Day 1 Monday 23rd may.
Ben W and myself had this trip arranged for some time, with the date carefully planned to optimise our chances of some great spring birding. We were hopeful of loads of rare waders, bushes full of scarce overshoots and skies full of migrating rares. Instead we got cold North winds, a wader-less wonderland, missing migrants and a seabird-less sea!
Never mind, we were going to give it a right good go, early till late each day. We called in to check out Kirkby and Woodhall on the journey down, nothing to trouble the notebook with. At Gib we looked at all the waterbodies, walked the dunes and other areas. Two or three cuckoos were giving it some voice and occasionally could be seen in flight. A morning seawatch was literally that – lots of sea but no seabirds. By now we were considering going into Skeg to suss out the tattoo parlours and amusement arcades. We decided on a drive up the coast road to explore some birding spots, starting with another look at the sea at Hutoft, still nowt. Hutoft pit was equally uninspiring. The afternoon then took on a slightly surreal feel at times. Next stop was Anderby creek where we looked out from the cloud bar, the UK’s first purpose built cloud watching station, well, it was a lot better than staring at the sea. Next was Lincs wildlife trust’s Anderby marshes, an excellent little wetland area that had recently featured black-winged stilt, spoonbill, wood sands and garganey. Best we could do today was redshank, ruff, little egret and cuckoo. There are more weird structures along the coast here, is this the strangest bird hide ever?
As we turned off the road Ben glimpsed a big bird out of the corner of his eye, it appeared to sink into the corner of a rape field, what could that be? I reversed back and we saw it – a bloody peacock!
Fish and chips for tea, before an evening, high tide seawatch, yep another one. Gluttons for punishment, yes, but it was great drinking bottles of beer on the beach in the late evening sunshine. We even saw a bird or two this time! Up to 100 little terns fished and went back and forth. A couple of female common scoters drifted north slowly, fairly close inshore. A few common terns and five auks flew north, too far out to put to species. As dusk fell a short-eared owl gave us a good show, before we headed back to Auntie Ruth’s guest house., pic below, everything inside was green also. As we guessed aunty Ruth was fairly eccentric, but lovely. Superb guest house, good bed, clean, great brekkie and real bars of soap, not those poxy bottles of liquid hand wash you normally get in places. At twenty-five quid a night it was great value and right near to Gib.