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December 2012 Sightings

31st December 2012 - Monday

2012 finished on a wet and windy day and the year list finished on 248 in the whole area, (we have had to drop the Stone Curlew in May as we’ve not received a description). There were no new birds for the Spurn area but Roller was new for the old Observatory recording area. It has been another good year with some very impressive passage days and falls in the migration periods.


Sea-watch 08.30-10.00. Very windy force 6-4 W wind, rain by mid-morning making it a wash out day.
Over the sea were 26 Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, the 3 White-fronted Geese and 12 Greylags were at Kilnsea Wetlands, the 2 Long-tailed Ducks and 6 Goldeneye were still on Beacon Ponds and a Jack Snipe and 2 Common Snipe were in the saltmarsh.

30th December 2012 - Sunday

Sea-watch 08.30-10.30. Mainly cloudy with the odd sunny spell with a strong gusty force 5 W wind.
Some more activity over the sea included a White-fronted Goose south, 5 Teal, 2 Common Scoter, 32 Red-throated Diver, 1 Fulmar, 3 Knot, 5 Redshank, 3 Kittiwake, and 20 auk sp.
The Long-tailed Duck at Beacon Ponds had been joined by a second bird, also the 3 White-fronted Geese and 12 Greylag Geese were still at Kilnsea Wetlands, a Little Egret was on the Borrow Pit, a Water Rail on Church Field Pond, a Jack Snipe in the saltmarsh and 3 Waxwings and a Song Thrush at Kew.

29th December 2012 - Saturday

Sea-watches 08.30-13.00, 13.30-15.00. Strong winds at dawn subsided then with heavy rain with little wind.
Most attention was again paid to the sea, 5 Shelduck, 37 Teal, 2 Eider, 6 Common Scoter, 10 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Knot, 6 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit.
The only other birds of note seen were a Little Egret, a Redwing and a Song Thrush.

28th December 2012 - Friday

Sea-watch 08.30-12.30. Cloudy with frequent showers in a force 4 NW wind.
Some light offshore passage included 1 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 2 Eider, 17 Common Scoter, 7 Goldeneye, 9 Red-throated Diver, a ‘blue’ Fulmar, 3 Gannet, 44 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 1 Kittiwake. 3 Waxwings flew south, a peregrine was over the Humber and 2 Fieldfare came in off the sea.

27th December 2012 - Thursday

Sea-watch 09.15-11.00. Some sunny spells in the morning, clouding over by mid-day and rain in the afternoon, a force 2-3 W-NW-NE wind.
Over the sea were 4 Brent Geese, 2 Velvet Scoter, 22 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 211 Herring Gull and 4 Waxwings flew south over the land. 14 Pink-footed Geese flew north-west and down were 3 White-fronted Geese, 180 Wigeon, 16 Common Scoter, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Snipe, 2 Greenshank, a Short-eared Owl and 3 Meadow Pipit.

wintering Greenshank. Ian Smith

wintering Greenshank. Ian Smith

24th December 2012 - Christmas Eve to Boxing Day (Monday to Wednesday}

The 3 White fronted Geese and the Barnacle Goose were seen all 3 days and the Long-tailed Duck was seen again at the Wetlands on 26th, up to 6 Goldeneyes, 103 Wigeon and 2 Greenshanks were at Beacon Ponds. 4 Waxwings flew north on 24th, 5 south on 25th and 4 present on 26th. Other birds on the move included 2 Red-throated Diver and 48 Wigeon on 24th, 3 Red-throated Diver on 25th, then on 26th – 2 Pale-bellied Brents, 2 Teal, 1 Eider, 32 Red-throated Divers, 4 Gannets, 1 Cormorant, 14 Shag, 205 Herring Gull, and 2 auk sp.

