Sunday, 29 September 2013

Super Spurn!

Today we set off at around 10:30am to get to Spurn, as we set off the weather was superb there wasn't a single cloud in the sky. When we arrived at Spurn the weather was still great accept for the wind which was howling to say the least.

As we reached Kilnsea we stopped outside the Kew Villa caravan park because we saw a lot of birders stood at the side of the road looking up into the trees. We asked some people to see what they were watching and then one of the people replied 'Yellow Browed Warbler'. So we stood around for around half an hour catching a few glimpses of the Yellow Browed Warbler also when the Warbler had gone for a while there was a Redstart in the bushes behind us. After watching these 2 great birds we headed of back down the road to Spurn.
When we arrived in the main car park we walked up to the sea watching hide, this is on the edge of a small cliff and the wind was blasting into our faces. While we were there we didn't see much accept for a few GannetsCommon Gulls and a single Fulmar also in front of the hide there was a cracking Wheatear. Afterwards we went to some hides which usually had lots of waders in front of them, as we went into the first hide we were quite surprised to see hardly anything along the scrapes but we soon picked up some waders along the edges which included Grey Plover, Curlew, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Knot and Bar Tailed Godwit. While we were watching them I noticed 2 birds flying around out on the sea, I took a closer look and then I noticed that they were Black Throated Divers, they kept coming up and then diving in to catch something after a while they started settle and land on the sea. Also a Brent Goose flew past! In the second hide there wasn't a single thing on the scrapes.

Brent Goose
After we decided to drive down to the lighthouse to see if we could see anything around that area we didn't see much accept a few Common Gulls but on the way there a Stunning Merlin flew over our car which was a fantastic surprise.
After a fantastic days birding we went home, we got 2 life ticks, Yellow Browed Warbler and Brent Goose!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Surprising Trip to Blacktoft

Today we got up at 6am and headed of to Blacktoft sands which was about an hour away. The weather was great, it was sunny and very warm.

When we arrived at Blacktoft, we were hoping to see a Spotted Crake which had just turned up there yesterday late in the evening. When we got into the first hide there wasn't a single bird to be seen until a Common Snipe dropped in and then right at the back of the lake a Water rail started to emerge from the reeds.

After a while we made our way up to the Singleton Hide, this is were the Crake had been seen, we sat down for around an hour but no luck but at one point I did think I saw it run out of the reeds then go back in after a few seconds but wasn't 100% sure.While we were waiting a flock of waders dropped in, most of them were Dunlin and Ringed Plover but then we noticed that about 5 of them were Curlew sandpipers! I was delighted to see these because it was my first sighting.

We decided to leave the hide after a while to go to another hide on the other part of the reserve, when we got there on the scrapes there was tons of birds, most of them were Lapwing but then I managed to spot some Ruff in amongst them. After that we went to the Marshland hide were we saw 2 stunning Ruddy Shelducks! They were showing very nicely too which was fantastic also on the scrapes around them there was Common snipes, Lapwing, Ruff, Ringed Plover and a Grey Heron.

Ruddy Shelducks
Afterwards we went back to the Singleton hide for the Spotted Crake. When we got to the hide it was packed but we still managed to get some seats, we asked some people to see if it has been seen and they said yes it ran across from one part of the reeds to another part of the reeds quite a few times and after about 5mins of waiting we finally got our first ever views of a stunning Spotted Crake! Although it was very far away we were absolutely thrilled also we managed a few record shots of it.
After that superb surprise we decided to leave Blacktoft to spend 30mins at North Cave before heading home. While we were at North Cave we didn't see much apart from a Common sandpiper and a huge mixed flock of Canada Geese and Greylag Geese. Watching the geese was amazing they were so loud! Also at North Cave we got great views of a Great Crested Grebe.
Great Crested Grebe
After a great day we went home with 3 new lifers, Spotted Crake, Ruddy Shelducks and Curlew Sandpipers!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Spurn Migration festival!

The alarm clock went off at 5:30am and we rolled out of bed looking forward to the UK's first Migration Festival at Spurn.

As we set off the weather wasn't very good, it was dark and it looked like it was going to rain but as we got closer to Spurn the weather became much nicer it was sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky.

On the road leading into Spurn we came across a field full of gulls which included Common, Black Headed, Little and Mediterranean Gulls. A little further down this track we saw a number of people with scopes and binoculars and realised something interesting was ahead of us. We parked by the roadside and one of the guys was kind enough to let us look through his scope at a stunning Red Backed Shrike.
Red Backed Shrike
After we had watched him for a while we carried on down the road to Westmere Farm where we picked up the tickets for the Migration festival. When we got to the main gates at Spurn we decided to get a Landrover to some hides about half way down.
When we got there lots of sand martins and swallows were flying around picking up insects from around the area. As we entered the first hide around 400 Oyster Catchers were sitting on the scrapes also millions of Knots were flying around in front of the hide after a few minutes of flying around the Knots eventually came into land, other birds around the scrapes included around 100 Grey plover, a few Golden Plover, Sandwich Terns, Turnstone, Sanderling and Ringed plovers, after every minute or so more and more birds kept dropping in, it was absolutely amazing to watch.
Grey Plover

After a while of being in the first hide we decided to go over to the second hide. Around this hide there was a group of about 10 Grey Plover sitting on some rocks with around about 5 Turnstone. As we were watching them I noticed some Turnstones making there way down to the front of the hide and then they were shortly followed by around 10 Sanderling also a little bit further out about 20 Sandwich Terns were flying around.

We decided after this to go and do a bit of sea watching so we managed to get the Landrover back to the entrance and then make our way up to the sea watching hide. When we got there on the sea there wasn't much apart from some Common Terns, After a bit my dad started talking to this man who after a bit got informed that they had trapped a Swallow in one of the nets and then he said that he would bring it up to show us and a lot of the people who were sea watching. When he brought it up a big crowd of people suddenly surrounded him. It was amazing to get so close to this superb little bird, the detail is amazing. After a while of showing everyone he let it go.
After a go at sea watching we decided to go back to see the Red backed Shrike one more time before heading home and once again he was giving good views sitting at the top of a branch, we stayed for about half an hour before leaving the absolutely superb Spurn Migration Festival!