The weather looked good and the charts had seemingly whipped everyone in birdforumland into a frothing frenzy of anticipation of birdguides reporting rares all down the coast, so I set off to Spurn.
I actually set off twice because I forgot my radio the first time so was half an hour later than I'd planned. I spoke to Andy Roadhouse on the way down who told me there were plenty of birds around and a Wryneck at wire dump and a new Barred Warbler at the Warren had already been found in the first half hour, best of all though was an Ortolan at Sandy Beaches, things did look good.
When I arrived I headed straight for Sammies, one of my favourite areas and likely to be a spot nobody had yet checked. I bumped into Adam Stoyle on his way down the road and we set off through the bushes, it was alive. I'ver been lucky enough to catch some of the biggest Sept falls at Spurn in the last 20 yrs and this one looked promising, Redstarts and Pied Fly's everywhere flava's and Tree Pipits going over and Wheatears and Willow Warblers constantly dragging attention between bush and field. Then the radio crackled into life, Roadhouse had a Spotted Crake in the point dunes, and hop along Hutt had 2 Rosefinches in the church field, others were at the Warren and Wire Dump making a total of 5. We pushed on trying to keep a tally of numbers when Adam came back on the radio with a Red rumped Swallow flying round Kilnsea and Roy Taylor came on with the cryptic message about a large pale Bunting at the point suggesting it was a bird Andy had seen briefly earlier, it resolved itself into an Ortolan. There were birds everywhere, I got back to the car after about an hour and a half and decided to go to the point.
Where have all the birds gone? The bushes had some stuff but nothing like the tackle hueeting and chacking away from every bush at Sammies, after an hour I head north to try Beacon Lane, again more of the same just a few birds, enough to keep you expecting but not the numbers of earlier. The rest of the day was spent doing Easington, parts of Kilnsea less often visited and Sammies again. Best birds were a Firecrest and a fleeting view of a Wood Warblers arse.
Wednesday looked like it too would turn stuff up so off I set again, this time radio firmly in hand and fully charged, I forgot my bins! I had to borrow Pete's spares, a massively heavy pair of Nikon high grades, nice optically but only 8x not the 10x I'm used to so every phylosc looked like a plain leaf! And I've put my back out carrying them round all day, if I owned these I'd need a Tim!
Bird wise it was more of the same just less of them, I tried half heartedly for the Ortolan and had a look round Sammies for the mass halucinated Red breasted Fly, got questioned for the second day running by the anti terrorist police round the gas terminal, so about 22 hours in the field and very little in the way of scarce and nothing rare to show for it.
I suppose what this tells you is don't look at the bird news services and think Spurn (or anywhere else really) is lifting with birds on days like this. Do't get me wrong it was good and I believed I could find a monster, of course those from birdforumland will undoubtably see more by running round chasing everything reported on the pagers some of it they'll see some they wont. I prefer to draw a blank but know that I did my own thing and next time it might be my lucky day
a pair of Water Rails
8 hours ago