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Post Info TOPIC: Spurn

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Was at Spurn, staying in the Obs from Wednesday through to today. Amazing. Woodchat Shrike, Pallas's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, American Golden Plover, Firecrest, Dusky Warbler were some of the highlights. Four White-fronted Geese were nice too.

The Siberian Accentor was surreal - I'd just found a Pallas's Warbler in the Church and five of us were watching it when Lance Degnan 'whispered' over the Radio "All birders listen carefully, I've got a Siberian Accentor at the back of the old school house on Vicars lane.........." That was all we heard as we all legged it to the nearest car, and we were all watching it within 10 minutes. A real looker as well as a true Mega!!! There was a bit of a celebration in the Obs at log, and again in the Crown later.

Aside from the rarities there were good numbers of migrants too - 1000's of redwings, 100's of Fieldfares, Robins, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Goldcrests and Bramblings. Spotted a few GM birders there today as well, although not all saw me - Ms Foulkes, Dave Broome, John Rayner, Doc Brewster and maybe a couple more.

If any GM birders are going tomorrow, please follow the parking instructions on the Spurn Bird Observatory website or as issued on site - it was madness this morning and the Obs volunteers are working hard to keep the locals on side by ensuring parking doesn't upset them. Same goes for down in Kilnsea too - I believe the Police were booking people for parking on the road today (albeit for blocking access along pavements or to driveways) and the landlady of the Crown and Anchor had to ask people to move off her car park too. A field was opened for parking so might be the same again tomorrow.

If you are down there tomorrow don't forget you can join Friends of Spurn and get access to Church Field, Corner Field and Kew Villa viewing area, plus discounted accommodation at the Obs, an annual report and you'll be supporting this great charity.

No one on their death bed ever said they wished they'd spent more time at work. http://bitsnbirds.blogspot.co.uk

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Crazy day in and around Easington/ Spurn today, Not just the birds but the sheer numbers of birders

Siberian Accentor, Not a twitch as such As I'd already planned the visit, But what a start to a surreal days birding, Highlights.

Dusky Warbler
Mealy Redpoll 3
Lapland Bunting
Brambling 3
Ring.Ouzel 2
White Fronted Goose 9
Brent Dark Bellied Goose 80+
Brent Pale Bellied Goose 2
Taiga Bean Goose 1
Tundra Bean Goose 8

2 Woodcock and a Quail flushed from cover whilst following a very mobile Dusky Warbler from bush to bush.

Similarly to last week
Robin seemed to every where, literally 60/70 seen
Redwing and Fieldfare in there hundreds
Good numbers of Goldcrest also

What a day...!


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Thursday 13th October

Decided on a visit here after spending a few hours at Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire.
Lliterally driving over the Humber Bridge deciding on here or Flamborough when my Twitter sounded on my phone, "SIB ACC at Spurn" so that clinched it and I was there in an hour.

- Siberian Accentor 1 (Lifer) Vicars Lane, Easington
A fantastic little bird showing well, bit smaller than the Dunnocks around it, smart head plumage too!

Also at Vicars Lane...
- 2 Yellow-browed Warbler
- 10+ Goldcrest
- 1 Hawfinch flyover
- few Mealy Redpolls in the trees

Other birds...
- 1 Shorelark (within feet at Bluebell Cafe)
- 4 Eurasian White-fronted Geese (Easington fields)
- 5 Golden Plover (Easington fields)
- 1 Woodcock (over the car on Bridlington Road)

Locals told me the Radde's Warbler hadn't shown since earlier in the day so I left for Flamborough.
I made it but it was a bit dark to see anything when I arrived, a happy drive home though after a superb day with some long driving that was well worth the effort!

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Friday 14th of October 2016 07:33:16 PM


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Visited Spurn yesterday, pleasant weather in the main but also one or two showers, 11am until 5pm.

Somehow managed to miss all four rarities but still managed some decent birds. Had we arrived half an hour earlier, we would have comfortably seen the ringed & released Pallas's Warbler and the nearby Yellow-browed Warbler. As it was, we missed both by one minute.

After mainly birding the Triangle and whilst up at the top end, we got news of a Woodchat Shrike down near the point. A walk of one mile to the information hut, then a six mile round trip to see it. We decided against the trek. At around four o'clock, we got news of a Red flanked Bluetail in the same area. The same seven mile walk but this was different and we were up for it. However, after walking about half a mile beyond the information hut, by now trudging through sand, we realised that the one hour there with one hour back, meant walking the latter stages in near darkness, assuming we found the bird relatively quickly. There was also the possibility of the tide coming over the narrow section, so we aborted, grrrr!

We consoled ourselves with cracking views of Water Rail and Jack Snipe as the light diminished. Amongst others :-

Pink-footed Goose
Brent Goose
Grey Partridge
Water Rail
Ringed Plover
Jack Snipe (3)
Woodcock (1)
Black-tailed Godwit (1)
Robin (150 min)
Redstart (2)
Stonechat (1)
Fieldfare (c.20)
Redwing (c.300)
Blackcap (6-7)
Willow Warbler
Goldcrest (250 min)
Spotted Flycatcher (1)
Tree Sparrow
Brambling (5)

Should have gone to Great Orme!

-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Wednesday 12th of October 2016 03:15:54 PM


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Another Good Day at Spurn. Sunday 9th October 2016

The type of wind and weather fronts almost guaranteed a good weekend for migrant birds on the east coast. So, with 2 of the A team joining with 2 of the lads from York, who had been to Spurn the day before, we would almost certainly have a good day`s birding!

��� I picked up Bob K in Milnrow, in the dark, then met Mark K and Nigel S over in North Cave. The weather looked quite nice as we decided that our first stop would be in Easington, upon arrival lots of birders had assembled and were searching the trees around the church. Nice to see Sarfraz and Craggy from the Rossendale area, welcome to twitching boys! Masses of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff were soon seen and it was apparent that a large fall of birds had taken place. Behind the White Horse pub a Pallas`s Warbler gave a good, but to brief an appearance, what a cracking little bird, Bob K really likes Pallas`s Warbler`s. We moved onto the old cemetery at Easington, where a Red Breasted Flycatcher showed really well, which was more than could be said for a Firecrest that was hard to pin down in amongst the hordes of Goldcrest in the area, but we did see it.

We headed for Church field and the Crown & Anchor area to see if the Rustic Bunting was still around, alas it was not. The path around the field had to be walked very carefully to avoid standing on the Goldcrest`s that appeared to be everywhere, again good numbers of Chiffchaff and along with a few Redwing, Tree Sparrow made it a nice experience. Mark K told us the news that a possible Pallas`s Grasshopper Warbler had been seen near the potato field almost at the point. Being mugs to add another dip on that species myself and Bob K made the walk. The York boys, very wisely, birded the canal area. It was a long 1 hour walk down to the area with a few Stonechat for company. Then talk of setting up nets to catch the bird etc seemed pointless in the rough terrain. The walk back was made all the better as a few Brambling and a few thrushes were seen, along with the Rossendale boys going in the opposite direction.

Back at the car we met Martin Q who was enjoying the hectic birding at Spurn, he told us where to watch the Great Grey Shrike from, which was off Green Lane near Sammy`s Point. Myself and Bob K had never been in this area before but we soon found the shrike and enjoyed fairly close views of it as it chased the local birds around. One last try for the Pallas`s Warbler again or the Northern Bullfinch in Easington village, no joy, then news of the Olive Backed Pipit showing really well near the gas terminal. Off we went again and were soon watching this cracking little bird down to 5 metres distance. The boys took lots of photograph`s of it as it showed well all the time we were there. Sarfraz and Craggy also got to see the bird as it was a new bird for both of them, well done to both of you! Time to go home now after a really cracking day and another Good Day at Spurn!

Dave O.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Tuesday 11th of October 2016 09:19:20 PM

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Tuesday 11th of October 2016 09:19:48 PM


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Sunday 9th Oct.

An eventful day, 4h 30mins to get here, rewarded with a high number of birds around.
Robins were everywhere, never seen so many. Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were also around in most areas. Infact at one point, the scrubby area behind the White Horse pub was dripping with birds.

- 1 Olive-backed Pipit LIFER (Easington gas terminal)
- 6 Yellow-browed Warbler (2 at White Horse pub)
- 1 Brambling (White Horse Pub)
- 1 Jack Snipe (canal scrape)
- 1 Common Snipe (canal scrape)
- 1 Red-breasted Flycatcher (Sammy's)
- 1 Great Grey Shrike (Sammy's)
- 1 Ring Ouzel (flyover at Sammy's)
- 1 Wheatear (Sammy's)
- 2 Redstart (1 canal path, 1 Sammy's feeding round my feet)
- 3 Lesser Whitethroat (inc 1 Siberian race)
- 2 Willow Warbler
- 1 female Merlin
- 2 female Sparrowhawk
- 100's of Redwing but less Fieldfare
- lots of Tree Sparrow
- c50 Brent Geese
- 3 Turnstone
- 1 Golden Plover Easington field with a weird arrow shaped bill
- 1 Audi catalytic converter ...400 quid!!!

