6th to 8th September over the years
by Andy Roadhouse
Here is a brief summary of the last 10 years on the dates of the migration festival. This will give you a feel for what has happened on these dates and shows the diversity of bird activity at Spurn no matter what the weather conditions. As you can see, something good has turned up or there has been good visible migration or sea-watching on every weekend – what will happen in 2013?
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A brisk NE wind and misty and drizzle in the morning, had the thoughts there was going to be a good arrival of drift migrants or at least some seabirds on the move. But it never really happened, over the sea highlights were 2 Scaup, 24 Fulmars, 30 Arctic Skuas and 12 Little Gulls. Grounded migrants were few and far between: a Redstart, 4 Whinchats, a Wheatear, 2 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest and 7 Pied Flycatchers. There was a lot of disappointment that it never happened, but conditions were remaining good over the next few days, so there was some anticipation.
It was a bright and sunny start with a fresh NE wind and sea-watching started off the day, with better numbers than yesterday, with 10 Wigeon, 38 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 10 Red-throated Divers, 107 Fulmars, 3 Sooty and 11 Manx Shearwaters, 188 Gannets, 32 Arctic Skuas, 13 Bonxies, 316 Little Gulls, and 47 Kittiwakes.
After an hour or so, it became apparent that birds were starting to appear in the bushes and everyone split up and started searching for migrants, it wasn’t long before a Wryneck was found amongst the chats, warblers and flycatchers, and soon after a Red-breasted Flycatcher. Birds continued to arrive and be found throughout the day and by the end of the day migrant totals were 3 Wryneck, 2 Rock Pipit, 17 Robin, 16 Redstart, 49 Whinchat, 27 Wheatear, a Redwing, 6 Reed Warblers, 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 16 Whitethroats, 9 Garden Warblers, a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 21 Willow Warblers, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Red-breasted Flycatchers, 40 Pied Flycatchers. It was a satisfying day with plenty to show for all the effort put in.
Another nice sunny day with a decreasing easterly wind. It was much the same as yesterday with many migrants moving on, but still a Wryneck and Red-breasted Flycatcher were still present as were good numbers of all the common drift migrants. New arrivals included a Short-eared Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Fieldfare.
While over the sea a Cory’s Shearwater flew south and 3 Sooty Shearwaters flew north. Other birds seen during the day included a Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and 4 Greenshank.
A foggy start and a light SW to SE wind, very few new migrants had arrived but ones remaining from the previous few days included a Wryneck, Tree Pipit, 5 Whinchats, 9 Wheatears, 2 Garden Warblers, 7 Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Pied Flycatchers and 5 Siskins.
In the evening tern roost a Mediterranean Gull, 134 Sandwich, 760 Common and 4 Roseate Terns flew south.
A gusty SW wind, kept migrants low but still included a Rose-coloured Starling and 2 Wrynecks and similar numbers of common migrants as the previous day. However, southerly passage was excellent, the best of which was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper which flew over the Narrows, but also a good selection of ducks, 6 Sparrowhawk, 2 Ospreys, 12 Kestrels, 82 Sand Martins, 4016 Swallows, 451 House Martins, 16 flava Wagtails, 64 Tree Sparrows and 195 Siskins.
The tern roost produced 3 Mediterranean Gulls and 7 Roseate Terns and a Pectoral Sandpiper was found at Beacon Ponds in the evening.
A much quieter day but still a nice spreading of common migrants and light passage of birds moving south including the first Pink-footed Geese of the year (102).
A moderate SW-W wind, produced a few common migrants and also induced an excellent passage which included 125 Teal, a Marsh Harrier, an Osprey, 6 Kestrels, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 21 Snipe, 150 Sand Martins, 4720 Swallows, 2700 House Martins, Tree Pipit, 228 Meadow Pipit, 67 flava Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 41 Linnets and a Corn Bunting.
The sea produced a Sooty Shearwater, 38 Arctic Skuas, 3 Bonxies and in the evening tern roost there was a record 23 Roseate Terns, 10,000 Common Terns, 89 Arctic Terns and 17 Black Terns.
Waders present included a Little Stint, 24 Greenshank and a Wood Sandpiper.
Fresh northerlies meant more attention was spent sea-watching and produced 36 Red-throated Divers, 35 Fulmars, 30 Sooty Shearwaters, 18 Manx Shearwaters, a Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua, 78 Arctic Skuas, 16 Bonxies, 63 Little Gulls, 200 Kittiwakes, 5 Roseate Terns and a Black Tern.
Passage was reduced but did include a Hobby and waders present included 5 Curlew Sandpiper, a Ruff, 8 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper.
As the wind switched from northerly through to south-east during the day, it livened things up even more. The early morning northerlies meant it was sea-watching to start and although nothing out of the ordinary there were 1109 Fulmars, 37 Red-throated Divers, 50 Sooty Shearwaters, 36 Manx Shearwaters, 650 Gannets, 57 Arctic Skuas, 15 Bonxies and 16 Little Gulls.
However once the wind started to swing to the east, migrants started to appear, most notably a male Bluethroat at the Warren and a Common Rosefinch in Church Field, and an increase in common migrants – a Tree Pipit, a Redstart, 4 Whinchats, 22 Wheatears, a Garden Warbler, 2 Chiffchaffs, 15 Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatcher, and 15 Pied Flycatchers.
Some light passage included a Common Buzzard and 400 Meadow Pipits.
A light NW wind veered NE in the evening. A day of light passage with very little out of the ordinary but a nice sprinkling of common migrants, a trickle of seabirds moving over the sea and a Little Stint on the Humber. Of moth interest was a Convolvulus Hawk-moth trapped in the moth traps.
The wind veered back NW but still produced some reasonable passage including 8 Pink-footed Geese, a Hobby, 125 Swallows, 228 House Martins, 720 Meadow Pipits, 4 flava Wagtails,
Waders were in good numbers on the Humber with 40,000 Knot, 3 Curlew Sandpipers and 5 Greenshanks.
A light NW wind and veering NE by the afternoon. The day’s highlight was Spurn’s first SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER found by wader guru John Grist at Sammy’s Point! Grounded migrants were few and far between and passage included 149 Swallows and 600 Meadow Pipits.
Over the sea were 8 Fulmars, 42 Sooty Shearwaters, 4 Manx Shearwaters, 18 Arctic Skuas, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Bonxie, 132 Little Gulls and 4 Puffins.
to read lots more details of falls, rare birds, seabird highlights and large-scale movements of the likes of Swallows and Meadow Pipits read the rest of this account at:
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