23rd December 2012 - Sunday

Seawatch 13.30-1600. Cloudy with occasional sunny spells, a force 5 SW wind.
Another influx of Waxwings saw a minimum of 23 present, other migrants included a Woodcock, a Jack Snipe, a Skylark, 22 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing.
Birds on the move included 9 Red-throated Diver, 8 Common Scoter, 3 Goldeneye, 3 Eider, 3 Lapwing, 222 Herring Gull, 35 Great B.B.Gull, 5 auk sp, 1 Guillemot.
Other birds seen included the 3 White-fronted Geese and 160 Wigeon on Kilnsea Wetlands, 4 Goldeneye and 4 Little Grebe at Beacon Ponds, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, the Barnacle Goose and 12 Greylags in the Triangle.

22nd December 2012 - Saturday

Sea-watch 08.50-10.45. Cold, grey and rain all day with a fresh force 3-4 SE wind.
The 3 Eurasian White-fronted Geese were by the listening dish and 12 Greylags and the Barnacle Goose were in the Triangle with 4 Teal and a Woodcock. 400 Brents with 1 pale-bellied, 60 Wigeon, 2 Little Egrets and a Redwing were at Kilnsea Wetlands. The only birds seen over the sea were 11 Teal, 2 Red-throated Diver and a Gannet.

21st December 2012 - Friday

Sea-watch 08.15-10.45. Dull and cloudy with light rain or drizzle for most of the day, a force 2 W wind.
A much better day with 3 White-fronted Geese in the Triangle with the Barnacle Goose, 12 Greylag Geese, and 3 Teal. There was an also an influx of 90 Blackbirds with 60 at the Point, other migrants included a Water Rail at the Point, 4 Fieldfare, 6 Song Thrush, 12 Redwing, 2 Goldcrest and a Linnet.
Over the sea were 48 Wigeon, 105 Teal, 2 Mallard, 3 Eider, 2 Goldeneye, 1 Goosaander, a Gannet, 6 Red-throated Diver, 18 Herring Gull.

Eurasian White-fronted Goose. Rob Adams

Eurasian White-fronted Goose. Rob Adams

20th December 2012 - Thursday

Sea-watch 08.00-10.30. Near gale force SE winds and rain all day.
A poor day due to the weather, the only birds noted were 2 Wigeon, 1 Common Scoter, 3 Eider, a Goldenye, 7 Gannet, 1 Kittiwake and a Guillemot all south; a Little Egret at Kilnsea Wetlands and a Waxwing and a Fieldfare in the Triangle.

19th December 2012 - Wednesday

Migration/sea-watch 08.30-15.00. Cloudy day with cool force 2-3 SE wind
It was a good day for ringing, a Waxwing caught at Kew mid-morning and became the 50th caught at the Obs this year and was followed by another 13 ringed in the afternoon! A controlled Waxwing from a couple of days ago had been ringed in Aberdeen on 30th November. A Merlin was controlled at the Warren in the morning and proved to be one ringed there in the spring, proving that we get returning wintering birds; and amazingly a young Shag was found in the duck trap and became the 114th species ringed this year.
Birds of note seen today included the Barnacle Goose, Long-tailed Duck and Greenshank on Kilnsea Wetlands, 1 Little Egret, 1 Peregrine, 1 Fieldfare and a Rock Pipit and the Waxwing total for the day was 34.

Shag, also showing the wound the bird inflcted on Adam. Andy Roadhouse

Shag, also showing the wound the bird inflcted on Adam. Andy Roadhouse

adult female Merlin, this bird also inflicted a few cuts on Adam. Adam Hutt

adult female Merlin, this bird also inflicted a few cuts on Adam. Adam Hutt

18th December 2012 - Tuesday

Migration/sea-watch 08.15-13.30. A mild day with morning sunshine giving way to an overcast dull afternoon with light NW-N winds.
A Jack Snipe trapped on Clubley’s became the 113th species ringed this year along with another 5 Waxwings ringed, meaning there have been more Waxwings ringed this year than since the Observatory was formed in 1946! Also 22 Waxwings flew NW, 24 flew south and 2 were at Kew, also moving south were 1 Pink-footed Goose, 13 Red-throated Diver, 1 Shag, 7 Skylark, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and a Lapland Bunting.
Other birds included 30 Wigeon, 2 Teal, the Long-tailed Duck, a Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Egret, 1 Peregrine, 5 Snipe, a Woodcock, 2 Rock Pipit, 3 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush.

