Saturday, September 18, 2021

SPURN 2021.

Spurn, nowadays, and the approach you have to take whilst birding there, has changed significantly compared to the situation that presented itself when first I used to visit and stay there in the late 1950's. I was still at school, of course,so visits were done on a day basis or during the holidays when we used to stay at Warren Cottage. The penninsula itself, facilities, ownership patterns and even the area covered are much different to those days when , for instance, two fields had to be crossed in order to get to the shoreline from Warren Cottage passing a small reed filled marsh on the way. One thing it has not lost and that is its magic, an aspect that ever increasing numbers of visitors are now begining to discover for themselves! One thing steadfastly remains and that is that it is one of the premier bird migration locations in the UK, an aspect that even seems to improve and assert itself further as the years go by! The observatory has independent status, has a modern residential facility, staff, a vibrant committee, an ongoing research programme and an ever expanding record of success. One major element has changed , however, and that is the bird recording area embraced by the observatory.
As can be seen from the map above , this area has a northern boundary which circumvents Easington village in the north. This "new extension" has , itself, produced a whole string of excellent records and has certainly enhanced the importance in ornithological terms of the extreme tip of south east Yorkshire. The village too has attracted an ever growing population of resident birders !! This "development" has emerged when another important change has occurred to the penninsula itself. Several years ago the penninsula was (finally ) breached and it is no longer possible to journey down to the Point by car. This has made coverage of the recording area for one individual somewhat of a challenge, although the advent of electric bicycles which are able to cross the sandy breached area has improved matters for the lucky few. Alternatively,simply determining a schedule of visiting several of the key areas and picking up on a good selection of what is around is a reasonable startegy. Short wave radios are put to good use , but the frustration of being at Sammy's Point and learning of something good which has turned up at the Point never fails to go away! The fact that such a selection of riches regularly graces the Spurn/Easington area is testament to its unique position and importance. With people seawatching,catching and ringing birds, carrying out visible migration studies coupled with a veritable army of enthusiasts combing the recording area from dawn to dusk each day such prominence is hardly surprising. So, taking a holiday here presents endless opportunities and guaranteed enjoyment. I've started paying regular visits again since moving back to Yorkshire, an aspect supported over the past couple of years by the ever changing lockdown arrangements. As the Observatory itself provides a very detailed report on line each day drawn from the activities of its staff and volunteers, my entries will simply reflect my own coverage ( considerably much less adequate ) from my stays! I'll also just present it as a weekly summary too, the first one of which is set out below.

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