I missed a Little Bunting by a minute that had gone to ground at Sammy's.
The Rustic Bunting was seen at 8am but not since. At 5pm, a birder at Church Fields said he'd been stood there since 9am without any luck!
A quick seawatch produce Zilch!!! Steve Ecksley told me they'd had 1 Gannet in 2 hours earlier so they gave it up as a bad job.

An expensive hobby is birding!

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Tuesday 11th of October 2016 10:12:57 AM

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Tuesday 11th of October 2016 11:36:42 AM


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some photos from the recent trip to spurn with simon gough of the rustic bunting, olive-backed pipit, Lapland bunting & the showy woodcock.
a very enjoyable trip with some great birds seensmile


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Annual Spurn Trip 23/9 to 25/9/2016

Due to family commitments the date of our annual get together had to be brought forward a couple of weeks and with the lack of any rentable caravans in the area a change of accommodation also. A later start also with myself and Bob K going in the same car with Steve K joining us a little later. Our first stop as usual was to see our old friend John Ward from Leeds who counts the birds this time of year at Stone Creek, Sunk (Skull) Island. John has dedicated himself to this task and is quite a font of knowledge, not just birds either. He told us it was a little quiet and after a good natter we did our walk towards the battery with not much to report apart from a couple of Chiffchaff`s.

Next stop was the long walk down to Patrington Haven and as the tide was coming in, lots of waders began to gather. It was quite spectacular really with Knot, Black & Bar tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Curlew, Ringed Plover. Some of the birds had retained their breeding plumage and really stood out in the large flocks of waders.

We met up with Steve K and had poor views of the Yellow Browed Warbler in the Crown & Anchor car park, we had hoped we could locate the Blyth`s Reed Warbler again in Church Field! We met up with Billy J and Martin Q and went into our digs at Westmere Farm. Excellent accommodation, breakfast and friendliness and a reasonable price. We adjourned to the Crown & Anchor for our evening meal and had a few drinks and had a good catch up.

�� Saturday morning we had a nice walk up to Sammy`s Point and the highlight was a Pied Flycatcher that sat out for us all to photograph. Then after breakfast a spot of sea watching revealed lots of Gannets, Red Throated Divers and the usual gulls and a few terns. After a bit of a twitch to try to see a possible Pacific Golden Plover, that was in with the rather large flock of Golden Plover, which we could not pick up, we did Kilnsea Wetlands. Quite a few Med Gulls were present, along with a Dunlin (Curlew Sandpiper) and a Ruff (Wood Sandpiper) how did I get them wrong? Myself and Steve K had a walk across the breach (thats right breach) and managed to watch a cracking Great Skua really close into the shore. Evening meal again at the Crown & Anchor and a few more pints to celebrate my team Rochdale`s win at Charlton in the afternoon!

Sunday activities centred on the Crown & Anchor car park and Church field ringing area, still a few Swallows and House Martins in evidence also. We did manage another glimpse of the Yellow browed Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. Really a rather bird less weekend but we really enjoyed the company and as usual a good laugh. See you all next year??

Dave O.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Tuesday 11th of October 2016 06:08:01 AM


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Steve Burke and I had a day at Spurn on Saturday 8th to try and take advantage of the fantastic influx of migrants on the East Coast

Much of Steven Nelson's post below mirrors our sightings from Saturday.

We arrived in Easington around 8am to try for a Red-flanked Bluetail seen the day before. Looking in the churchyard by the White Horse pub there was no sign. We did notice excessive numbers of Goldcrests! There was clearly at least one Yellow-browed Warbler about, but we never got the clinching view of that. Of course this wasn't where the Bluetail had been seen! We relocated to Easington Cemetery, the actual one, and again masses of migrants were evident, mostly Robins and again Goldcrests. No sign of a Bluetail so we headed for Sammy's Point to see what was about. This was brilliant, crawling with birds, mostly Redwings, Blackbirds and Robins. Also of note, a fly-by Woodcock, 2 Short-eared Owls and a really showy Ring Ouzel. The Ring Ouzel was black but very scaly on the underparts and had a dark bill, but had a strong white chest band, so we struggled to age it but at least figured it was a male bird. Also a late Garden Warbler

People were drifting back to the Cemetery from Sammy's, and we went over to see if a reported Bluethroat was showing. It wasn't, but we had superb views of a Red-breasted Flycatcher. Then we headed to the Church Field in Kilnsea for the reported Rustic Bunting. This showed well in slightly farcical circumstances of people creeping around then all looking in different directions as the bird periodically dashed out of cover and perched. It flew off eventually, but clearly was still present on Sunday. The madness of Spurn was shown well by a radio message coming out while we were all in the field, saying a Short-toed Lark was flying over the Warren heading north. Within seconds somebody else said 'Alpine Swift' and to be honest, it all just seemed daft. No sign of either and lots of giddy birders. But the Rustic Bunting was very smart and clearly a good bird to see.

Moving to the canal bank, the other sort of Spurn madness was apparent, a Woodcock sat in the rocks on the Humber shore, allowing approach to within 10m. What a treat! About 50 yards to its left, a Yellow-browed Warbler fed actively on the same rocks! We had seen a Weasel at point blank range at Sammy's in similar circumstances. Another Yellow-browed showed really well in the garden of the house opposite the Crown and Anchor, with a Brambling for company.

Next up was an excursion onto the Point. We had heard of a Little Bunting seen just by the 'breach'. We missed this but were delighted to get fantastic views of a Lapland Bunting instead. This bird showed beautifully as it fed on the beach, it flew into within 5m of me at one point. We thought it was an adult female in winter plumage, showing some black marks on the throat and flanks that a 1st winter might not have. The grapevine was reporting a showy Olive-backed Pipit up at Easington again, so we headed up there to see that. This was a really nice one, with a pristine look about it, and thoroughly chubby, with a sinuous way of creeping over the ground. This was a new bird for both of us and a special one for Steve, being his 300th UK lifer

We called it a day there, and headed off to some digs before we hit Flamborough the next day. Nice to see a few folk at Spurn, I also enjoyed seeing some new places and doing a bit of birding that wasn't purely about looking for 'the' bird. It was the first proper bash we'd given Sammy's Point, we spent a good 2 hours working our way through it. On the day I managed 3 lifers, 2 Buntings and the Pipit and Steve got 2, as he had seen a Lapland before. Not quite a Warbler-fest as it had appeared in the week, but it was a top top day.


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Cracking day at Spurn today 07.50-17.50 A brisk northeasterly but dry, bright and sunny. Large numbers of Robins, Goldcrests & Chiffchaffs all over the place. Plus plenty of rarities. Total of 69 species seen.


1 Olive-backed Pipit - (lifer) - showing ridiculously closely at Easington Gas Terminal
1 Little Bunting - Sammy's Point - it eluded me earlier in the day but I gave it one last try just before I left and it showed well.
1 Red-breasted Flycatcher - Easington Cemetry - it even had some orange on its breast
1 Pallas'Warbler - Easington
1 Yellow-browed Warbler - Easington
1 Great Grey Shrike - Sammy's but very distant

1 Ring Ouzel showing well in field a Sammy's
1 Jack Snipe - Canal Scrape
2 Water Rail - Canal Scrape
1 Redstart - very tame - Sammy's
1 Whinchat
2 Wheatear
1 Spotted Flycatcher
c.50-60 Brambling - flock near Sammy's
1 Lesser Whitethroat
2 Blackcap
4 Swallow
Numerous Redwing
2 Fieldfare
c60 Dark-bellied Brent Geese
4 Guillemots
2 Gannets
c.30 Tree Sparrows
1 Sparrowhawk (f)
The usual selection of waders

Unfortunately dipped on Rustic Bunting (by about 10 mins!) and Firecrest

Other wildlife on separate thread

Also: 3 flocks of Pink-footed Geese over M62 near Goole on the way there at first light

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 9th of October 2016 11:01:41 PM


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Great day out at Spurn today, After 3/4 days of Easterly and North Easterly winds expectations were high, Similar sightings to Andys below,
3 Yellow Browed Warbler in the Crown and Anchor car park
Little Bunting on the way up to Sammys point
Ring Ouzel
Rustic Bunting in Church field
Firecrest also Church field
3 Jack Snipe on Canal Scrape, With close views down to several metres,

Impressive numbers of commoner species
40+ Robin
30+ Goldcrest
30+ Chiffchaff
100's of Redwing several seen coming in off the sea


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Visit yesterday and today 7th Oct
A complete difference to our visit on 15-17 September.

