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Friday, October 4, 2013

Migrant strollings around Gibralter Point... first Redwings and last Swallows

With strengthening winds from the East all week the signs looked good for some visible bird migration but where to go? Had to be the East coast of coast but having done Spurn and Flamborough recently I fancied a bit of a change of county and headed off down to Gibralter Point on the NE coast of Lincolnshire.

Walkway across the dunes


Gibralter Point is 4.5 square kilometres of coastal saltmarsh and buckthorn covered sand dunes. Long famed as a migration hotspot and bird ringing activity, it's quite rightly the jewel in the crown for the Lincs Wildlife Trust gang, a few of whom I met during my brief 2 day trip over the 1st & 2nd of Oct.

Its a cracking spot to just wander about in, a lot more open and accessible than Spurn, less birders too and with its many paths through the dunes it has a very laid back 'get away from it all' feel.

The first day of October, like much of the UK Summer before it, brought warmth and plenty of sunshine - great for warming my bones but sadly not always good for watching migrating birds. Yes the wind was fresh and blowing in from contintental Europe but with clear skies and nothing to 'down' passage migrants, most will simply fly right over and onwards.
Up with the larks bright n early at 6.00am I had many Meadow Pipits and finches, mainly Chaffinch Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Linnets in the sky. Then my first good bird, a male Redstart sheltering from the wind in one of 'dune valleys'. If I'd known that it was to be my only one I'd have tried harder to get a pic but he was skulking and I was sure I'd have more.
Not a migrant but certainly passing by was this rare old bird... at 7.00am with I thought the whole of the point to myself, the last thing I expected was to pass an old lady with a walking aid!

 Completely random!

I was quite chuffed with myself for picking out a single Brambling in amongst a small flock of passing Chaffinches... yey! In fact, up until midday, although nothing rare, there was a pleasing numbers of common migrants making their way down the coast and in off the sea... scores of Meadow Pipits, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Skylarks, about 50 or so Song Thrushes on the point were good to see but best of all was my first Redwings of the Autumn. 12 in total, they stayed only briefly, alighting at the top of a conifer tree for a minute or so before flying off.

1st Redwings of the Autumn, Gibralter Point

I saw 3 Swallows beating South just minutes before and it would be kind of neat to get my first Redwings of the season on the same day as my last Swallows!


There was a Red Breasted Flycatcher and 3 Yellow Browed Warblers on the reserve whilst I was there but a little frustratingly I dipped out on both. I did manage a male Blackcap and several Goldcrests but that early Redstart that promised so much was more of a 'red herring'!
No worries though ... it was pleasure enough to be out walking this landscape on a bright & breezy day. There were even a few butterflies on the wing, mainly Whites and Tortoiseshells but a few nice Red Admirals too. 
Red Admiral, Gibralter Point
 The light was good and I managed some pretty decent shots of some of the waders present in and around the scrapes.
Avocet, Gibralter Point
Black Tailed Godwits, Gibralter Point

There were 85 Black Tailed Godwits in all, one of my favourite waders to catch in flight ... those white underwings are simply stunning!

The Avocets (16 of them) were hanging around in front of one of the hides and doing that funny feeding frenzy thing .. so rapidly were they swishing their bills in the water most of my shots came a bit blurred but this one was ok and caught the moment well enough

Feeding Avocets, Gibralter Point.

I managed 15 wader species in all. Not bad going. Apart from the 2 above I also had Green Sandpiper, Curlew, Knot, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lapwing, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Snipe, Redshank, Ruff and heard a Spotted Redshank.

The Greenshank picture is one of only a few pics took on the next day. As you can tell by the picture it was dull, and spitting with rain too. Apart from a few more Blackbirds and Robins  hanging about, good and different birds were thin on the ground and the only thing that looked any good through my lens was the Sea Buckthorne!

I'd like to have stayed on here for a couple more days, I'm still waiting for my first good Yellow Browed shot and sure I would have got it, still ... there's always Flamborough and I'm up there for a few days soon so that's this month's photo target sorted!

1 comment:

  1. Never been, perhaps I should it looks pretty good, the old lady made me chuckle, we do see some random people out and about, but I can't help thinking, "fair play to her"