Fieldfare. Ian Smith

Fieldfare. Ian Smith

Jack Snipe. Adam Hutt

Jack Snipe. Adam Hutt

17th December 2012 - Monday

Migration/Sea-watch 08.15-13.00. Sunny spells and cloudy periods in a light force 1-2 SW wind.
Some more light passage included 2 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Eider, 120 Common Scoter, 119 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Gannet, 3 Cormorant, 3 Shag, 3 auk sp, 3 Razorbill, 2 Skylark, 1 Rock Pipit, 29 Waxwing, 3 Goldfinch and 6 Siskin.
Other birds included the Barnacle Goose, 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and the Long-tailed Duck still at Kilnsea Wetlands, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Redwing.

Long-tailed Duck. Ian Smith

Long-tailed Duck. Ian Smith

adult male Waxwing. Ian Smith

adult male Waxwing. Ian Smith

young male Waxwing

young male Waxwing

young female Waxwing

young female Waxwing

16th December 2012 - Sunday

Sea-watch 08.15-10.30. Bright and sunny with a force 1-2 SW wind.
A Kilnsea Wetlands/Beacon Ponds there were 12 Greylag Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose, 4 Pale-bellied Brents, 53 Wigeon, the Long-tailed Duck, 5 Goldeneye and 2 Greenshank.
On the move south were 6 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 2 Eider, 7 Common Scoter, 56 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill and 10 Waxwing.
Other birds included 2 Woodcock, a Redwing and a Snow Bunting.

15th December 2012 - Saturday

Sea-watch 08.15-11.15, 13.30-16.00. Mostly sunny with cloud building by the afternoon in a stiff force 4 W wind. The sea washed over the road during the night closing the road all day.
Most activity over the sea, the highlight being a Red-necked Grebe flying north, also a Long-tailed Duck north (and 1 still on Kilnsea Wetlands) and a Great Northern Diver south. Other birds over the sea included 1 Pale-bellied Brent, 8 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 1 Pintail, 10 Eider, 11 Common Scoter, 1 Goldeneye, 105 Red-throated Diver, 6 Gannet, 30 Herring Gull, 20 auk sp, 1 Guillemot, 13 Goldfinch and 7 Siskin.
Other birds present were 11 Greylag Geese, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Woodcock, 2 Greenshank, and 4 Waxwing.

14th December 2012 - Friday

Sea-watch 08.15-11.15. Cloudy with heavy rain from mid-day, a strong 5+ SE wind.
Some light passage offshore included 6 Shelduck, 1 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck, 6 Eider, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Shag, 4 Knot, 23 Dunlin, and 1 Turnstone.
Other birds included 7 Greylag Geese, 4 Snipe, 1 Woodcock, 2 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush and 3 Redwings.

13th December 2012 - Thursday

Sea-watch 08.00-10.45. A crisp bright sunny day with a heavy overnight frost and a light force 1 SW-SE wind.
There was some light passage which included 9 Pink-footed Geese, 5 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 1 Eider, 163 Common Scoter, 3 Goldeneye, 4 Goosander, 39 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 10 Cormorant, 84 Herring Gull, 2 Guillemot, 17 Waxwing and 1 Goldfinch.
12 Greylag Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose were still on Kilnsea Wetlands and other birds seen included 22 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, a Blackcap and a Goldcrest.

Fieldfare. Ian Smith

Fieldfare. Ian Smith

12th December 2012 - Wednesday

Two short sea-watching spells produced little. Heavy overnight frost remained all day, sunny spells and a light W wind.
Moving south were a White-fronted Goose, 3 Waxwings (+2 blogging) and 25 Fieldfare. Other birds seen included 1 Pink-footed Goose, 12 Greylag Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose and the Long-tailed Duck at Kilnsea Wetlands an 14 Redwing in the Triangle.