Winds off Scandinavia since Monday have filled the place with migrants.
There have been heavy falls of robins and goldcrest, but also large numbers of blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler. Also song thrush and redwing.

We didn't bother with sea watch this time, but still managed 71 sp over the two half days.

Highlights were:-
Little Bunting
Rustic Bunting
Ring Ouzel x 2
Jack Snipe x 2
Great Grey Shrike
Yellow-browed Warbler, which unlike September's visit was very obligingly photogenic.

Off to check out my photos now, and next year we will check the winds before we go!


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3 day trip staying at the Obs with Steve Burke, Simon Gough and Chris Chandler.

Sunday 25th Sept (early am) until Tuesday teatime, Monday was mostly spent at Flamborough (see thread).

104 Bird sp / 7 Mammal sp seen on the whole trip.
Lots of usuals seen, but very quiet in the rarities front. Usual areas covered including sea watching.

Highlights included...
- Yellow Browed Warbler 2 (1 in hand, 1 at Warren, more heard)
- Blackcap 1 confiding male eating berries
- Whitethroat 1
- Chiffchaff 3
- Goldcrest 3
- Richard's Pipit 1 at the Warren
- Meadow Pipit / Skylark mig thru
- Yellow Wagtail 1
- Redstart 2 (1m 1f)
- Whinchat 7
- Stonechat 2
- Wheatear 3
- Reed Bunting
- Tree Sparrow lots around
- Song Thrush
- Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
- Swallow and House Martin passage thru

Waders (19)
- Jack Snipe 1 (another possible partially hidden)
- Common Snipe 4
- Spotted Redshank 1
- Redshank
- Greenshank 2
- Golden Plover 1000+ in 1 flock alone
- Grey Plover some in summer plumage
- Ringed Plover 100's around
- Lapwing
- Oystercatcher
- Whimbrel 5
- Curlew 100's
- Bar-tailed Godwits around
- Black-tailed Godwit 1 only at Kilnsea
- Knot big numbers
- Dunlin big numbers
- Ruff
- Turnstone
- Sanderling

- Water Rail 1 feeding with Jack Snipe at dusk
- Little Egret
- Little Grebe
- Hobby 1 chasing Waders opposite the Warren
- Marsh Harrier 2 (1 Kilnsea, 1 opposite Warren)
- Sparrowhawk 1
- Kestrel
- Great Skua 1
- Gannets
- Guillemot
- Red-Throated Divers
- Manx Shearwater 1 on Humber opp Warren
- Arctic Tern juveniles
- Common Terns distant
- Sandwich Tern juveniles
- Kittiwakes
- Mediterranean Gulls at sea and Kilnsea
- Great Black-backed Gull plenty around
- plenty of usual Gulls seen too
- Brent Goose (Dark-bellied and Pale-bellied present)
- Red-crested Pochard 1 very pale female
- Pintail
- Shoveler
- Wigeon
- Teal
- Common Scoter in abundance

Incidentally on our last trip in August I stated that I saw 22 Wader species, it was actually 24 as I totally missed off Oystercatcher and 1 Green Sandpiper.
see Other Wildlife thread for Mammals seen

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Thursday 29th of September 2016 10:17:19 AM

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Thursday 29th of September 2016 11:16:01 AM

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Thursday 29th of September 2016 01:09:43 PM


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Spurn at its best. Sunday 18th September 2016 The east coast in migration time is very difficult to beat and with a nice forecast, myself and Bob K headed once more for the Spurn/ Kilnsea area. Upon arrival quite a few birders seemed to be leaving the Church Field ringing area, the reason, a Blyth`s Reed Warbler had been trapped, rung and released minutes before! It`s the same area as the Pallas`s Grasshopper Warbler had been controlled in last week, so we thought our chances of seeing the Blyth`s Reed Warbler would be slim. We joined around 20 fellow birders and waited for the bird to show itself, but apart from various movements in the rushes, we left not having seen the warbler. A fairly quiet, but nice hours sea watch didnt reveal much out of the ordinary, especially after yesterday`s epic, so we again returned to the Kew area. What happened next was a bit unusual. On the Crown & Anchor car park a birder said, I heard the Blyth`s Reed Warbler a few minutes ago and it has just shown. The bird then flew out of cover and showed fairly well to the 15 or so of us that saw it, the bird then headed back towards Church Field. Around 5 minutes later, as the throngs arrived, the bird was reported in the new observatory garden, this seemed strange, it was to turn out that this bird was indeed a Reed Warbler and not the Blyth`s Reed Warbler. The Kilnsea Wetlands were next with a cracking Wood Sandpiper and a Little Stint to watch, also a Marsh Harrier passed over. A Yellow Browed Warbler was seen near the Canal Scrape and along with a showy Jack Snipe completed a nice hour of migrants. Next news was of a Wryneck at Sammy`s Point, we had to give it a go didn`t we? On arrival the bird was not showing, but a couple of Redstart and Wheatear were nice to see. We walked the horse paddocks and a bird flew across and landed near the base of a tree, could it be the Wryneck? Five birders surrounded the tree and saw some movement, which turned out to be a beautifully marked Grasshopper Warbler. How nice to observe this real skulking bird so close up, the bird carried on feeding oblivious of our presence and we ended the day at Spurn on a high. Many thanks must go to Mark R and the Greater Manchester crew who helped us locate the Jack Snipe. I wonder who was their driver and what time did they get home? Dave O.


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Sunday 18th Sept. Most of the usual suspects. Decent birding (75 species) in pleasant weather. The only disappointment being our bad luck with the Blyth's Reed Warbler. Just missed the morning release at the new Obs and an afternoon sighting in the garden there proved to be a misidentification - ironically by someone who'd been reeling off all the key i.d. features!
2 Arctic Skuas were the highlights of a quietish sea watch with good numbers of Red-throated Divers heading south. A Kestrel coming in off the sea caused some initial excitement as it hawked, Hobby-like, for insects.
We had good views of a Yellow-browed Warbler in the scrub south of Canal Scrape among some very yellow-toned Willow Warblers, with a Jack Snipe showing very well in the usual corner of the Scrape itself. Good numbers of Lesser Whitethroat, Whinchat and Stonechat around the site and a small flock of Tree Sparrows were the best of the other passerines. A kettle of 12 Buzzards drifting west towards Sammy's Point was presumably part of a larger group of 16 seen at Beacon Lane.
Mike Ausberger and I stayed at Kilnsea Wetlands until dusk where a juvenile Wood Sandpiper, an adult Greenshank and some stonking summer plumaged Grey Plovers were part of the mix of commoner waders, wildfowl and gulls.

A worn Painted Lady among the numerous Small Tortoiseshells on the banking of the BlueBell car park and a Common Lizard at Canal Scrape were probably the highlights of the other wildlife, which featured plenty of hawker dragonflies and hover flies.

Bus pass birdin' great innit?

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RE: Skua`rd at Spurn. Sunday 4th September 2016

    A call on Saturday to one of my mates from York, Mark K, resulted in me asking him if he was going out birding on Sunday, he invited me along saying there was room. I met Mark K, Nigel S and Paz on the main street at North Cave (of Spotted Crake fame) on a mild morning in Yorkshire.

  We arrived at Spurn around 9-15am and had a mooch around until we found one of the regulars who told us that most birders had gone up to do a bit of sea watching as the conditions looked favourable. We went into the hide and enjoyed a really good sea watch, noting: - 4 Red throated Diver, 10 Manx Shearwater, 3 Pomarine Skua, 20 Arctic Skua, 2 Great Skua, 1 Long tailed Skua, along with lots of the more common birds likely to be encountered at this time of year. I think it was the first time I have ever seen all four of the more common Skua species in one day! We all enjoyed the 2.5 hour sea watch along with around 20 other birders, it was really good.

    After some food we decided to go to Kilnsea wetlands and Beacon Lane pool area. We all enjoyed a Wood Sandpiper performing really well just outside the hide, along with Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, and Ruff. A Whinchat and up to 4 Wheatear were also seen in a recently ploughed field nearby. There was a relatively slow passage of Meadow Pipits heading south with a few Swallows and 2 Swift being noted.

  The hoped for Cory`s Shearwater that had been seen heading south from Northumberland, did not quite make it as far as Spurn, which was the only slight disappointment on the day. Good day out got home around 8-30pm.

Dave Ousey.


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RE: Spurn

Regarding this Spurn trip, I wanted to just say thanks to Liam for putting us onto the Yellow-legged Gull we saw on Thursday. I am crap/lazy with juvenile gulls and he found it and pointed out a load of features. That was a UK tick so I was happy, I think Steve needed it too so we were grateful, and have pointers for next time. Then Rob found his Caspian Gull in the same flock so it was good birding all round. At least I spotted a few Mediterranean Gulls myself.

