So we landed back in sunny Doncaster on the 17th and after a few hours sleep on the 18th I headed to Spurn for first light! As I entered Kilnsea (memories flooding back of nights in the Crown and Anchor!!) a Grey Partridge (217) flew up from the road and into sea ward field known locally as ‘shit field’!! Grey Partridge are increasing rare in Cornwall and I failed to see one on my last trip to Donny in February! There was also four Hares and three Roe Deer in fields alongside the road which was nice!
At 6am I met with my bezzie mate, Adam Hutt and after a cup of coffee and a chat with TIm Jones we got down to some birding. Yellow Wagtails were more than evident with over 40 passing over the Warren in less than an hour. A few small parties of Tree Sparrows flew around, another very rare bird in Cornwall theses days! On the Humber Arctic, Common, Sandwich and Little Tern (218) were noted along with spectacular numbers (in comparison to Hayle at least!) of waders.
The ringing nets were up around the Warren and Tim very graciously allowed me to ring the Barred Warbler (219) he had just trapped along the bank to the gate. What an excellent bird and the first I’d ringed since I was at Spurn in the early 90’s! Adam and I then headed to the excellent Kilnsea wetlands where the Wood Sandpiper (220) showed well on the first pool. Other waders here included Knot, Green Sandpiper, Avocet and three Little Ringed Plovers (221). The adjacent pea field was alive with Yellow Wagtails, easily numbering 160+ birds. The flock also included 4 Whinchats, 3 Willow warblers, Reed Warbler and 2 Whitethroats and a Tree Pipit. A Marsh Harrier put all the waders off the pools and Adam picked up a Curlew Sandpiper (222) as it flew over towards the Humber with numerous Dunlin and Knot. After a look in the new Spurn Bird Obs (very posh and nothing like the old place!) we had a stomp around the triangle where Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warblers were all noted. At 1pm I decided I’d better head towards home as I had one more bird to see before my planned date at the cinema with my girls! So I bid farewell to my mate and old stomping ground and drove back towards Hull.
As I entered the outskirts of the city I received a phone call from Adam to say a Greenish Warbler had just been found at Chalk Bank. A few years ago this would not have been a dilemma as I would have simply turned back. However, that was the Spurn of old, when you could drive down to the point, before last years devastating storms that took away the road. I didn’t fancy the long walk to Chalk Bank so I drove on to North Cave wetlands.
Traffic was good through Hull and I was soon off the motorway, arriving at North Cave in just over an hour. I drove down the long dusty path on the reserve, parked up and stomped round the far side to join the half dozen other birders watching the Spotted Crake (223) along the far edge of the reeds. It wasn’t as showy as some I’ve seen and certainly not close enough for a photo, but I had good scope views. North Cave is a great reserve and there are plans to extend it massively in the future. I didn’t have time for further birding there on this occasion but managed three Green sands, 3 Yellow Wags and four Greenshank whilst watching the Crake.
Excellent day, all in all. Loved visiting my favourite place outside of Cornwall and seeing some good mates. But holiday over and back to Cornwall tomorrow!