Sunday, 6 November 2011

Saturday 5th November 2011 - Spurn and Attenborough NR

Another decent days birding had been planned. The idea was to go and see the Shropshire STEPPE GREY SHRIKE first, then probably to Rutland for the WHITE-RUMPED SAND and finishing off at Attenborough for the SQUACCO. Myself and CJW had seen the Squacco last weekend as it came into roost on the Saturday, but while we were there viewing was slightly restricted.

Birders lying on the floor trying to see the Squacco at Attenborough last Saturday

Then, as per usual, another bird came along to upset the apple cart. Late on Friday afternoon, news came through of an ISABELLINE WHEATEAR on Spurn. I had managed to see the Anglesey bird in 2006 but GAS hadn't. Despite it having a fat score of zero when it was trapped and rung, we still decided to go on news in the morning. We could have risked it, but we decided on the safe option. We headed for Westport to start off with, but we had only just finished playing with the Coots when the news came through that the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR had bucked the recent trends and had decided to stay for a second day. At 07-40hrs, we set off, and arrived on Spurn 2-40mins later. We paid our £3, joined up with those ASBO boys and made the long walk down to the beach. We could see the crowds standing on the beach in the distance, but before we had reached them, the Isabelline Wheatear had flown up the beach to where we were. We carefully stood on the dunes, and there it was feeding on the beach. It was quite unsettled, and spent most of the time flying up and down the beach, but on occasions it landed very close to where we were standing. Having had our fill, we headed back to the car. Spurn was surprisingly quite quiet apart from the main attraction.

Isabelline Wheatear at Spurn

The heaving masses jostling for position

Video of Isabelline Wheatear on Spurn.

We drove back and called in at Attenborough. The juvenile Squacco was showing well underneath the bridge, but the light had faded and digiscoping was quite tricky.

So that was the end of a decent days birding. A fairly straight forward tick in the end for GAS, and now Autumn is nearly over, our second successive succesful trip.