Sunday, 12 October 2008

East Yorkshire(and the future 1st for Britain) - 12th October 2008

A somewhat frustrating trip was a result of a planned visit to the East Coast. We were hoping to have a really exciting day with target birds as follows: Spurn - Red Backed Shrike, Shore Lark, Yellow browed Warbler. Swine Moor - Pectoral Sandpiper. Tophill Low NR - Red Footed Falcon(subsequently identified as Amur Falcon Falco amurensis which if accepted will be a 1st for Britain), Slavonian Grebe, Red Crested Pochard.

On Arrival at Spurn, we stopped at the Crown and Anchor in search of any unlikely new arrivals in the recent South Westerlies, the best we could get here was at the church, with Redwing, Goldcrest in the bushes and a group of 140+ Tree Sparrow flying over.
At the observatory it was clear almost everything decent had cleared out in the recent clear nights; all that was left was a Jack snipe and Shore Lark. We only had 2 and a half hours on Spurn so we decided to walk to Chalk bank for the Shore Lark, not knowing just how far this was. On Arrival we had already used an hour of our time so we weren't particularly pleased to hear that it hadnt been seen since early morning. As we had walked all that way we thought it was necessary to have a check of the birds on the incoming tide and in amongst the commoner waders (Bar Tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Turnstone, Curlew, Knot, Redshank(as well as several Dark Bellied Brent Geese)) I managed to spot a presumed 1stw Avocet with 11 Oystercatcher. I am not entirely sure, but i think this is a scarce bird at spurn even though they breed at Blacktoft Sands.
Walking back from Chalk bank, I picked up 2 Great Crested Grebe flying south on the sea, 2 Little Egrets on the Humber and several Stonechat. No sign of the Jack Snipe at Canal Scrape sadly
2cy male Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis

Next Stop was suppost to be Swine Moor, but with increasingly dissapearing light and the fact we needed to be leaving by 5.00pm, we headed straight to Tophill Low to the NE of Beverley. On arrival in the Car Park we heard that the Falcon had just been seen flying over the Car Park(this was at 16.00) which was a promising sign, so we headed to the O reservoir which is where they assumed it was joy! 45 minutes of scanning at the res proved fruitless with the only compensation being a distant Slavonian Grebe on the res itself. we wandered back to the car stopping off at various hides on the way just in the hope of catching a glimpse. It was now 5.00 and we had to leave..I wasn't happy! On the drive out of the reserve we passed the entrance path to O res and saw two birders looking very happy. we stopped and asked them, 'Is it showing?', and this was followed by 'yeh, its perched, theres several birders round the corner looking at it now!' I suddenly turned into Usain Bolt! sprinting to O res with camera, scope and binocs. It was there! I couldnt beleive it - a fabulous 1st Summer Male perched with more than enough light to get all the distinguishing features. Shame that Cameras dont have the same light capabilities as humans...hence the picture quality ;)
On the evening of the 18th Octover, I was informed that the bird I saw has been reidentified as an Amur Falcon. I was filled with mixed emotions as 1. I had never heard of this species before. 2. I was aware it was a 1st for britain and 3. I was a little disapointed that I was not able to tick red foot :)
[Please Note] I will omit this tick in due course if the bird is not accepted...

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Rossall Point - 4th October 2008

Montage of 2 Juvenille Little Gulls at Rossall Point

A sea watch at Rossall Point is somewhat of a rarity for me, as I am quite loyal to Starr Gate. With 29mph SSW winds, I was hoping for my first Leach's Petrel. Unfortunately the birding was very dissapointing:
Rossall Point: 2 juvenille Little Gull, 3 Kittiwake, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Sandwich Tern, 15 Sanderling, c150 Turnstone, 5 Cormorant, Pied Wagtail

Fleetwood Marine Lakes: 320+ Turnstone, 73 Sanderling, 11 Redshank, 2 Cormorant