Sneaky Spoonbill

Day 3 of the Spurn Spring Special

Thursday 26th May

Final Comments on the 3 day Guided Birding at Spurn are best left to our guests:

“Hi Martin,  What can I say?  Absolutely loved it!!!!

 It was a real pleasure; I acquired so much knowledge over the few days at Spurn. Bird ID and behaviour, local knowledge of the area in terms of top birding sites and natural history in general.  I would definitely be interested in participating in another trip…

The accommodation at Westmere Farm was top class, the hosts Sue and Andy were very welcoming and the home cooking was excellent.”

 Andy Hill

“Three days at one of the best birding sites in the country during the last week of May, staying at Westmere farm, guided by some of the best birders in the country was too good to turn down. 

Sea-watching ‘viz-migging’, bush bashing, scrape watching and hide-bashing at its best. Montagu’s Harrier, Tawny Pipit, Hooded Crow, Curlew Sand, Owls and hundreds of seabirds the results.

Spurn is a place I visit several times a year, but I learnt so much about the site and its birds from the three days I’m going to enjoy it even more in the future. A superb three days thanks to Martin, Andrew and Sue at Westmere and the Spurn Bird Observatory lads.”

Richard Collis

 “I drove home.., my mind overall euphorically happy over a superb few days. It was not only the birding, but the wonderful friendliness of all the team at Spurn.”

 Reg Oakley

I forgot to mention! The previous day (so many good birds!) we also had an excellent seawatch in the afternoon having noticed good numbers of auks moving. In 2 hours we counted nearly 1,000 auks (majority Razorbill, smaller numbers Guillemot and spring high count of 9 Puffins. Also several Red-throated Diver. Smaller numbers of auks were still moving for this mornings vis mig watch and a fine summer plumaged Red-throated Diver was just offshore.

A hunting Hobby was the highlight of the mornings movement compete with prey (a House Martin?) and this a pair of trapped Siskins brought some colour:

Male (above) and female Siskins, early morning at the Warren on Day 3

Guests appreciated the the time taken by warden Paul Collins to explain the finer points of ringing, movement and in-hand bird identification.

Live migration continued to enthrall as we watched species as varied as Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Tufted Duck, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Whimbrel, Swallows, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Common Swift, Chaffinch and Goldfinch all on the move.

Whimbrel, Spurn May 2011- often heard before being seen

‘Grounded migrants’ included Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher and a Pipistrelle Bat added variety to wildlife seen. Brown Argus butterfly was also appreciated. Pale bellied Brent had increased to 2 amoung Dark-bellied Brent on the Humber.

Group viewing Pipistrelle Bat. We don’t know if it was a Common Pipistrelle which uses a call of 45 kHz, or Soprano Pipistrelle which echo-locates at 55 kHz. That there were 2 species was only discovered in 1999.

A final assault on Beacon Ponds had us looking again at up to 3 Little Egrets and a good varioty of waders inlcuding picking out the arctica Dunlin.

Last good bird?

A Spoonbill kind of sneaked through. We managed to see it as it flew south but was a little distant to be claiming good views! Nevertheless a wonderful time had. Nearly 100 species (at one location) recorded in 3 days, including some great surprises and an excellent variety of other wildlife.

arctica Dunlin, Beacon Ponds may 2011 (on the right). More on these soon.

Little Egret– one of 3 at Beacon Ponds (Martin Standley)


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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One Response to Sneaky Spoonbill

  1. The pip might be Nathausias’ as they tend to be more migratory than Common and Soprano and are thought to be breeding in East Yorkshire at Tophill Low (and likely elsewhere).

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