I hadn’t been to the coast since May, and now I’ve been two weekends in a row… Today I’ve been on a daytrip to Spurn with the Sheffield Bird Study Group, and a great day it was too. The day started with a flyover V of pink-footed geese, the first of literally thousands to arrive over the course of the day, and just got better from then on.
Walking towards the Point, we were greeted fantastic views of a very obliging great grey shrike, and continuing round “The Triangle” we soon caught up with a more distant but no less watchable red-backed shrike perched on a bush! I had my first ever UK shrikes before quarter past ten…
The day continued well with a mix of summer migrants going out and winter migrants coming in, with Spurn acting like a kind of avian airport terminal. Spotted flycatchers, redstarts, wheatears and blackcaps jostled for place with redwings and an influx of goldcrests. There were also a good number of waders, including redshank, knot, turnstone, dunlin, oystercatcher, golden plover, ringed plover and bar-tailed godwit, and a few little egrets. As well as the huge flocks of passing geese, there were equally impressive flocks of hundreds of knot, wisping into the air like smoke.
As well as the birds there were a good number of roe deer around.
After lunch things continued to go well. An assembled crowd of birders around the churchyard alerted us to an appearance in of a bird I was very much hoping to see – yellow-browed warbler. I got very brief but very clear views of the inobtrusive bird as it flitted around the treetops.
(Much amusement came from the fact that little after an hour after we squinted into the churchyard trees, news came across someone’s pager that one was currently present outside a pub in Upperthorpe…)
And going round the Triangle for a second time, I finally found a bird that has given me the slip all summer – whinchats. In fact a good number of them, often sat right next to stonechats just to highlight their differences from their close cousins. We also got a second look of both shrikes in the same area.
When I got home a skein of around 100 pink-feet flew overhead, visible from the living room window. It’s strange to think these may be some of the very same birds I saw earlier in the day!
All in all I got 62 species today (including on the way back), and five year ticks – three of which are lifers, one which is a UK lifer, and one which I haven seen since I started listing properly.
Today’s full list (in rough order of sighting!)…
Linnet, Robin, Blackbird, Pink-footed Geese, Dunlin, Redshank, Herring Gull, Tree Sparrow, Starling, Wheatear, Great Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Shelduck, Little Egret, Stonechat, Carrion Crow, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Knot, Turnstone, Wren, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Redwing, Goldcrest, Redstart, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Common Gull, Dunnock, Sparrowhawk, Yellow-browed Warbler, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Whinchat, Kingfisher, Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Black-backed Gull. (Way home) Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Rook, Cormorant, House Martin, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mallard, Kestrel, Magpie, Lapwing, Canada Goose.