17th October 2020
Weather: Dull early, brightening up later, light breeze
After taking advice and consultation with Bullocks coaches society members were able to safely participate in the annual trip to Spurn.
Upon arrival in the Spurn area, as is normal, some folk chose to walk down to Kilnsea from Easington via Sammy’s Point. This yielded expected species like Yellowhammer and also less predictable ones like Woodcock and Marsh Harrier. Woodcock zooming in off the Humber is a classic October scenario at Spurn and this bird had characteristic speed and a zig-zagging flightpath that presumably helps avoid too many meetings with a Peregrine along the way.
Some also looked over Kilnsea Wetlands, and this produced Curlew Sandpiper, Whooper Swan and Barnacle Goose in addition to more common waders and wildfowl such as Redshank, Dunlin, Wigeon and Teal.
Those that stayed on the coach and hopped out in Kilnsea immediately had the option to look for a reported Red-flanked Bluetail, as Spurn and Kilnsea continued a great run of sightings for the week. This bird had gone to ground, but it was obvious that large numbers of migrants were present as most bushes and trees seemed to contain Redwings, Goldcrests, Robins, or all 3! It did seem unusual though that a Ring Ouzel or two couldn’t be winkled out from somewhere.
As the morning progressed plenty of birds started being turned up, including nice species such as Lesser Redpoll and Brambling. Better still were Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler both seen at the Crown and Anchor or further along the road in the Churchyard. Amongst these Autumn arrivals were Swallows and House Martins that we would possibly expect to have departed by now, but a welcome sight nonetheless.
Views over the Humber yielded Bar-tailed Godwit showing well along with Grey and Golden Plover and Knot. Other recorded waders included Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew. Brent Geese were seen over the Triangle along with Skylark and Fieldfare. A notable cluster of around 6 or 7 Stonechats were active on the fences around this area. The exact same area holds Whinchats in August and September, which nicely illustrates the way the seasons progress at Spurn.
Meanwhile on the sea views of Common Scoter, Gannet and Red-throated Diver were obtained, but a highlight was a piece of good fortune at the very moment we were about to leave, with a Black-throated Diver seen heading north by a couple of observers. This species isn’t too common at Spurn but they have been reported relatively frequently this autumn and the ID was clear.
Overall, it was probably a day for appreciating the breadth and scale of Autumn migration rather than ticking off rarities. The overall list was 94 species which reflects the unique range of habitats and volume of passage at this fantastic location.
Recorder: S Gough Total Species: 94