the radio that the boys at the warren had just caught a 'Familiaris' Northern Treecreeper and they were going to show it.Adam soon appeared with this stunning little bird,what a stonking snowball,looking distinctly paler than our race,a good start to the day and a big thanks to Adam for showing it.We went back to the car and dumped the scopes and firstly visited the Canal Scrape hide were we timed it just right and saw the Great-grey Shrike reported from earlier,it showed fairly well before disappearing again and 1 of 4 'Scandi' Great-spotted Woodpeckers seen during the day was watched feeding around the bushes at the back of the scrape.We walked down towards the Bluebell seeing mixed flocks of Redwing,Song Thrush,Blackbirds and 2 Ring Ouzel and Brambling,Lesser and Mealie Redpoll arriving in off the sea and falling out of the sky.We kept walking in between the frequent drizzle and didn't mind getting wet as it just kept us looking as birds were everywhere.The next niceitie was a bird which is pretty scarce to be fair locally,a cracking Long-eared Owl watched roosting at the back of the Crown car park a nice addition to the days sightings and next another cracker in the form of a superb Firecrest was watched feeding along the hedge opposite the Crown car park,giving some lovely views.We kept going and walked the Canal seeing a late Greenshank on the Humberside with flocks of Gannets wheeling around over the Humber,when Chris heard a 'Tick' call as i turned round to see a Hawfinch flying overhead and this was followed about ten minutes later by another Great-grey Shrike showing closely in flight.It was brilliant to see these two birds in such a short space of time and this was followed by more flocks of Redwings,Brambling and a small flock of 5 Mealie Redpoll which showed fantastically at close range as they rested out of the weather.We visited the Canal scrape hide for the second time to shelter from another downpour and enjoyed views of 2 Jack Snipe,another Great-grey Shrike or the bird from first thing?,a Mealie Redpoll fed closely on some thistle heads and overhead a juv. Marsh Harrier,juv. Arctic Tern and 2 Little Gull(Ad and 1st cal.yr.)passed overhead.Two male Blackcap fed in the bushes at the back of the scrapes and more Redwings,Blackbirds and some dark mantled 'Eastern' Song Thrushes arrived to bathe and feed around the scrape.The rain subsided and we walked back around to the Crown and Sunnycliffe farm area,the LEO was still huddled in his or her Hawthorn,at least 15 Chiffie  and 50+ Goldcrest fed in the bushes and trees in the area and a fem/imm Black Redstart which we had glimpsed earlier,showed brilliantly on the beach near the Crown.No real rares were seen today,but what a cracking days birding was had and seeing a fall in progress always is an exhilarating experience for experienced birders and beginners alike...what a day.
Fem/imm Black Redstart.


Fem/imm. Black Redstart.

Fem/imm. Black Redstart.

Believe it or not this is a Long-eared Owl.

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