Trip reports

Mini-bus Visit to Spurn Point

Mini-bus Visit to Spurn Point
Spurn Point (Photo: Peter Berrill)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

However easterly winds, a high pressure area static in the North Atlantic meant that the birds were all on the east coast, so a decision was made to go to Spurn not the Severn Estuary.

We left Coventry on time and made good progress up the motorway network and celebrated 10 seconds past 10 minutes past 10 on the 10th day of the 10th month of the 10th year of the century as we went through Hull. Our first stop was at Sammy's Point, where we were greeted with a very full car park, and hundreds of thrushes. Redwings were everywhere, interspersed with some very smart fieldfare, a few song thrush and as we left, some ring ouzels. A walk along the bank at various paces, gave views of waders making the most of the mud, newly arrived brambling flocks, with some of the males looking very smart, and what proved to be the first of thousands of goldcrests. [But more of them later]. The waiting crowd very kindly located the pallas' warbler as we walked up and gave good views to most of the party. This delightful warbler was active but did show well for short periods.

Then it was off round to the peninsula itself. A stop at the Bluebell car park, gave excellent views of a lapland bunting, and further evidence of erosion as the steps to the bank ended in mid air and necessitated a somewhat precipitous sideways move onto the embankment. Then it was down to the point and a walk looking for a totally elusive red backed shrike. Thrushes were everywhere feeding on the sea buckthorn, and periodically making attempts to fly out to sea and then changing their minds. The bushes were also full of goldcrest, all of them looking very tired, in fact several on the shore were so tired that flight was no longer an option and they scuttled from cover point to cover point. Siskins; another bird we associate with tree tops, were also visible eating grass seeds.

The party split up at this point and those who walked the shore had a very surprising spotted flycatcher. All of us did however manage to get excellent views of black redstart. Local intel resulted in a visit to Chalk Bank Hide and eventually thanks to Barbara's insistence that it wasn't a chaffinch or a brambling, but excellent views of shorelark. Then it was back to the car park and we finally caught up with the great grey shrike.

Homeward bound and again good time was made and apart from a short hold up on the M69 we had a trouble-free journey. For many of us the day was marked not so much by the rarities that we saw, wonderful though they were, it was the wonderful close up views of the commoner birds, goldcrests three inches from you, resting in the late afternoon sunlight, redwings and fieldfares feeding in the fields, bramblings stunning in the morning sunlight, a barn owl peeping out of its box, and ring ouzels flying along the drainage ditch their long silvery wings glinting in the sunlight.

So long shore drift does have a bonus sometimes. Thanks to Pete for driving all day and to everyone for their company, it made a special day's birding extra special.

Liz Taylor.