Yorkshire Seabirds And Raptors Special Day Four To Spurn Point

Little Gull 2016 1

Hornsea Mere is a great place to see Little Gulls in summer.

The pre-breakfast walk provided better views of the Little Owl in a hawthorn bush much closer than last-night, through the telescope we could see every detail in the sunshine.

After breakfast we headed off south, first stop was at Hornsea Mere, a large freshwater lake on the edge of Hornsea town. We walked out onto a promontory which gave great views of the water. A local birder was here and he pointed out a Little Gull on the far side of the lake, decent views in the Leica telescopes. On the water we watched Great Crested Grebes, some with young, Pochard, new for the trip, Tufted Ducks and lots of Coots. Little Egrets and Cormorants roosted on a wooded island where we saw a Great spotted Woodpecker. Richard spotted a Common Tern feeding in the bay behind us, another new bird for the trip and we enjoyed great views. The café on the lake side did great hot chocolate and sitting outside we could keep birding, seeing six more Little Gulls.

Ruff and Black tailed Godwit

A moulting male Ruff, right, with a Black-tailed Godwit.

We continued south to Spurn, one of the places to go birding in the UK, even if July is not the most popular time to visit. But we knew the tide would be high and thought the wetlands at Kilnsea would hold some birds. Walking down to the new hide it was hot and humid and Skylarks sang above. The view over the pools was amazing lots of waders were roosting close to the hide. We settled down to check through all these birds and what a treat we had. The majority of the birds were Common Redshank with a big flock of Dunlin amongst them all in their smart breeding plumage with black-bellies. A pair of Avocets had a fluffy chick on the mud off to the right and this little chap generated lots of “aaawws”! Back to the fully grown waders and we picked out Greenshank, two Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, beautiful breeding plumaged Knot and best of all a very smart ornage/red breeding plumaged Curlew Sandpiper. This beautiful wader had travelled all the way from Siberia to reach Yorkshire and we were thrilled it made the journey. We had spent a long time here watching the waders and stomachs were beginning to rumble luckily the Crown and Anchor Pub was close by and we had lunch there, not finding dinning but we were hungry!

Food done we continued on to the Spurn peninsula and visited the new Yorkshire Wildlife Trust visitor centre. This smart looking building, giving views over the Humber Estuary is home to some offices and a small café and has some information boards but to be honest we were not over impressed. No staff or volunteers engaged with our group during our visit, maybe they were all busy?

We headed back the short distance to Kilnsea and walked out to the bank overlooking Beacon Ponds, a shallow lagoon just behind the beach. Here lots more waders, another big flock of Dunlin, amongst them a few Knot and new for our trip Ringed Plovers, six Grey Plover and a handsome breeding plumaged Sanderling. Little Terns breed on the beach here and plenty of these tiny seabirds were on show. The Little Tern is in big trouble, they nest on open beaches which humans and their dogs love to visit, resulting in disturbance to the birds. High winds and high tides take their toll and lots of things like to eat Little Tern eggs and chicks! Poor birds have so many pressures on them they only breed in specially protected areas. A Marsh Harrier, perhaps looking for a Little Tern sized snack, checked out the area but left without a meal, whew.

Time to head back to Buckton and a hearty meal at the local pub and then pack our bags ready to check out next morning. Richard and Jane did pop out to look for owls no sign but did add Red-legged Partridge to the trip list.

Dotterel Sept Gt Orme 6

A juvenile Dotterel on the Great Orme in September - an exciting time of year!

If you are looking for a short break this Autumn our North Wales tour might be of interest. We have a great selection of birds and habitats all within a few miles of our home here in Llandudno. Come and join us in September for our five day “Best of North Wales Tour” where we visit a wide range of habitats enjoying over 120 species of birds at a pace that gives us plenty of time to really enjoy the birds. The tour is based at a lovely country hotel with lots of birds around the hotel, great food throughout too! For all the details or to book your place please email us.

Please email us here to arrange your very own Birdwatching Trip…..


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds and great fun with you soon!

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