Started in Bridlington harbour. Got my best ever views of Purple sandpiper. Also Turnstone and Barnacle goose in harbour, Rock pipit on the harbour wall and Redshank and Knot feeding on the beach. Also saw a Great Black Backed Gull eat a crab whole. It probably also ate the hopes and dreams of nearby children.
I first saw the Barnacle Goose in Bridlington Harbour on the 7th Feb this year, though it was mentioned here as far back as January 2009. I’d nick it if I had somewhere to keep it.
An early start to the day meant a nice early arrival at spurn despite the weather being grey, drizzly and cold. On the road to the point found a Great Grey Shrike sitting on a bush at the side of the road. Cracking view before it flew off north and a lifer for me. A walk around the point found 3 Redpoll (another lifer), and a buttload of thrushes (mainly Fieldfare with large flocks of Blackbird coming in off the sea). One odd sight was that of a fawn-coloured male Blackbird. Took a while to properly ID but was obvious with it’s bright yellow beak and uniformly coloured coat.
This website has a picture of a virtually identical Blackbird for those of us with no imagination.
Also found were some Collared Earth Stars. Drove back down the road to find Wheatear and Woodcock. Another walk round the point found us Black Redstart (yet another lifer) with Gannet and Common Scoter over the sea. James pocketed a few shark eggs (like a dirty thief).
Picture of the egg cases I found:
After reading the SharkTrust egg case website, I’m pretty sure I have only two species represented here. The large case on the right is that of a skate species, either Spotted Ray or Undulate Ray, but I need to rehydrate it so that I can measure it properly. I assumed that the other four cases were all of the Lesser Spotted Catshark, but the identification key states that, excluding tendrils, the length of the case should be around 40mm, which all of these exceed even when dry. This seems to indicate that they may well be egg cases of Nursehound, Scyliorhinus stellaris. I really need to soak them all first though to be sure.
As we come up the bank we stumbled upon a second Great Grey Shrike sat on top of some buckthorn right in front of us. Gave some nice views before flying off. Also flushed a Woodcock near an old bunker filled with bat droppings. A Waxwing sshringed above us a couple of times before finding a nice view of one on a nearby telephone wire. It then dropped into a bush to allow for a few poor photos. (My only lifer of the day, though seeing Shrikes is always life-affirming)
A small stop off at Sammy’s point produced a Peregrine (missed by me), several waders and a particularly late Willow Warbler. A stop off at Paull proved fruitless besides standard waders so we retired early for stew and Wayne’s World.
Excellent stew by the way.
The previous days report of cattle egret at Sunk Island spurred on another early morning. Sadly the desolate and shocking landscape of Sunk Island forced us to give up our search rather quickly. I then received some news of possible work, temporarily postponing the adventuring for the morning. After then being rejected outright by strangers we set off again at midday.
Popping into North Cave Wetlands provided us with the usual Crested Plover, Redshank and a bonanza of six gull species. Best gull easily being the Mediterranean Gull on the main lake. My first self-found ‘weird’ gull. A pair of wigeon were also present on the far lake and I watched a Stoat chase a Rabbit that chased a Great Black Blacked Gull. An egg sandwich was eaten.
After that a walk around the often overlooked North Cliffe Wood provided some nice tit flocks, including a Marsh/Willow tit, Treecreeper and a possible Nuthatch. Woodcock were flushed from some undergrowth amongst a group of Redwings and a Pheasant gave me a small seizure. On the way out a Greater Spotted Woodpecker gave its best crossbill impression.
We then made for a brief look at Welton Waters/Brough Airfield where a trio of Short Eared Owls showed off. A Treecreeper was also found.
The evening consisted of veggie burgers and Jurassic park II – The Lost World.
After further faffing about with jobs we made for Blacktoft Sands. On the way a spectacular number of gulls at a rubbish tip along the motorway may have inspired a future adventure.
Blacktoft was exceptionally quiet, almost bordering on dull. This was quickly remedied by a female/immature (I hate the phrase ringtail) Hen Harrier giving me 4 lifers for the adventure. It made several appearances throughout the day and was sexy as fuck.
Luckily my dear friend Steve was on hand to obtain these stunning frames of footage, which, if nothing else, prove that we saw one. Sit back and enjoy.
After a few hours some Marsh Harrier finally made an appearance and a female Kestrel hunted very close to the hides. Some large skeins of Pink-footed Geese also passed over head.
Over the 3 and a bit days 5 different raptor species were seen (Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and Hen Harrier) along with two pseudo raptors (Short-eared Owl and Great Grey Shrike).
Pictures will be added shortly.