East Coast Bonanza

Friday was a shall I shan’t I go for the Siberian Accentor on Saturday kind of day. I kept changing my mind from go to not go but finally at around seven in the evening decided to go. A quick call to Matt who had been waiting on me confirmed the go. Then it was a bit of a rush to get everything together ready for picking Matt up at 02.30. I managed just short of four hours sleep before the alarm went off then it was a quick bit of toast and juice before heading off to collect Matt. With the motorways quiet, clear and fortunately with no closures for road works we were going through Hull at around six a.m. With YWT volunteers already out directing traffic we arrived in the designated parking field at half past, two hundred and forty miles in four hours, pretty good going. Matt had heroically stayed awake for the whole journey. Then it was a brisk walk to join the queue by the gas terminal. There was low cloud and drizzle and a light south-easterly wind. Hopefully ideal conditions for migrants. Redwing, Siskins and Brambling were heard overhead and a Tawny Owl called from nearby trees. As the skies started to lighten Brambling were seen and a Woodcock flew over a couple of times. It was a little while before the news that we were hoping for was passed along the queue. The bird was showing. The first group was sent in for their five minutes and as it got lighter our turn eventually came. Despite the gloom we had great views as the bird fed almost constantly on the mossy old car park. It was occasionally hassled by Robins and Blackbirds but seemed fairly settled. My first pre-dawn lifer. Then it was time to move on and we headed on back to the car and off on the short drive to Kilnsea. On the way we saw a group of Bean and White-fronted Geese in a roadside field along with many Fieldfare and Redwing. After a quick chat to the volunteer at the car park we set off to explore what was a new area for both of us. Walking along to the Bluebell Cafe area there were loads of Robins and Goldcrests around. On reaching the dunes by the car park we soon found the hoped for Shorelark, only my second ever. Walking along to the Canal Scrape it was more of the same along with waves of thrushes dropping in as they arrived off of the sea. Reaching the scrape another birder said he had heard a Dusky Warbler so we spent a few minutes staking out the bushes before heading for the hide. The hoped for Jack Snipe wasn’t showing but it wasn’t long before Matt saw it come out of the reeds and start to bathe. It then scuttled off into some vegetation where glimpses of it were had as it preened. It was time to move on and we headed further along the road towards the ringing area. Here we saw Siskin and Black Redstart and then had two Short-eared Owls coming in off of the sea. A scan of the Humber mudflats added Brent Geese and Dunlin to the list. On the shore were many more thrushes and there were Goldfinches and Great Tits flitting around. Heading back the way we had come we just missed out on a Dusky Warbler but after some more moving around and searching we finally managed good views of one as it moved in and out of the reeds, the second lifer of the day.While we were looking for it we had great views of a couple of Woodcock, one flying right across in front of us. It was then back to the car for some well-earned food. A few skeins of geese came in from the sea, these were Greylag and White-fronts. After lunch it was off to the church and the Crown and Anchor. A good size group of birders were gathered at the church looking for Firecrest and Pallas’s Warbler. Eventually we managed good views of both. In the pub garden was another Firecrest. Another look at the Humber got us Redshank and Knot but there was no sign of the reported Purple Sandpiper. It was now near to one o’clock and time to head homewards as I had visitors coming in the evening. We stopped of for another look at the Accentor. No queues this time and it was good to see it in proper daylight. We could have done with more time here as there were loads of birds in the hedgerows and trees but we needed to head south. It was another great journey although the A42 being closed meant we ended up coming home along the Fosse Way. All in all a great day. To be honest probably the best day of birding ever for both myself and Matt. It was also good to have seen half-a-dozen other Wiltshire birders. Totals were high fifties for the daylist with two lifers and another year-tick. A big thank you to all the volunteer marshalls with their great management of the twitch.

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4 responses to “East Coast Bonanza

  1. Wow what a lot in a day Malcolm! Truly impressive!!
    Isn’t Spurn wonderful! We love it there.
    Best, Jenny

    • We certainly fitted a lot in and with visitors in the evening I didn’t get to bed until just before midnight

  2. Richard Williams

    What an awesome day! Thank you for the report Malcolm.

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