Saturday, 2 November 2019

Spurn! Day 1 - 5th August 2019

  I had an unbelievable summer - often people say that the summer after GCSEs is always the best you ever have, but when I found out we weren't going abroad this summer or even going anywhere on a family holiday, I had low expectations. For once these low expectations turned to be wrong, and in the end I got to do so many things that were all linked to nature and were all brilliant. So now I'm looking back at probably the best thing linked to both birdwatching and education that I've ever done...


Tree Sparrows


Tree Sparrow


Tree Sparrow


Tree Sparrow


Tree Sparrow


Tree Sparrow


  Back in June, David Walsh kindly let me know about a new camp led by the BTO to help 'Young Leaders' in the environmental sector. I didn't need to read past the word 'Spurn' to know that I wanted to enter, and after submitting an entry, I was delighted to be successful. The following weeks were lived in constant excitement, with 'Spurn' being one of those places I'd wanted to visit for years. I was also eager to meet new people and learn from the BTO, especially as I'd missed every event in the past, such as Birdcamp.


Greenfinch
  So after a good weekend playing cricket for my club, my parents kindly drove me up to Spurn the night before and we arrived at about 13:30 on the following day. 
...and there's me looking like a complete moron walking onto the platform at the entrance to the obs beaming away - I was probably a bit too keen at being there!


Brown Hare (Samuel Levy)


Spoonbill (Samuel Levy)

  I shortly went to my room in the obs, which I would be sharing with my good Young Birder friend from the past Sam Levy and also Jonathan Farooqi, a very experienced, knowledgeable 18yo birder from Northumberland. Most of our first meeting was him trying to understand how my life list in the UK was so low!  We all got talking to a few others during lunch, and our Young Leaders Course - with an official write-up by all 9 of us here - began with an icebreaker activity. During this I got to meet all the course leaders (Nick Moran, Faye Vogely, Nick Whitehouse and Shaun Robson) as well as the other young people.
We began our course by discussing careers and how we would get there through decision making. Following on from our aspirations, we discussed our inspirations and why we admired certain leaders for what they had done - some leaders mentioned were David Lindo, Angela Merkel and Greta Thunberg (mine was Steve Backshall!)
So as to carry on the idea of careers and leadership, Faye - in charge of social media and communication for the BTO - delivered a session on her pathway into the environmental sector. As well as being thoroughly interesting and quite funny, it was fascinating to hear about what we can do right now that will undoubtedly help us get a job in the future. I for one am definitely thinking that for the near future, I may need a small job...


Kilnsea Wetlands (Samuel Levy)


  With many of us tired after a long journey in the morning from all over England, we finished slightly early which gave me a chance to nip down to one of the private fields with reedbeds to have a look for a family of Marsh Warblers. There was no sign of the birds, but I managed my first (overdue) lifer of the trip by way of Little Terns commuting between the Humber and the sea, calling away.

  Our dinner was relaxed and gave us a good change to get to know each other better. By the end of the day, I had managed to speak to all 9 of the 'Young Leaders,' many of which I had 'met' on social media before such as Amy & Megan. By the next day I had got to know everyone, with the names of all 9 Young Leaders being the above mentioned, Gethin, Luke, Alfie and Ceri.


White-rumped Sandpiper (Jonathan Farooqi)


Sunset at Spurn (Alfie Bloor)

  Since we were all birders, we all rushed through our meal in order to get down to Kilnsea Wetlands as fast as possible, as a White-rumped Sandpiper had been present there for a number of days. We reached the wetlands as it began to get dark, but were treated to some cracking views of the waders there. While I was also thrilled to see my first Wood Sandpipers, the group of 9 of us were treated to gripping views of the White-rumped Sand in the dim light (only Jonny managed some good images,) with it eventually darting to within 20m of our watch-point. We watched it for a good 15 minutes, before we eventually decided - pleased with our views - to walk around the wetlands to Beacon Ponds to watch the sunset. This concluded the first of an exciting 5 days at Spurn!



White-rumped Sandpiper and Dunlin


White-rumped Sandpiper and Dunlin


White-rumped Sandpiper


Spot the Yank Part 1


Spot the Yank Part 2


A record shot showing the white rump of the White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper


The official blog post, written by all 9 of us about the full 4 days, is here.


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