Song-Thrush-Spurn-Point-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146477

Tracking migrating birds at Spurn Point

October 24, 2012 | By Dan Kitwood | Behind The Lens, News, Photography, Photojournalism

The Spurn Point coastal reserve has been managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust since the 1950′s after it was purchased from the MOD and comprises of a

three and a half mile long, narrow and curving peninsula made up of a series of grassy sand and shingle banks, and mudflats.

The reserve which is only 50 metres wide in some places lies on the northern bank of the Humber Estuary where the North Sea meets the Humber River and is significantly affected by coastal erosion.

Spurn-Point-reserve-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146480

The sun rises over grassy sand dunes at Spurn Point on October 12, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. The Spurn Point coastal reserve has been managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust since the 1950′s after it was purchased from the MOD and comprises of a three and a half mile long, narrow and curving peninsula made up of a series of grassy sand and shingle banks, and mudflats. The reserve which is only 50 metres wide in places lies on the northern bank of the Humber Estuary where the North Sea meets the Humber River and is significantly affected by coastal erosion. Due to Spurn’s location, it is one of the country?s key areas for ornithological observation, as it is the first land for many migratory species on their way over the North Sea to Scandinavia and beyond. Birdwatchers gather during autumn when they are likely to see an array of different migratory birds including Bramblings, Redstarts, Sparrow hawks, Shrike, Short Eared Owls Storm Petrols, Gannets, Knot and Oystercatchers. Rarer species are also common sightings including Radde’s Warbler, Nightingale and Firecrest. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Due to Spurn’s location, it is one of the country’s key areas for ornithological observation, as it is the first land for many migratory species on their way over the North

Sea from Scandinavia and beyond. The British Trust for Ornithology  office at Spurn Point undertakes vital research by capturing migrating birds using mist

nets and Heligoland Traps. The traps are named after the German archipelago in the North Sea, where they were invented, and consist of a long chamber that funnels

the birds to the end into a small enclosure. Birds are then identified, weighed, sexed and their details recorded before being ringed and released which provides the

long-term monitoring of bird populations and migration. As many as 900,000 birds are ringed in both Britain and Ireland every year by trained and licensed ringers,

of which most are volunteers.

Spurn-Point-reserve-British-Trust-for-Ornithology-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146544

Paul Collins of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), puts up a mist net at Spurn Point coastal reserve on October 11, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Brambling-Migratory-Birds-Spurn-Point-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146474

A Brambling is caught in a mist net erected by British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), volunteers at Spurn Point coastal reserve on October 11, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

 

Redstart-migratory-birds-Spurn-Point-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146495

A Redstart is caught in a mist net erected by British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), volunteers at Spurn Point coastal reserve on October 11, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Spurn-Point-Chaffinch-Greenfinch-Heligoland-Traps-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146499

British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), volunteer Pete Smith (L) and Dave Smith capture a Chaffinch and a Greenfinch in a Heligoland Trap at Spurn Point on October 11, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

Birdwatchers gather during autumn when they are likely to see an array of different migratory birds including Bramblings, Redstarts, Sparrow hawks, Shrike,

Short Eared Owls Storm Petrols, Gannets, Knot and Oystercatchers. If your lucky and the wind is blowing in the right direction rarer species  can also be

sighted including Radde’s Warbler, Nightingale Firecrest and Goldcrest, the UK’s smallest bird, (below).

Goldcrest-Spurn-Point-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146464

A British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), volunteer holds a Goldcrest after it is fitted with a ring at Spurn Point on October 11, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

Goldfinch-Spurn-PointDan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146462

A Goldfinch is held after being ringed by British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), volunteers at Spurn Point coastal reserve on October 11, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

 

Song-Thrush-Spurn-Point-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146477

British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), volunteer Dave Williams releases a Songthrush after it is fitted with a ring at Spurn Point on October 12, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

MOD-bunker-Spurn-Point-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146542

An old concrete MOD bunker is reclaimed by the dunes at Spurn Point coastal reserve on October 12, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The point is home to an array of wildlife including Grey Seal, Roe Deer, Red Fox , Harbour Porpoise, Common Seal, and Brown Hare.

 

Roe-Deer-Spurn-Point-Dan-Kitwood-Getty-Images-154146541

A Roe Deer run over grassy dunes as the sun rises at Spurn Point on October 12, 2012 in Spurn Head, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Dan Kitwood is an award-winning Getty Images photographer and regular contributor to the Getty Images blog. For more of his stunning work photographing Spurn Head, visit The Guardian, which ran a slideshow of his images earlier this month.

More posts by this author