Spurn Bird Observatory

6th to 8th September over the years

24 July 2013

Here is a brief summary of the last 10 years on the dates of the migration festival. This will give you a feel for what has happened on these dates and shows the diversity of bird activity at Spurn no matter what the weather conditions. As you can see, something good has turned up or there has been good vis-mig or sea-watching on every weekend – what will happen in 2013?

2004
Monday 6th
A brisk NE wind and misty and drizzle in the morning, had the thoughts there was going to be a good arrival of drift migrants or at least some seabirds on the move. But it never really happened, over the sea highlights were 2 Scaup, 24 Fulmars, 30 Arctic Skuas and 12 Little Gulls. Grounded migrants were few and far between: a Redstart, 4 Whinchats, a Wheatear, 2 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest and 7 Pied Flycatchers. There was a lot of disappointment that it never happened, but conditions were remaining good over the next few days, so there was some anticipation.

Tuesday 7th
It was a bright and sunny start with a fresh NE wind and sea-watching started off the day, with better numbers than yesterday, with 10 Wigeon, 38 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 10 Red-throated Divers, 107 Fulmars, 3 Sooty and 11 Manx Shearwaters, 188 Gannets, 32 Arctic Skuas, 13 Bonxies, 316 Little Gulls, and 47 Kittiwakes.
After an hour or so, it became apparent that birds were starting to appear in the bushes and everyone split up and started searching for migrants, it wasn’t long before a Wryneck was found amongst the chats, warblers and flycatchers, and soon after a Red-breasted Flycatcher. Birds continued to arrive and be found throughout the day and by the end of the day migrant totals were 3 Wryneck, 2 Rock Pipit, 17 Robin, 16 Redstart, 49 Whinchat, 27 Wheatear, a Redwing, 6 Reed Warblers, 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 16 Whitethroats, 9 Garden Warblers, a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 21 Willow Warblers, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Red-breasted Flycatchers, 40 Pied Flycatchers. It was a satisfying day with plenty to show for all the effort put in.

Wednesday 8th
Another nice sunny day with a decreasing easterly wind. It was much the same as yesterday with many migrants moving on, but still a Wryneck and Red-breasted Flycatcher were still present as were good numbers of all the common drift migrants. New arrivals included a Short-eared Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Fieldfare.
While over the sea a Cory’s Shearwater flew south and 3 Sooty Shearwaters flew north. Other birds seen during the day included a Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and 4 Greenshank.

2005
Tuesday 6th
A foggy start and a light SW to SE wind, very few new migrants had arrived but ones remaining from the previous few days included a Wryneck, Tree Pipit, 5 Whinchats, 9 Wheatears, 2 Garden Warblers, 7 Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Pied Flycatchers and 5 Siskins.
In the evening tern roost a Mediterranean Gull, 134 Sandwich, 760 Common and 4 Roseate Terns flew south.

Wednesday 7th
A gusty SW wind, kept migrants low but still included a Rose-coloured Starling and 2 Wrynecks and similar numbers of common migrants as the previous day. However, southerly passage was excellent, the best of which was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper which flew over the Narrows, but also a good selection of ducks, 6 Sparrowhawk, 2 Ospreys, 12 Kestrels, 82 Sand Martins, 4016 Swallows, 451 House Martins, 16 flava Wagtails, 64 Tree Sparrows and 195 Siskins.
The tern roost produced 3 Mediterranean Gulls and 7 Roseate Terns and a Pectoral Sandpiper was found at Beacon Ponds in the evening.

Thursday 8th
A much quieter day but still a nice spreading of common migrants and light passage of birds moving south including the first Pink-footed Geese of the year (102).

2006
Wednesday 6th
A moderate SW-W wind, produced a few common migrants and also induced an excellent passage which included 125 Teal, a Marsh Harrier, an Osprey, 6 Kestrels, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 21 Snipe, 150 Sand Martins, 4720 Swallows, 2700 House Martins, Tree Pipit, 228 Meadow Pipit, 67 flava Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 41 Linnets and a Corn Bunting.
The sea produced a Sooty Shearwater, 38 Arctic Skuas, 3 Bonxies and in the evening tern roost there was a record 23 Roseate Terns, 10,000 Common Terns, 89 Arctic Terns and 17 Black Terns.
Waders present included a Little Stint, 24 Greenshank and a Wood Sandpiper.

