Early 'Autumn' at Spurn

I’ve not been out much with the camera just lately but I had a cracking trip out to Spurn this morning.

First stop was Canal Scrape in the hope of a close-up wood sandpiper. The first bird to show was a nice yellow wagtail and then along came a wood sand. It stayed on the opposite side of the bank for about 5 minutes and then disappeared. Apart from a few hirundines swooping for a drink, there wasny a lot more activity

I made my way to Kilnsea Wetlands and it was quite busy with waders here. A nice wood sandpiper as well as a few dunlin and a little stint were all on view. The recently reported white-rumped sandpiper was on show for most of the time I was there albeit always distant.

There were some juvenile little ringed plovers close to the hide as well as a few wagtails.Just as it was quietening down, news of some breeding marsh warblers came on the RBA feed. It would appear that a pair had bred nearby and both adults were also present.

I had a quick move and sure enough there was plenty of activity as the adult birds were frenetically feeding the young.

Other than that, there wasnt a great deal about, however given the good views of the waders and marsh warblers, I was more than happy.

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Dawn Chorus

Given that today was International Dawn Chorus Day, I thought I’d pay homage to the most revered of Spring songsters the nightingale.

There are no nesting sites for nightingale in East Yorkshire so it was a trip into Lincolnshire to an established breeding site right on the northern boundary of its range. Years ago there were numerous singing males and last year there were eventually 3 and this year there is only one.

I was up at half four to be greeted by our pre-dawn chorus of blackbirds and a distant song thrush and I was out of the door just after 5.

I arrived on site at about 6.15 and was surprised to see about 20 cars there already. No doubt quite a few people had the same idea.

On the way to the area where the nightingale had been frequenting there was an almost deafening sound of black-headed gulls, then some common migrants including wren, willow warbler, chiff-chaff, robin, blackcap and garden warbler, above all of this I could hear the solitary nightingale booming out his song.

At first the light was very poor and it was a special moment to just listen to the wonderful tunes.

Gradually the light lifted to allow some better photographs.

Not a stunning looking bird by any standards, however one of the highlights pf spring. Whilst it was a joy to behold, the visit was somewhat tinged with sadness knowing that the likelihood of a return to the once good numbers is pretty slim and in reality this bird will probably be one of the last at this site

Tophill Low

I didn’t join Tophill Low last year but I made the trip up there a few weeks ago and I was very glad I did.

It has changed considerably since I was last there and the access is much better controlled and the walk to the south marshes has been much improved.

The new photography hide on south marsh is brilliant, you can get right down to water level making for a great photographic opportunity. The birds I saw on my first few trips have been mostly common ones (except for the very smart channel wagtail near D reservoir) but the hide set up has allowed me to get some photos I have been very pleased with.

No doubt as the summer goes on this hide will come into its own as the water levels drop and wader passage picks up.

For now here are a few shots taken from my most recent visits.