SPURN 6th May 2018

What a total contrast to our weekend trip to Norfolk the previous week – 14 of us met up at Kilnsea Wetlands in blazing sunshine and, increasingly hot, calm conditions. Although the wind increased a little as the day went on, it remained like that throughout. Who would have thought we would be wearing t-shirts and going home with sunburn?

The smart new Sand Martin hotel is up at Kilnsea Wetlands (partly funded by the YOC with money raised from the Bird Race) but no birds have yet taken up residence. The wetlands were quiet; the best birds being a male Scaup which was with four Tufted Ducks, Avocet, several Oystercatchers, three Wheatears on the bank and Little Terns spotted in the far distance over Beacon Ponds (more of these later).

We headed off towards the Warren to see the waders congregating at the high tide, but had an impromptu stop when Rob and I spotted a Wryneck on its ‘usual’ spot on the path almost opposite the small caravan site as we drove towards the Bluebell. It flew into a bush by the side of the road as everyone else stopped too, then went over the road eventually perching up long enough for most of us to pick it up, before flying over a hedge not to be seen again! Waders on the high tide included a Whimbrel (and at least 6 others were showing well in the last field before the gate down to the Warren), a single Knot, lots of Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew and Brent Geese on the water.

Walking the triangle gave us Whitethroats in profusion; Lesser Whitethroat also showed well – Reed Buntings, Sedge and Reed Warblers were calling from the reed beds and common resident species from the trees and shrubs about. We also had reasonable views of a Whinchat and more distant views in hazy conditions of a Black Redstart. Hirundines, apart from Swallows, were in short supply – just a couple of House Martins and Sand Martins. More surprisingly, we had no Swifts at all. After lunch, a walk towards the Little Tern colony via Beacon Lane was productive with up to 20 Little Terns seen loafing about and fishing (from a safe distance). Ringed Plover, a Goosander, Sandwich Tern, Marsh Harrier were also about in that area.

We ended the day on a high at Sammy’s Point, where a very well concealed Long-Eared Owl in the last paddock was quite unconcerned by us all looking at it. Thank you to the very kind birder from Cumbria, who showed us the exact location – not sure whether we would have got it otherwise! The only other bird of note from Sammy’s was a Yellow Wagtail before we all met up – a couple of others were also seen elsewhere.

For the six of us who visited North Cave Wetlands on the way home, the birds added to the list were: Little Ringed Plover, nesting Mediterranean Gulls, Pochard, Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Common Tern. A magnificent dog fox was also eyeing up the BH Gulls as it strolled past the colony!

Many thanks to Peter for leading the trip. Yet again Spurn gave us some unexpected delights – which is why we keep going back!

Jane Chapman