Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Start of Autumn Course

We met at the Blue Bell car park at Kilnsea, and shared cars to Kilnsea Wetlands. From the car park everyone was looking south-west at a bare patch in a large green field.  It was full of perhaps as many as 100 Curlews.  Large flocks of Golden Plovers were flying overhead, seemingly disorientated in the slightly misty conditions.  It was high tide on the Humber, so there was a massive gathering of roosting waders at the edges of the ever-decreasing water-levels on Kilnsea Wetlands.  These included: Redshank, Dunlin, Little Egrets, Cormorants and some lucky participants were able to spot a Little Stint through a telescope.  The mass of waders also contained a few Bar-tailed Godwits, one of which was particularly tawny in colour.  Many of the Dunlin were still in full breeding plumage, and there were at least 2 Greenshanks at the back of the area.  The tiny hide was already full, so we had to spot what we were able to see through the slats of the approach to the hide.  A couple of times a Ruff flew past us, but never gave good views on the ground.  

After half an hour we made a hike to the east, so were able to look down on some waders on Beacon Ponds.  Here, the highlights were some Grey Plovers in full stonking breeding plumage.  We had also seen a large flock of Golden Plovers landing in a tilled field.  Chris went to examine these while the rest of us made our way to our appointment at the new ringing laboratory.

Here the group were able to watch as Paul and Tim were ringing a female Great Tit, a male Blue Tit, some Meadow Pipits, a couple of immature Goldfinches and a few Greenfinches.  They learned about the use of mist nets and the different sized rings needed for different species.  They heard about the 1 million Meadow Pipits which breed on Iceland - some of which pass rough Spurn on their way further south.

After the ringing we went on to Canal Scrape, where we just missed seeing a Kingfisher, although Chris was luckier as he arrived a couple of minutes ahead of us.  There was a Snipe feeding away here, plus a Mute Swan and plenty of immature Moorhens.

As we left must of the class caught a glimpse of a young, dark brown Lizard attempting to bask on a wooden spar.  Maggie attempted to take some pictures, but it soon disappeared into the long grass.

Unusually for Spurn it was wind-free, which made is a very uncharacteristic Autumn day at Spurn, but a gentle start to the Autumn term.  

The afternoon was a lot trickier, but we did see a distant Spotted Flycatcher perched on telegraph wires as we waited for the ringing to start. 

The 2 visits to the ringing lab resulted in £85 being raised to the Spurn Bird Observatory Trust.

All pics (c) 2013 Chris Cox

 Immature Ringed Plover
 Roosting Waders (mainly Redshank)
Golden Plovers

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