|This bird needs no introduction...|
I awoke shortly before 2am on Friday morning, got picked up at 2.15, and we subsequently began the journey northwards, ensuring that we were on site for first light.
We arrived at Easington at 6.40am, and although I expected quite a few birders to be on site already, it was a bit of a surprise to find around 400 people lurking around the bushes on Vicar's Lane in the pre-dawn murkiness. At about 7.15, the call went out that the bird was visible (it was still dark), and the excessive stampede of tick-hungry twitchers ploughed forth. A few seconds later and I was watching it perched on the skip, until it flew into the skip, then went on to the ground to feed. Surprisingly, the bird seemed pretty unfazed to all of the madness, pushing and running going on and continued to perform in the half-light. I was extraordinarily happy that it had stayed the night!
Spurn Bird Observatory volunteers did a very good job of efficiently organising the twitch and directed all twitchers into an ever-increasing queue. A few hundred birders were in the queue at any one time, and queuing time was about 20 minutes coupled with a few minutes of viewing the bird. The accentor was constantly on show, sometimes feeding with Dunnocks, so everyone who had queued was able to get good views of it. If visiting Spurn, please follow on-site directions from volunteers and parking instructions, which can be found here as well as recent sightings: www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/sightings/.
Siberian Accentor is a species which breeds predominantly across Russia and in parts of Mongolia and China, and winters in parts of China, North Korea, and South Korea. The past two weeks have seen an unprecedented influx of the species into northwestern Europe (excluding Russia) with apparently just over 50 individuals discovered in the past 13 days (04 October - 16 October 2016), with 12 new individuals discovered today (16 October) alone. As of today there has now been 4 British records of the species, with one found in Cleveland yesterday and another in Durham today. A map of sightings can be found here: www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1UutKHaVv9lKD-n4inPghjM0carw.
Siberian Accentors in the Western Palearctic this Autumn...
After about 9.30, the queue was fairly non-existent, and the accentor was still on show giving very close views in slightly better light. We moved on to Kilnsea, and on the way here I picked out a Woodcock flying past, seen from the car. We headed just past the Bluebell Cafe, where a confiding Shorelark was frivolously frolicking in the grass.
|Shorelark - my fourth this year|
We started walking back to Bluebell, when a second Woodcock flew past, and another birder informed us that an Olive-backed Pipit had been seen in the long grass near the Shorelark. Another quick sprint and I joined the crowd of birders looking for the OBP. Whilst waiting, a gaggle of White-fronted Geese flew over, calling.
|Migrating White-fronted Geese|
After about 15 minutes, the OBP was seen and took flight, calling once. I only had brief flight views but it was still good to see!
|Olive-backed Pipit - photography at its best|
|Migrant Fieldfares and Redwings|
After this, we went back to Vicar's Lane, Easington, to have another look at the Siberian Accentor. The crowds here had massively reduced and there was no queue. The accentor was still constantly on show, and performed amazingly.
Within a few minutes of arriving here, the accentor hopped even closer and spent a few minutes tossing leaves around, c. two metres in front of me.
|Not a good photo, but it's uncropped|
|Not a good photo, but it's unedited and uncropped just to show how close the bird was|
|A nice photo of a Dunnock|
Incredible views and quite possibly one of the best birds I've ever seen!
We left here at about 12:30 and began the journey home.
Spurn - it's a right place.