I was unavailable again on Saturday 20th September due to a visit to York University open day. Whilst travelling up, I received a text asking if I'd had a tick yet today. A quick check of my mobile revealed not one but two ticks for me on Spurn.
I was up early on Sunday morning and headed back up on the same roads for the second day running. I arrived at a very busy Spurn at 08:20hrs, parked in the field and then walked back up towards the road and all the birders that I had just driven past. There were small crowds all over the place and it was all a bit of a blur at first. The first crowd were watching the MASKED SHRIKE but that was not showing. Another group were watching a RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER and that wasn't showing either.
Then two radio boys walked past. It soon became clear that the OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT was showing down at the Canal Zone. I decided to follow them, as I've learnt in the past at Spurn that it is best to see the newly found birds first. So I left the MASKED SHRIKE location without actually seeing it and headed down the coastal path.
I was soon standing on the end of a large crowd staring at a bush, waiting for the OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT to reappear. Some soon got bored and wandered off, but I decided I did actually want to see something. There were bits and bobs going over, with a few Mipits and Skylarks and a single Tree Pipit. I even managed to scope the Masked Shrike from the path, but obviously it was a little bit distant.
Masked Shrike by Mr Phil Jones
Then there was a bit of commotion to my left and there was pointing. Amazingly, the Olive-backed Pipit had crawled through the grass in front of us and popped up in the nearest bush, literally a few feet away. As I was so close, I was able to set my scope up before everyone crowded round. I just managed a few phone shots before it slunk back into the grass.
Olive-backed Pipit on Spurn. Shame Birding World has ended. Nowhere to send my pictures to now
I wandered back up towards the churchyard, but stopped at the end of the coastal path to look at the hedge opposite - the one bordering the main road. It was full of birds. The RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER was in this area but I never saw it. I did see two Pied Flycatchers, two Spotted Flycatchers, two Redstarts, two Whinchats and two Lesser Whitethroats (one was rung and apparently it was the Siberian Lesser Whitehroat. Good enough for me).
News of a BARRED WARBLER just above the Crown and Anchor pub meant a quick walk up the lane followed by excellent views of the Barred Warbler feeding in the hedge opposite. Then it was back to the coastal path and finally good views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher.
I returned to view the Masked Shrike again and then did a bit of seawatching, resulting in a Sooty Shearwater flying past. All in all, it was an excellent morning, and what could be better than a two tick trip. It was nice to add Masked Shrike to my English list and of course, Olive-backed Pipit finally on my Spurn and surrounding area list. Get in there!
Masked Shrike at Kilnsea.
I saw the Masked Shrike in Fife on 31st October 2004. I seem to remember that the month had been not a bad one.
It started off with Western Sandpiper in Dorset
and then over to Scilly the next day for this
Then a few days on Scilly mid month followed by a day trip later in the month for this poor devil
and ending with a British first in Fife. Wonderful days indeed.
The crowd on St Agnes for the CCC
Watching the Ovenbird on St Mary's
The Masked Shrike crowd.