Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Autumn migration at Spurn point

Getting back from the east coast late on saturday night after a disastrous dip with Ralph and Jason, I was really quite curious as to how long it would take for me to be back birding in east yorkshire. To be truthful, it didn't surprise me in the slightest; with a day's rest on the sunday, it was soon time to pack the gear once more and head off to the east coast. It was to Flamborough head again for a Brown flycatcher that had turned up on the sunday afternoon.

Early on Monday 6th September, I set off from Ormskirk with Mike stocker and June, in the hope that this rare flycatcher would hang around for us to see. News came through around 8am confirming that there was no sign of the flycatcher and that it had moved on somewhere else, as per usual. We later found out that the bird was present that morning but was only showing on and off for a few lucky individuals but then dissapeared around 10am. Never mind...

Brown flycatcher are generally regarded as 2 day birds, so it had most probably come in on the saturday, rested up, stuffed as much food in as possible and moved off.

We never even got to Flamborough head so we headed to check a site where an Ortolan bunting had been present for the past few days, that too appeared to have moved off in the strong winds so we headed for spurn point in the hope that we would bag something there.

Arriving around 11am, a quick peek in the hide around the canal area revealed a Golden plover that was showing ridiculously well, an opportunity not to be missed!

Throughout the day, the east-south-east winds continued to blow, forcing even more migrants to arrive at spurn. A walk around the warren and a few hours down at the point produced impressive numbers of Pied flycatcher, Redstart, Spotted flycatcher, Wheatear, Whinchat, Yellow wagtail and a skulky Garden warbler. Despite a failed attempt for yet another Barred warbler, all was not lost.

A walk along Beacon lane revealed much of the same migrants but in good numbers. The whole of East yorkshire was forecasted with extremely strong easterly winds and as you can imagine, more or less every bird had it's head down and out of the wind. However, a secluded garden down beacon lane harboured several Spotted flycatcher and a ringed Juvenile Blackbird, but despite my best efforts to get a digiscoped shot of the bird's leg, the bird flew off and out of sight.

We also managed an hours seawatching in the early afternoon, but the best we could manage were 2 Dark-phase Arctic skuas. Alex jones and Mike duckham were also at spurn the same day and we managed to catch up with them briefly looking for the Barred warbler down at the point. They had much better luck in the line of seawatching in the late afternnon passage period. resulting in 30 Arctic skuas, 3 Great skua, 1 Pomarine skua and 1 Sooty shearwater.

Several wind-blown Whinchats took shelter in the small dells and showed pretty well, enabling shots like this to be taken using my Nikon coolpix P5100.

As the day drew nearer to an end, it was time to hit the Crown and Anchor pub in Kilnsea for a pub meal and a pint of guiness. A quick 15 mintue watch in the car-park and surrounding trees revealed there to be many sheltering Spotted and Pied flycatchers plus the odd Redstart.

It wasn't until 7:30pm when all hell broke loose. After finishing our meal, a last minute look in the car-park to see if we could pick anything else up. Mike comes pelting over asking if I needed Wryneck for my british list! The answer was an abrupt yes and why and it turned out that a Wryneck had been mist-netted at the Warren and was due to be released there at 7:50pm. Racing across the car-park, past a few folk having a nice leisurely pint and jumped into the car quite literally, hurtled down to the warren, shortly followed by a juvenile Wryneck!

A truely amazing bird to see. I had dreamed of seeing a Wryneck in Britain, but today the gods redeemed themselves. Not only a brtish lifer, a fantastic yeartick too bringing my total for 2010 to 238, drawing with 2008 total. Apologies for the darkness of the picture but my camera was playing up at the time and it was getting on for 8pm.
Before we could head for home, an unconfirmed report of a Booted warbler down at Riverside hotel just past Kilnsea got the hearts racing again, but after a 20 mintue search in a small ditch where the bird had been seen briefly during the afternoon, it had obviously moved off.
Many thanks to Mike for checking his pager at the time he did and for June for all the driving.

No comments:

Post a Comment