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December 2013 Sightings

31st December 2013 - 2013 summary

A spectacular year at Spurn with 258 species recorded, only two off the record set in 2011. The list of class rarities is mouth-watering – IVORY GULL –a new bird for Spurn, PACIFIC SWIFT (4th for Spurn), ROCK THRUSH (2nd for Spurn), COLLARED FLYCATCHER (2nd for Spurn); GREAT SNIPE (5th record for Spurn); TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL (5th record for Spurn); and CASPIAN TERN (10th record for Spurn).
Add to this the following rarities: Citrine Wagtail; Thrush Nightingale; Red-flanked Bluetail; 3 Black Brants; Glossy Ibis; 2 Great White Egrets; 2 American Golden Plovers; Buff-breasted Sandpiper; 2 Caspian Gulls; 2 Alpine Swifts; Hoopoe, 2 Bee-eaters, 2 Red-rumped Swallows; Olive-backed Pipit; 2 Red-throated Pipits; 8 Marsh Warblers; confirmed blythi Lesser Whitethroat; Subalpine Warbler; Greenish Warbler; 4 Dusky Warblers; 4 Pallas’s Warblers, Woodchat Shrike; Serin; and 6 Little Buntings.
The list of scarce migrants is also impressive with record numbers of Wrynecks, Yellow-browed Warblers, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrikes, and Hawfinches. With good numbers of Red-breasted Flycatchers and Common Rosefinches also recorded.
For full details of all these records, rarity accounts and photographs as well as articles on the peninsula and its wildlife then see Spurn Wildlife 23 which will be published in the early spring.

31st December 2013 - Tuesday

Sea-watch 07.50-10.15, 13.50-15.30. Another wet and windy day with heavy rain showers, a force 5-3 SW wind.
Over the sea were 2 Brent Geese, 1 Teal, 19 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter, 32 Red-throated Diver, 7 Gannet, 1 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Bonxie, 6 Kittiwake, 4 auk sp, and 5 Guillemot.
Other birds seen included 6 Whooper Swan, 1 Merlin, 1 Woodcock, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and a Redwing.

30th December 2013 - Monday

Sea-watch 08.00-10.00, 13,40-15.45. Another awful day with frequent showers in a force 5-6+ SSW wind.
A Fea’s type Petrel was seen messing about in the troughs before disappearing from view, but not enough was seen to make a positive claim. Other birds seen included 6 Whooper Swan, 73 Greylag Geese, 2 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 63 Common Scoter, 44 Red-throated Diver, 54 Fulmar, 4 Gannet, 5 Little Gull, 10 Kittiwake, 6 auk sp and 11 Guillemot.

29th December 2013 - Sunday

Sea-watch 07.45-10.30. A cold bright and sunny day with an overnight frost and a cold force 2 SSW wind.
Moving south were 1 Mute Swan, 3 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 3 Eider, 43 Common Scoter, 82 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Gannet, 1 Manx Shearwater N, 4 Cormorant, 95 Herring Gull, 2 Kittiwake and 2 auk sp.
The Black Brant was still present, as were 6 Whooper Swan, 160+ Greylag Geese, 1 Canada Goose, 4 Pale-bellied Brents, 1 Shoveler, 2 Peregrine, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, a Goldcrest and a Snow Bunting.

28th December 2013 - Saturday

Sea-watch 08.00-09.15. Bright and sunny with a decreasing force 3-2 SW wind.
On the move were 16 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Common Scoter, 16 Red-throated Diver, 1 Shag, 56 Herring Gull, 3 Kittiwake and an auk sp.
Also present were 6 Whooper Swan, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 96 Greylag Geese, 1 Canada Goose, 650 Brent Geese + 1 Pale-bellied, 1 Gadwall, 12 Teal, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Greenshank, and 17 Snow Bunting.

