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May 2017 Sightings

23rd May 2017 - Tuesday

A male Red-crested Pochard is on canal scrape (6th record for Spurn).

Red-crested Pochard. J. onifisk.

Red-crested Pochard. J. onifisk.

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22nd May 2017 - Monday

A hazy sunny day feeling warm with a F1-3 SE wind.
Migration Watches: 0530-1200, 1315-1500.

A quiet day overall for birds on the move south and in the bushes, but the 1st Spoonbill of the year was present and showing well on Kilnsea wetlands.

Migrant numbers again low with 2 Cuckoo, 1 White Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 1 Black Redstart at the Warren, 1 Ring Ouzel still at the Warren, 1 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher.

Viz-migging produced only 22 Oystercatcher out east, 1 Swift, 2 Flava Wagtail, 7 Sand Martin, 278 Swallow, 88 House Martin, 11 Goldfinch and 26 Linnet.
Over the equally quiet sea were 2 Eider, 11 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 Fulmar, 25 Gannet, 22 Kittiwake and 50 Auk sp.

Other birds of note were the 116 Brent Geese, 1 Wigeon, 3 Tufted Duck on the Humber, 3 Grey Partridge, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Lapwing, 2 Curlew Sandpiper Humber, 1 Greenshank Point, 1 Whimbrel, and Short-eared Owl.

Ringing: 1 Wren, 1 Redwing, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Linnet (pulli).

Spoonbill. Dave Tucker.

Spoonbill. Dave Tucker.

Spoonbill. John Hewitt..

Spoonbill. John Hewitt..

Ring Ouzel. John Hewitt.

Ring Ouzel. John Hewitt.

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20th May 2017 - Saturday

Bright start with showers in the late afternoon with a F2 SW wind.
Migration Watches: 0530-1540.

Overnight recording to see what species are passing overhead unseen and generally unheard has recently become quite popular and a useful way of recording what happens while most of us are asleep. In particular Tim Jones has been pushing this interesting concept at the Observatory, and has been getting some amazing results which no doubt will get a proper write up in the near future.
Recordings from last night included Little Grebe, Spotted Redshank and Water Rail along with the usual species like Oystercatcher and the resident amorous Foxes which make for fascinating listening!

Interest in the morning at the Warren came in the form of an apparent Iberian Chiffchaff trapped and ringed. Potentially the 3rd this spring, a loose feather was obtained, but unfortunately no calls were heard. Features seemed consistent with this species, but it seems we may have to rely on DNA this time.

It was a great day for viz-migging, with the 4th Red-rumped Swallow of the spring south late morning.
Also on the move today were a nice diverse selection of species so late in the month with 5 Marsh Harrier, 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Hobby, 1 Little-ringed Plover, 27 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 24 Curlew all out east (which should be a big feature of the next week or so as the high arctic waders head off to breed), 6 Swift, 22 Sand Martin, 841 Swallow, 180 House Martin, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Flava, 20 Jackdaw, 2 Rook, 4 Carrion Crow, 9 Chaffinch, 18 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 18 Linnet and 3 Corn Bunting.

Migrants numbers were 8 Whimbrel, 1 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ring Ouzel, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 2 Reed Warbler, 10 Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler and 4 Spotted Flycatcher.
On the move over a generally quiet sea were 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Common Scoter, 6 Eider, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Fulmar, 11 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 1 Common Tern and 7 Auk sp.

Other interesting sightings were 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Wigeon and 50 Common Scoter on the Humber.


Ringing: 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 (Iberian) Chiffchaff, 1 Linnet (pulli).

Red-rumped Swallow. Tim Jones.

Red-rumped Swallow. Tim Jones.

Red-rumped Swallow. Scott Reid.

Red-rumped Swallow. Scott Reid.

Turtle Dove. Tim Jones.

Turtle Dove. Tim Jones.

Little-ringed Plover. Tim Jones.

Little-ringed Plover. Tim Jones.

Observers at 'Numpties watchpoint' at the Warren, 'Viz-migging', counting anything that is on move especailly what is going south, This year has not been a classic with a lack of SW winds, but has still produced a few highlights and is becoming ever more

Observers at 'Numpties watchpoint' at the Warren, 'Viz-migging', counting anything that is on move especailly what is going south, This year has not been a classic with a lack of SW winds, but has still produced a few highlights and is becoming ever more

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19th May 2017 - Friday

Overcast with rain most of the day and a F2-1 N-SE wind.
Migration Watches: 0600-1100, 1430-1630.

Quiet again migrant wise due to the weather with only 2 Cuckoo, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 1 Redstart, 1 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and 3 Spotted Flycatcher of note.

