Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Millions of Migrants!!

Arriving back from mist-netting from Kane's on Saturday afternoon, I was somewhat frustrated to not be able to get a lift over to the east coast for the Sunday.. Looking at RBA when I had calmed down, it was clear that there were already some good birds at Spurn, but looking at the winds and conditions, I knew that there was going to be collossal fall of migrants overnight and I was not wrong!

When Mike Stocker sent me a text that evening saying that he was going over and if I wanted a lift, you can imagine the rest! Packed my gear and hit the sack for an early start on the Sunday morning. Picked up at 4am and on the east coast for 7am at first light!!!

The first thing that I have got to make clear at this point, is that this day has to be the best visible migration experience I have ever had and that is saying something.. The amount of times I have been to Spurn over the years {probably over 100 visits} I have never had a 'fall'.. Until Sunday morning..

With Mike's idea to head straight for Sammy's Point near Spurn, we were knackered by the time we got to the car-park. The road down to Sammy's point, takes about 5 minutes to drive from entrance to car-park, however there were so many birds in every available habitat that it took is half an hour to get to the shore..

I shall now give a summary of the birds we encountered at each site around Spurn

*Sammy's Point*
2 White-Fronted Geese {in off the sea}
Sparrowhawk {in off thesea}
30 Skylark
15 Swallow
5 Rock pipit
100+ Meadow pipit
10+ Pied wagtail
30+ Robin
15+ Dunnock
5+ Redstart
3 Wheatear
100+ Song thrush
700+ Redwing
50+ Fieldfare
20+ Blackbird
10 Blackcap
90+ Goldcrest
30+ Tree Sparrow
40+ Chaffinch
100+ Brambling
50+ Siskin
5 Lesser Redpoll
30+ Linnet
The next best thing was a call from June, to say that a guy had found a Palla's warbler further down from where we were standing.. We shot down there to find that the bird had been lost to view and hadn't been seen for the last 10 minutes. Well I wasn't having that and knowing that there was a yeartick some 100 metres from me.. Folk split up to find it and more people arrived through the news being put out. 30 minutes later, I was stood next to Mike and 2 other guys, a bird called and straight away we all knew, that that was the palla's.. Next minute it called again and flew straight towards me and for the next 20 minutes, we all enjoyed fantastic views of this gorgeous eastern warbler. Definetly a bird that I wasn't expecting to see this year.. Messing about with my Nikon Coolpix P5100 camera, {not designed for hand-held pictures} I snapped off 12 shots with the hope that the bird would be in the shot..
1st shot..
2nd shot..
3rd shot
This selecton of shots is just from 1 photo and realising that the bird was in view.. I was extremely chuffed with that and we moved off elsewhere.. What a stonker!!!

A quick stop to look for a Little Bunting just outside Kilnsea proved difficult and there was no sign of the bird since early morning..

*Kilnsea/Beacon Lane and ponds/Canal Scrape*
1 Great-Grey Shrike
1 Lapland Bunting
2 Jack snipe
5 Ring ouzel
100+ Goldcrest
300+ Redwing
100+ Fieldfare
100+ Song thrush
30+ Blackbird
2 Jack snipe showed extremely well infront of the canal scrape hide.. I witnessed their characteristic 'bobbing up and down feeding action' for the first time.
Getting on for early afternoon now so we headed for Spurn point seeing as though their hadn't been anything mildly interesting there all day, which was strange considering the amount of birds that were around..
*Spurn point*

1 Male Hen Harrier
1 Short-eared Owl
500+ Meadow pipit
15+ Brambling
50+ Goldcrest
50+ Robin
Overall, that day we must have seen in excess of 2,000 birds of a wide variety of species. I mean, seeing Chiffchaffs, Redstarts, Siskins in large numbers creeping around on rocks right next to the sea, hundreds maybe thousands of Redwings in every available hawthorn bush feeding on the berries, Fieldfares, Continental Blackbirds, Ring ouzels mixed in with them too.. Several decent birds like Lapland bunting, Great Grey shrike, Palla's warbler, Hen harrier, Short-eared owl; knowing they were migrants and had literally, come in off the sea from some far off place.. Goldcrests, Robins, Dunnocks and Meadow pipits in massive numbers - the greatest I have ever seen!
All I have to say is that I want to keep on writing abut this exceptional fall of migrants but this is a long enough blog post as it is! A huge thankyou is in order to Mike, June and Pete..
What an absolutely fantastic days birding and one that I shall never forget! Just 1 yeartick - Palla's warbler bringing me to 252 for the year..
Cheers for now...

1 comment:

  1. Cracking day that, blog's looking smart too. Check out mine for less pics more info about Rossall at weekend... MEGA. Catch you soon mate.