Snow Bunntings. Ian Smith

Snow Bunntings. Ian Smith

27th December 2013 - Friday

THE CROWN & ANCHOR IS BACK OPEN FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL
Sea-watch 08.00-11.00. Bright and sunny with a force 5-6 SW wind.
The Black Brant was seen again at Kilnsea Wetlands, and other birds present were 6 Whooper Swan, 36 Greylag Geese, 12 Teal, 2 Pintail, 1 Shoveler, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Greenshank.
Moving south were 3 Wigeon, 55 Teal, 3 Eider, 11 Common Scoter, 11 Red-throated Diver, 1 Fulmar, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 auk sp, 7 Kittiwake and 3 Guillemot.

26th December 2013 - Thursday

A bright and sunny day with a force 1 SW wind.
Birds seen today included 3 Whooper Swan, 20 Pink-footed Geese + 450 flew up river possibly from roost; 34 Greylag Geese, 3 Pintail, 50 Common Scoter, 4 Goldeneye, 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 Shag, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, a Fieldfare, 1 Redwing and 15 [strong[Twite south from Sammy’s Point.

25th December 2013 - Wednesday

Limited observations with nothing of any note seen. And no sign of the Ivory Gull at Patrngton.

24th December 2013 - Tuesday

Sea-watch 08.30-10.00, 14.00-15.00. Another wild day with a force 5-6 SW wind and occasional sunny spells.
The IVORY GULL[/strog] flew west past Sammy’s Point again at 08.02 am and was later seen at Patrington Haven. A first-year Iceland Gull flew south past the sea-watching hut and other birds moving south were 8 Common Scoter, a Velvet Scoter, 27 Red-throated Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Fulmar, 1 Gannet, 35 Kittiwake, 66 auk sp, 19 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, a Skylark and 4 Siskin.
Other birds present included 4 Whooper Swan, 26 Pink-footed Geese, 27 Greylag Geese, 720 Brent Geese + 1 pale-bellied.

23rd December 2013 - Monday

THE CROWN & ANCHOR IS BACK OPEN FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL
Sea-watch 13.15-14.30 which only produced 1 Red-throated Diver on the sea. An awful day of constant showers in a strong force 5-6 SW wind.
The IVORY GULL flew west past Sammy’s Point at 8am and was at Patrington Haven 25 minutes later, seems to be following a pattern and is probably roosting somewhere of the peninsula, which should make it easier for Spurn listers to add it to their lists. All other sightings were from Sammy’s Point and Long Bank area – 3 Whooper Swan, 150 Greylag Geese, 356 Wigeon, 4 Goldeneye, a male Hen Harrier, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 200 Common Gull, and a Barn Owl.

22nd December 2013 - Sunday

PLEASE NOTE THE CROWN & ANCHOR IS OPEN AGAIN AND BUSINESS AS USUAL
No watches. Bright and sunny all day in a cold force 4-5 SW wind.
The IVORY GULL finally made its way onto the Spurn list when early morning it was seen at Sammy’s Point, maybe it has found the dead seal there? It was then flushed by a helicopter and flew back towards Patrington Outstrays where it was seen the rest of the day.
The Black Brant was still in the Long Bank area with 850 Brent Geese and 5 Whooper Swans, also present were 9 Pink-footed Geese + 3 south, 3 Common Scoter, 5 Goldeeye, 2 Peregrne, a Marsh Harrier south, 1 male Hen Harrier, a Common Buzzard, 15 Grey Partridge, a Woodcock, and a Blackcap.

The Ivory Gull at Sammy's Point. John Hewitt

The Ivory Gull at Sammy's Point. John Hewitt

21st December 2013 - Saturday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 07.45-09.45. A bright and sunny day in a cool force 4 SW wind.
The Black Brant was seen again, as were 4 Whooper Swans, 4 Goldeneye, Merlin, Peregrine, 4 Snow Buntings and the Firecrest ranged between Canal Scrape and the Blue Bell.
On the move were 14 Pink-footed Geese, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter, 25 Red-throated Diver, 3 auk sp and 2 Guillemot.

