Monday, 8 October 2012

Avian Mexican Wave

Yesterday was the Autumnal meet of the Yorkshire Birdforum Group at Spurn.  When the Hull contingent arrived at about 7.45 most of the West & North Yorkshire delegates were already in place Seawatching on the 'cliff' at Kilnsea.  They were spotting Gannets, Red-throated Divers and a few Manx Shearwaters, plus hundreds of Little Gulls.  It was obvious that there were going to be very few land-based birds.  Highlights of these at this site were a female Merlin flying past the Blue Bell, a Heron which came in to land on Borrow Pits, and a few birds migrating South.

High tide was at 10.13, so an hour before then we headed down the point towards Chalk Bank Hide.  Some selfish fisherman had abandoned their cars in the wrong positions, unnecessarily blocking the parking area.  The Hull birders (& guest) were just about able to park here, but the others had to find spaces near Wire Dimp and walk back.  They spent an inordinate time looking at a Kestrel perched on the Heligoland trap in the hope it would transmute into a Merlin.

It was rather slow from the hide - the land had changed, and at first the bird were behind a bank.  It was a fairly low high tide, so the waders weren't driven really close to us.  However, some mean, large gulls took off at one point from the middle of the flock of Knot, so they took off and treated us to some amazing balletic displays of Avian Mexican Waves.

A Pulsating Flock of Knot
 Now the Wave Begins
 The Wave Breaks & Separates
 How Many Birds in this Picture?
 More Colour Changes
 Transformation from Dark to Light
 Grey Plover
We went on to the Point, were there were just a few migrants in the bushes.  Goldcrests were calling from some of the wild privets, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were scoffing the Elderberries, and a Redwing was briefly glimpsed.  At the green beacon we saw another Merlin and more than 300 Pink-footed Geese flew south in 3 separate phalanxes.  

The final venue was Sammy's Point were the highlights were a Rabbit, which I was able to transform into a Golden Plover, and a Stock Dove a mile away among a Woodpigeon flock. 

Pink-footed Geese
 Gannets Entering the Humber

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