Saturday, 17 September 2016

Migfest 2016


Last week-end saw the fourth annual celebration of bird migration at Spurn on the east coast of Yorkshire, known as Migfest:-

Nine of us trundled our way north on either the Friday or Saturday and despite the continuous rain on the Saturday, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. A visit on the way to Alkborough Flats in North Lincolnshire was called for, this comparatively new and extensive reserve hosting a rare Purple Swamphen (or Purple Gallinule if you prefer). Eventually this bird put in an appearance and the shallow wetland attracted a wealth of other birds including 550 plus Avocets, large numbers of common waders, eight Spoonbills, a couple of Marsh Harriers and Peregrine and Hobby.

At Spurn the wind was really in the wrong direction for any rare passerines, but the waders put on a tremendous show and many provided excellent views including Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper and even a Kentish Plover. Passing sea-birds involved Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Manx Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, a variety of terns and ducks and plenty of Red-throated Divers.

Visible migration was very evident on the Sunday with thousands of Meadow Pipits flitting southwards supported by smaller numbers of hirundines, wagtails, Reed Buntings, Tree Pipits and others. Quality birds in the bushes included Redstart, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher and plenty of common warblers and chats.

The event celebrated migration and there were demonstrations of bird ringing, visible migration watching, moth traps and tips on sea-watching and other field work skills including art, digi-scoping and species identification. Open access was provided to all the main birdwatching sites and there was a procession of talks and presentations to support the event as well as plentiful refreshments.

Local birder Jacob Spinks was one of four young birders nationally to be recognised for their talent in birdwatching skills and during the event was presented with a trophy and a selection of quality books. Well done Jacob!

This was a Northants Bird Club event and I would like to record my thanks to Mark Williams in organising our excellent long week-end away which will surely be repeated in future years.


Neil McMahon

Convolvulus Hawk-moth
on Migfest baseball cap!


Mediterranean Gulls were in
good numbers around the Spurn area...

A rather soggy Wheatear on the Saturday!

Juvenile Swallow.
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