My mum and I arrived eagerly at Spurn after a nights stay at Highfield Farm B&B, we soon bumped into Findlay and his Mum, Heather. We last met them at Hen Harrier Day in the Goyt Valley and it was good to see them again, we soon saw Ellis and his Dad, Mark too. An hour later Ellis and Findlay and I began the competition. (Check out Findlay and Ellis's blogs for more information on the actual competition I won't repeat what they have already written very well: Findlay Wildes blogpost and Ellis Lucas' blogpost.)
Spurn is an amazing place, full of a variety of different habitats such as, wetlands, estuary, garden habitats, farmland scrub and coastal. It was amazing to see the damage caused by the severe winter storms along the point, we took a guided trip in the Unimog to the lighthouse excellently guided by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Ellis and his Dad Mark came too - it was a fun trip! We saw a lovely Wheater too. During our stay at Spurn I saw new species to me, one of which was a juvenile Red Backed Shrike (summer visitor that winters in tropical Africa); a gorgeous bird that is a lovely red colour, it hunted insects quite openly which allowed us to get fantastic views of it perched on a branch or a fence. We caught a very,very brief glimpse of the Barred Warbler (passage migrant), it felt quite strange to be peering at birds in people's gardens along with lots of other people!
There were plenty of opportunities and areas to experience different types of bird watching, such as areas to sea watch, wetlands and of course looking up for vismig!. On the mud flats there were several different species of waders, such as: Golden Plovers, Redshank, Little Plover, Curlew etc. Sea watching was something I'd never really done much of before apart from the day before in the competion which was a challenge and little bits on holiday, living in Derby means the coast is not very handy for us! As I don't have a scope, to start with I did find it difficult to see the distant birds well , however once I borrowed a scope from Chris on the Opticron stand I soon got the hand of it and I managed to spot Gannets, Gulls, Scoters and Skuas. Now I want a scope!!!
Spurn has very good ringing facilities , they have a couple of Heligoland traps (A Heligoland trap (or funnel trap) is a large, building-sized, funnel-shaped, rigid structure of wire mesh or netting used to trap birds, so that they can be banded or otherwise studied by ornithologists.) and mist nets. They were catching Whitethroats, Redpolls, Warblers and even a Kestrel, which I released, thanks to Tim for allowing me to do this, it is a wonderful bird and this one was a lot calmer than the Sparrowhawk I had ringed in Derbyshire, however not as calm as the Tawny Owl I helped ring in February when out in Thetford Forest with the BTO.
I was very grateful for the oppurtunity to take part in the competition and would like to thank Nick Whitehouse and his team for this and the lunch! I really enjoyed the competition despite the nerves. it is great that Spurn want to encourage more young people to visit and if the competition can grow this should encourage more young people to attend the festival.