I would recommend the Observatory for anyone looking for a helpful environment to get advice and tips and benefit from the amount of knowledge residing in the area. I really enjoyed the ability to discuss sightings and learn from some very good birders. We are now all Friends of Spurn too.

For me the best birding was the wetlands and sea-watching. I've not been to Spurn at peak wader time before so it was good. It was very rewarding to see and ID some cracking Skuas on the Saturday. As the conditions changed the birds came in closer, and we ended up with a superb view of a Pomarine Skua over our heads at the Warren. I had never seen 'Pom' Skua before the weekend so that was 2 lifers and some great views of the migrant waders and passerines like Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail.


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A 3 day trip staying at the new Spurn Obs with Steve Burke and Simon Gough.
Thursday 25th (a.m.) til Saturday 27th (tea-time).

Mist covered all of Spurn, Kilnsea, the sea, etc on Thursday until approx 2pm, still warm though, then hot and sunny rest of day and all of Friday and early part of Saturday until rain clouds were building Saturday p.m.
Some of the birds we hoped for had gone on Wednesday so it was a bit quieter than we'd hoped and the good weather was not best for birding.

92 bird species seen, some seen on all 3 days, some in big numbers, some in different areas, no Lifers for me but some seen in different plumages so happy with that. Not necessarily listed in order of sighting.
Highlights included...

Gulls. (10 + 1 missed Sabine's)
- Caspian Gull 1 juv, self found at Easington fields
- Yellow-legged Gull 1 juv
- Mediterranean Gull 30+ at once (seen every day)
- Little Gull 1 passed sea watch hide
- Kittiwake 1 passed sea watch hide
- Great Black-backed Gulls
- Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- Herring Gulls
- Common Gulls
- Black-headed Gulls

Skuas. (3)
- Arctic Skua 3 (1 mobbing Terns at sea then 2 closer in, ad + juv)
- Great Skua 1 large probable juv - very dark
- Pomarine Skua 4 juv
(1 chasing Terns at sea Thursday eve, 1 at sea Friday morn being mobbed by Terns, 1 Saturday afternoon at sea, then a close up over the estuary flew right over the warren and hide Brilliant!)

- Common Terns 1200+ in one session, countless more
- Arctic Tern steady passage of juv's through
- Sandwich Terns
- Black Terns some reported flying through and I believe we could've seen these but didn't realise it, I saw some smaller darker birds but it didn't click!
- Gannets ads + juvs
- Fulmar plenty seen
- Common Scoter flocks
- Teal plenty at sea
- Great Crested Grebe 1
- Shearwater 1, originally I thought Manx but on reflection quite possibly a Sooty. 1 reported on Friday. Far out but couldn't detect white underparts properly, partially due to waves? Very fast flyer and kept losing it so could've been a Sooty.

Waders (22)
- Curlew Sandpiper 3 Kilnsea (2 on Thursday, 1 Saturday)
- Wood Sandpiper 1 Kilnsea
- Little Stint 1 Kilnsea
- Ruff 1 Kilnsea
- Whimbrel 1 flying over Kilnsea
- Curlew lots
- Black-tailed Godwits
- Bar-tailed Godwits (some in cracking summ plum)
- Golden Plover large flock
- Grey Plover
- Little Ringed Plover 2
- Ringed Plover everywhere, large numbers
- Lapwing on Easington fields
- Common Sandpiper 1 from Kilnsea screen
- Dunlin in big numbers
- Sanderlings (some in winter plumage)
- Knot plenty around
- Turnstone few knocking about
- Common Snipe incl close up at canal scrape hide
- Greenshank 10+
- Redshank
- Spotted Redshank 2

Best of the rest.
- Barred Warbler (2 present) 1 seen well but briefly Kilnsea listening dish
- Sedge Warblers
- Reed Warbler
- Willow Warbler plenty about
- Chiffchaff
- Lesser Whitethroats seen well in various locations
- Whitethroats plenty about
- Spotted Flycatcher 1
- Redstart 1 fem
- Whinchat at very least 7
- Wheatear 4
- Song Thrush 1
- Tree Pipit 1 over Kilnsea listening dish
- Meadow Pipits
- Skylark
- Yellow Wagtails
- Lots of Reed Bunting
- Corn Bunting 1 (we believe 1 of these caused a stir on Thursday)
- Linnet
- Tree Sparrow incl juvs
- Little Egrets
- Marsh Harrier 2
- Peregrine 3
- Kestrel 1
- Stock Doves
- and lots of the usuals around, also of note a Stoat was climbing up the long grass and dried pea plants at Kilnsea wetlands trying to take Reed Buntings and Whinchats, madness!

We always have a good time here, the Obs was brilliant, nice to see familiar locals and new faces, and we bumped into Jonathan Platt, and also Liam Langley. A cracking few days and nice one Steve for the driving.

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Sunday 28th of August 2016 12:33:42 PM


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Superbly smart Red-backed Shrikes. We spent at least an hour watching each one, they were mesmeric! One thing I noticed on the first bird, that is shown well in Rob's first photo, is a pink patch on the flanks. This isn't described or shown in the picture in Collins (other field guides are available) for an adult male, but I wondered if this was a bit like when a male Sparrowhawk has a very rich bright orange chest, when it is really mature and in its pomp? The other bird in pictures 3 and 5 didn't really have this flank colouring as much. Does anyone have a theory or explanation?

That first one was singing too, quite sweet really, in between terrorising the local insect life. The local guys were saying smart males sticking around like this in Spring is relatively unusual, they get plenty of juveniles in August but would be delighted to see a breeding pair. There's nothing wrong with the habitat after all.

Also the showiest Cuckoo of my limited experience. We were saying that it was jealous of the Shrike getting all the attention, hence it kept flying around before perching to sing again.


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Sunday 29th May.
A good days birding at Spurn and North Cave with Simon Gough, and nice to chat to some of the more local birders too.

Highlights included...
- Red Backed Shrike 2 stunning males
A first for me to see a male. 1 showing well from Canal Scrape (ringed), the 2nd male (unringed) was located at Beacon Lane and came over the radio whilst we were watching the 1st. We later located the 2nd male in the hedge at Rose Cottage. Both birds were in immaculate condition.

- Cuckoo 2 (more heard)
We heard Cuckoo singing around a few areas, not sure how many around the reserve but on checking my photos I'm sure we had 2, and showing well I might add, providing good photo opp's.

- Lesser Whitethroat 1, heard whilst driving up to the reserve, showed well at side of car.
- Whitethroat at least 5
- Willow Warbler 1
- Sedge Warbler 3 seen well, more heard
- Reed Warbler 1
- Yellow Wagtail 3
- Common Scoter flock c25
- Razorbill 1
- Curlew 2
- Whimbrel 5
- Little Egret 2
- Dark-bellied Brent Goose rough est c250 in just 1 flock of a few
- Sparrowhawk 1
- Tree Sparrow 3
- Reed Bunting 5 males
- Bullfinch 1 male at roadside leaving Spurn
- Skylark and Meadow Pipit ... plenty around
- Grey Partridge 1 pair


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Sadly not as much around as earlier in the week, no real passage, and little in the way of rarities. Well, none actually. Little Stint was the best bird closely followed by some stunning Yellow Wagtails. However it was still enjoyable using the time to scope through the waders in their variable plumages and re-familiarise myself with the variety displayed by the Dunlin, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits as they move from winter to breeding plumage as well as just enjoying the common species.

However, the best experience this time was staying in the new Observatory. After years and years of basic accommodation in the Warren or the old Annexe (which was still a great, if sometimes chilly, experience and I'll miss it in a way) this was 5 star. The new building is a detached house that has been extended and completely renovated by the Obs staff and volunteers. Its now modern, warm, spacious and comfortable with all the mod cons - drying / boot room, huge kitchen diner, dishwasher, 2 shower/bathrooms, free WIFI and even a 'honeymoon suite' - twin room with bed linen included. The price has gone up a bit, but so has the comfort level. So, if you've ever considered staying over but have been put off by the thought of staying in the Warren, you now have no excuses. All the info is on the Spurn Bird Observatory web page.

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It was a cracking day out and like Rob says, interesting to be looking at Spring migrants. Most notable were perhaps the Little Terns, which apparently have a small breeding presence nearby somewhere. I hadn't expected to see them, but counted 6. One clearly had a sand-eel gift in its beak. The Red-backed Shrike was class, a brilliant little bird. The local Bumblebees didn't stand a chance! Once we had seen the Shrike I definitely enjoyed the feeling that we could just bird the site without needing to run around chasing guys with walkie-talkies.

House Martins collecting mud for nests was great, I've never seen that before.

I didn't count a definite Curlew Sandpiper, I never got clinching views, so it goes down as a probable for me. The bill wasn't curved that I could see and it didn't look 'tall'. But the plumage looked right for a "faded juvenile" as Collins has it.

