Monday, September 11, 2017

Spurn Migfest 2017

Glad to be back home after another brilliant Spurn Migfest weekend. So many stories to tell but in short - great birding, good time with friends old and new, fantastic talks (hope mine was good too?), incredible young birders and lots of smiling faces. Stellar job, as always, by Spurn Bird Observatory team, BTO, RSPB, Migfest volunteers, Westmere Farm - congratulations!
For me, personally, it was a charged weekend. Last time I was here, in 2015, I spent most of my time with Martin. Since then also Andy had passed away and the gap in the Spurn heart seems to have increased even more. But Migfest team, led by chairman Rob Adams, certainly made this weekend so good for me - thank you!
Birding was very good - beyond weather-expectations. On Saturday morning vismig was brilliant with huge numbers of Meadow Pipits, hirundines and Tree Sparrows going through. I heard one Richard's Pipit call but nothing more than that. Other vismig and seawtching highlights were Roseate Tern (sweet call! First time I hear it), several Short-eared Owls and two Bonxies.

Short-eared Owl

Tree Sparrows

Great Spotted Woodpecker working the fence poles by Numpties. Yummy grubs!

Then I lead a walk with Terry. Five minutes after starting news broke of the headline bird of Migfest - Long-billed Dowitcher at Corner Pond / Holderness Fields. Brilliantly picked up on call by Paul - legend! We did make the group run a bit; completely ignored a cracking juv Little Stint en route. By the time we got there quite a crowd had already assembled. Great bird - distant views though.

Long-billed Dowitcher

Digiscoping results were not much better

Dowitwichers (copyright Jonnie Fisk)

The great Darren Woodhead in action. That's how far the bird was

After a few minutes of admiring this beauty of a shorebird, we moved on to look for the Wryneck at the top of Beacon Lane. We saw the bird immediately as it was feeding on aphids. As I was leading I spent no time on photography, hence the poor photo. Others got some great photos and footage of this cooperative bird.

Then a few minutes of seawatching produced Little Gull and 2 Arctic Skuas. Not a bad walk... And look at this daily summary, complete with a swallow:

Enjoyed this brilliant Comma sunning itself

On Sunday morning I helped with ringing at Church Fields. Pretty quiet but nice to see the Caspian Gull fly over, first seen over Numpties a few minutes before. This female Migrant Hawker was sweet:

Perhaps my best photo of the weekend was taken on Friday morning near Kings Lynn - while waiting at a meeting point to swap cars this Muntjac sped across a cut wheat field in the warm morning sun. Stunner. 

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