21st December 2013

Sunday 21st -24th December
A expectedly quiet days with few birders and Christmas preparations and celebrations. Mostly cloudy with a variable force 3-5 WSW-W wind.
Most activity was over the sea, highlights being 6 Goldeneye, a Woodcock in off the sea on 21st, a Great Northern Diver on 23rd and 24th, 4 Red-breasted Merganser on 24th and 204 Herring Gull on 23rd.
The Black Brant was seen on 24th along with 445 Dark-bellied and 2 Pale-bellied Brents, other birds seen during the period were 1 Water Rail, 150 Fieldfare, 2 Mistle Thrush, 5 Long-tailed Tit and a Jay.

20th December 2013 - Friday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 07.45-09.45. Bright and sunny until late afternoon then clouding over, a force 4-6 SW wind.
The first winter Black Brant was still at Kilnsea Wetlands and 3 Whooper Swans were in the fields, also present were a Woodcock, a Greenshank, a Fieldfare and a Redwing. Over the sea were 6 Pink-footed Geese, 10 Greylag Geese, 28 Teal, 14 Common Scoter, 27 Red-throated Diver, 18 Golden Plover, a Bonxie, 51 Common Gull, 36 Herring Gull, 7 Kittiwake, 7 auk sp, 8 Guillemot and a Razorbill.

19th December 2013 - Thursday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 07.45-10.00. Bright and sunny most of the day, clouding over late on, a cold force 4-5 SW wind.
Over the sea were 1Eider, 66 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter, 32 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 11 Kittiwake and 16 Guillemot; a Fieldfare was in Church Field.

18th December 2013 - Wednesday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Bright and sunny in the morning and showers in the afternoon, a force 3-5 SW wind.
Still 21 Mute Swans, 4 Whooper Swans, 3 Greylag Geese and 360 Pink-footed Geese present in fields north of Long Bank, 4 Goldeneye at Beacon Ponds and a male Hen Harrier at Sammy’s Point.

17th December 2013 - Tuesday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
The Ivory Gull continued to draw in the crowds at Patringtong Oustrays, feeding on dead fish, if going for this bird, please park sensibly and DO NOT BLOCK ANY ROADS, PATHS OR ENTRANCES TO FARMS OR HOUSES.
At Spurn a new Black Brant was found, a first-year bird to the south of the Beacon Ponds, also the Firecrest was seen again in Church Field. Other birds present included 5 Whoopee Swan, 360 Pink-footed Geese, 760 Brent + 4 pale-bellied Brent, 100 Wigeon, 50 Pintail, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Little Egret, a male Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 800 Lapwing, 20,000 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Mediterranean Gull, a Barn Owl, a Rock Pipit, a Brambling, a Siskin, and 12 Snow Bunting.

15th December 2013 - Sunday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Just up the river Geoff Dobbs found an immature Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven by the pumping station mid-afternoon. At the weekend a fisherman spoke to Tim Jones saying he was fishing under Easington gas terminal a week last Thursday and had a small white gull with black spots walk more or less up to him on the beach, Tim asked if it had a black face and the fisherman said it hadn’t. Apparently this bird doesn’t have a black face! Hopefully be found in the Spurn area tomorrow or still at Patrington Haven, for the people who need it for their Yorkshire Lists.
At Spurn there were no watches but it was WEBS count although only north of the Warren was counted. Birds seen today were 34 Greylag Geese, 800 Brent Geese, 56 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 32 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 Little Egret, 1 Sparrowhawk, 66 Golden Plover, 20 Lapwing, 350 Dunlin, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Curlew, 650 Redshank, 700 Common Gull, 8 Stock Dove, 1 Skylark, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Redwing, 17 Goldfinch, and 10 Reed Bunting.

14th December 2013 - Saturday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
No watches. A mild, cloudy day, but an increasing SW wind during the day got up to a force 5-6 by the evening.
The neck-ringed Pink-footed Goose was found amongst the 330 present and is now thought to be a WWT bird with the lettering PZX. Also present were 4 Whooper Swan, 780 Brent, 5 Pintail, 1 Little Egret, a Peregrine, 5 Snipe, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 600 Common Gull, 1 Meadow Pipit, a Blackcap and a Yellowhammer.

