Yesterday (Sunday 21st Sept) I was fortunate to be able to visit the Spurn/Kilnsea area in East Yorkshire with fellow Northants birders Jacob Spinks, Andrew Tyrrell and Neil Hasdell. There were plenty of birders on the ground when we arrived and good numbers of other would-be observers from Northants too! This migration hot-spot attracts large numbers of birders from around the country, the quality and concentration of birds making the long journey worthwhile.
Many there had come to see a juvenile Masked Shrike which was on show all day along a particular shielded hedge-line, and this was my first opportunity of seeing one in juvenile plumage. The bird was just a little too far away for my lens to cope with so I'm hoping my colleagues will supply me an image over the next few days or so!
The supporting cast of scarce and rare birds ensured that birders didn't have far to stray and we walked a loop around Kilnsea itself to see most of the birds on offer. I can watch members of the chat family all day and with good numbers of Stonechats, Whinchats, Wheatears and Redstarts on offer I was very happy with my lot. A juvenile Barred Warbler gave itself up on the second attempt and at one stage I was able to see Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher and Red-breasted Flycatcher all in the same 'scope view! We didn't connect with an elusive Olive-backed Pipit on-site but most patient observers did even if the views were brief. Other birds of the grassy margins included up to three Jack Snipe, Snipe and Water Rail.
Other warblers included Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler and a Yellow-browed was reported. Fly-over migrants included Marsh Harrier, Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Brambling and Siskin. A brief spell of sea-watching quickly provided distant views of Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Arctic and Great Skua and good numbers of Red-throated Divers as well as a supporting cast of Kittiwake, Common Tern, Gannet and Guillemot.
As the tide turned good numbers and variety of estuary waders were pushed up towards us and we noted plenty of Little Egrets and a couple of Brent Geese. A Peregrine was about our last bird of note as we left the area during the late afternoon.