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East meets West in God's Own County

With several days off and a planned trip away falling through I decided on a day out being a second best option, and it turned out pretty well really! I headed over to Spurn but a power cut at home and the alarm going off late didn't help! Then the M6 was a car park so I did 15mls in the first hour, not great. I gave turning around serious consideration but decided to plough on and I did eventually arrive, somewhat later than expected early in the afternoon rather than in the morning.

First stop was Vicars Lane where I joined a throng of birders (I resist the tabloid cliché of 'Flock of Twitchers') but no sign of my target bird. I only had to wait about 10mins though and the bird was picked up moving along in the willows further down the lane. It then moved along and finally flew down into its favoured berry tree and started feeding in full view, a superb Red-eyed Vireo, my second in the UK, but definitely the best views that I had ever had of this migrant from the USA. The paparazzi blasted away as it carried on feeding oblivious to all the attention. Then it flew up into the adjacent oak where I got some shots that I liked better than my ones in the berries, mainly because the oak shots are different from everyone else’s on facebook, and the oak leaves provide a nice frame around the bird (one of these shots is below). A Pied Flycatcher was in the same trees too to add to the bird interest. After watching the vireo for a while I drove down to the main Spurn area to carry on the day's birding.

Next stop was Kilnsea, more specifically the Crown & Anchor pub car park. I walked in and immediately directions were shouted out and I got onto an Arctic Warbler that showed superbly well midway up in the trees by the car park. This vagrant from the east showed out in the open for long periods but was always on the move so digiscoping was impossible. Next I moved down to 'Corner Field' where I joined 3 other birders and we were soon watching a Yellow-browed Warbler, again showing very well in willows bordering the field along with a few Goldcrests. I moved around the field and saw at least 2 more Yellow-browed Warblers, one showing low down in a dead umbellifer fully out in the open, superb, as well as more Goldcrests and 2+Chiffchaffs. Just as I was about to leave I had a phonecall from birding pal, Malc Curtin, to say that another bird we had been looking for had been found. Rushing back round the corner of the field I eventually got good views of the eastern race probable Turkestan Lesser Whitethroat, a subspecies at the moment but maybe a future split to full species status, although I'm not holding my breath! Overhead a Swallow and massive numbers of Redwings passed over whilst Linnets and Goldfinches were also in big numbers around the hedgerows.

Given the traffic over I was relieved at having such a great day’s birding, no lifers but good birds, and I headed home relatively early. This proved to be a good decision with a much more relaxed and trouble-free drive home, a good end to a perfect day!

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