Sunday, 17 May 2009

Yorkshire Bird Forum Spurn Meet

Grey Plover
Ringed Plover
Brent Goose
Roe Deer

We met in the Blue Bell car park for an 8am start. Jim had already put in 2 hours birding by this time and had notched up several species which we didn’t go on to see later, including: Barn Owl (M18 junction), Sparrowhawk and Reed Warbler. In the car park while we were waiting for James and Mike to arrive we had a Common Sandpiper along the shore of the new water area (sorry, don’t know its name, if it’s got one); whilst on the beach we had great views of Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit and Dunlin, as they touched down briefly. We walked along the ‘cliff-top’ to the Warren, and saw Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and a Cuckoo in the Canal area. We hung around the Sea watching hide for about 30 mins where John identified a Gannet heading north & we all saw a flock of approx 24 Common Scoter moving south. We heard a Corn Bunting behind the Warren buildings but failed to see it. Heading back to the Canal area we had good views of Brent Geese and a pair of Roe Deer – one noticeably a ruddier colour than the other. Along the canal zone we heard a Garden Warbler, which stubbornly refused to show itself, but a Sedge Warbler was more obliging; as were a pair of sparring Lesser Whitethroats. The Crown & Anchor car park failed to shine, but a blackcap sang from the cover of nearby Kew villa. From the Blue Bell we shared cars to Chalk Bank to connect with the high tide, which wasn’t very high! We had to split into 2 groups to fit in both hides. Both groups managed to hear a grasshopper warbler, which sang fitfully somewhere between the hides. Despite the low high tide (if you see what I mean) we all saw a stonking breeding-plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit with: several Grey Plover, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling (in breeding, non-breeding & something inbetween plumage). In addition, the group in the smaller hide had views of Knot showing aspects of their summer dress. From Chalk Bank we headed to Spurn Bite where some of the group partook of the monster fry-ups, whilst the rest of us had a look round the parade ground, which was very quiet – although the Brown-tail moth caterpillars seemed to be everywhere, and Mat had a Sandwich Tern fly over. When everyone was refreshed we returned to the Blue Bell & walked to Beacon Ponds. From here we had excellent views of a solitary Grey Plover, a scattering of Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, a couple of Oystercatchers & at least 20 Little Terns, which were flushed by a dog walker. Some of these little characters gave excellent views as they flew directly over the hide. A Skylark gave momentary excitement, as it headed over the water – passerines were few & far between here! Returning to the Blue Bell, we said goodbye to Mat, who headed off to North Cave Wetlands to try to connect with a Temmincks Stint – after hearing the reported Icterine Warbler in Easington cemetery was probably not one after all! The rest of us made our way to Sammy’s Point where we encountered a traffic jam caused by James & Mike who claimed they’d seen a ringtail Hen Harrier – yeah, right! We piled on to the Humber Bank to try & catch sight of it and got right royally drenched for our pains. Jim left for Holmpton at this point, however the rest of us persevered and after the rain the birds came out including 4 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail (Paul), a female Whinchat (John), and the first of what a few minutes later became 5 Cuckoos – all visible at the same time! One of whom gave extremely close views as it flew right past us. However, what gave the afternoon a great buzz after our drenching was provided by Mike & Mark who refound the Hen Harrier (of course, Mike & James had seen one!) The Harrier gave excellent views as it seemed to quarter every field between Sammy’s Point, Kilnsea and Easington before finally heading along the Humber Bank to Welwick. From here most of us set off homewards, but James, Mike & Mark planned to stop off at Swinemoor to try & connect with another Temminck’s Stint, which they did see.

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