I was even less sure of the possible Puffin, it was miles out and so size was hard to gauge, but it did look small.

Thanks as always to Rob for the driving, I'd never get out there otherwise so I really appreciate it

-- Edited by Simon Gough on Tuesday 17th of May 2016 11:23:50 PM


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Sunday 15th May with Steve Burke and Simon Gough.

Quite frankly one of those special days with a visit to Spurn (78 bird species) and a late evening visit to Allerthorpe Common near York (another 7 different species).

The highlights...
- Red-backed Shrike 1 female showing really well near the Warren, Canal path etc
(A fantastic bird and the 1st female I've seen only ever having seen the Meols juv)
- Brent Goose (dark-bellied) 150-200
- Brent Goose (pale-bellied) a handful, if that, distant
- Shelduck
- Gadwall 1 pair (Kilnsea)
- Cormorant 3
- Puffin 1 low over the sea
- Little Tern small number over the sea
- Curlew 1
- Whimbrel 6
- Grey Plover (100's in stunning summer plumage)
- Golden Plover 1 in summer plum (distant at Kilnsea)
- Oystercatcher (lots)
- Ringed Plover (lots)
- Avocet 14 (Kilnsea)
- Common Sandpiper 2 (Kilnsea)
- Bar-tailed Godwit small group (seen from canal at high tide)
- Knot small number in red summer plumage
- Sanderling 2 near the Warren mud flats
- Turnstone 4
- Redshank
- Dunlin (few 1000's ?)
- Curlew Sandpiper 1 in with the Dunlin flock
- Little Egret 5
- Grey Heron 1
- Common Buzzard 2
- Hobby 1 came steaming over the canal path and kept going towards the Warren
- Sparrowhawk 1 (Kilnsea)
- Kestrel 1
- Cuckoo 3 (2 near Sammy's point, 1 over the car on leaving Spurn, more heard)
- Swift
- Sand Martin
- House Martin
- Swallow (the latter 2 seen collecting nest mud)
- Mistle Thrush 1
- Blackbird plenty around
- Redstart 1 female (the Hoowit gave her away)
- Whinchat 1 around canal area
- Wheatear 4 (around the Four-horned Sheep field)
- Lesser Whitethroat 1, in full song along the lane approaching the reserve
- Common Whitethroat seemingly everywhere
- Willow Warbler plenty around
- Chiffchaff plenty around
- Sedge Warbler 3 seen well, more heard
- Yellow Wagtail 2 (Kilnsea)
- Meadow Pipit plenty around (1 possibly a Richard's Pipit)
- Skykark plenty and in full voice
- House Sparrow quite a few seen
- Linnet lots around
- Bullfinch 1
- Reed Bunting plenty of males showing well
- Yellowhammer few around
- lots of usuals, Gulls, Corvids, Finches etc

The Curlew Sandpiper we all thought had features that lent themselves just right for one, and clinched it from being a juv Dunlin, and I think it was a non-breeding adult.
It was a trifle larger, slightly longer legs, appeared to have a slightly longer and more curved bill, pale grey upperparts and clean white underparts, unable to see the white rump though.

The possible Richard's Pipit came flying over from the Warren and landed in the grass along the lane, appeared a little larger and showed a look reminiscent of the one we saw at Swillington, but it soon went into long grass and was lost so we are not 100% sure.

Also of note a Grasshopper Warbler was caught and ringed but as we went to see its release, we were told it was released a few minutes earlier as it had become stressed and had lost feathers.

What a fantastic day here again, a slightly different spin with regards to the birds on offer compared to the Autumn mayhem. Between us though we had some great sightings.

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 16th of May 2016 10:48:51 


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Steve Burke has just been in touch and as a result I have to add to yesterday's sightings, the extras mainly being Steve's.

- Brambling, we did infact see 2 feeding in the stubble field
- Blackcap, Steve had 2m 1f whilst watching the Pallas's Warbler
- Chiffchaff numerous birds around, I heard some but only saw 1
- Song Thrush, I only saw 2, Steve saw a lot more around
- Tree Sparrow, Steve has confirmed there were substantial numbers flying over and I had my suspicions but I didn't hear a call from the ones I saw go over. They were silhouettes and I couldn't identify them as such so I put them down to House Sparrow.
My apologies for that, should've been more thorough!


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Spurn : Sunday 18th October with Steve Burke and Simon Gough.

Early morning, 7.30am at Sunk Island, until fading light at around 6pm.

78 species, 2 Lifers, lots of usuals, and lots of cracking supporting cast species to make it yet another special day here, and nice to see Jonathan Platt, and to bump into a couple of friends of mine, North-East birders Ron and Andy.

Of note...
- American Golden Plover 1 (Lifer)
Cracking bird, easily picked out, made up for the one I missed at Padstowe Air-field in Cornwall last year.

Golden Plover - big numbers, great aerial displays
Grey Plover 2
Ringed Plover 6
Lapwing (Green Plover)
Not bad, 5 Plovers for the day

- Pallas's Leaf Warbler 1 (Lifer)
Belting little bird, showed for split seconds on a few occasions, but every so often came to front of the trees and showed off its standout features so I managed some decent ID shots.

- Barn Owl 1 near Sunk Island, great views perched up before harassed by Magpie
- Sparrowhawk 2 also nr Sunk Island, good views of size comparison presumably M+f
- Kestrel - approx 6
- Short-eared Owl 1 showing well perched on post near canal path
- Peregrine 1 flew low over tidal flats and started tearing apart its kill
- Goldcrest everywhere, uncountable, some nearly flew into me. ???
- Whooper Swan 3 flew low over Bluebell cafe
- Mute Swan 2
- Brent Goose 7, 5 on the tidal water, 2 over
- Shelduck small group far out on tidal flats
- Wigeon 2 over sea watch hide
- Teal 2 also over the hide
- Common Scoter 1 low over the sea
- Cormorant 1 flyover that put up the masses of Golden Plover
- Gannet few out to sea
- Great Black-backed Gull 1 huge adult on the beach
- Common Gull including lots in fields on approach road
- Oystercatcher
- Curlew
- Redshank
- Knot
- Dunlin
- Turnstone
- Jack Snipe 1 in same place as only ever seen them here, scrape left of hide
- Grey Heron 1 only
- Little Egret quite a few around
- Great Grey Shrike 3 individuals, 2 along canal, 1 near Obs
(Had been seen taking Goldcrests, we saw 1 of them chomping into a small bird it just killed)
- Redwing everywhere, in the high 100's
- Fieldfare same goes
- Song Thrush 2
- Mistle Thrush few seen dotted about
- Blackbird lots around, checked for Ring Ouzel but none seen which would've given us a Turdus clean sweep
- Robin also seemingly everywhere
- Swallow 2 singles seen
- House Sparrow
- Tree Sparrow 1 on phone wire
- Snow Bunting 1 possibly male
(Belting bird in caravan park near sea front, feeding happily and at one point came within a few feet of us and didn't bat an eyelid, just carried on as though we weren't there, amazing!!!)
- Linnet 2 over
- Siskin 1 over
- Lesser Redpoll heard only couldn't locate
- Chaffinch few about
- Greenfinch 1
- Goldfinch quite a few around
- Bullfinch 1 female over
- Brambling 2 feeding in stubble field
- Reed Bunting few about
(In one view the Brambling, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Starling, Blackbird, Redwing, Goldcrest, and Great Tit all feeding together on the floor at roadside edge of stubble field)
- Skylark lots over
- Grey Wagtail 1 over
- Meadow Pipit 2
- Chiffchaff 1
- Blackcap 2 (or seen twice?)
- Wren
- Stonechat 3 including a nice male in the car park
- usuals seen also incl...Corvids, Tits, Water birds, Gulls etc
- also of note Tony Disley had a flyover Hawfinch as we were all watching for the Pallas's Warbler eyes fixed on the bushes and trees so virtually everyone missed it, it was seen a few times during the day, we missed it

A top day that you just couldn't script, sometimes you just gotta be there and the sightings unfold infront of you. Brilliant!

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 19th of October 2015 06:33:54 PM

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 19th of October 2015 06:39:07 PM

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 19th of October 2015 08:14:01 PM


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I went on the SBS trip on Saturday 17th too, great to meet Sid. Stunning Pallas's Warbler, lifer for me and another lovely Phylloscopus after the Arctic Warbler last month. A Dusky Warbler was about too apparently, wish I'd checked all the Chiffchaffs properly now. Never mind...also missed the Firecrest but no dramas as I'd seen one well the other week.

Back on Sunday with Steve and Rob and more of the same but with the bonus of a Snow Bunting that was seen first by Chris Dorney, myself and another chap, who watched in delight as it flew over the bank off the beach at Blue Bell car park, and landed 10 feet from us. It ended up in the Caravan Park and then fed voraciously in front of assembled birders. Great to meet Chris and also saw Jonathan Platt on both days.

