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Catching up with chat and a Stonechat

Bob Radford and I set off in good spirits during a horrendous Friday afternoon trip to Lancashire, it was a six hour journey! We made the effort to visit the NW to catch up with Graham and Jeremy at the formers home and have a night out in the excellent Burscough Bridge public houses. On Saturday we had tickets to join the travelling ‘Gasheads’ (Bristol Rovers supporters) at Boundary Park, home of the Latics (Oldham Athletic). Bob is an avid Oldham fan so we had some fun with the football banter. All of us could have done with an earlier bedtime!

After a highly favourable 0-2 win for the Pirates (Bristol Rovers) we dropped Graham and Jeremy back, had a snack and said goodbye, Bob and I made a late decision to head to the East coast so we booked a room in Hull, ate an Italian meal and settled down for a much needed early evening. We stayed at the functional Gril Campanile Motel, had a continental breakfast surrounded by Blackbirds, tits flocks and Goldcrest and were soon on the road early for Kilnsea, We parked up in breezy sunshine and took a look at the sea. 2 drake Eiders and 4 Gannet went N, Red-throated Divers were heading S.

We briskly walked the three miles from Kilnsea to Spurn Point seeing various birds on the way, the light would be better on the way back so we didn’t linger. At the point we searched the Sea Buckthorn and dunes for the interesting Stonechat reported the day before. This active bird could well be a Stejnenger’s Stonechat, a far eastern representative of the Saxicola group. Initially it was hiding, we spent the time scanning the Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Reed Buntings and watching thrushes such as Redwing and Fieldfare drop out of the sky.

Putative Stejnenger’s Stonechat at Spurn Point
I was struggling to digi-scope this mobile bird, there were plenty of photographers present that will undoubtedly produce detailed images.

Stejneger's Stonechat poss, Spurn, 23 Oct 16, MJMcGill (3)_edited-1 Stejneger's Stonechat poss, Spurn, 23 Oct 16, MJMcGill (4)_edited-1 Stejneger's Stonechat poss, Spurn, 23 Oct 16, MJMcGill (6)_edited-1 Stejneger's Stonechat poss, Spurn, 23 Oct 16, MJMcGill (7)_edited-1 Stejneger's Stonechat poss, Spurn, 23 Oct 16, MJMcGill (9)_edited-1

Eventually the Stonechat re-appeared and gave us good scope views but it was always on the move, it often towered into the sky to catch flies and never stayed on one perch for long as it ranged the sheltered side of the point. After a good hour or so with this busy bird we wandered back along the peninsula birding along the way. Apparently droppings were collected for DNA analysis, this and the hundreds of photographs taken should help identify the origin.  Dark-bellied Brent Geese, scores of waders, a Northern Wheatear, Great Tits, Blackcaps and commoner passerines were all noted. It was generally quiet especially compared to recent weeks here. Back at Kilnsea we put or feet up, had a brew and a cake in the Blue Bell Café and decided to start back for home.

A very enjoyable sociable weekend with a bit of birding thrown in, thanks to Bob for all the driving and good company throughout.

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Filed under: Birdwatching Diary
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Martin

at 4:13 pm

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