Thursday, 11 September 2014

Spurn Migration Festival 2014

On the 5th of September me and my Dad at around 10am set of for the Spurn Migration Festival. The drive was around 1hr 30 minutes and at around half past eleven we arrived at the B&B in Patrington. The mig fest was from the 5th to the 7th of September.

Day 1
As soon as we found our room we dropped our bags of and went straight to Spurn but firstly we decided to have a look in Kilnsea Wetlands as we heard there was a few Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers somewhere on the wetlands. When we had reached the hide there was no sign of the Stints or Curlew Sand but there was some Med Gulls among the Black Headed Gulls. After quite a while of waiting we didn't feel to confident that we were going to see them but thankfully my Dad spotted 2 of the Little Stints to the far left of the hide and we decided that they would be better viewed from the gate as you came into the wetlands so we went over there and had cracking views of these fantastic little waders! First lifer of the trip!

Little Stint
After that brilliant start to the trip we headed of to the Crown and Anchor pub area to meet up with Rob Stokes who had later seen a Wryneck down by the rocks near the pub, we tried to re-find it but sadly we had no luck. We then had a good walk up to the Warren which turned out to be fantastic. When we were walking up to the Warren Rob spotted a very nice Spotted Flycatcher on a small dead bush. While we were watching this bird I saw a bird fly on to a branch just below the Spotted Fly and it was a cracking Pied Fly which also showed very well.
Spotted Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher
A little bit further up the road we spotted our first Whinchat of the trip.

We then reached the Canal Scrape hide where we saw a Redshank and 4 Common Snipe. When we were walking out of the Canal Scrape area a bird flew straight in front of us, I got a good look at the bird and shouted Wryneck! It then flew into a bush where it was a little elusive but what a great bird to see, I was really pleased to finally see a Wryneck as it is a bird I have always wanted to see.

Near the Warren there was a small pool where we saw Reed and Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff and a Whitethroat. Meadow Pipits were in massive numbers, everywhere you looked you could see one. At the Warren we didn't see much so we went back to the Crown and Anchor area to look for the Wryneck. We saw some Birders behind Cliff Farm so we went to have a look and just on the rocks only a couple of feet away from the path there was a Wryneck! This one showed much better than the other one, it was incredibly close!

In the garden of Cliff Farm there was a Redstart and a Pied Flycatcher.
Day 2
Today we started of at Sammys Point in Easington as there is tons of bushes for migrants. There wasn't to much around other than a few Chiffchaffs but suddenly I then spotted a distant Skua flying over the Humber, Rob then confirmed that it was a dark phase Arctic Skua! The third lifer of the trip!
After that we went to Kilnsea Wetlands in hope of finding the Curlew Sandpiper. When we arrived we were straight on the Little Stints again and a few minutes later Rob spotted the cracking moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper!
Curlew Sandpiper
We then moved on a little further to Beacon Ponds were we spotted Pintail, Wigeon and a Wheatear plus I spotted a late Swift flying over.
We then headed to Cliff Farm to see the Barred Warbler. We only had to wait around 5 minutes before this awesome warbler was giving great views around the trees and bushes at Cliff Farm.

Barred Warbler
After we heard that some ringing was going on nearby so we went to have a look and we saw Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and Meadow Pipit being ringed! It was very nice to see them in the hand. We then met up with Mike Buckley and after we went into the Crown and Anchor to have a drink and a chat. A little while after we said goodbye to Mike as he had to go. nice to meet you Mike.

Meadow Pipit

Spotted Flycatcher
After we had a look in the Canal Scrape hide where we had fantastic views of Redshank and Yellow Wagtail.

Yellow Wagtail
Later in the day we had a walk to the point but we didn't get to far as we didn't want to miss the hog roast which was on at 6pm but we did get the chance to scan through a big flock of Waders where we spotted 3 Little Stints and a couple of Sanderling in amongst hundreds of Dunlin. A little while later a Peregrine flew over and lifted all the Waders which was an amazing sight. We also spotted Whinchat, Wheatear and a few Gannets.
On that night we went to see Mike Dilgers talk in Westmere Farm which was great and the hog roast was also very nice.  
Day 3
Today we started by having a little look out to sea but we didn't see much other than a few Meadow Pipits coming in off the sea. After that we watched a Tree Sparrow and a Chiffchaff being rung. We then had a walk down to Cliff Farm where we spotted tons of birds. We spotted a couple of Lesser Whitethroats, loads of Whinchats, Reed Buntings, a Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers.

Whinchat and Reed Bunting

Lesser Whitethroat
Further on down the path my Dad spotted a couple of Curlew Sandpipers on the Humber and then next to Cliff Farm we saw 3 more Curlew Sandpipers.

Curlew Sandpiper
We then went to have a look for the Barred Warbler and while we were looking we had nice views of a possible Siberian Lesser Whitethroat. The Barred Warbler also showed pretty well.
Barred Warbler
After we heard there was news of a Wryneck at the Caravan park. We spent about half an hour looking but we had no luck. Later on we had a drink and a bun in the Blue Bell Café. After that we went back to the cars and said goodbye to Rob as it was a long drive for him. It was really nice to meet you Rob. About 30 minutes later we were told that the Wryneck at the Caravan park was showing well so we rushed down there and as soon as we got there we were enjoying brilliant views of this super bird.

By now it was just about time to go home but we had one last check in Kilnsea Wetlands for the Little Stints and they were showing well, a really superb bird. This time there was 3 of them. As we were about to get in the car to go home I spotted a big bird of prey fly from behind the car park, I got my bins on it to confirm it was a Hen Harrier! What a great way to end the trip on, it was constantly being mobbed by Meadow Pipits and Corvids

Little Stints

Hen Harrier
After a superb few days birding it was time to leave Spurn. It was nice to meet some great people and it was fantastic to see some top birds.  


  1. Wow what a great write and awesome photo's Ellis , cracking weekend and fantastic meeting you & your dad

  2. Great account and some lovely photos mate.
    Superb weekend made all the more memorable for meeting Rob and Mike.
    Fantastic time.

  3. Simply superb, great account & cracking pics :)

  4. What a brilliant blog post, all those amazing birds in one post. From Findlay

  5. Great blog and cracking pics mate!