Can't wait for the next trip now, whenever that might be...

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Monday 19th of October 2015 04:24:29 PM


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Trip to Spurn with Stockport Birding Society yesterday the 17th, similar list to Mark with the American Golden Plover being my highlight as a long time bogey bird sorted out biggrin

While watching the Pallas's Warbler in the Crown and Anchor car park a Firecrest put in an appearance. After seeing the Great Grey Shrike and Common and Jack Snipe at the canal scrape had a brief glimpse of what may have been a Little Bunting, unfortunately no one else was present to verify.

Other species of interest seen Siskin, Little Egret, Golden Plover, Stonechat, Short-eared Owl, Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone and Redwings and as Mark said Goldcrests everywhere.

A good trip in good company only spoiled by the huge traffic congestion in Parr's Wood where we left the bus at the end of a long day.


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8.30 - 3.30pm, highlights

Pallas's Leaf Warbler, very flighty and mobile up and down Beacons Lane
Olive backed Pipit
American Golden Plover
Great Grey Shrike 2 seen chasing Golcrests, Unsuccessfully
Goldcrest 100+, literally everywhere
Chiffchaff 30+, again seemed to be very widespread
Possible tristis type Chiffchaff
Stonechat 5
Wheater 3
Redwing 100's
Fieldfare 100's

As ever a great location never disappointing at this time or year


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A fairly short visit, between 11:00-14:30

Juvenile American Golden Plover still present with its European cousins in fields along the road from Easington to Kilnsea. A single Brambling along the sea wall along with dozens of Goldcrest. These were everywhere. I gave up counting at 60 and they were just the ones I could see. In amongst these, in the Crown & Anchor car park, a cracking Firecrest gave good views along with 2m and 1f Blackcap and several Chiffchaff. Over at the Canal scrape, 2 Jack Snipe out in the open along with a fair number of Song Thrush and Redwing. Redwing were streaming overhead throughout the day in fact.

Then, just as I was about to leave for the long journey home, someone reported seeing yesterday's Red-flanked Bluetail, just behind Cliffe Farm. A quick sprint down the path and there it was, sat on a fencepost! My second lifer of the day after the AGP. So transfixed was I on this beauty that I barely noticed the Barn Owl that was hunting right behind it.

Also reported here today, though, not seen by me, were a Richards Pipit, a single Yellow-browed Warbler and a Ring Ouzel. But, I was more than happy with my haul, especially given the limited time.

-- Edited by Patrick Earith on Tuesday 13th of October 2015 09:50:19 PM


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Sun 11th Oct - Kilnsea area

08.30-17.00 highlights:

1 American Golden Plover (lifer)

1 Richard's Pipit - showing well

1 Yellow-browed Warbler

3 Brambling

4 Med Gulls

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

1 Redstart

Goldcrests - lots! -  all over the place!

1 Ring Ouzel



Tree Sparrows

4 Swallow

1 Sparrowhawk

2 Chiffchaff

2 Blackcap


And 1 James Walsh !! - nice to meet you again James! - well done on finding the Palla's Warbler!


-- Edited by Steven Nelson on Sunday 11th of October 2015 10:31:54 PM


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10th & 11th October

2 American Golden Plover

1 Pallas' Warbler

1 Richards' Pipit

4 Yellow-browed Warbler

3 Firecrest

1 Ring Ouzel

1-2 Merlin

6 Mediterranean Gull

3 Greenshank

1 Spotted Redshank

1 Woodcock

c150 Goldcrest

5 Brambling

5 Fieldfare

c30 Redwing

3 Wheatear

1 Stonechat

c5 Chiffchaff

1 Willow Warbler

 1 Corn Bunting

c100 Tree Sparrow

-- Edited by James Walsh on Sunday 11th of October 2015 09:58:48 PM


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A few days staying in the Obs at Spurn, weather could have been better for birds, and sadly I had to return home today just as the easterlies started. Still the trip produced Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Little Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Richards Pipit, Barred Warbler, Ring Ouzel(s), Common Redstart, Firecrest, Marsh Harrier, Merlin, plus the more common/frequently seen species. Passage was quite good and I spent quite a bit of time 'vis-migging'. Goldfinches and Redpolls were the main movers but supporting were Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Tree Sparrows etc etc. Great place, great company. Needs your support if you visit - see my post in general discussions.

-- Edited by Craig Higson on Friday 9th of October 2015 06:53:10 PM

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Despite the unpromising weather during the preceding week we had a good trip here last Sunday (27th) All the usual suspects with the welcome addition of Holly Page. In addition to the Yellow-browed Warblers, Firecrest, Arctic Warbler, Common Redstarts and Red-breasted Flycatchers, John R spotted a Kingfisher and on our first visit to the Canal Scrape hide Karen F did an excellent job of 'digging out' an immature Ring Ouzel from the paired hawthorns at the front of the hedge. There was a nice male Pied Flycatcher there on our second visit. A great day (despite the weather biggrin) in good company.

Bus pass birdin' great innit?

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Originally posted by Dave Ousey today:

25th-29th September

Our annual trip to the Spurn Point area began at 6am Friday morning as myself and Bob K left Shaw with me driving. The all important weather forecast promised lots of sunshine and little wind, not what we were hoping for! Our first call, as ever, was at Stone Creek, Sunk Island to meet John Ward. He has been counting bird passage for many years in this area and always has a story or two to inspire us to find birds. His best find was the Mugimaki Flycatcher a few years ago at Sunk Island Battery, which has yet to be accepted. A few Meadow Pipit and Swallow were passing and the local Kingfisher was seen again. We have visited the area twice recently to see the almost resident juvenile Black Stork (now departed after a one month stay)and always enjoy the area. We walked up to Patrington Haven in lovely sunshine but the lack of birds was a bit strange. The reserve was very dry and apart from a Marsh Harrier had little to see. Next stop Easington for a search for a Yellow Browed Warbler, but the bird had passed through and had probably headed south. We had a nice chill out watching the sea from behind the gas terminal with a Sooty Shearwater and a single Great Skua for company. Gannets, Common Scoter and a few gulls also passed through. A Mediterranean Gull was found on the beach and Bob tried to get some pictures, all he got was a sore ankle for his trouble! We headed for our caravan at Sunny Beaches, Kilnsea and waited for others to arrive. A search around the hot spots revealed a Whinchat but no sign of a Yellow Browed Warbler. Chris B and Martin Q arrived as darkness fell, then not long after Steve K arrived with various pans and ingredients to make us a good meal of Chicken Paprika. Thanks Steve. A trip to the Crown & Anchor ending off the day in style. Saturday arrived in glorious sunshine with a few Wheatear, lots of pipits and Swallows heading south. A Yellow Browed Warbler was watched for 20 minutes near the Blue Bell Cafe and a few Pink Footed Geese flocks passed over Spurn. Redstart and Yellow Wagtails also seen in the Well Field. A small sea watch had a few Red Throated Divers, Gannet and a single Puffin passing south. The Harbour Porpoises and Common Seals were highly entertaining and with the sea being flat calm showed really well. We watched the high tide roost at Kilnsea Wetlands, then a Barn Owl was seen hunting. Another evening in the Crown & Anchor followed meeting lots of birders and having a good laugh. Sunday dawned with lots of mist around, maybe this was what we were waiting for? Firstly, a cracking Firecrest on Beacon Lane closely followed by a Red Breasted Flycatcher only 100 yards away. Spurn then became alive with lots of visiting birders rushing to see the RB Flycatcher, I managed to fall in a ditch, but not as bad as my last tumble at New Brighton, ouch! More Yellow Wagtails, Redstart a single Yellow Browed Warbler in the Crown & Anchor car park. A last trip out to Sammy`s Point to see a Barred Warbler was next. Upon arrival another Yellow Browed Warbler was seen in the horse paddock and a further two more near the car park. A total of 5 seen on the trip, the Barred Warbler remained, as ever, hard to find. We decided to head for home, but was it to soon? As we passed through Hull, news of an Arctic Warbler at Kilnsea was heard, shall we turn back? We did not and arrived home around 5pm, another good trip to Spurn with around 75 species being seen.
Dave Ousey


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To add to Monday's sightings...

- 2 Tree Pipit (no.96), - 1 seen and heard calling overhead, another calling but couldn't locate at Kilnsea Wetland
- Canada Geese (no.97) - small group flew over and landed in one of the KW fields

...and I wasn't going to post this but it was part of the sightings so to speak. Steve and myself were on the canal path watching the Kingfisher when we heard a bird singing in the marsh below. We both looked at each other and said 'Reed Warbler'. It wasn't full on song as you'd expect, it was a light pleasant burst. That's what we think it was anyhow!

