Saturday 15 October 2016

Siberian Spurn!

Siberian Accentor is a species which breeds in the boreal and subarctic zone of extreme NE Europe and West Siberia and the entire population winters in C & E China and Korea. 
Amazingly, last Sunday the 9th October, a bird was found in a small quarry on Shetland and represented the first record for Britain. It stayed just 2 days leaving many envious birders across the UK. 

Fast forward just 4 days later to Thursday 13th October and Britain's 2nd bird was found in the village of Easington, near Spurn Bird Observatory, East Yorkshire. This was just too much temptation for what is generally considered to be a tricky bird to see anywhere in the world. Therefore, during the early hours of Friday 14th October I picked up Kev Rylands in Exeter and we drove north in the hope of seeing this mega!

The photos below should give you a feel for the day. It was simply a brilliant and memorable day for birds. The Siberian Accentor aside, the migration spectacle in this part of the east coast was so exciting. Thrushes, Robins and Goldcrests were literally everywhere and seemingly falling out of the sky and there was a continual feeling of birds moving both by sight and sound. Brambling, Siskin, Redpolls heading over calling and lots of scarce and rare birds too. We spent the day birding the area and came frustratingly close to finding some new birds whilst in Easington. Kev had brief views of a "ticking" bunting and we both heard what I was pretty sure was a Dusky Warbler. It called on 2-3 separate occasions but never showed itself and unfortunately, it was coming from a private garden that we just could not access! Today, there were 7 Dusky Warblers recorded at Spurn and amazingly, Britain's 3rd Siberian Accentor was found in Cleveland.

Finally, it was worth highlighting the excellent Spurn Bird Observatory website. A huge thanks to the team of volunteers who arranged site access to the area the Accentor was feeding and their hard work in managing the crowd and parking throughout the day.

Siberian Accentor, Easington, East Yorkshire

Siberian Accentor, Easington, East Yorkshire

Siberian Accentor, Easington, East Yorkshire

Siberian Accentor, Easington, East Yorkshire

Part of the appreciative crowd!

Ring Ouzel over Easington

Ring Ouzel, Easington

Ring Ouzel, Easington

Song Thrush - The place was full of thrushes including these very grey looking Song Thrushes

Redwing - Many feeding groups were seen

Goldcrest - these were literally everywhere feeding at your feet!

Shore Lark, near the Blue Bell Cafe

Tundra Bean Geese - part of a group of 9 birds

"Tundra" Bean Geese - the bird with a more orange bill was being reported as possible "Taiga" Bean Goose but
the structure would seem similar to the "Tundras" and bill presumably within possible variation of Tundra

Pallas's Warbler - This bird was in the Crown and Anchor car park and the last bird of the day seen at 6pm

Spurn Lighthouse


  1. What a gripping post!! Not the Dunnock so much, but the spectacle that is Spurn on a good day in the autumn - you just don't know where to look!!! These were my favourite days up there, although they could be very stressful if there weren't many people about. God I miss the east coast sometimes :-/

  2. Shame you couldn't come Steve! It would have been good to have your knowledge of the area. I had not visited the area for something like 20 years I think! What a fabulous place though and one I really must return to again. The east coast is just so different to Devon!