13th December 2013 - Friday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 08.00-09.15. A mild cloudy with a moderate SW wind.
On the move were 42 Pink-footed Geese, 9 Common Scoter, and 2 Red-throated Diver.
Birds present were 5 Whooper Swan, 350 Pink-footed Geese, 9 Greylag Geese, 768 Brent Geese, 6 Teal, 140 Mallard, 1 Pintail, 4 Goldeneye, 1 Little Egret, 1 Peregrlne , 9 Black-tailed Godwit, and 9 Redwing.

12th December 2013 - Thursday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch -07.50-09.05. A mild and cloudy day with a moderate SW wind.
A flock of 300+ Pink-footed Geese appeared in Holderness Field off Beacon Lane and one was wearing a Danish neck ring, other birds present were 26 Mute Swan, 4 Whooper Swan, 13 Greylag Geese, 360 Wigeon, 26 Teal, 148 Mallard, 3 Pintail, 1 Little Egret, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 2 Lesser B.B.Gull, 5 Rock Pipit, 1 Meadow Pipit, a Fieldfare and a Song Thrush.
On the move over the sea were 45 Pink-footed Geese, 14 Shelduck, 5 Teal and a Fulmar.

11th December 2013 - Wednesday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
A decent day with a moderate SW wind, sunny spells but cool.
Birds seen today include 3 Whooper Swan, 40 Pink-footed Geese, 9 Greylag Geese, 360 Wigeon, 61 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 2 Scaup, 1 Little Egret, 84 Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 1 Woodcock, 13 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Lesser B.B.Gull, 2 Redwing, a Rook, 21 Tree Sparrow, 13 Snow Bunting and 23 Reed Bunting.

10th December 2013 - Tuesday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 08.00-09.30. Variable cloud with some lengthy sunny spells, a force 3 SW wind.
The only birds seen at sea were a Red-throated Diver and 9 Common Scoter, other birds present included 22 Mute Swan, 3 Whooper Swan, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 15 Greylag Geese, 8 Teal, 116 Mallard, 9 Goldeneye, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 900 Common Gull, a Rock Pipit and 3 Yellowhammer.

9th December 2013 - Monday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 07.50-09.30. Sunny spells with a cool force 1-2 SW wind.
The ringed Firecrest is still lingering in the area and was seen along the Canal today. Other birds seen included 4 Whooper Swan, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 15 Greylag Geese, 5 Teal, 73 Mallard, 1 Shoveler, 44 Common Scoter, 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 3 Skylark, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 2 Snow Bunting and a Yellowhammer.

8th December 2013 - Sunday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 08.00-10.00. Dull and grey most of the day with a force 3-4 SW wind.
A few birds over the sea included a first-winter Glaucous Gull south, 3 Pink-footed Geese, 7 Wigeon, 22 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Fulmar, 2 Gannet, 6 auk sp, 2 Guillemot.
Other birds included 4 Whooper Swan, 15 Greylag Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 9 Teal, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Snipe, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 1 Stonechat and 26 Snow Bunting.

7th December 2013 - Saturday

The road between the Blue Bell and the gate to the reserve is still flooded, do not attempt to drive through and PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA.
The aftermath of the storm surge is becoming apparent and it wlll be a long time until everything gets back to normal. There is no power or water to the Point with at least 5 power poles down south of the Warren, quite a few sheep lost their lives in the Sheep Field at Chalk Bank when it flooded and the big hide there has been seriously damaged.
Sea-watch 07.50-09.15, Bright and sunny with a force 1-2 SW wind.
A Waxwing which flew south was the highlight, other birds included a Teal, a Long-tailed Duck in and onto the Humber, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Woodcock, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Owl, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Lapland Bunting, 25 Snow Bunting and 2 Yellowhammer.

Lapland Bunting. Tim Collins

Lapland Bunting. Tim Collins

6th December 2013 - Friday continued

Some more photos of the aftermath of the tidal surge. Bird Sightings will be added soon.

6th December 2013 - Friday continued

A few photos of the destruction on Sandy Beaches caravan site.

