Saturday, October 21, 2006

Spurn and Filey - 16th & 17th Oct 2006.

Lapland Bunting - Spurn, East Yorks - 16th Oct 2006.
I arrived at Spurn at 08:00hrs, starting off at Easington Cemetary. Redwings, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes were immediately obvious. A walk along the lanes for 1.5hrs produced more Thrushes, a few Brambling, 2 Chiffchaff and few Goldcrests.

From here I parked at the Crown & Anchor car park, where almost immediately a Yellow-browed Warbler called, giving good views in the hedge. A few Goldcrest and a small party of Siskin fed in an Alder. Several flocks of Thrushes, (Redwing, Blackbird & Song Thrush - very few Fieldfare) were arriving in-off.

A walk around the triangle was quiet in terms of birds of interest. There was quite a breeze which were keeping the Bearded Tits, a species i haven't seen at Spurn, low down in the reedbeds of Canal Scrape / Canal Zone, although they had been heard earlier in the morning.
Continuing along Kilnsea Cliff, then back along Beacon Lane to the Crown car park produced only a single Black Redstart of any note.

Back at the car, I decided to explore north of the area, around the Gas Terminal, as far up as Out Newton. This produced very little, and resisting the news of a Raddes Warbler showing well at Filey, I returned to Spurn determined to continue doing my own birding down the peninsula.

A Lapland Bunting was showing very well on the road by post 30. When flushed by traffic it would always return shortly after.

At the point car park, a tired Brambling was feeding and a walk around the point dunes produced several more Brambling, 4 Chiffchaff, a few Goldcrest and a superb Short-eared Owl which I flushed. The dominent species at the point were again Thrushes, overwhelmingly the three species previously mentioned, with no Fieldfare seen.

At this point, late afternoon, I must admit to feeling regret at deciding not to twitch the Radde's at Filey, particularly as news of an Arctic / Two-barred Greenish Warbler reached the pager, followed shortly afterwards by news of a Pallas's Warbler also at Filey!

Early evening, 2 Black Redstart were on the Humber shoreline by the lighthouse and on the return journey back up the peninsula, the Lapland Bunting was resisting all attempts by Barry Spence to mist-net it by post 30, as was a newly discovered Yellow-browed Warbler in the same area.

That evening, I decided to remain in the Spurn area, kipping in the car by Easington Cemetary, with the intention of getting in some early birding next morning whilst awaiting news from Filey.

Next morning, 17th Oct, I was out of the car at first light noting that the sky had cleared.

A walk around the bushes at Sammy's Point produced Thrushes mainly, inc. 1+ Ring Ouzel and a few Fieldfare. 3 Brambling, 1 Chiffchaff, 1m Blackcap and a Jack Snipe were also seen.

News then came through on the pager that the Warbler at Filey was still present and was now considered a definate Two-barred Greenish. This was followed shortly by news of the continuing presence of the Radde's.

That was enough for me, so off i drove.

Arriving at Filey at 11:00hrs, I immediately joined the mass of birders at Arndale Ravine and it was an hour later that i got my first views of the TBG, watching it on+ off for the next 4 hours as it fed high in the canopy. This was really neck-breaking birding, but many good binocular views were had of the bird, noting all the salient plumage features, although the bird did not call during my visit. A very educational bird. Photographically, it was a nightmare for me, and i eventually abandoned attempts in order to simply take in the bird.

Above: Entirely pale lower mandible, supercillium extending to forehead.

Below: The length and thickness of the obvious greater covert wingbar can just about be made out in this photo.

Two-barred Greenish Warbler - Filey, North Yorks - 17th Oct 2006.

At 12:30hrs, news filtered down to the Arndale Ravine that the Radde's Warbler had been mist-netted. A frantic dash to the Top Scrub followed resulting in in-the-hand views of the superb Radde's, one of, if not my favourite warbler. To me, some warblers look less impressive in the hand than in the field (I recall a Booted Warbler at Spurn having this impression on me), but not so the Radde's - every bit as good as in the field. This bird appearing more olive toned to me than past in-the-field views I can recall.

Radde's Warbler - Filey, North Yorks - 17th Oct 2006.