Monday, 25 July 2011

Birdforum July Meet

Yesterday 5 hardy Birdforum souls met at Spurn for a day with waders in their breeding plamge, and anything else which happened to be about. When I arrived at c7.45 James & Mark were already ensconsced on the crumbling Kilnsea cliff scoping the sea. Keith & Rob soon turned up having made the long trek from the badlands of West Yorkshire!

We walked to Spurn's Seawatching hide passing Yellow Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Skylarks in the Long-horned cattle fields. The seawatching hut was pretty full, but there was just room for our party in half of the hut. There was a strong swell and for the first hour or so scanning the sea was like watching paint dry, even Barry Spence gave up through sheer boredom. Eventually the light improved, the wind seemed to die down, and the crashing waves had less of an impact. There were many Gannets out at sea and occasional glimpses of distant Manx Shearwaters, but the undoubted highlight came when James spotted a Storm Petrel speedily flying north very close to the shore. It took me ages to find it, and when I did I couldn't see either the white rump or the white under the wings - it looked like a very small dark wader! We remained a little longer, and were just about to move when Steve Exley spotted 2 distant Velvet Scoters heading north - again the views weren't brilliant.

We moved off to Canal Scrape were we photographed Swallows & House Martins, before we realised it was nearly time for high tide, so we shared cars to Chalk Bank. There were plenty of waders to see in remnants of their summer colours, including Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Turnstone and Sanderlings, as well as a single Greenshank, some Redshank, Whimbrel and Curlews. James studies the roosting Herring & Lesser-Black backed Gulls & found an immature gull, which had several characteristics of a Yellow-legged Gull. As we were driving away it was given out over the radio as that species.

After lunch at the Blue Bell cafe we walked down Beacon Lane to the Lagoons and added Mute Swan, Little Egrets, Curlew Sandpipers and had good views of Little & Sandwich Terns. When we got back to the Bluebell it was nearly 4pm, and everyone headed off home after a satisfying day's birding when we saw over 70 species!

Swallow Bar-tailed Godwits

Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew & Whimbrel
House Martin

Wall Brown [male]

Solitary Sand Wasp Ammophila sabulosa?

Small Skipper

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