Thursday 7th
Fresh northerlies meant more attention was spent sea-watching and produced 36 Red-throated Divers, 35 Fulmars, 30 Sooty Shearwaters, 18 Manx Shearwaters, a Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua, 78 Arctic Skuas, 16 Bonxies, 63 Little Gulls, 200 Kittiwakes, 5 Roseate Terns and a Black Tern.
Passage was reduced but did include a Hobby and waders present included 5 Curlew Sandpiper, a Ruff, 8 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper.

Friday 8th
As the wind switched from northerly through to south-east during the day, it livened things up even more. The early morning northerlies meant it was sea-watching to start and although nothing out of the ordinary there were 1109 Fulmars, 37 Red-throated Divers, 50 Sooty Shearwaters, 36 Manx Shearwaters, 650 Gannets, 57 Arctic Skuas, 15 Bonxies and 16 Little Gulls.
However once the wind started to swing to the east, migrants started to appear, most notably a male Bluethroat at the Warren and a Common Rosefinch in Church Field, and an increase in common migrants – a Tree Pipit, a Redstart, 4 Whinchats, 22 Wheatears, a Garden Warbler, 2 Chiffchaffs, 15 Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatcher, and 15 Pied Flycatchers.
Some light passage included a Common Buzzard and 400 Meadow Pipits.

2007
Thursday 6th
A light NW wind veered NE in the evening. A day of light passage with very little out of the ordinary but a nice sprinkling of common migrants, a trickle of seabirds moving over the sea and a Little Stint on the Humber. Of moth interest was a Convulvuls Hawk-moth trapped in the moth traps.

Friday 7th
The wind veered back NW but still produced some reasonable passage including 8 Pink-footed Geese, a Hobby, 125 Swallows, 228 House Martins, 720 Meadow Pipits, 4 flava Wagtails,
Waders were in good numbers on the Humber with 40,000 Knot, 3 Curlew Sandpipers and 5 Greenshanks.

Saturday 8th
A light NW wind and veering NE by the afternoon. The day’s highlight was Spurn’s first SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER found by wader guru John Grist at Sammy’s Point! Grounded migrants were few and far between and passage included 149 Swallows and 600 Meadow Pipits.
Over the sea were 8 Fulmars, 42 Sooty Shearwaters, 4 Manx Shearwaters, 18 Arctic Skuas, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Bonxie, 132 Little Gulls and 4 Puffins.

2008
Saturday 6th
Cloudy with rain on and off with a force 2-3 S-SE wind.
An all day sea-watch produced a record count of 978 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Pomarine Skuas and 2 Long-tailed Skuas, also 38 Wigeon, 420 Teal, 12 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 3 Tufted Ducks, 8 Red-throated Divers, 60 Fulmars, 13 Sooty Shearwaters, 268 Gannets, 143 Arctic Skuas, 65 Bonxies, 12 Black Terns, 3100 Common Terns and 2 Roseate Terns.
An Osprey flew north, while grounded migrants included a probable Great Snipe, a Shore Lark, 7 Redstarts, 14 Whinchats, 10 Wheatears, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Garden Warblers, 46 Willow Warblers, 22 Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Pied Flycatchers.

Sunday 7th
The wind was a light NE-N wind and much of the day was spent sea-watching producing a Balearic Shearwater and Cory’s Shearwater, amongst good numbers of commoner seabirds. Passage was quiet but did produce an Osprey.
Grounded migrants were in similar numbers to yesterday but also included an Icterine Warbler and a Long-eared Owl.

Monday 8th
The wind moved from NW in the morning to SE in the afternoon and produced a Grey Phalarope on the Humber and a Wryneck by the gate to the reserve. Passage was reasonable with a few ducks, 608 Swallows, 428 House Martins, 1441 Meadow Pipits, 27 flava Wagtails, 8 Grey Wagtails, and 45 Siskins.

2009
Sunday 6th
Cloudy with a force 3 SW wind, made for perfect vis-migging conditions, and it didn’t disappoint with 187 Sand Martins, 690 Swallows, 9 House Martins, 3 Tree Pipits, 4200 Meadow Pipits, 13 flava Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails and a Siskin.
Grounded migrants were in reasonable numbers with a Short-eared Owl, 4 Redstarts, 40 Whinchats, 4 Wheatears, 2 Chiffchaffs, 15 Willow Warblers, and 9 Spotted Flycatchers.
Waders present included a Little Stint, Spotted Redshank and 7 Greenshank.

