Saturday, 8 October 2016

Eastern Promise..........

A long overdue trip was loosely planned a few weeks ago, dates were set but final destination was to be decided, the favoured place was Spurn in East Yorkshire with any Cornish valley the next choice depending on what the weather was predicted to do. As it was the weather pointed towards the north east coast and my first visit to Spurn, staying in the newly refurbished Obs. We set out around 2.30am Tuesday 4th October, we being, pretty much lifelong birding friend Stephen Message and myself.
Around 7.50am after skirting the Humber for a while we arrived at the Warren, one of the trapping areas at Spurn. A short walk along the point brought us to the breach that has washed away the access road to the point itself, here were plenty of waders and a few Robins flitting around, small flocks of TREE SPARROWS headed south, with plenty of pipits and thrushes for company. Without major excitement but with plenty of promise we headed back with the intention of dropping stuff off in the Obs, we were delayed by the arrival of lots of locals at the ringing station where a Blythi  type LESSER WHITETHROAT was being shown. At the Obs the garden held loads of Thrushes and 2-3 YELLOW BROWED WARBLERS, the local pub garden of the Crown and Anchor just about out did the Obs with 4 Yellow Broweds, we added another at the Church and ended up with at least 10 for the day. Bags dropped we got out for a longer stint in the field. Thrushes continued to drop out of the sky these included 1 FIELDFARE and loads of SONG THRUSH and REDWING, We added a new bird to the Obs garden list when Stephen picked up a RING OUZEL as it descended out of the bright blue sky, one of 6 seen during the day. BRAMBLINGS were also arriving in lesser numbers although these numbers grew over the 3 day visit.Along Beacon Lane a strange Pipit called reminiscent of Red Throated but could not be relocated and a bird flushed by a dog walker appeared to disappear until Stephen flushed it, it called and immediately this Bunting was obviously something more interesting with a few brief views for confirmation we had just found a LITTLE BUNTING.. nice within just 2 hours of arriving! The day continued to produce some nice birds a RED BREASTED FLYCATCHER played hide and seek in the pub garden  until it gave some nice but brief  views a HAWFINCH whizzed over as we waited for the RB FLY. Later on a couple of miles away we saw ROSE COLOURED STARLING in Holmpton a few PINK FOOTED GEESE were heading down the coast. A surprise bird caught Stephens eye as a LONG TAILED SKUA headed out of the Humber to the sea. The variety was good and expectations high. As the day wore on news broke of a real gem of a bird about 90 minutes away, a decision had to be made.........
Blythi type Lesser Whitethroat

Roe Deer just for something different

Yellow Browed Warbler in Pub garden

Ok seems like a no brainer to anyone wanting to see good birds and new species but we're passed that stage after years of chasing other peoples birds so that was it, Spurn was where we were going to look for and hopefully find our own birds like the Little Bunting yesterday. So it was, a drive to Canal Scrape a look in the hide and great views of JACK SNIPE in the bag. Next was a search of the bushes to the south, a WHEATEAR flew up from the field and I noticed a bunting very close grovelling very close to the entrance to the field, after a couple seconds the bird showed again and LITTLE BUNTING no.2 was in the bag, this also made honours even as Stephen had found yesterdays bird! Next Stephen got reasonable flight views of a Pipit that which looked interesting, it became more interesting when it called like a TREE/OLIVE BACKED? unfortunately we think it disappeared over the sea wall and remained unidentified. A quick look at the sea and a chat with a local birder talking about the still present tempter to the north, suddenly that little voice in our heads said "lifer still there... 90 minutes.........." Away we went!!!

After an extremely windy Colin McRae style drive and almost exactly 90 minutes later we were at Bempton Cliffs RSPB, staring into a small copse which held the treasure. A short wait and the EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER  showed not well for me, so I was after better views, unfortunately we got distracted by the news of a Black Browed Albatross which had gone south before we arrived apparently seen heading back north, a dilemma again so 20 minutes was spent staring out to sea waiting for it's appearance, it never did.. so back to the Warbler and finally some fantastic views of this Mega bird, just the 4th for the country 3 of which have been on the east coast Mainland. After all the excitement a visit to Flamborough seemed like a bit of an anti climax as yesterdays birds had moved on and the wind made viewing tricky, we left with adding REDSTART to the list and a couple more YBW's. Food and the Crown and Anchor beckoned.
Little Bunting find...

Lots of shadow removal!!

Wow.. just stunning  EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER

As Above


Day 3, we walked from the Obs, a YBW called again in the pub garden and after trawling through loads of crests and Chiffchaffs we finally found a FIRECREST just passed the pub, a SHORT EARED OWL flew over head, the first of three for the day. We added RING OUZEL at Beacon lane and a couple flocks of BARNACLE GEESE flew south, meanwhile BRAMBLING and ROBINS were everywhere. At Canal Scrape 5 JACK SNIPE and 3 DUNLIN gave great views and more surprisingly a PURPLE SANDPIPER dropped out of the sky and started swimming amongst the WIGEON!!! eventually it saw sense and flew to the safety of the near bank. We spent the whole day re-doing the circuit to try to find something different which almost certainly lurking somewhere waiting to be found. Just as we were ready to leave a Rustic Bunting was found in an area only accessible to Friends of Spurn we stepped a few feet inside but decided as the bird had flown and a 4 hour drive ahead we'd head back and get our stuff for the journey home. There was one last stop at Sammy's Point where one of my favourite birds showed well as they generally do once tracked down GREAT GREY SHRIKE, great end to a memorable introduction to Spurn what a fantastic place, we were lucky we caught the winds right and as I write so more great birds are being reported shame we couldn't stay longer...
Purple Sand - Canal Scrape

Loving Jack Snipe :-)

Spot Fly near Obs

Great Grey finale


Helma said...

I've never heard of a Crown Warbler but it is a beautiful bird to see. Your other photos are also very nice weather.

Mike Attwood said...

I'm full of jealousy Alan. I've spent week upon week looking for something to photograph and you seem to have found it all up north.

Linda said...

Your photos are gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

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