13th October - In retrospect we probably should have gone to to Flamborough Obs first thing and then headed off to Spurn Point but we didn't, electing to get down to Spurn as soon as we could. It was a rather breezy day and for much of it, it was overcast which didn't help draw the birds out of cover. We started our morning visiting ex-CHOG birder Mark Andrews who has moved to Kilnsea and has a wonderful location and garden next to the Humber. We had a tour of his garden, which has already seen a number of scarce species but none for us, before we walked down the road to see if we could find a Western Bonelli's Warbler that had turned up the previous day. It had been seen a little before we arrive in the Crown & Anchor car park but after an hour or so waiting and only having heard it call a few times we decided to head off and do a little seawatching and try again later.
Our seawatch wasn't spectacular but it added a few year ticks in Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter and Goldeneye all missed in the early part of the year because of lockdown. We also recorded Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Pink-footed Geese, Razorbill, Guillemot, Rock Pipit, Skylark and Brambling.
|Skein of Pink-footed Geese passing by at distance Kilnsea Beach © Nick Hull
After our seawatch we headed back up the road to give the Bonelli's another chance to show but no chance so we headed off for lunch after which we headed to Kilnsea Wetlands before the tide receded and the waders leave to feed out on the Humber mudflats. There was a good number of wildfowl and waders and we managed to add Spotted Redshank to our year list though we didn't find it in the roosting birds but caught sight of it when it flew out with accompanying Redshank.
We headed back to the Crown and Anchor to try for the Bonelli's again but when we arrived it still hadn't been seen but a message from the Spurn Obs came through to say there was a Jack Snipe on the Obs pond so we headed up the road and around the back of the Obs to join a number of birders already there watching the snipe. We had great views and we saw a Jack Snipe swim in the pond something we had never seen before.
|Jack Snipe_Spurn Observatory Pond Kilnsea © Nick Hull
The Jack Snipe was a fine way to finish our day at Spurn with a pretty good day list of 67 species on a pretty drab poor day, wasn't bad at all.
14th October - Back to Flamborough Obs for the mornings ringing session but it wasn't a great morning the wind had changed direction overnight and there was little migration, best of the morning was a stunning little Treecreeper up close. So we headed back to the cottage for lunch and checked out up the lane at Buckton but generally had an easy day, fortunately as it turn out.
|Treecreeper - Flambourgh Obs © Nick Hull
15th October - We were up early and back to the Flamborough Obs with no idea of what the day would bring. The first net round produced a single bird. the second was much better and added Lesser Redpoll and one of the local Tree Sparrows.
|Lesser Redpoll, Yellowhammer,Tree Sparrow & Goldfinch © Nick Hull
Then came the best bird of the weeks ringing sessions and strangely a species Jackie and I had been talking about over breakfast not having seen one for a while. The last bird that appeared out of the bag was a juvenile Red-breasted Flycatcher the first we had seen in the hand close up and it was a little cracker.
Shortly after news came to the Obs that a Western Bonelli's Warbler had been found near to the lodge so Jackie and I headed off with a few of the other birders to see if we could catch up with this elusive species and hoped we could get to see this one unlike the Spurn bird.
We arrive at the location and the sun went behind the clouds and we waited for an hour or so, then the sun shone through again and shortly after we heard it calling along with another Yellow-browed. It was a little further down the path and I manage to spot it moving through a sycamore and called to the others and eventually everyone was getting brief views.
|Western Bonelli's Warbler - Flamborough © Nick Hull
Jackie wasn't satisfied with the views she had so we went for lunch and returned and we both had much better and closer views though it was very hard to photograph as it was on the move all the time. We left very happy and went out to the viewpoint and tried a bit of a seawatch but only added Eider to our list.
16th October - We started as usual at Flamborough Obs but things were very slow and there seemed to be very little migrations and it was damp and windy. So we decided to go to Scarborough and start at Scalby Mills a place we've not visited before. Looking from the sea wall we added Turnstone to our list, otherwise a good number of Wigeon and Oystercatchers with just a singles of Eider, Guillemot and Curlew, a few Redshank and a variety of the more common gull species. Then news of a Snow Bunting at Bempton Cliffs showing well made up our minds of where to go next.
We arrived and enquired if the bunting was still present and was told it was down by the Grandstand viewing point. It didn't take us long to get there and it was performing extremely well with no fear of people and allowed for everyone to get great shots of this northern breeding species.
|Male Snow Bunting - Bempton Cliffs RSPB © Nick Hull
Whilst we were there on the info services it came on that an Red-breasted Flycatcher had been found at the Flamborough Fog Station. We didn't panic as we had already seen one so we had our fill of the bunting and walked back to the centre for lunch. Just as we finished one of the volunteers said had we heard that the Red-breasted Flycatcher had been re-id'ed as a Taiga Flycatcher. There was no worries of where we were to go next and off to the Fog Station as quickly as possible.
We couldn't have timed it better as we walked across to where all the birders were the bird was flushed and it sat on the fence rail of the Fog Station and gave us good views though a tad distant for ideal photograph with just a 400mm lens. I managed a few memory shots before it was flushed again by birders and photographer that had been watching it down on the undercliff as they climbed back up to the clifftop path and flushed the bird back down onto the undercliff. We decided as we'd had pretty good views and that the weather seemed to be deteriorating we would call it a day and what a way to finish!
17th October - This was our last real day of birding in Yorkshire, rather wet and drab, we went to Flamborough Head hoping for a bit of seawatching but rather disappointing but we had no room to complain our birding break had been superb with one lifer and four British ticks and a total of 116 species for the 10 days in the county.
Just to add a BIG THANK YOU to all at Flamborough Bird Observatory for all the work put in to organise MigWeek21 it made a great birding break.