Friday, 3 September 2010

Birding at Spurn Point > 28th-30th August

Autumn migration is enough to get any birders blood rushing, especially us twitchers. So when I finally had time to sit down with Mr M Bridge and Bridge senior, I only had one thing to say and that was Spurn point! A quick phonecall and we were booked into the Ivy B+B as usual for 2 nights and off we went, early on saturday morning.

First stop was North Cave Wetlands for a bacon buttie and a brew, but the best bird of all came in the form of a Hobby which flew over the car, complete with a recently caught Swallow. Moving off from here and within 3 hours or so we were at Spurn and the fun could begin.
Over the past few days, there had been 3 Barred Warblers, Wryneck and a few other goodies in and around Spurn, so I was hoping to see at least one of these, yes...well..

I spent the day with my dad and grandad stood at several locations grilling for these rarities..

- An hour and a half stood at Kew waiting for a Barred warbler
- An hour stood scanning the 'Canal hedge' for a Barred warbler
- Several hours checking the scrub at the point but to no avail
- An hour scanning the sea for a Bonxie or a shearwater with no avail

Our first day at Spurn, was as usual, diabolical! The day was drawing to an end so we headed off in the hope that something would drop-in overnight and stick around until the morning for us too actually see! Booked into the B+B and the only thing left to do was....
Next morning, it was up at 6am and off for a seawatch off Withersea. Best here was 6 Arctic skuas and Common scoter. A gorgeous cooked breakfast and we were all set for another full day at Spurn.. The morning started off the same as yesterday with common migrants seen such as Redstart, Pied flycatcher, Lesser whitethroat, Common whitethroat, Willow warbler and lots of Yellow wagtails buzzing about..
It wasn't until lunchtime when I spoke to a couple of guys to see whether they had seen anything! They replied: ''Yeah, there's a Barred warbler showing well by Rose cottage near Crown and Anchor'' The next thing I remember was hurling my coffee and buttie, informing my dad and grandad where it was and the words - ''See ya'' sprang to mind! On arrival, 10 birders
with bins up, looking into a small hedge some 15ft away, a bird flitted in the hedge and my bins were up like a shot and I managed to catch a 30 second glimpse of my first Barred warbler! The bird showed well for the next hour and a half in which I stayed with the bird to enjoy it, whilst the other 2 bridges went off for a walk down to Beacon ponds..

Having never seen a Barred warbler before, I was rather chuffed to find that I had digiscoped a rather terrific record shot of it! I had waited 11 years to see one of these birds, not forgetting the numerous twitches, dips and hours of standing staring at hedges, the wait had finally paid off! My dad and grandad soon turned up and great views were had by both.

Note: This Juvenile was the one I digiscoped with my Nikon Coolpix P5100. This bird can be identified by the heavy, well-set bill and you can just pick out the undertail barring starting to come through. If you look closely, the pale edges to the primaries are just visible. What a stonker! It took me just under 2 hours to get this shot and well worth the wait too!!

There was also a Common Crane up near Hornsea Mere at Bewholme hall and after one failed attempt, we tried again on our last day.. A British tick for me and my 237th species for 2010!

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