Champions of the Flyway!

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Spurn, Nov '21

Short-eared Owl - amazing views on many days

After our hugely enjoyable and successful week's guiding there in late October (see here), we returned to Spurn for another five day stint soon after - Rich again with a week-long group, and I with a series of five Birding Discovery Days, for different clients (a maximum of four) each day.
Whooper Swan - the quintessential late autumn migrant wonderbird

Planned (and fully booked) for the same time last year (but beaten by plague restrictions at the last minute), this became our first YCN November adventure at what is arguably the UK mainland's premier Bird Observatory - and what a memorable week it was.
Woodcock - the other quintessential late autumn migrant wonderbird

There are many advantageous factors involved when guiding at Spurn, but a couple of the most important ones are: how every day is genuinely unique - and always productive - depending on conditions, and how great it is to be able to take in the key locations on foot, without having to drive.
One of thousands of Blackbirds spirlling up into the ether at dusk, beginning the next stage of their migrations

With the invaluable help and assistance of various friendly locals, we're able to maximise every hour of daylight to get the most out of all the nearby sites and habitats, which is an essential part of my Birding Discovery Days generally - as well as great birding, a unique day in the field and a lot of skill-sharing, they provide an insider's crash course into the places involved. So whether it's Spurn, Flamborough, Filey or any other of our chosen locations on the Yorkshire coast, our clients leave with 'the knowledge' of exactly where to go, when, why and how.
The most underrated of scarcities - a stunning Siberian Chiffchaff (the first bird I found after breakfast one morning as I walked out of the Obs...)

We had wildly different conditions every day - from becalmed and mild, to bone-chilling and blustery, to stormy and wet, to sunny and clear - and, as mentioned, the real beauty of the place is how every day provided a unique migration experience. Regarding those visceral, first-hand migration memories, there are too many instances to list here, but it's worth pointing out that fortune favours the brave: the days that looked (and felt!) most challenging on the forecasts often provided the most thrilling birding experiences.
Whoopers in the last of the light over Kilnsea Wetlands

My point? There is no such thing as a 'normal', generic day on our Birding Discovery Days at Spurn - each is unique, and each is always full of the wonders of migration.
Bramblings - fantastic numbers arrived during the week, including many in off the sea (as with this flock)

If you'd like to join me in autumn '22, our dates are fresh up on the website - book here and I look forward to seeing you!
Woodcock, Curlew, incoming Redwings
Siskin, Long-eared Owl and Brambling - all in off the North Sea
Dusky Warbler, which turned up in the net as Paul was giving our group a ringing demo!
Short-eared Owl, Snow Bunting
Brent Geese, including the local celebrity blonde bombshell
Spotted Redshank at Kilnsea wetlands