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Wednesday 30th of September 2015 08:07:51 AM


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A Sunday and Monday overnighter at Spurn with Simon Gough, Chris Chandler, and we met up with Steve Burke who arrived on Saturday. Good to have Jonathan Platt joining up with us for a while too!
95 species of birds seen over the whole visit (83 on Sunday alone) along with 4 Mammals.

Highlights on Sunday 27th Sept.

- Yellow-browed Warbler absolute minimum of 10 seen well, more heard
(21 different ones reported)
A Lifer for me strictly speaking as I've only ever had a fleeting glimpse of a small bird trailing 2 Firecrest that was well documented as being a Yellow-browed Warbler in Penzance, Cornwall last year.
This though was more than I bargained for, expected 1, maybe 2 at a push. Cracking little birds!

- Firecrest 1 seen well, out in full view within few feet (2 reported)

- Red-breasted Flycatcher - 2 (4 reported), 1st one seen on Beacon Lane in large hedge, orange throat and top of breast on this one, moved around a lot, and then came very close up into a front garden driveway on Beacon Lane.
Another Red-breasted Flycatcher we saw opposite the hide from the Canal path with a Redstart for company. This one was pale in comparison and lacked any orange colour around the neck area.

- Arctic Warbler 1, a Lifer for me.
A sensational bird, the finding of which was mentioned by a passing birder and we were literally 2 minutes walk from the camp site where the owner had found it in his private garden nextdoor. We got there and were literally amongst the first few there and we got a good but brief view in the hedge in his driveway, the bird flew into his back garden and he invited us in in return for a donation in the Spurn Obs bucket.
The bird showed very well numerous times and eventually half of Spurn's visitors were in the garden and the camp site as the bird was alternating between the 2.

- Barred Warbler - 1 imm, not sure of exact age, in berry bush at Sammy's point.
Only my 2nd ever (1st was here last year) and it showed well as a frontal view sat half out of the bush.

- Goldcrest 3 in total around the reserve
- Redstart 2 only
- Pied Flycatcher, in same tree as a Redstart and Red-breasted Flycatcher, couldn't tell if female or autumn male
- Chiffchaff 2, more heard, 1 very yellow individual
- Willow Warbler 1
- Wren - plenty moving around through the hedges just to keep us on our toes
- Skylark - a group of 14 over, then a few singles
- Meadow Pipit - plenty about
- Yellow Wagtail - 3 (1m 2f/1w types) in ploughed field, Beacon Lane
- Grey Wagtail - 2 low over
- Pied Wagtail - a few around incl 1 possible White Wagtail candidate - unsure
- Wheatear - 2 in ploughed field on Beacon Lane
- Stonechat - 4 on fence posts near canal path
- Tree Sparrow - quite a few on feeders in Beacon Lane garden
- House Sparrow
- Reed Bunting
- Chaffinch
- Goldfinch
- Greenfinch
- Linnet
- Swallow and House Martin - plenty about
- Redwing 1 flew over calling whilst watching the Arctic Warbler

Other larger birds of note
- Brent Geese - 10 on tidal flats, 2 flying over Sammy's
- Greylag Geese - lots over into fields
- Shelduck - only 4 in total
- Mute Swan
- Wigeon - 2 eclipse m, 1 fem at Scrape Hide
- Common Teal - plenty about including some over the sea
- Little Grebe - at least 4 from Scrape Hide
- Common Scoter - not as many as we expected, between 10-15
- Red-throated Diver - 5 flying over and 1 on the sea
- Gannet - adults and juv's of various ages around
- Guillemot - 1 low over the sea
- Cormorant - 1
- Grey Heron - 1
- Little Egret - few around
- Curlew
- Golden Plover - in substantial numbers
- Grey Plover - small flock behind the Golden P's
- Ringed Plover - large flocks flying around and on flats
- Oystercatcher - 1 only
- Dunlin - lots about
- Sanderling - a small few in with the Dunlin, in winter plumage
- Knot - 1
- Common Snipe 2
- Black-tailed Godwit - 2 out on the mud flats
- Redshank - lots of them
- Peregrine - 1 over car park at Scrape hide
- Kestrel at least 6
- Sparrowhawk - 1
- Common Buzzard - 2 on haystacks near Sunken Island
- Grey Partridge - 20+ in ploughed field nr Sunken Island
- Stock Dove 1 in same area
- Collared Dove
- Jay 1 near Beacon Lane
- Kittiwake - I only saw 1
- Mediterranean Gull - 3 in total
- Common Gull - quite a few around
- Black-headed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Lesser Black-backed Gull - not many, few I saw were all adults
- Great Black-backed Gull - quite a few adults and huge juv's

Lots of other usual suspects incl...
-Mallard, Starling, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Moorhen, Pheasant and Feral Pigeon.
Some of the Feral Pigeon could've been Rock Dove but how pure they were would be the main issue to call it.

On the way back from Sammy's we approached the camp site to see a few birders on the roadside and would you believe the Arctic Warbler showed about 3 x within feet of us. I was absolutely astounded, and 2 Yellow-browed Warblers for company also was fantastic.

One other highlight on Sunday was the netting and ringing of a Yellow-browed Warbler, so I managed a close encounter with it before the ringer released it, beautiful bird!

Monday 28th September...
A lot of the same species seen today but 12 new species seen, and nice to bump into Ian Lyth.

Early morning sea watch produced...
- Velvet Scoter (no.84) - 5 in flight low over the sea fairly close in.
Thick-set black Ducks with the white wing bars well visible, making them unmistakeable, one thing of note though which I found a bit odd was the fact although they were robust birds with fairly broadish wings, the wings did in fact look a bit narrow and pointed.
- Red-throated Diver at least 11 including 1 on the water not too far out
- Gannet lots around mainly juv's
- plenty of large Gulls about

Beacon Lane...
- Redwing sat on top of a tree
- Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 (another 6 throughout the day)

Kilnsea Wetlands...
- Northern Shoveler (no.85) - 1 fem
- Wigeon - around 30 dropped in onto the pools
- Curlew 1
- Lapwing (no.86) around 40 or so
- Dunlin 2
- Golden Plover 1
- Cormorant 1
- more Skylark over
- Pink-footed Geese (no.87) 3 smallish skeins totalling approx 90

Mud Flats and rocky shore near Crown and Anchor...
- Grey Plover 1 on the rocks
- Golden Plover - large numbers
- plenty of Dunlin
- Turnstone (no.88) approx 10
- Purple Sandpiper (no.89) - 1 only with the Turnstones
(Simon mentioned could be 1 around, he walked off and I told Chris I was sure I'd just seen 1. Sorry Simon, forgot to tell you)
- Little Egrets around

Canal path and surrounds...
- Kingfisher (no.90) 1 scooting up and down over the canal basin
- Whinchat (no.91) 1 found by Steve on a fence post
- Stonechat - 3 with the Whinchat
- Siskin (no.92) 3 over, calling as they went
- Song Thrush (no.93) 3 in total
- Redstart 1 in same location as yesterday
- Red-breasted Flycatcher - 1 in same location but different bird, coloured throat area
- Jack Snipe (no.94) 1, wasn't showing yesterday, in full view today!!! Cracking!
- Barred Warbler - 1 near entrance to ringing station, eventually netted etc
- Garden Warbler (no.95) 1 trying to get out of an open part of the ringing enclosure, couldn't see the open gap
- Golden Plover - at least 1000 in ploughed field half a mile passed Kilnsea Wetland

Almost forgot a Red Grouse flew over the car en-route over Woodhead Pass but not counted on site list as it was in a different county!!!

Absolutely brilliant 2 days in good company!

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Tuesday 29th of September 2015 11:43:30 PM


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Originally posted by Dave Ousey:

Sunday 13th September 2015

A team met at 6am in Newhey for another east coast bash, with Bob at the wheel on a nice morning. With Steve K still needing to see the Black Stork in the Sunk Island area, we made it our first stop (it was not to be the last visit either) Still quite a few birders gathered around the usual general area that the stork has been feeding in. After about an hour of a no show by the stork, we headed off to Stone Creek. We met John (finder of the Mugimaki Flycatcher) and had a good chat about the general passage of the birds this autumn, lots of Swallows and Meadow Pipits going over, also a showy Kingfisher, very nice. Next stop a sea watch at Spurn with Arctic and Long Tailed Skua`s being seen along with Sandwich Tern, Gannet, but in general fairly quiet. A Yellow Browed Warbler had been found in the churchyard at Kilnsea, so we went for a good look at this lovely eastern species. The bird duly obliged and gave fleeting glimpses in lovely sunshine. The amount of Redstart`s in the area was quite high with around 15 or so in the area, the usual gathering`s of Whinchat`s was also enjoyable. A walk around the Canal triangle did not reveal much more but was nice. Steve K was now starting to sweat on the Black Stork that had been reported again in the Sunk Island area. We got to the area and guess what? yes, it had gone again! Two birders from the south of England had been waiting in the area for a while, also without any joy. Another trip to Stone Creek was made and as we all strolled around, I checked the news and the stork had just re-appeared! We all bundled into the car and headed off at pace to the spot (again) 3rd time lucky? As we got to the stork`s favoured drain, about 15 camera`s were clicking away, it was there. Steve K had a lifer and was duly congratulated. Lots of pictures were taken and after about 15 minutes the Black Stork took off, right over our heads, disappearing into a drain near the farm. Great views of a long staying bird, present almost a month now. We headed home via the back road towards Paull and Bob K gave us a cultural lesson about the area, thanks Bob! Reaching home by 6pm the day was enjoyed by all.
Dave Ousey.


