Cutting it fine

Always like to get to Spurn at least once a year, but even I admit I was cutting it a bit fine for 2018.
Luckily I noticed a window of opportunity post-Staropramens last night and pre-Indian banquet in Grimsby with the Outlaws tonight.
So I rocked up at the crack of 10am today to check Easington Lagoons, having cruised over the Humber Bridge in the morning murk.
This was a bit like a spaceship ride, so all was good.
No sign of the long-staying Shorelarks despite walking the area at the north end of the lagoons for an hour as the morning sea fishermen arrived, all sweary and weighed down with kit.
Salty sea-dogs. Yaaarrrrr!
A quick look at Spurn proper was quiet too – it’s the first time I’ve seen the big Yorkshire Wildlife Trust visitor centre, new car park and odd “have you seen a Brent Goose?” style engagement signs (really?), so that was all a bit of a culture shock.
I bumped into Colin Bushell, who was down with the hootenanay lurgey – the best excuse, if excuse were needed, for a New Year restorative or five later.
Colin had seen the long-staying Eurasian White-front with the Whoopers off Easington Straight, plus a Black Throated Diver out on the Humber, but not much else.

I decided to try for the Shorelarks again, although as I returned to Easington Lagoons, birders were still walking off site empty-handed at noon.
Never mind, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I headed to the muddy area between the northernmost two lagoons and immediately came across the two Shorelarks, quietly trundling around in their own universe.

End of year gloomy as the day was, it was hard to get a clear photograph of the birds – especially when they launched into sudden sprints along the mud, which they did frequently.
Splendid things though, worth an hour of anyone’s time…

Right, that Hogmanay Jalfrezi ain’t going to eat itself, and I’m sure that somewhere out in the cosmic-o-sphere there’s a few bottles of Kingfisher that need my urgent attention.
Happy New Year all.
Ta ta for now.

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One thought on “Cutting it fine

  1. The RSPB is eagerly anticipating who will be top of the pecking order for a very special anniversary of its’ world famous Big Garden Birdwatch in January.
    Just one hour every year, for the last 40 years, has made the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch the largest garden wildlife citizen science project. During that time, hundreds of thousands of people, including those across Merseyside, have volunteered their time providing the RSPB with over 8 million hours of monitoring garden birds.
    To mark the event, the RSPB is encouraging participants in the county to share their Big Garden Birdwatch stories on social media. ‘How will you #BigGardenBirdWatch?’ will showcase some of the best examples of how people take part, from building their own birdwatching den, baking birdseed cakes and dressing up as Batman to see Robin.
    This year’s Big Garden Birdwatch takes place on 26, 27 and 28 January 2019. The public is asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden or local green space, then send their results to the RSPB. Close to half-a-million people join in the Birdwatch every year, with over 6,000 across Merseyside taking part in 2018.
    To help prepare for Big Garden Birdwatch 2019, there are events on offer across Merseyside this January – from discovering how to attract more wildlife into your garden to gaining tips on how to identify the creatures that live on your doorstep:
    ‘Get Ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch’ will be held at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve near Neston on Sunday 20 January. Drop-in from 1-3pm to make bird feeders, and the knowledgeable team will also be on hand to assist with garden bird identification to help you prepare for the birdwatch. Cost £2 per feeder, normal entry fees apply to non-members visiting the reserve (RSPB members free), no booking needed.
    A ‘Big Garden Birdwatch quiz trail’ will also be taking place at Burton Mere Wetlands throughout the month. Families are encouraged to take part in this self-led activity to discover more about garden birds and how to take part in the Birdwatch. Cost £1 per quiz sheet, normal entry fees apply to non-members visiting the reserve (RSPB members free), no booking needed. More details for both can be found at rspb.org.uk/burtonmerewetlands
    Meet the RSPB Liverpool Local Group in the Palm House at Sefton Park, Liverpool on Sunday 20 January. Volunteers will be on hand from 12-4pm with information about taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, assisting with bird identification and advising on how to attract garden wildlife.
    Over the last 40 years, 130 million birds have been counted giving the RSPB an astonishing amount of insight into how our wildlife is faring.
    For four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers. The song thrush was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979. By 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded in 1979, plummeting to 20th in the rankings.
    Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive, said: “Everyone has a role to play in saving nature and protecting our wildlife. Big Garden Birdwatch participants have made a significant contribution to monitoring garden bird numbers over the past four decades. Those taking part work together as part of a community with thousands of other Big Garden Birdwatchers, to help the RSPB’s work to protect birds, other wildlife and the places they live.
    “Reaching 40 years is a huge achievement and shows just how passionate people across the UK are about their wildlife. The survey started as a winter activity for our youth members. It’s now the largest garden wildlife survey in the world and appeals to both children and adults because it’s an enjoyable, easy, inclusive activity that anyone can do, and a great opportunity to connect with nature.”
    The survey has also shown the increases in collared dove and woodpigeon numbers and the alarming declines of the house sparrow and starling. While the overall decline in house sparrow numbers, reported by participants, since the Big Garden Birdwatch began is 57% (1979 – 2018), in the most recent decade (2009-2018) numbers appear to have increased by 17%.
    As well as counting birds, the RSPB is once again asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they have seen throughout the year. This year, people are being asked to look out for badgers, foxes, grey squirrels, red squirrels, muntjac deer, roe deer, frogs and toads.
    To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2019, watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. Send the RSPB the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour.
    For a FREE 40th anniversary Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
    The parallel event, RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place during the first half of spring term (2 January – 22 February 2019). More than 60,000 schoolchildren, including over 670 in Merseyside, spent an hour in nature counting birds in 2018. Further information can be found at rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch

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