Back To The Bird Filled Spurn Area For Amazing Magical Migration 6 October 2020 Revisited

Dotterel Sept Gt Orme 8
Juvenile Dotterel are such beautiful birds this one photographed closer to home on the Great Orme.

On winter days it lovely to look back to great birding days in the autumn when we had a few weeks when we managed to run a couple of our "Tours for Two" this one on the Yorkshire coast... After breakfast we headed south towards the Spurn Point area to look for more migrant birds on our “Tour for Two” with Mick and Rachel. On route we heard a Red-breasted Flycatcher had been reported at nearby Easington so we popped in for a look – no sign and nobody on site who had seen the bird, hmm bit like yesterday! But there were migrants about and we watched a lovely Spotted Flycatcher in some bare trees and there were Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs moving through the bushes. The trees around the car park were very busy with birds, Tree Sparrows, Blackcaps, Redwing, more Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs and frustratingly a “reed” Warbler that only showed briefly and not long enough to identify. Easington does turn up great birds but it has to said it is not scenic – most of the birding takes place along the ugly high-security fence that surrounds the very industrial gas terminal and security cameras follow your every move! So we headed off further south towards to Spurn in search of more migrants.

We arrived at Kilnsea Wetlands just north of Spurn and the car park was full but we parked off the road on the verge, advantage of a 4x4. The reason so many folks were here – a Dotterel was in the ploughed field just south of the scrape where we hoped to see lots of birds. A short walk and we joined folks looking at the Dotterel, well at first a ploughed field, the bird was so well camofalauged against the brown earth! But we followed the directions and saw the wader hunkered down in a furrow. Through the scopes we could see the beautiful marking of this juvenile bird such a gorgeous creature. As the Dotterel was not moving we turned around and looked at the wetland area without having to move! What a wonderful spot, Dotterel to the south bird packed wetland to the north.

Curlew Sandpiper juv Sept 1

The lagoon was alive with birds and such wonderful views of the birds too - Curlew Sandpiper.

On the lagoon it was another case of where to look first, so many birds to enjoy here! A Curlew Sandpiper was one of the closest birds to our position so we got the scopes on that first and enjoyed frame filling views – a bird Mike and Rachel had hoped to see on the this trip so great to have such good views. Next to the Curlew Sandpiper were two juvenile Knot and just across from them a beautiful juvenile Grey Plover all these waders had travelled huge distances to meet here on this pool in Yorkshire, mind-blowing stuff. A Little Stint was picked out on the far side of the pool by a couple stood nearby and as always it was great sharing their sightings and excitement with them and others. A lot of the fun in bird-watching comes from sharing the joy with other folks both in the field and now a-days on-line too. Five Ruff were on a grass bank resting amongst a small flock of Black-tailed Godwits. Of course all the time we were checking on the Dotterel just behind us who it must be said did not do a lot despite looking so stunning, occasionally moving position slightly and then back to dozing. Lots of gulls on the pool which included at least eleven Mediterranean Gulls this gave us a good chance to compare the plumages of this so variable species.

A big flock of Linnets flew in and landed in the same field as the Dotterel and amongst the Linnets were Goldfinches and Greenfinches, this area has so many birds! As we headed back to the car a lovely Northern Wheatear hopped along the edge of the field just in front of us as gangs of Skylarks flew low over-head just wonderful birding.

As so very often when enjoying lots of great birds the time had just flown by and we headed down to the Crown and Anchor pub for lunch. This time we opted to eat in as some heavy showers were rattling through, it was warm and dry inside and the food was good.

After lunch we birded the lane east from pub and just as last time we were here progress was very slow due to so many birds! Huge numbers of Starlings were on the fields and lining the telephone wires and then taking flight and making fantastic shapes in the sky as they bunched up and then spread out again just wonderful to watch. Redwings and Song Thrushes were all over the place too with more arriving all the time so exciting to be amongst bird migration. A beautiful male Common Redstart showed off along a fence line and there were Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and so many Robins all over the area! We found a sheltered stand of trees and stood at a gate watching to see what might pop up, well all the regulars were here and then Ruth spotted a dazzling Firecrest in an oak tree a real wow bird. Luckily this tiny gem stayed in view long enough for us all to get a good look and we watched it a Ring Ouzel called from the tree above us! Firecrest gone we turned our attention to the Ring Ouzel and saw it was a cracking male on a bare branch not far above us, just time for a good view and a few grabbed photos before it was off. Now it was “raining” Redwings with hundreds of these Scandinavian thrushes falling out of the sky above us as dark clouds were approaching from over the North Sea. The noise of the Redwings wings was amazing as they swept just above our heads and dived into cover ahead of the coming down pour.

We decided it might be a good idea to seek shelter too but as we turned to head back to the car we noticed several cars arriving just where we were stood. The usual question was asked “Anything about?” and the answer made us forget shelter – a Long-eared Owl had been trapped and ringed and was soon to be released in the field just behind where we were stood!

To see a Long-eared Owl this close was an amazing experience huge thanks to Spurn Bird Observatory.

Of course thoughts of shelter were forgotten and we joined a group of birders in the field near the ringing hut and awaited the owl. Sarah, one of the Spurn Bird Observatory ringers came out holding the magnificent Long-eared Owl and what a stunning bird it was with beautiful plumage and those amazing orange eyes a real wow moment for sure. Everyone had a good look at this stunning bird as the rain arrived and more Redwings fell from the sky all around us! We dashed back to the car elated with our birding and so excited to be in the middle of a major fall of migrant birds, over 1,000 Redwing arrived in less than an hour in that small area of Spurn!

Yellow browed Warbler Norfolk Oct 2017 1

Always a thrill to see a tiny migrant all the way from Siberia - Yellow-browed Warbler.

Next we headed for Sammy’s Point west of Kilnsea on the north shore of the Humber Estuary, only a short distance in a straight line but a bit of drive north, then west and then back south! When we reached the small car park overlooking the vast Humber Estuary it was still throwing it down with rain, but we could see better weather coming. After a short wait the rain stopped and we hurried out to see what birds were about, first ones we saw were Yellowhammers a gang of them in some hawthorn bushes just west of the car park. The sky over the huge mudflats of the Humber Estuary was dramatic after the rain and there were lots of waders out there. Taking the coast path east we reached an area of bushes with a path running through them and at once saw a lovely Common Redstart on the path! Amongst the bushes we saw Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and then heard a call, Yellow-browed Warbler, at first some confusion as we could hear other birders on the other side of the bushes and wondered if they had played a tape of the call? Then Alan spotted the Yellow-browed Warbler right on top of a bush just behind us! The warbler dived out of sight and we waited tensely for it to reappear, the minutes ticked by no warbler, then suddenly it was in a bush just to our right and this time showed off really well in the late afternoon sun, whew and wow!

We walked back to the car thrilled with our day of bird migration and the Redwings, with at least one Fieldfare amongst, them continued to pour overhead what a fantastic area for birds.

In the evening we enjoyed a delicious meal at an Italian Restaurant only a few minutes from our B&B perfect end to a very memorable day indeed!

Come and join us for a "Tour for Two" we offer tours throughout the UK tailor made to be perfect for you! Just drop us a line here and we can make all the arrangements and can even offer door to door service.

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds with you soon!

Contact us

* * *



Our Tweets

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this


What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.