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Swarovski STX 95 on tour.

We arrived at Spurn for the 1st October at 08:00 for a couple of days staying at the fantastic Spurn Bird Observatory, excited for what the rest of the week would bring. Despite the day getting off to a less than good start - I forgot to bring the milk - we were feeling confident as we left the Observatory, heading off towards Beacon Lane to search for migrants in the bushes.

There were a few Blackbirds and Robins flitting along the hedges, and quite a few Migrant Hawker Dragonflies in the sheltered parts of the lane, but sadly very few migrants of the feathered variety. We continued around on around a very dry Holderness Field, which probably explained the lack of birds in the scrapes, and onto Kilnsea Wetlands. From the hide we managed to see a good selection of birds including Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Pintail, Redshank, Wigeon and the now common Little Egret.

After a bite to eat we decided to drive around the area to look for the Hen Harrier that seemed to be wandering widely. After two ‘lengths’ of Firthholme Road without success, we pulled onto Kilnsea Wetland car park to reconsider our options. As we chatted a long winged raptor appeared across the road and began to quarter Long Bank Marsh. Hen Harrier successfully ticked!!

Day two dawned feeling much more promising than the previous day. The strong westerly wind has eased overnight and although we saw few birds as we walked the canal, sprits were raised as we reached the bottom end near the canal zone hedges when we heard a ‘Sweeep’ call and looked up to see a single Redwing fly into the nearby hedgerow. The first we had seen or heard of. Things were looking up. Small parties of Redwings were now being reported and we decided to head back to the Obs’ garden and use the newly erected viewing platform to view over the area for a better view of incoming migrants. In the space of two and a it hours we had a steady trickle of Redwings coming in off the sea, dropping into the bushes around the Crown and Anchor before heading off North West along the Humber, over 500 birds in the two hours we were there.

Although there had been some early promise the rest of the day was quiet and we struggled to find any new birds despite covering quite a bit of ground.

Day three started in much the same way as day two, with light WSW winds. As no one had been down to the point, and because one of our team had never been to the point we decided to take on the long walk. It wasn’t exactly dripping with birds but we did pick up a number of Stonechats on the way down, plus a few more at the point itself. However it was otherwise very quiet and the highlight of our walk back was a couple of Sparrowhawks and a few Silver Y Moths. We spent the rest of the day alternating between walking the usual routes and scanning waders on the Humber.

Sadly Friday, our last day was very quiet. There had been nothing at all on the radios by 10:00 so we decided to cut our losses, beat the traffic and head back over the Pennines. Despite this we had still had a great couple of days birding despite not having seen and rarities or big movements.

Rob McHale.

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