Monday 7th
SW 3-4 in the morning veering SE in the evening. Continued migration with only 176 Meadow Pipits, but more hirundines – 208 Sand Martins, 1050 Swallows, 235 House Martins.
Common migrants were in similar numbers to yesterday with no new arrivals.

Tuesday 8th
A force 2-3 SW wind again and a superb passage of hirundines, one of the best there has been at Spurn, which totalled 1100+ Sand Martins, 22,000+ Swallows, 7000+ House Martins. Also on the move were 652 Meadow Pipits, 28 flava Wagtails, Grey Wagtail, and 69 Tree Sparrows.
The only new migrant was the first Goldcrest of the autumn.

2010
Monday 6th
A force 5-7 SE wind. Earlier in the week there had been a good arrival of migrants, and plenty remained, with a Wryneck, 2 Barred Warblers, 2 Wood Warblers, 2 Red-breasted Flycatcher and Hawfinch all present amongst 8 Tree Pipits, 51 Redstarts, 18 Whinchats, 41 Wheatears, 9 Garden Warblers, 6 Chiffchaffs, 24 Willow Warblers, 40 Spotted Flycatchers, 66 Pied Flycatchers and 10 Siskins. Also an Osprey was watched feeding over the Humber.
The sea produced a few birds including 3 Sooty Shearwaters, a Long-tailed Skua and a Bonxie.

Tuesday 7th
After overnight rain and wind, a force 2-3 SE wind. A superb day with a good arrival of birds. Highlights were a Spotted Crake, 4 Wrynecks, a Red-rumped Swallow, 31 Tree Pipits, 27 flava Wagtails, 21 Robins, 92 Redstarts, 43 Whinchats, 71 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfares, Grasshopper Warbler, 8 Blackcaps, 24 Garden Warblers, 6 Barred Warblers, 16 Lesser Whitethroats, 33 Whitethroats, 2 Wood Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 70 Willow Warblers, a Firecrest, 50 Spotted Flycatchers, 66 Pied Flycatchers, 7 Common Rosefinches, 2 Ortolan Buntings.
A few waders were also present including 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpipers.

Wednesday 8th
An E wind remained all day, there had been a big clear out of migrants but still more new birds arriving. New birds were Long-eared Owl, a Wryneck, 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers and a Lapland Bunting.

2011
Tuesday 6th
Blustery 4-5+ W wind, with rain showers. A quiet day with most birds over the sea but only small numbers but did included a few ducks moving and 3 Black Tern, 1602 Common Terns and a Roseate Tern in the evening roost movement.

Wednesday 7th
The westerly wind picked up but it did induce some good passage with a Montagu’s Harrier, a Marsh Harrier, an Osprey, 71 Sand Martins, 209 Swallows, 58 House Martins, 4 Tree Pipits, 7875 Meadow Pipits, 15 flava Wagtails, 1 Grey Wagtail, 379 Tree Sparrows, 620 Siskins and 68 Linnets.
Over the sea were a Sooty Shearwater and 6 Mediterranean Gulls and a Wood Warbler was at Kew Villa.

Thursday 8th
A diminishing W wind with rain showers. Passage continued in smaller numbers but still included and Osprey and 4000 Meadow Pipits.
The sea produced a Black-throated Diver, 5 Manx Shearwaters, 7 Arctic Skuas, 10 Bonxies, 7 Little Gulls, 5 Black Terns, 5350 Common Terns and 77 Arctic Terns.

2012
Thursday 6th
A force 2-4 WSW wind, bright and sunny. A ‘lesser Golden’ Plover, probably American flew over Sammy’s Point and 45+ Mediterranean Gulls were in fields north of Long Bank.
Grounded migrants were few and far between and the sea was also fairly quiet but did include a Long-tailed Skua.

Friday 7th
A force 3 W wind with drizzle. Not surprisingly a quiet day with the weather conditions, but still produced 16 Mediterranean and a Yellow-legged Gull, a Garden Warbler, 7 Goldcrests, 25 Pink-footed Goose, Curlew Sandpiper, and small numbers of birds moving south.

Saturday 8th
Similar conditions and passage picked up a little with 115 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Marsh Harriers, 1 Little Ringed Plover, a Spotted Redshank, 171 Swallows, 266 Meadow Pipits all moving south.
There was a small grounding of migrants which included 2 Whinchat, 3 Stonechat, 58 Wheatear, 3 Willow Warbler, 7 Goldcrests, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers. 30 Mediterranean Gulls also present.

6th to 8th September over the years
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