11th December 2012 - Tuesday

No sea-watch and generally a very quiet day. Sunny spells in the morning with fog in the afternoon which cleared just before dusk, a cold force 1 SW-NW wind.
The Long-tailed Duck was still on Kilnsea Wetlands along with a Pink-footed, 12 Greylag and a Barnacle Goose, other birds seen included 3 Wigeon, a Snipe, 2 Skylark south, a Waxwing at Kew, a Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 3 Redwing and 4 Long-tailed Tit.

10th December 2012 - Monday

Sea-watch 08.30-10.00, 13.10-14.15. Occasional wintry showers in a stiff force 3-5 N wind.
A flock of 25 Waxwings at Kew kept the warden busy who managed to trap and ring 19 of them, the largest ever catch at Spurn, in fact only 35 ever trapped at Spurn prior to this year.
On the move were 4 Whooper Swan, 7 Teal, 3 Eider, 6 Common Scoter, 41 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 6 Gannet, 22 Kittiwake, 9 auk sp, 13 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill.
Other birds seen included the Barnacle Goose and Long-tailed Duck still at Kilnsea Wetlands along with a Pink-footed Goose, 12 Greylag Geese, 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese. 6 Goldeneye on Beacon Ponds and a Water Rail on Canal Scrape.

9th December 2012 - Sunday

Sea-watch 06.55-12.00. Light showers petered out by mid-morning in a strong force 4 NW wind and remained cloudy.
A flock of 23 Waxwings blogging about was the only real interest during the day, the only other birds of note were 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 4 Eider, 70 Red-throated Diver, 3 Woodcock, 218 Herring Gull south, 2 Fieldfare, 1 Blackcap, 2 Siskin and 2 Snow Bunting.

Snow Bunting. Ian Smith

Snow Bunting. Ian Smith

8th December 2012 - Saturday

Migration/sea-watch 07.45-09.30, 14.25-15.45. A nice bright sunny start clouding over with light drizzle by late afternoon, a force 1 NW- 2 W wind.
26 Waxwings flew south and another 28 were at Long Bank, other migrants included 2 Jack Snipe, 120 Fieldfare, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Bullfinch and a Snow Bunting.
Over the sea were 23 Pink-footed Geese, 4 Tufted Duck, 3 Eider, 212 Common Scoter, 26 Red-throated Diver, 1 Gannet, 1 Shag. Also the Long-tailed Duck was still at Kilnsea Wetlands as were a Pink-footed Goose, a Barnacle Goose, 129 Wigeon, 6 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Greenshank.

more Waxwings. Ian Smith

more Waxwings. Ian Smith

7th December 2012 - Friday

Sea-watch 07.55-11.00. Heavy showers on and off all day in cool force 4-1 NW-N wind.
4 Little Auks flying north over the sea were todays highlight, while also seen over the sea were 1 Wigeon, 13 Teal, 7 Eider, 6 Common Scoter, 4 Goldeneye, 25 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Fulmar, 10 Gannet, 6 Kittiwake, 16 auk sp, 17 Guillemot, 1 Puffin. The only other birds seen were 3 Woodock, a Short-eared Owl, 2 Redwing and 2 Snow Bunting.

6th December 2012 - Thursday

Sea-watch 07.45-10.00. A cold raw day with overnight ice and a light covering of snow, a bright start clouded over by late morning and a strengthening force 2-5/6 SW wind.
The 2 Waxwings were still at Kew, a Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush and 2 Snow Buntings at the Point were the only other migrants seen. Over the sea were 2 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 7 Common Scoter, 4 Goldeneye, 48 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Shag, 1 Bonxie, 113 Herring Gull, 3 Kittiwake, 6 auk sp, 7 Guillemot.

