Spurn trip – May 12th 2024

A sunny and reputedly very quiet day beckoned at Spurn yesterday, with little of any note reported during the previous week.  Undaunted, 12 of us arrived at sunny Kilnsea Wetlands kicking off with Brent Geese in the fields over the road from the car park, a lone Pintail was sitting the the grass, and a couple of Ringed Plover were pottering about. Plentiful Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings were  in full song and very visible (everywhere during the day it seemed, providing a great soundscape) and there was a brilliant flash of yellow as a Yellow Wagtail shot over our heads and Oystercatchers were heard and seen. A Barn Owl  ghosted past as we walked to the hide, hunting in full daylight. Whilst the ponds were pretty full of water (like so many scrapes and pools seem to be after the winter and early spring rain), we added Little Ringed Plover and Sandwich Terns and had better views of Yellow Wagtail, but a probable sub-adult Med Gull hid all to well out of sight among the gulls clustered at the far end. From the screen, we added Common Sandpiper, before heading up to look over Beacon Ponds, our reward being several Little Terns, and great views of Sandwich Terns – with the shoreline of the pond edged with snoozing Dunlin, and our first Whimbrel of the day dropped onto Kilnsea Wetlands, seen from the bank.

Heading next to the Warren (before the tide went out too far taking all the waders with it) we picked up many smart Grey Plover in full summer plumage in the flocks feeding on the exposed mud. A  flock of Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and a few Sanderling were in the mix too. There were also two further Whimbrel and a Curlew, though sadly a Curlew Sandpiper refused to show itself to us (yep – we got there five minutes too late) with the birds rapidly moving further out as the tide receded, with pretty much all detail beyond size lost in the light and haze. The first raptor of the day was a Marsh Harrier which flew along the line of the estuary before being lost in the heat haze near the breech.

A brief bout of sea watching yielded distant Gannet but not much else (it was very quiet by this stage and we still lacked Swifts!), so we headed for lunch.

Doing the triangle after lunch, Mike spotted a bird we were all hoping for – Whinchat – as most of us needed one for our year list – a smart individual, which showed well on the fence line along the canal. Having only seen a few Swallows, and a couple of Sand Martins, our first House Martins of the day were picked up by Kew Villa, along with our only other raptor of the day, a Kestrel in the fields behind the farm.  We arrived back at the cars around 3pm, and were just discussing whether to go to Sammy’s Point or to call it a day and head for North Cave Wetlands, when Rob got enough signal on his phone to see that BirdGuides was reporting a Pectoral Sandpiper – in the field opposite Kilnsea Wetlands car park! Decision made, we all hopped in our cars, headed back to where we had started the day and got fantastic views of a very unexpected scarce bird pottering about in puddle alongside two Ringed Plover.  A lifer for some, a great way to finish the day at Spurn.

We had somewhere in the region of 60 species in all there.

At this point, some departed home, a few headed off to Sammy’s and five of us decided to go and spend some time at North Cave Wetlands – an excellent decision as we picked up Egyptian Goose, Great Crested and Little Grebes, singing Reed Warbler, Swifts (hooray!), Pochard, calling Cetti’s amongst other more common species and to finish off a great day out, there was a newly-arrived Spotted Flycatcher showing well from the platform by the entrance to the reserve.

Jane Chapman