I had a great day out today at Kilnsea and Spurn. The weather forecast was gloomy and I wasn’t expecting much, but we escaped the rain (bar one very brief but heavy shower), and saw a great selection of species.

Things were relatively quiet out to sea, but we still managed to pick up several flocks of common scoter and a flock of eider, plus the odd sandwich tern, guillemot, gannet and kittiwake. Waders on show included whimbrel, knot, redshank, greenshank, turnstone, oystercatcher, curlew, dunlin, grey plover, ringed plover and black- and bar-tailed godwit. Sadly we didn’t get on to the curlew sandpipers that were around Beacon Ponds, but a juv knot somehow did a good job of fooling us for a moment! There were also plenty of little egrets and a couple of grey heron.

One of the highlights of the day was a single pink-footed goose, which came into land briefly on the Canal Zone pond, and other waterfowl around included a single wigeon, two brent geese, a flock of teal and several shelduck. There was a smattering of migrants about in small numbers, the undoubted highlight being three Lapland buntings at Beacon Ponds (a much sought-after bogey bird of mine!), and outgoing migrants included whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, pied flycatcher, whinchat, chiffchaff and yellow wagtail. There were also plenty of swallows and house martins around, and a single sand martin was seen.

Another great bird to see was a juvenile cuckoo, which gave great views around Beacon Ponds.

Raptors around were a couple of sparrowhawks (including one with a kill near the churchyard), a few kestrels, a marsh harrier and a probable peregrine that was a bit too far out to call with certainty.

Some pics…

Whimbrel Whimbrel Sparrowhawk with prey Sparrowhawk with kill Knot


Nom nom nom...

Song Thrush Oystercatcher Oystercatcher Guillemot Guillemot

The guillemot above was on the beach, and looked distressed, with two herring gulls closeby watching menacingly on. It didn’t appear to be injured, just looked unable to stand up in the wet muddy sand, and so I gently ushered it into the sea where it would stand a better chance. However looking at the photos I took I wonder if it had an injured wing and if I did the right thing – it’s so hard to know what to do in these circumstances sometimes.

A slightly more comical event was earlier on in the day when we were investigating Kilnsea Churchyard. We could hear an Acrocephalus warbler singing from the behind the churchyard, intespersed with what sounded like scratchy but expert mimicry of birds such as blackcap and magpie. The only bird we could think that would use such good mimicry was a Marsh Warbler, but it was confusing as the song didn’t seem right. So I tweeted the Spurn birds obs to tell them there was an un-ID’ed Acro behind the churchyard… only to hear back there were some tape recordings of various species being played in that location (presumably for ringing purposes)! Oh dear, not my finest birding moment…!

An excellent day, though, which continued on the journey home, with a very late swift seen over Hedon, and a hobby later on. Over 80 species seen or heard during the day, with a full list below (in rough chronological order).

  • Tawny Owl (near home)
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Robin
  • Carrion Crow
  • Mallard
  • Common Scoter
  • Herring Gull
  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Goldfinch
  • Kestrel
  • Magpie
  • Woodpigeon
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Blue Tit
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Bullfinch
  • Great Tit
  • Goldcrest
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Curlew
  • Blackbird
  • Whimbrel
  • Oystercatcher
  • Guillemot
  • Shelduck
  • Cormorant
  • Mute Swan
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Redshank
  • Sandwich Tern
  • Feral Pigeon
  • Wigeon
  • Whinchat
  • Reed Bunting
  • Yellow Wagtail
  • Linnet
  • Dunlin
  • Dunnock
  • Pheasant
  • Chiffchaff
  • Reed Bunting
  • Wren
  • Lapland Bunting
  • Little Egret
  • Greenshank
  • Knot
  • Grey Plover
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Brent Goose
  • Teal
  • Cuckoo
  • Common Gull
  • Ringed Plover
  • Gannet
  • Sanderling
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Song Thrush
  • Kittiwake
  • Eider
  • Turnstone
  • Sand Martin
  • Whitethroat
  • Grey Heron
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Pochard
  • Chaffinch
  • Moorhen
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Collared Dove
  • Buzzard
  • Rook
  • Swift
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Lapwing
  • Jackdaw
  • Hobby

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My name is Pete

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