With a spare day I decided a days birding was in order, I visited North Cave wetlands early in the morning looking for the Little Ringed Plover which has been present for some time, unfortunately it had cleared out ahead of the cold and wet weather! I did enjoy watching a stoat causing havoc with the wildfowl whilst chasing a hare around near the waters edge! Present on island lake were Snipe, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Little Grebe and Black-Headed Gulls. After half an hour and seeing the news coming through of more and more stuff turning up at Spurn Point there was only one option, so off I went (not before a stonkingly good bacon and egg sandwich from the catering van thats usually on site, not to be missed!).
Arriving at spurn the weather seemed perfect, drizzle with easterly winds, perfect for migrating birds getting blown off course and ditching at the first sight of land because of the poor conditions. There were plenty of other birders present some fairly big groups along the road to the Crown and Anchor Pub, so I walked up the road to join them in looking for the reported Firecrest. Im quite certain I heard the bird call but was unable to locate it, however there were big numbers of Goldcrest present, my favourite little bird so this was a bit of a treat in itself for me!
Another bird present in much bigger numbers (in the hundreds) were Redwing which were seen constantly arriving throughout the day, along with Blackbirds, Fieldfare & Song Thrush.
Moving on down the road and heading down to the 'triangle' I found quite a few Chiffchaffs together on the ground feeding on what they could get, they seemed to be everywhere! Then I was alerted to the presence of a bird i've not seen before, a Black Redstart seen just around the corner! I quickly went to look for the bird and was in luck as it hung around for quite some time.
Walking further down the triangle more winter thrushes were arriving and news filtered through of a Great Grey Shrike! It took me a while to locate the bird with the help of Martin from the Spurn team. The bird was too far away to photograph in the poor visibility but I could make out the grey bird and the mask through the scope. I heard a message coming through on the radio that a Long-Eared Owl was at the car park of the Crown and Anchor, so I quickly re-traced my steps! From further up the path I looked back & realised the Shrike was out in the open & I managed to get a better view of the bird in the scope.
Eventually arriving back at the pub car park I could see the Long-Eared Owl with the naked eye, a very big bird sat roosting safely in the distance. Sorry about the rubbish quality photos, it was very difficult to get any good shots in the bad weather.
After some great views of the owl (another bird I hadn't seen before) I walked back down the triangle. By this time the tide was starting to go out and on the shoreline there were plenty of dunlin, knot, ringed plover, a grey plover and a Black Tailed Godwit.
As I walked down to Canal Scrape hide I flushed a Great Spotted Woodpecker, one of 3 I saw throughout the day. Arriving at the hide all seemed pretty quiet until a Jack Snipe appeared in the distance, I managed to get on the bird and observed it bobbing away! A while later while the rain lashed down and the hide filled up another Great Grey Shrike showed up! I managed to get much better views than the one seen earlier, result! Another Jack Snipe was found on the opposite side of the scrape, a bird I managed to see again much better when I returned a couple of hours later.
Watch my video of the Jack Snipe bobbing HERE
Leaving the hide I walked down to the Warren to see if anything was about but it seemed very quiet and the conditions seemed to be getting worse, though I did find this very tired looking Brambling on the path, I took a couple of quick photos and left the bird to rest after its long journey.
I dropped in to the seawatching hut but it was pretty dead there too so I walked north back up the coastline to the Blue Bell Cafe for a well earned Lunch! I tried again for the firecrest but to no avail so I returned to Canal Scrape to see if anything else was about and was rewarded with clearer views of the Jack Snipe (see above).
A very rewarding day, really enjoyable despite the constant rain and cold! Looking forward to my next trip to Spurn already!
Until next time....