Spurn 5 August 2011
Excellent variety today. Started early with a whizz though adult Hobby south at the Warren in blustery WSW and blue skies. Grounded migrants included 1-2 Wheatears, and a couple of Willow Warblers, with small number of Swifts and hirundines heading south. Rael trapped a Treecreeper at Kew – a new bird for me at Spurn. About annual here, though some keen regulars have still not seen one. This one was a juvenile, and I labelled up, as a reminder, a couple of things to look for if I see a silent Treecreeper here in October – more likely to a be a ‘Northern Treecreeper’ or outside chance of Short-toed Treecreeper. Even though its scarce to rare here, Treecreeper wing feathers were found in a the pellet for one of Spurn most famous birds: the Tengmalm’s Owl of March 1983!
juvenile Treecreeper, Kew, 5th August 2011. Many Short-toeds have an obvious pale fringe along outer edge of the largest alula, joined to the large pale tip, and have an obviously smaller pale mark which may even be lacking on P4. There’s lots of other little differences which are tricky and hard to remember!
Mid morning at the Warren brought 2 southbound juvenile Marsh Harriers, 2 fly-through Green Sandpipers and some 1,600 Swallows in ‘pulses’. On the dropping tide I picked out this (photo above) striking looking juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. It had already renewed a number of upper scapulars.
Chalk bank at high tide brought some 10,000 Knot and good variety of other shorebird. Several Knot and a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits had coloured rings. It was fascinating to come across an adult Knot- yellow flagged HHT pictured below. I saw this one late last August and there is a photo of him (or her) on the blog from last year here. There is an amazing story of wader migration, worth reading there too.
Later on in afternoon found 7 Mediterranean Gulls including 3 stunning juveniles, and an arrival of Marmalade Hoverflies Episyrphus balteatus and Painted Lady Butterflies. The juv Med Gulls were feeding on the Marmalade Flies as they arrived after a North Sea crossing. Shame!
HHK- nice to see this one returning. Adds that sense of rhythm to the birding year. See a photo of the same bird, in more advanced moult from august 2010.