Spurn - 13/10/18

39 members and friends left Stockport to travel over to Yorkshire for the eagerly anticipated annual trip to Spurn. After a comfort stop at Ferrybridge Services we soon picked up a flock of Golden Plover around the Goole area, along with Buzzard and Kestrel and a lone Little Egret sat in the middle of an arable field.

Canal Zone (Holly Page)

Arriving at Easington some of the party left the coach and took the walk down to Sammy’s Point. It became instantly obvious that it was going to be a challenging day as the strength of the wind was ferocious. The weather was very warm, at times we were in t-shirts, but the wind from the south was absolutely brutal. Not only did it make it difficult just to stand up holding binoculars steady, but it also meant there was very little bird movement. No birds were calling, in fact in the entire day I only heard a few notes from a Robin deep in cover and a couple of notes from an unidentified warbler. Birding was extremely challenging. The walk to Sammy’s Point produced little of note and the party were even more exposed when they reached the banks of the Humber.

Ring Ouzel (Alan & Glo)

Those that stayed on the coach eventually alighted at the new Yorkshire Wildlife Trust visitor centre. An Olive-backed Pipit had been recorded close to the centre and many of us hot-footed it over there. It had been seen at 0830hrs that morning but even though many stayed for a good length of time and made repeat visits none of the party had sightings of the bird.

Next stop was the Crown & Anchor pub car park where a potential Siberian Chiffchaff had been reported. Many of us saw the bird but I didn’t speak to anyone that was convinced it was the Siberian sub-species. A couple of reports of Yellow-browed Warbler in the area came from the Spurn regulars but again none of the party managed views of a bird. It was becoming a very frustrating day!

Little Grebe (Alan & Glo)

A walk up to Beacon Lane produced good views of Brambling feeding in the shelter of the caravan garden. We also picked up other commoner finch species and Tree Sparrow. A Rosy Starling had been reported in fields near Beacon Pools so most of us had a look for that. Whilst it was picked up by some members not everybody saw it, including myself, as I battled to keep the scope steady in the extreme wind. Many of us also saw a very smart and distinctive Wheatear of the Greenland race.
Beacon Pools held Brent Geese, Shelduck and Little Grebe. On the margins fed Ringed Plover, Dunlin and singles of Little Egret and Grey Plover. A wander over to Kilnsea Wetlands produced the commoner gull species with an assortment of duck including Shelduck, Pintail and Wigeon.

Dunlin (Alan & Glo)

Sea-watching was very poor with hardly any movement of birds although one member who dedicated some time to it picked up a couple of good species. I myself had a single juvenile Gannet and very little else.

Returning to the canal area we had good views of a Jack Snipe nicely bobbing in front of the Canal Scrape hide. There were several thrushes around at the rear of the scrape and many members saw Ring Ouzel. A couple of Stonechat alighted briefly on the fence posts as at least four late Swallow’s passed overhead in a southerly direction.

Common Snipe (Alan & Glo)

Out on the Humber estuary we picked up a Rock Pipit as well as the commoner waders probing the mud. We were looking into the light, so visibility was a struggle made even worse by the still ferocious wind. The conditions had worn down many people and most headed to the café for respite.

We’ve had some excellent recent trips to Spurn so we were perhaps due a poor one. It was the first Spurn trip anybody could recall that we didn’t see a single Goldcrest! There were interesting birds around but the overall feeling was the conditions had defeated us. Slightly bedraggled we got back on the coach and headed back to Manchester.

Bird list 

Mute Swan Grey Plover   Stonechat
Pink-footed Goose Knot   Song Thrush
Greylag Goose Sanderling   Redwing
Brent Goose Dunlin   Blackbird
Shelduck Redshank   Ring Ouzel
Mallard Curlew     Blackcap
Pintail Whimbrel   Chiffchaff
Shoveler Snipe   Wren
Wigeon Jack Snipe   Great Tit
Teal Black-headed Gull   Blue Tit
Common Scoter Common Gull    Long-tailed Tit
Velvet Scoter Yellow-legged Gull   Magpie
Pheasant Great Black-backed Gull   Jackdaw
Little Grebe Lesser Black-backed Gull   Carrion Crow
Gannet Stock Dove   Starling
Cormorant Woodpigeon   Rosy Starling
Little Egret Collared Dove   House Sparrow
Grey Heron Skylark   Tree Sparrow
Sparrowhawk Swallow     Chaffinch
Buzzard Rock Pipit   Brambling
Kestrel Meadow Pipit   Linnet
Moorhen Pied Wagtail   Goldfinch
Oystercatcher Dunnock   Greenfinch
Ringed Plover Robin   Reed Bunting
Golden Plover Wheatear   Yellowhammer