Sunday, 15 November 2015

Crag Martin at the Crooked Spire

After moving back to York a month ago, I finally got the opportunity to get to Spurn for the weekend, just in time for the tail end of the hurricane to hit the UK. Arriving at 10:30 I nipped into the wetlands, stopping at the car park for a while to watch a short eared owl quartering the field across the road. From the hide there was only a dunlin, redshank, and a flock of brent geese, and after 20 minutes I decided to head down to the reserve. 

There wasn't much moving there either and the clouds were brooding. I wandered down the point past the wash-over, but the beach was bare and the waders well dispersed over the exposed mud, so I turned back north. As I walked between sea-watch and the Blue Bell I could see another SEO over Canal Scrape, but aside from a couple of goldcrests at beacon lane, that was as fun as it got. I forged onwards to the lagoons, hoping for snow bunting on the beach, but no luck; then the rain hit, and I enjoyed a damp half hour trudge back to the obs. The persisted brizzle was quick to soak me through and turn my thoughts first to hot drinks and drying off, then to curries and pints.

Sunday started dismally; as the rain tailed of at 9 the next morning we stood on the cliff top, counting through the siskin, goldfinch, redpoll and twite. There was little moving on the sea, just a few divers and auks, but I did pick up my first little gull on the Humber. All last week I had been looking at the reports of crag martin at Chesterfield, but had not had the opportunity to get on the road. After fidgetting at sea-watch for half an hour in the hope of something exciting I cracked, said goodbye to everyone, and hopped into the car. 

Two hours later I'd parked the car and found the small crowd off birders at the church. As I arrived one car was leaving for the stadium, where the bird had been most recently sighted, but it suddenly appeared round a building and began circling the church.

I watched the bird for just over an hour as it made quick passes around the crooked spire, only once vanishing across to the stadium. Luckily the rain held off, but unfortunately for me the bird was just to fast for me and my poor camera. I did get a couple of records, but none of the real super-shots that I saw on the LCD's of some of my fellow twitchers. Still, one closer to 400!

Tail spots just visible

Buff under-side

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