Over the sea were 3 Grey Heron, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 171 Common Scoter, 1 Red-throated Diver, 3 Fulmar, 94 Gannet, 1 Great-crested Grebe, 4 Sandwich Tern, 11 Guillemot and 1 Puffin.

Other birds of note were the 3 Wigeon 1 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Golden Plover Kilnsea wetland, immature male Hen Harrier, 1 Barn Owl and 2 Short-eared Owl.

Ringing: Nil.

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18th May 2017 - Thursday

Bright, sunny start and warm with a F2-1 WNW wind.
Migration Watches: 0600-1630.

One of the projects that the Observatory takes a lead on (along with partners the RSPB and YWT), is the protection of Little Terns at Beacon ponds. We employ 2 wardens to protect this beach nesting species in a challenging and busy area which has popular caravan sites either side, is popular with dog walkers from nearby Easington, Foxes are a regular problem and suffers from motorbikes disturbance. Today staff from the RSPB undertook the instillation of the electric fencing which will hopefully keep all these factors at bay. If visiting the colony please view only from Long bank, which is accessed from Kilnsea wetlands carpark.

On the move today were 5 Cormorant, 2 Gannet, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard, 4 Whimbrel out east, 25 Black-headed Gull, 2 Turtle Dove, 3 Swift, 2 Skylark, 48 Sand Martin, 795 Swallow, 270 House Martin, 6 Flava, 18 Jackdaw, 5 Rook, 12 Carrion Crow, 1 Chaffinch, 5 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and 39 Linnet.

Migrants numbers were 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Ring Ouzel, 1 Wheatear, 9 Reed Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher.

Other interesting sightings were 3 Barnacle Geese, which are maybe the birds that flew out east a few days ago?, 4 Tufted Duck, 7 Common Scoter, 2 Kittiwake and 1 Short eared Owl.


Ringing: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 House Sparrow.

Red Kite. John Hewitt.

Red Kite. John Hewitt.

Arctic waders pre-migration. Tim Jones.

Arctic waders pre-migration. Tim Jones.

Electric fence installation.

Electric fence installation.

Little Tern breeding habitat. Also loved by humans!

Little Tern breeding habitat. Also loved by humans!

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17th May 2017 - Wednesday

Showers early morning, but rain from late morning with a light variable wind.
Migration Watches: 0600-1130.

Some movement early on before the rain set in for the day with 24 Sand Martin, 572 Swallow, 152 House Martin, 5 Flava Wagtail, 3 Alba Wagtail, 1 Greenfinch, 32 Goldfinch and 23 Linnet.

Migrant wise little was seen with only 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Ring Ouzel and 1 Spotted Flycatcher of note.
Over the sea were 53 Common Scoter, 1 Cormorant, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Fulmar, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 25 Kittiwake, 5 Arctic Tern out east and 2 Sandwich Tern.

Other birds of note were the 1 Mediterranean Gull on Kilnsea wetlands,
Ringing: Nil.

Shelduck. Tim Jones.

Shelduck. Tim Jones.

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16th May 2017 - Tuesday

Bright and sunny start clouding over with rain showers and a F3-2 SW wind.
Migration Watches: 0600-1200, 1340-1700, 1800-1900.

The full breeding bird survey is well under way and already getting some interesting results in areas which generally have little coverage.

A fine ‘green’ Golden Oriole flew south in the morning past numpties watchpoint. A great viz-mig bird and a bit of a Spurn speciality on the east coast, being almost annual, with 2-3 each spring. Autumn records though are almost unheard of, being much rarer in that period.
Also on the move were 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby, 1 Whimbrel and 2 Curlew out east, 7 Swift, 16 Sand Martin, 620 Swallow, 73 House Martin, 8 Flava, 3 Jackdaw, 8 Carrion Crow, 9 Chaffinch, 23 Goldfinch and 42 Linnet.

Migrants were 1 Little Stint, 2 Cuckoo, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 7 Wheatear, 3 Song Thrush, 14 Sedge Warbler with 5 holding territories along the peninsula for the last 2 weeks, which is very unusual, 63 Whitethroat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and the male Snow Bunting still at Middle camp.

Other interesting sightings were 92 Brent Geese, 2 Wigeon, 1 Eider and 4 Common Scoter on the Humber, 25 Tundra Ringed Plover, 190 Sanderling Chalk bank, 41 Turnstone, 2 Little Owl on Peter lane, a singing Goldcrest in Easington, 1 Corn Bunting and 5 Yellowhammer.


Ringing: 9 BlueTit (pulli).

White Wagtail. Richard Willison.

White Wagtail. Richard Willison.

Snow Bunting. Martin Standley.

Snow Bunting. Martin Standley.

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