YOC Trip to Spurn on Sunday 10th October 2021

With the winds in the wrong direction, rarities were not on the menu for the day, but good weather always helps and it stayed fine and often sunny, with relatively little wind all day. The total species count was c. 60.

Fourteen of us gathered at Kilnsea Wetlands car park at 8.30 am, coinciding with high tide, so flocks of waders had forsaken the estuary for the fields and wetlands – a flock of 260 Curlew in the grassy field over the road was an impressive site. Walking up to the hide Pink-footed Goose flew overhead, calling, a large flock of Linnets landed on the adjacent field in the recently sown crop, and Noel and Keith spotted a possible Grasshopper Warbler in amongst the Phragmites. Around 12 Little Egrets took off just before we arrived heading off in the direction of the point. On the wetlands we had a good range of waders – mostly Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit, with a sprinkling of Dunlin, at least four Greenshank, and singles of Ruff, Knot, Spotted Redshank and Grey Plover. Six species of gull included a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and we also had good views of two Mediterranean Gulls. A male and a female Pintail were the best of the ducks. As we strolled up towards Beacon Ponds a Peregrine came in and put many of the waders and small duck up – it then hunted up and down for a few minutes before landing out of site behind the wetland. Beacon Ponds added Ringed Plover to the wader list, and there were 10+ Little Grebes on there too, while four Gannets were just visible about the dunes, flying over the sea.

Heading next to the Warren, we stopped for a while to enjoy the wader flocks flying about and then landing on the exposed mud as the tide went out – huge flocks of Knot swirled about flashing silver and grey as they turned and swept back and forth – spectacular! Large flocks of Golden Plover also flew over, with just a few landing, showing up well amongst less colourful species. There were a few Bar-tailed Godwits in the mix too and a couple of Oystercatchers flew by.

By the Warren, a single Redwing was particularly welcome for all of us for whom it was the first of the year and three Goldcrests in a tree, virtually within arm’s reach, charmed everyone. Half an hour of sea-watching produced four Razorbills – but just as we were moving on an obliging Great Northern Diver flew past quite close in – many thanks to Terry McEvoy for picking it up early enough for most of us to get on it!

Bearded Tits having been reported at Canal Scrape, we headed back to the Triangle to try for them, but without success.  After lunch we tried again, but dipped once more; at least two Water Rails were calling loudly however! The rest of the Triangle yielded little apart from a couple of Stonechats and one dark-bellied Brent Goose on the estuary mudflats.

Our last stop of the day was at Sammy’s Point – where a quiet afternoon’s birding before that was rewarded with prolonged views of at least four Short-eared Owls hunting and perched up in full view in the most amazing light conditions – a magical way to round off the day.

Jane Chapman