All Photos except the Kestrels were taken by a 16-year-old
(c) 2015 Ben Coneyworth
This weekend I attended my first Spurn Migration Festival, or MigFest for short. We arrived not long after 7.30am on Saturday to find quite a lot of activity already talking place. After eventually tracking down Westmere Farm we set up our stall in quick order. As I was only promoting the calendar and the classes I filled in the surface area of our table with various recent bird guides and the BirdMike Field Guide and 'Pen.' Things were initially rather quiet as everyone was busily involved in Migration Walks, wader watches, Unimog trips & other hectic activities.
Pied FlycatcherSpotted FlycatcherMeanwhile, my nephew decided to go out for a walk in which he saw his first ever Red-backed Shrike, plus Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, an immature Willow Warbler and a Peregrine attacking waders on the estuary. He also identified by call a flying Yellow Wagtail, and then spotted a male flying to Well field. He took a few snaps of most of these plus Dunlin, Turnstones, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Little Egret on the exposed mud. He also saw his first Gannets flying over the Humber - one of which was an immature.Back in the barn there was a peak of activity around 2.30 for an hour. 4 more calendars were sold. And at least 3 people expressed interest in my tuition.
Later, I needed some fresh air, so my nephew took me to the places where he had seen all his earlier sightings. Before we could reach the first of these we decided to go and see a Kestrel being ringed. As we waited a chap was watching a speeding raptor, which I soon realised was a Hobby. It sped along briskly before suddenly began to dive-bomb something a couple of times before disappearing. We later learned it had been 'playing' with a flock of Linnets. A few minutes later it sped off in a southerly direction. The Kestrel was duly ringed and released, and we went off in the area of the Red-backed Shrike. However, there was such a crush of spectators, and as the bird wasn't visible we decided to give this a miss and tried for the flycatchers instead. Sure enough there was still a single Pied and Spotted in a large garden with an immature Willow Warbler.
We headed back to Westmere to be there in time for the swelling queues, which were predicted to be attracted by the prospect of the hog roast. Sunday was a rerun of the day before with a Peregrine replacing the Hobby. Ben had a 2 hour walk along the triangle area, and got a few more photographs in better weather conditions. Saturday was very windy, but Sunday was much calmer, and brighter. Ben had his first ever view of a Barred Warbler to himself, whilst on his return a massive group of birders had gathered to watch that same individual. Rather surprisingly he didn't manage to get a photo of this famously-elusive species. He had to make some adjustments to the camera to take effective photos of the Flycatchers in the strong sun.
Buck Roe Deer (below)
Meanwhile in the exhibition area I managed to sell another 2 calendars, and had a few possible enquiries into next term's classes. The artwork had been moved into the barn, and I managed to snatch a quiet moment to enjoy Ray Scally's fantastic prints. Hopefully, next year we may be graced by easterly winds, bringing in a wider variety of migrants, and I may be permitted to lead groups of beginners round the area. My classes will be back at Spurn almost on a weekly basis from 23rd September. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some more exciting migrants.