Sunday, 13 September 2015

Wonderful Woodchat!

This morning I went through my usual rota of checking if anything unusual had been spotted in my local area and it came to my surprise that a Woodchat Shrike had been spotted at Nosterfield! This was quite unexpected as I would usually think of a Woodchat turning up at the coast plus brilliant news was that Nosterfield was only about half an hour away! As far as I knew we weren't doing anything this afternoon so as you expected we spent this afternoon looking for the Woodchat.

Upon arrival the bird was on show straight away which was brilliant news! For nearly all the time it stayed within a little patch of broken branches, thistle and bushes apart from one time it flew up onto a fence post. It was fairly distant but thankfully we had brought the scope for once! It was much better looking at it from the scope. This Woodchat was a Juvenile which aren't quite as nice as the adults but it was still quite a striking bird. Through the scope you could see whenever it flew a couple of big white wing bars which stood out very clearly and made it very distinctive. This is my 2nd Shrike in a week (Red Backed at Spurn) and my 3rd this year! Here is a few record shots of the bird, they are pretty awful but it was pretty distant!

Woodchat Shrike

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Spurn Migfest 2015!!

Before the weekend of the 5th and 6th I was really looking forward to attending the Spurn Migration Festival. I look forward to it every year as it can always produce some goods. This year at the migfest I was doing an event called Young Birder of the Year where myself and 2 other young birders were taking part (Findlay Wilde and Evie Miller). This was taking place on the Saturday morning at around 9:30am. On Saturday we set of at about 7am for our 3rd Migration festival!!

Before we arrived at Spurn we had a good bit of time to spare so we used that time to try our luck and search for the Sunk Island Black Stork. Good news was that news came out of it still present when we were just 10mins away!! Thankfully we got to see this cracking bird even though it was right at the back of a ditch, some people let us look through their scopes where we got great views. The Black Stork is Definitly one I have always wanted to see, I was really pleased to have seen it plus I have found out that it was ringed in France this year and that another one of its siblings is also in the UK! A great bit of info!!

Black Stork
Once we arrived it wasn't long before we started Young Birder of the Year but before it was great to catch up with Findlay and Evie. The Young Birder of the Year was part of 5 different stages which included Sea Watching, Lab, Bushes, Estuary and Vis Mig. All of these stages were very enjoyable and it was great fun to be taking part. On the Sea Watching stage I even managed to see a cracking Sooty Shearwater which was a first for me! I think the one I found hardest was the Lab test as this was on bird call id and feather id and I wasn't to good on that but still it was good fun!
After everyone had completed their stages we had to wait half an hour to get our results so in that half an hour me and Findlay went off to find the Red Backed Shrike in corner field and as soon as we arrived the little beauty was already on show! across the field sitting of a fence giving great views! Unfortunately we couldn't stay long so we then quickly rushed back up to the Warren to get our results. In some bushes next to the Warren a Pied Flycatcher gave some very nice views!

Red Backed Shrike
When we arrived at the Warren a nice buffet had been prepared for us which we all seemed to enjoy. After we had finished all of us got ready for the results unfortunately though I didn't win but I wasn't to bothered as I was pleased just to take part and have fun in the competition. Findlay won the competition, Well Done! I hope they do this again next year as I really did enjoy it plus thank you Nick Whitehouse and the Friends of Spurn for organising the event.
Afterwards me, Fin and Evie went to go and have another look at the Red Backed Shrike where it showed in more or less the same place but we had very nice scope views. We all then moved down the way of the Crown and Anchor where we saw a very showy Spotted Flycatcher plus a Pied Fly was also on show but it was very flighty. The Pied Fly at the Warren showed a lot better and gave nice photo opportunities.
Spotted Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher
After watching some Knot, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Dunlin on the Humber we then moved to Westmere Farm in search of a Barred Warbler which had just been found. We waited and waited but with nothing accept Willow Warblers and huge amounts of Swallows we then had a walk to Kilnsea Wetlands where me and Fin managed to find some Med Gulls which were a nice surprise. Other than a couple of Dunlin and Little Egret there wasn't much else. We then decided to go and do a bit of Sea Watching where we had 4 Sooty Shearwaters, Arctic Skuas, Gannet, a couple of Auk sp, Red Throated Diver and a few Terns. After almost an hour of sea watching we headed back of to Westmere Farm to get ready for our Young Birder of the Year prizes and of course the Hog Roast!
That evening we all got out Hog Roast and then all got presented with our prizes, I got a copy of Martin Garners Challenge series Winter, a Trophy, Membership for Spurn and a 2 night stay at the Warren! After that we had a talk from Yoav Perlman who gave a very interesting talk about migration of birds in Israel, some amounts of birds they got were huge! After we said our goodbyes to Fin and his Mum Heather as they were leaving that evening. After me and my Dad headed of to the Crown and Anchor to put an end to a top day!
Day 2  
After sleeping in the car we decided to start the day off with a seawatch. After a good amount of species going past yesterday we had high hopes for today but it turns out we hardly saw a thing! The sea was very quiet with only just a couple of Gannets going past. We waited a little longer but then we had news of a Barred Warbler opposite Bluebell Café so as you could imagine that was our next destination. Thankfully the bird was showing upon arrival making its way through the backs of bushes but after a while it flew a little further down the road and showed exceptionally well! Right at the front of the bushes! It showed like that for a good 5-10min before flying across to the Caravan site and out of view. A cracking bird and Definitly the best views I have had of this species.

Barred Warbler
We then moved on to see if we could get any better views of the Red Backed Shrike but unfortunately it didn't come any closer. After watching the Shrike we went down to Westmere farm to see if we could see another Barred Warbler but this one seemed to be very elusive so we just then decided to carry on back up to the Warren to see if any ringing was taking place. The ringing was a great success as we got to see several Lesser Redpolls, Lesser Whitethroat and a Meadow Pipit. The Redpolls were amazing to see up close. The Redpoll isn't a species I haven't seen to well in the past so it was a great experience to get to see them like this.
Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Whitethroat
Afterwards we went on a guided trip down to the point with Evie and her Mum Lorraine where we got see a nice range of species. We went down on the massive army truck Spurn had got where we spotted from it good numbers of Kestrels and we spotted many species of wader flying over the Humber. One of the first birds we spotted as we got off was a cracking wheatear which gave some very nice views. After we walked round some bushes which looked ideal for many different bird species but all we saw was a very vocal little Wren. After we had a little talk from a Lifeguard at Spurn which he told us about what he does and how often he goes out. Then after that we headed off back to the Warren where on the way we spotted a nice Whinchat sitting up on some bushes. Once we arrived back it was then sadly out time to leave so we said goodbye to Evie and Lorraine and then we headed off back home after a very memorable and exciting Migfest!
Cant wait for next year!!!