5th December 2012 - Wednesday

Sea-watch 07.45-10.30. Light snow showers on and off all day and not very warm with a force 2 NW wind.
2 Waxwings were at Kew all day and were both trapped and ringed the only other birds seen were 12 Greylag Geese and the Barnacle Goose at Kilnsea Wetlands, a female Long-tailed Duck, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Goldeneye, 23 Red-throated Diver, 1 Manx Shearwater all over the sea and 3 Woodcocks along the peninsula.

4th December 2012 - Tuesday

Migration/Sea-watch 07.45-10.00, 14.00-15.30. Bright and sunny start clouding over later in a cool force 3 WNW wind.
The Long-tailed Duck and Barnacle Goose remained on Kilnsea Wetlands, along with 12 Greylag Geese, 4 Pal-bellied Brent Geese. There was just some very light passage – 85 Pink-footed Geese, 1 Wigeon, 34 Common Scoter, 36 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Jack Snipe in off, 1 Bonxie N, 2 Kittiwake, 7 Guillemot, 8 Waxwing, 8 Siskin and 1 Lesser Redpoll.

Long-tailed Duck at Kilnsea Wetlands. Ian Smith

Long-tailed Duck at Kilnsea Wetlands. Ian Smith

3rd December 2012 - Monday

Migration/Sea-watch 07.40-12.00. Rain to start petered out leaving sunny spells in an increasing force 1-4 W-WNW wind.
The Long-tailed Duck and Barncle Goose were still on Kilnsea Wetlands, as were 60 Wigeon and a Water Rail. On the move south were 4 Wigeon, 48 Teal, 21 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck, 96 Common Scoter, 5 Velvet Scoter, 15 Goldeneye, 112 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 6 Gannet, 4 Cormorant, 2 auk sp, 5 Guillemot, 2 Skylark, 1Fieldfare in.
Other birds included 2 Jack Snipe, 9 Snipe, 6 Woodcock, 3 Waxwing, 5 Song Thrush, 3 Siskin and 4 Snow Bunting.

2nd December 2012 - Sunday

Migration/sea-watch 07.35-09.20. A heavy overnight frost stayed on the ground all day on a bright and sunny but cold day with a force 2-3 NW wind.
A highlight was a Long-tailed Duck on Kilnsea Wetlands, along with 5 Pink-footed Geese, 15 Greylag Geese, a Barnacle Goose and 3 Pale-bellied Brents. Other birds present included a Merlin, 2 Jack Snipe, 2 Woodcock, a Long-eared Owl, 2 Waxwing, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Blackcap, and 4 Snow Bunting.
There was some light passage – 34 Wigeon, 57 Teal, 5 Mallard, 7 Tufted Duck, 2 Eider, 14 Common Scoter, 1 Goldeneye, 48 Red-throated Diver, 4 Great Northern Diver, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Shag, 2 Lapwing, 7 Snipe, 31 Kittiwake, 10 auk sp, 5 Guillemot, 8 Skylark, 13 Waxwing, 11 Siskin, 8 Goldfinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll.

1st December 2012 - Saturday

Migration/sea-watch 07.20-12.00. Some long periods of sunshine but still feeling cold with a force 4 NW-NNW wind.
Another 24 Waxwings included 20 which may have come in off the sea and continued NW, other birds on the move included 37 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 6 Mallard, 8 Tufted Duck, 23 Eider, 91 Common Scoter, 7 Goldeneye, 56 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great Northern Diver, 11 Gannet, 5 Snipe in, 3 Woodcock in, 10 Kittiwake, 26 auk sp, 3 Guillemot, 1 Puffin, 27 Siskin and 8 Snow Bunting.
Other birds present included 12 Greylag Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose, 344 Brent and 3 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Little Egret, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Woodcock, 30 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Brambling, 2 Siskin and 1 Lesser Redpoll.

Waxwing. Ian Smith

Waxwing. Ian Smith

Barnacle Goose with Greylags. Ian Smith

Barnacle Goose with Greylags. Ian Smith

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