6th December 2013 - Friday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
No watches. A cold frosty day with blue skies and a force 2-3 NW wind.
Most of the day was spent assessing the damage done to the area and the extent of the flooding in the area. Luckily for the observatory, there was no damage to the Warren Cottage or Kew Villa, but some areas of the compounds were flooded and lot of cleaning up is required. The flooding in the area will have repercussions in the coming year and the peninsula may never be the same again. The flood defences have certainly worked to some degree as the situation could have been much worse. Sandy Beaches seems to have come off worse with several caravans battered and smashed.
On the bird front, a Spoonbill in Holderness Field was presumably the bird from a few days ago, also seen were 3 Whooper Swan, 1 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, 1 Pintail, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Red-throated Diver, 3 Gannet, 1 Merlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Snipe, 2 Greenshank, 400 Common Gull, a Short-eared Owl, 2 Stonechat, 2 Song Thrush, 15 Goldfinch, 6 Linnet, 23 Snow Bunting and 4 Yellowhammer.
The weather also had an effect on other wildlife when 2 Grass Snakes were seen.

5th December 2013 - Thursday

PLEASE FOLLOW ON SITE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESS TO THE PENINSULA
Sea-watch 08.00-10.00, 12.00-13.30. Bright and sunny with a strong force 4-6+ W wind.
High spring tides and a 2+ metre storm surge breached the peninsula 2 hours before high tide, with extensive flooding from Sandy Beaches to Sunny Cliff and from the Crown & Anchor which flooded the kitchen and dining room all the way down to the Riverside Hotel. Lots of wood and debris was left on the road. The whole triangle area was covered in water with very little land visible. The Borrow Pit appears to have done what it was designed to do, taking in a lot of water from the surge.
Birds seen during the day were 6 Whooper Swan, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 365 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 5 Red-throated Diver, 21 Gannet, 2 Jack Snipe, 6 Snipe, 1 Woodcock, 2 Greenshank, 1 Kittiwake, 7 auk sp and 2 Song Thrush.

a few images of the flooding and damage. Tim Jones

a few images of the flooding and damage. Tim Jones

4th December 2013 - Wednesday

A statement about the condition of the area after the predicted storm surge will be issued tomorrow, avoid being south of the Warren until then
Sea-watch 09.00-09.45. Bright and sunny with a cool force 2 W-WNW wind.
Another quiet day before the storm, 9 Common Scoter and 6 Red-throated Diver flew south, 1 Merlin was blogging, a Water Rail was eating berries at the Point, a Woodcock was in the Churchyard, a Rock Pipit at the Potato Fields, while at the Point were a Song Thrush, 3 Redwing and 2 Goldcrest and 19 Snow Buntings were blogging.

3rd December 2013 - Tuesday

Work on improving the wader habitat and the footpath at Kilnsea Wetlands will commence this week, the work should take about a week and the footpath may be closed while work is carried, out, we apologise for the inconvenience
Migration/sea-watch 08.15-11.00. Cloudy all day with a force 1-2 S wind.
Another quiet day, birds seen included 2 Goldeneye, 34 Red-throated Diver, 1 Gannet, 4 Little Egret, 265 Golden Plover, 3 Snipe, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush and 3 Redwing.

2nd December 2013 - Monday

No watches. Hazy sunshine with light high thin clouds and a light variable wind.
A very quiet day, birds noted today were 3 Whooper Swan, 5 Teal, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 3 Fieldfare, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Goldcrest, 10 Linnet and 36 Snow Bunting.

1st December 2013 - Sunday

Migration/sea-watch 07.55-09.55. Mainly sunny with a light N-NE wind.
The highlight was a Spoonbill which flew north and is the first ever December record, and a Common Buzzard is also a good in December. Over the sea were 1 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 2 Eider, 3 Common Scoter, 44 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Gannet, 3 Dunlin, 4 Skylark and 1 Snow Bunting.
Other birds present included 3 Whooper Swan, 2 Pale-bellied Brents, 360 Wigeon, 3 Goldeneye, 1 Greenshank, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 32 Snow Buntings.

Dunlin. Justin Carr

Dunlin. Justin Carr

Snow Buntings. Justin Carr

Snow Buntings. Justin Carr

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