Search This Blog

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spurn Point - first trip out in the campervan!

 Always best to try and remain topical with this blogging malarkey, especially when one's fallen shamelessly behind with posting! No excuses, no drama, just minor life events conspiring to prevent me from sitting down and putting finger to keyboard. Not least of which has been a rather prolonged and somewhat agonizing search and purchase for a campervan ...  but hey its done now and I think I've chosen well ..... here's my vehicle, safely berthed at home after its first trip out.

Its ace! A nicely converted 2.0TD 2001 Ford Transit campervan with everything I need onboard for life on the road ..... space to cook, sit and sleep in, fridge, awning; man its even got central heating! All for £4500 .. job done!

So no excuses now, I can go anywhere, travel in style and put the tent in storage. No excuses for my slack blogposts either, although I continue to busy at the w/e with my recruiting for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, weekdays I can be off and abroad to my heart's content. I've got lots to catch up on and post so I'm going 'flash post' and 'blitz pic' you with some recent Spring highlights starting with my most recent trip out to Spurn Point just this week. I've posted from this wonderful place before - so I'll not dwell here on its qualities but one of the things that always frustrates about Spurn is that a) its such a devil of a place to get to and b) there's always something better that's been seen the day after you've been! So of course the thing to do is go there and stay there for a few days ... in a campervan!

Tis what I did, and if hadn't been for the weather turning sour I would have stayed another day but hey it was a blast and it was so great to get there at 6.30pm, walk halfway up the point, experience dusk and then be able to go back to my van for a sleep in readiness to do it all again in the morning!

Grey Plover (summer plumage)
Normally you can drive all the way down to the Lighthouse at Spurn but with the track down to the point being closed at the moment (due to running repairs caused by erosion) it puts off all but the most determined from walking the 3 miles down to the tip, so at that time in the evening I had the reserve almost to myself. I was thus almost alone on this magical spit of land and rewarded with some super fly pasts of mainly Grey Plover and Dunlin coming into roost plus a super close Pererine Falcon hunting for the former mentioned waders. No pic of the falcon sadly (it was too quick and I was too enthralled) but as dusk gathered I got a reasonable pic (above) of one of the many Grey Plovers now in glorious Summer plumage.

A couple of Little Terns flew over late on, a new bird for me this year, to compliment sightings of both Arctic and Common Terns; there were several Whitethroats calling from the Buckthorn bushes and a late passage of maybe 100+ Barn Swallows plus singing Sedge and Reed Warblers just outside the van all bode well for the morning, as did this migrant Wheatear that I watched in off the sea and land on a notice board at dusk.

Thursday morning alarm set at 04.45 and I awoke in situ at Spurn after a super comfy night's sleep in the van ... this is the life!
I walked the full length of point there and back (with several detours this must have been 10 miles!) but I was rewarded by my first UK Red Rumped Swallow, in amongst what must have been 1000 plus Barn Swallows migrating up the coastline. One or two Sand Martins and House Martins in there too .... Spurn really is the best for watching visible migration! I was a bit unsure whether to claim the Red Rumped after calling in at the observatory office and finding out that no other watchers had seen one but after some research I noticed that one was recorded off the Lincolnshire coast on the same day and in the same time frame, so I'm 'avin it!

Apart from the obvious Swallow migration going on there a huge amount going on but I did have 4 Swifts beating down the headland and a Marsh Harrier heading northwards. In the bushes there was at least 1 singing Lesser Whitethroat along with at least 25 Common Whitethroats that seem to have arrived en mass on our shores over the past few days. Here's my best of the day as far as that particular species goes .....

Wheatear (male)

This male Wheatear was showing well and I especially liked his choice of perching posts! Have to say though they were few and far between at Spurn, strange that, especially given the huge numbers recorded around the York area recently.

Pied Flycatcher

Skulking around in the middle bit of Spurn near to the Chalk Bank hide I flushed out a nice male Pied Flycatcher and got a reasonable shot before it disappeared into the bushes again.

A bit further along I flushed out another iconic Spurn migrant from the chalk bank - a Short Eared Owl. Both are declining massively as breeding birds in the UK so any glimpse as they pass on their way to less disturbed places are to be savoured!

Short Eared Owl

The great thing about Spring passage, especially in May, is that although you might not get the huge numbers of migrating birds as you do in Autumn, you do get to see birds in their Sunday best breeding plumage. I spotted a nice male Whinchat down by the coastguard station that was looking absolutely resplendent as it hopped about on the harbour wall. (pic right)

Most of the waders I saw were also looking good, especially the Bar Tailed Godwits and Turnstones. Several passing Whimbrel about too and whilst its a stretch to view them as colourful and attractive, their annual passing through these parts en route to more Northerly latitudes to breed is always eagerly anticipated.

Bar Tailed Godwit


..........and, common they may be, but you can't fail to be impressed by massed ranks of Oystercatchers all looking smart and eager to breed!

Magical Spurn Point .... I may squeeze in another trip out before the end of May but if not I'm looking forward to spending some quality time there in the Autumn when the place comes into its own as the premier birding hotspot in the UK for watching migrating  birds.





  1. A huge selection of images drool over, can't go wrong with a transit either, solid workhorse.

  2. Hi there. Every now and again I Google myself. It's been a while. This popped up, and imagine my delight. Thanks for the kind words.
    Campervan hire canberra