Spurn drift: Absolutely Arctic


Whisked away from the Land of Nod into a fog-bound morning at Spurn by Er Neill, Tropical and Pete Allen at a godforsaken hour, but as ever, it was worth it.
Warm sun broke through to give us a hot day of excellent drift migrants – topped by a fine Arctic Warbler up at Driftwood Caravan Park at Kilnsea, but the supporting cast of self-found birdies was pretty good too:
6 Yellow Browed Warblers, 3 Red Breasted Flycatchers, 1 Barred Warbler, 4 Wheatear, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Firecrest, 12 Redpoll, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Grey Wagtail, Blackbirds, Redwing, Pink Feet, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Mipits, 2 Stonechat and about 25 Goldcrests.
It was ominously quiet when we stumbled through Easington Churchyard and Sammy’s Point at 08.35am, with just a steady Reed Bunting passage for company (22+), curious Roe Deers and horses on quad bikes (nope that last bit probably didn’t happen).
But as the sun broke through, the first Yellow Browed Warbler of the day popped out of the vegetation beside the Humber before hitting the hawthorns and calling like crazy….hard to digiscope though:


A short distance away a typically lethargic Barred Warbler was bumbling about just beside the small car park.


We moved up to Spurn proper to a mist-shrouded Beacon Lane, where squadrons of Blackbirds were fresh in and gorging on berries, Yellow Wags, Wheatears and Mipits were on the fields and a fine Firecrest was occasionally showing off that glorious plumage along the caravan site boundary.
Sexier than a Yellow Browed?
I think so, but all I could manage digiscoping was a come-hither flash of bronze shoulder.


We managed to find two Red Breasted Flycatchers as we walked the lane, but neither came particularly close to us.
Great little hyperactive sprites these.


Another was up at the Canal Zone, with Redstarts and more Yellow Broweds around the Warren and an astonishing bank of fog rolling down the North Sea, promising more drift action.
A Brimstone butterfly tottered by in the sun.


It was an odd day – passage was hardly heavy, yet good birds kept turning up steadily throughout the session…classic drift, classic Spurn.
Wasn’t that surprised when we heard an Arctic Warbler was at the Driftwood Caravan Park in Kilnsea.
We walked past yet another calling Yellow Browed Warbler in the front garden to admire the stunning lightning strike supercilium of the giant Arctic Warbler (crappy pic at the top of the entry).
The bird performed very well in front of a sizeable Spurn twitch.


A big bruiser of a phyllosc, it’s been years since I saw one, so all was peachy as we headed back up the road, and there was a spring in our step, however we were somehow diverted into the Crown and Anchor, where clouds of Migrant Hawkers cruised above our pints in the garden, and more Yellow Broweds called as my first Redwing of the autumn whizzed out of the elderberry.


Another hugely enjoyable day at Spurn – best birding site on the mainland? I think so.
We gave it till 4pm, checking Beacon Lane one last time, where the Red Breasted Fly and Firecrest were still performing, then Neill got behind the wheel and we headed into the sinking sun and the westbound M62.
Thanks all, a thoroughly spiffing day out – again.

7 thoughts on “Spurn drift: Absolutely Arctic

  1. Yellow Browed Warbler with Long Tailed Tit flock by the golf driving range beside the entrance to Birkdale Sandhills LNR yesterday lunchtime. Bird was calling away and flew over my head!


  2. I had a session at slack 47 in the dunes at Ainsdale yesterday afternoon. Several Aeshna mixta (Migrant Hawkers) bombing around, including at least one pair and lots of Sympetrum striolatum (Common Darter). I was fortunate enough to see a male Aeshna cyanea (Southern Hawker) land and got a few shots.
    Also several tiger beetles on the south end of the New Green Beach.


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