The first rule of Quiz Night is “You don’t talk about quiz night”.
But I’ve never been big on rules.
Suffice to say that following the fundraising beano and raffle for Spurn Bird Observatory at the Crown and Anchor last night, I woke this morning in the Hunt Hacienda at Kilnsea with a fuzzy memory, 24 mini packs of Haribo Tangfastics, a big bar of Dutch chocolate and 100 Magic Pebbles.
Ahem, time to go birding.
I drove over to Spurn yesterday afternoon in glorious hot sun with just enough time to get good views of the zippy RB Fly in the Crown and Anchor car park, although it rarely settled until later on, and then it was invariably in the shadow of the canopy.
The flycatcher called a few times – a funny little rattle, very distinctive.
Then it was time for the quiz, where the difficulty of the questions seemed to increase proportionately to the amount of Timothy Taylor’s we drank.
This morning dawned annoyingly bright, but the south easterly wind had dropped a bit and commoner migrants were clearly arriving at Spurn.
Good numbers of Whinchats were scattered about, from Sammy’s Point to Beacon Lane, and more Chiffies called from the hawthorn cover.
A small pod of Bottle Nose Dolphins was offshore along with the usual Grey Seals, and on land, Roe Deer.
Hordes of Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters were on the wing as we drove up to Vicar’s Lane in Easington for a classic seasonal experience – a Yellow Browed Warbler was calling away, as autumnal as a shrivelly Sycamore leaf.
It showed well a few times, but never sat still, as is usually the case with these sprites.
Just around the corner a Willow Warbler was singing (!) and a Firecrest tazzed about the hawthorns confounding my attempts to photograph it.
One day I’ll get a proper image of one of these little weasels, when it is not hiding behind leaves or twigs… one day, but not today.
We popped round to see Colin Bushell’s Treecreeper (Hiya Colin, good to catch up again). A Lesser Whitethroat clambered through the branches as we listened to the mobile ‘creeper.
A quick check of Sammy’s Point gave us Redstart, Wheatears, more Whinchats, Stonechats, our first Fieldfare of the season, plenty of Yellowhammer by Easington cemetery, Greenshank and Whimbrel.
Back around the Triangle and the Warren we had a charming, but unco-operative Pied Flycatcher, still more Whinchats and a brief Garden Warbler.
At 4pm I dropped Neill off in Kilnsea, where a Spotted Flycatcher was making up for the sneaky behaviour of its relatives, before motoring back across country in heavy rain, which will hopefully deliver something really special for those still at Spurn tomorrow.
Good luck all.
A great day and a half in the field then, nothing particularly rare, but plenty of good autumn variety.
Gratitude as ever to Neill Hunt for his hospitality, and the friendliness of all the other Spurn regulars too, I’m looking forward to getting back asap.
The place is what autumn is for.