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Late report for Friday, with Pete Kinsella

Arrived around 08:00 and went looking for the juvenile Black Stork at Sunk Island, but, it was well hidden, so we carried on to the Crown & Anchor, Kilnsea. On arrival, we immediately saw a couple of Pied Flycatchers in the car park itself. We then walked down the path past Kew Villas, along the beach, noting a selection of waders, Dunlin, Redshank, Golden Plover, Curlew, Ringed Plover as well as a Little Egret. Inland, despite the breezy conditions, we picked up our first Whinchat. We then walked back along the road and hedges up to the Bluebell from the Crown & Anchor, where we picked up the first of our day total of 10 Redstarts along with another Pied Flycatcher, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat .We then did a bit of sea watching, which wasn't very productive, gleaning only a Little Tern and a couple of Wheatear on the beach. Reports of a Yellow-browed Warbler in the willows bordering the gas terminal at Easington cut short our seawatch. After around 20 minutes, we both, finally got good views of the warbler along with a couple of Willow Warblers and a (rare for the area) Treecreeper. We then chose to go back to Kilnsea Wetlands, to look for the reported 2nd winter Caspian Gull, where we picked up a couple of Greenshank and a Knot, but no gulls whatsoever. We walked on to Beacon ponds and added Green Sandpiper, 5 Yellow Wagtails and, in a single hedge, 4 more Redstart. On hearing the Black Stork had been seen again, we dashed back up to Sunk Island and finally connected with it, where it was sat out in the open in the field above its favoured drain allowing great views. Throughout the day, we had been checking every field in the locality that held large gulls, in the hope of picking up the Caspian. In so doing, we had amassed a total of 15 Meditteranean Gulls; one field holding 10 alone. This finally paid off on a journey back to Kilnsea from Sunk Island, where we found the Caspian feeding with Lesser Black-backs. A handsome bird indeed! Our final trip of the day was to Sammy's Point where a Barred Warbler had been reported. Never easy to see, we didn't hold out much hope so late in the day, but, remarkably, given the breezy conditions, the bird showed really well soon after our arrival along with a supporting cast of Whitethroat and yet another Redstart.

A cracking day in good company!


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Yep got it thanks very much


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There's a very good map on the Spurn Bird Observatory website which has Sammy's Point on it; but it's basically west of Beacon Pools along the bank of the River Humber.


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Going to Spurn tomorrow have a map and cant see where sammys is could you tell me where it is please


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Full day at Spurn (08.30-16.40) today to see if the predicted easterly winds would bring the birds in. Weather was bright, sunny and warm but with a strong SE/E wind. The morning started off quiet but birds started to arrive in numbers during the afternoon with particularly large numbers of Pied Flycatchers and Willow Warblers filling the coastal bushes. A fantastic spectacle especially at Sammy's Point. It's usually Sept/Oct when I go to Spurn. Never been in August before so a few different species still around than I usually see.

1 Caspian Gull - 1st year bird - Kilnsea Wetlands - lifer!
1 Spoonbill - flew off the Humber and landed at Kilnsea Wetlands
Pied Flycatchers - lots! Initially 4 seen in morning but large arrival in the afternoon. Estimate of 40+ at Sammy's Point - some bushes containing 3 birds!
3 Spotted Flycatchers - Including 1 bird on same branch as a Pied Flycatcher at Sammy's!
7 Redstarts - All seen at Sammy's including 3 cracking males.
20+ Whinchats - good numbers around Triangle and Sammy's
4 Wheatear
1 Tree Pipit - flew off the Humber and showed well in a tree for a minute or so - Sammy's
Willow Warblers - A few in the morning then large numbers in the afternoon. Estimate of 60+ at Sammy's - Multiple birds in many bushes and some flying onto the salt marsh plucking up the courage to cross the Humber.
4 Yellow Wagtails - 1 adult male and 3 juvs - Triangle area
1 Lesser Whitethroat
3 Common Whitethroat
3 Arctic Skuas
4 Little Gull - offshore
Kittiwakes - a few passing offshore
50+ Common Scoter
8 Little Egret
6 Whimbrel
3 Common Sandpiper - 1 Kilnsea Wetlands and 2 together on Humber
Bar Tailed Godwits - many still in summer plumage
Knot - some in summer plumage
Golden Plover - some in summer plumage
Grey Plover - some in summer plumage
4 Swift - never seen these at Spurn before due to time of year!
2 Sand Martin
Sandwich Terns - Wetlands and offshore
Common Terns over peninsular and offshore
2 Fulmars
Gannets - numerous some crossing the peninsular from the Humber

Total - 66 species


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Late post for yesterday A day spent over at Spurn, highlights.

White-rumped Sandpiper
Knot some still in summer plumage
Grey Plover again in stunning summer plumage
Little Tern 20+
Possible Great Skua light conditions prevented a positive ID
Marsh Harrier 3

There had been a larg fall of Willow Warbler the previous day with 100+ being ringed
Consequently lots of Willow Warbler still about

A hour sea watching produced
Manx Shearwater 10 heading south
Arctic Skua 4
Gannet 12 South

No sign of the Black Stork


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Three days at the Obs. Very quiet with hardly any passage. Best bird was the Black Brant in with the Brent flock. Plenty Dunlin, Grey Plover, Avocet, Little Tern and Marsh Harrier were about the best of the rest, although typically 2 spotted flycatchers and a Golden Oriole have been seen tonight!

No one on their death bed ever said they wished they'd spent more time at work. http://bitsnbirds.blogspot.co.uk

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Around Kilnsea and Beacon Pools 11-2. Highlights :
Amazing sight of 700 Dark Bellied Brent Geese around the pools, with at least one Black Brant amongst them. Flying just above head at times. 2 Red Throated Diver
Possible Skua sp heading South
Grey Plover
Whooper Swan
20 Bar Tailed Godwit
Peregrine Falcon
100's of Golden Plover and Lapwing
30 Ringed Plover
Little Grebe
Little Egret

Also Bank Vole

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Tuesday 17th of February 2015 09:04:59 PM


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Got back in about 2 and a half though :) Just fell unlucky on Thurs, plus I did have to go pick my mate up who lives near Southport, so not just the straightforward trip directly to Spurn biggrin I should have done what you did and make a few days of it smile


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Doc Brewster wrote:

Yeah, I thought the same when I read your post, sorry we didn't bump into each other. It was a wee bit hectic though wasn't it?! So much about and we only had from about 10am-4.30pm to see it all smile We set off at 5am, so getting there at 10am was terrible, but so was the traffic!! Great fun though, hope to see you for a chat & more great birds next time Craig smile

5 Hours, that's horrendous. Took us 2 1/2 on weds and that included a stop for a sausage sandwich.

No one on their death bed ever said they wished they'd spent more time at work. http://bitsnbirds.blogspot.co.uk

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Yeah, I thought the same when I read your post, sorry we didn't bump into each other. It was a wee bit hectic though wasn't it?! So much about and we only had from about 10am-4.30pm to see it all smile We set off at 5am, so getting there at 10am was terrible, but so was the traffic!! Great fun though, hope to see you for a chat & more great birds next time Craig smile


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Somehow contrived to miss you (and the other Manchester Birders) Paul. Shame as it would have been nice o catch up.

No one on their death bed ever said they wished they'd spent more time at work. http://bitsnbirds.blogspot.co.uk

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Had a trip to Spurn arranged for Thursday with a mate so it was a bonus when the Isabelline Shrike turned up & when there had been a bit of a fall. Pretty much the same mix of birds as Craig mentions, and also missed the same ones too hmm

Arriving pretty early after an early satrt but heavy traffic around Manchester, Leeds and through Hull (furious) included the Isabelline Shrike, 2 Rough-legged Buzzards at least 3 times, a Hoopoe, Yellow-browed Warbler, Great Grey Shrikes, 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Woodlarks, 2 Bramblings, several Common Redstarts, innumerable Goldcrests, including many hopping about on lawns and coming up from alomost under out feet, Redwings everywhere and a Fieldfare (my first of both of those species this autumn.

A cracking day rounded off with fish & chips and also nice to see & chat to Simon Warford, Simon Johnson, Dave Hughston & John Barber smile

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