Start Birding visits Spurn Point

What a fantastic week it has been for Start Birding.

The new beginner’s birdwatching classes are going well at Rodley Nature Reserve on Mondays and Wednesdays with my new students learning the basics of how to become a better birdwatcher.

Already we have covered how to get the best out your binoculars and learned how to choose a good field guide. Thanks to In Focus at Denby Dale for their support and advice.

This week we are putting that learning into practise as we work out how to identify birds and begin to understand more about them.

Class members learn how to identify birds through various methods

Classes will continue throughout the academic year and subject areas will be highlighted in future blogs.

On Saturday, Start Birding visited one of the most fantastic places in the UK to see migration in action, Spurn Point and Spurn Bird Observatory. This reserve is managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is an excellent place to practise wader identification for budding birdwatchers; being able to see lots of different species together for comparison.

The famous lighthouse at Spurn Point

The star bird was a great white egret, found resting at the Beacon Lagoons area of the peninsula. Three grey herons, also resting nearby, provided a good size comparison for novice birders and the egret’s reaction to a passing kestrel clearly showed it’s crooked neck.

On the wader front, large flocks of knot gathered on the Humber Estuary with bar-tailed godwit, grey plover, golden plover, ringed plover, oystercatcher, curlew, redshank, dunlin and turnstone mingled together for good comparison. Sanderlings busily fed on the shoreline behaving, one of my class members describes, like someone who has been drinking too much coffee!

Sandwich terns cried overhead as they made their way south for the winter and a red-throated diver was seen flying over the sea along with many young gannets. Grey seal heads punctuated the wide expanse of sea before us as we looked for migrating birds.

The south-westerly weather limited our migration experience but the beautiful sunny skies and calm seas reminded us that it was still late summer.

Late summer birding at Spurn Point

Next week we take to the sea for, hopefully, shearwaters and skuas on the RSPB Shearwater Cruise

If you’re interested in joining me to learn more about birds then contact me for a chat on

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