Mag and I started our trip off with a visit to Kilnsea Wetlands where relatively few waders were taking refuge at high tide, though there was a Spotted Redshank, two Ruff and a few hundred Knot. A Merlin and a Peregrine flew through, six Pintail were present and the Listening Dish Hedge held a female Brambling, 20 Reed Buntings and a good number of Tree Sparrows, which of course went on to be ubiquitous throughout our stay.
Saturday, 24 October 2020
Spurn etc 19-24th October 2020
Our next move was to clear out of the Spurn area and head to Johnny Brown's Common in West Yorkshire where the adult male BROWN SHRIKE showed well in the narrow strip by an arable field. Two Crossbills, a Siskin and 27 Fieldfares flew over.
We finished the day just outside the Spurn recording area at Skeffling, where it was too close to dusk for the Great Grey Shrike but a Short-eared Owl did show nicely, a Merlin flew through, four Kestrels hunted and 11 Fieldfares appeared.
The next day (Tuesday) started with a walk around Kilnsea, with a Firecrest near Sykes's Field and a Yellow-browed Warbler in the observatory garden being the highlights, along with nice views of a juvenile female Sparrowhawk in a hedgerow. We returned to Skeffling in the afternoon and enjoyed fantastic views of the Great Grey Shrike which hunted actively but payed no attention to us watching from the bank. It performed a couple of very long hovers and was quite a successful hunter. A juvenile Hen Harrier put on a good show, 300 Pink-footed Geese dropped in briefly, a Merlin passed through and two redpolls flew over.
Wednesday at Spurn produced seven Goosanders, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, a Short-eared Owl, 23 Twite, 12 Common Scoters, two Red-throated Divers, 25 redpolls, a House Martin, 13 Swallows and a Cetti's Warbler.
Thursday was the first good day for vismig, with a Lapland Bunting, a Great White Egret and a Twite headlining. As for commoner species, my very rough and conservative personal totals were 140 Siskins, 450 Goldfinches, 180 Skylarks, 90 redpolls, 80 Linnets, 20 Chaffinches, six Rock Pipits, 30 Meadow Pipits, three House Martins and six Swallows. 35 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and 11 Pintail were also seen, along with the usual suite of Humber waders.
Kilnsea Wetlands had 10 Whooper Swans, six Black-tailed Godwits, a Pintail and three Mediterranean Gulls. Later, Skeffling again offered views of the Great Grey Shrike, a Merlin and two Marsh Harriers. We returned to the Canal Scrape in the evening to witness a murmuration of several thousand Starlings as they came in to roost, and we heard a Water Rail.
More vismig on Friday involved 44 Whooper Swans, 350 Pink-footed Geese, four Lapland Buntings, five Twite, five Yellowhammers, a Brambling, 230 Siskins, 20 Tree Sparrows, 140 Meadow Pipits, 10 Pied/White Wagtails, 60 Linnets, seven Rock Pipits, three Grey Wagtails, 19 Skylarks and nine Swallows. A Greenshank was on the Humber and a Red-throated Diver flew past offshore. Eight Black-tailed Godwits flew over Long Bank Marsh and Sammy's Point had a Short-eared Owl, 12 Grey Partridges (coveys of seven and five), two Bullfinches, three Yellowhammers, 11 Whooper Swans, 16 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, three Black-tailed Godwits, a Mediterranean Gull, a Peregrine, 35 Fieldfares,
Saturday at The Warren signed our Spurn trip off with three Eiders, a Goldeneye, three Common Scoters, 40 Whooper Swans, six Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Merlin and a Peregrine.
We stopped at North Cave Wetlands on the way home and located the adult drake Green-winged Teal among 600 Teal. There were also 70 Wigeon, 60 Gadwall, six Pochards and 20 Shovelers. A Green Sandpiper, nine Curlew, a Ruff, four Snipe and 47 Lapwings made up the waders. A redpoll, a Siskin, a Fieldfare, eight Little Grebes and a Little Egret were among the other birds noted. 48 Common Gulls was the highest number I've logged at any one site so far this autumn.