Spurn Bird Observatory – getting bigger?


As it has for almost everyone, 2020 has been tough for Spurn Bird Observatory – for much of the year we remained closed and were not able to function at our full potential with events and accommodation. But thanks to the amazing support we have received from our Friends of Spurn and the wider community, we are still able to explore potential land purchase opportunities.

An exciting chance to own a prime portion of land in the Triangle in Kilnsea has arisen! Our Observatory directors have been in discussions over two fields behind Cliff Farm, on the west side of the Triangle, and are now in a position to progress with the purchase, subject to some fundraising to make it affordable for the Observatory.

We know how hard land can be to come by in our area, so when the opportunity to secure these fields in the Triangle appeared, we simply couldn't turn it down. We have managed to source a substantial amount towards the cost of this land but we just need a small amount of fundraising to get us over the final hurdle.

The land itself is the field immediately adjacent to Cliff Farm, just south of the Kilnsea Road and bordering the Canal on its western edge, and Rose Cottage and Well Field on its eastern edge. This represents 5.5 acres, where we believe we would be able to develop into an amazing field for birds and wildlife.

The sale of this land has not yet been confirmed, but we are very close to being able to secure it. Should, for whatever reason, the sale fall through then any money accumulated through the following fundraisers will all be put back into our land bank fund for future land purchases.

We are open to ideas about how to develop this land and will be asking our Friends of Spurn members for consultation, hopefully once we have finalised the purchase. Our initial thoughts are to have a wader scrape in the field, with a hide(s)/screen(s) overlooking it. Our good friend and artist Ray Scally has kindly done the following artist's impression to show a potential future vision for this parcel of prime birding square-footage.

We have launched the following fundraising initiatives – of which all proceeds will go directly towards the purchase of this land by Cliff Farm:


Spurn Bird Observatory Trust 2021 Calendar

We've teamed up with a whole host of amazing artists who have supported the Observatory with their work in the past, and our highly skilled designer Chris Gaughan from Designwing, to produce a top-quality 2021 calendar. It features 12 pieces of artwork from 10 different artists in A4 landscape format. It has a selection of 'highlighted features' throughout the year, noting for example certain weeks that are good for passage of a particular species. It also has the earliest Spurn spring migrant dates and 'On this Day' rarities from Spurn's past for inspiration when you are next out in the field.

We are offering these calendars at a variety of price ranges. Obviously, they are all the same product but as this is an initiative to raise money of this land purchase, we have given the option to increase your donation while still receiving a calendar. This is a 'pre-sale' and will last until 13 December – so get your orders in before then. They will then be posted out the following week. To purchase, click here.


Ian Lewington Siberian Accentor print auction

Following on from the great success and popularity of our previous auction, we have another 14 mounted giclee A4 prints from Ian Lewington of the legendary Siberian Accentor from Easington to auction off.

These prints will be auctioned off as previous, with the top 14 bidders all receiving one of these special mounted prints.

This is an online auction, with bids sent to sbotauctions@gmail.com – full instructions on how to place a bid can be found here. There is a reserve for each print and they won't be sold unless that reserve is met. You will be notified by email to confirm your bid initially and if you are knocked out of the top 14 bidders, you will be informed of the new 14th highest bid. Please check your junk email to make sure you do not miss these emails!

The auction will run until 5 pm on 14 December 2020. Whoever is in the top 14 highest bidders at this point secures one of the prints and will be requested to pay via PayPal/bank transfer/cheque.


Handbook of the Birds of the World auction

A 16-volume set (plus the 'special' volume) of Handbook of the Birds of the World has been very generously donated to SBO. As we don't have enough space at the Observatory to store this collection, we have decided that an auction raising funds for the land purchase would be the most appropriate way to find them a new home. These are a second-hand set in near-mint condition, with just some wear on the dust sleeves of volume one and two.

This is a great opportunity to get your hands on the full 16 volumes plus the 'special volume' of this hard-to-find set of books. More info on the books can be seen here.

This is an online auction, with bids sent to sbotauctions@gmail.com; full instructions can be found here. There is a reserve for the full set of volumes and they won't be sold unless that reserve is met. You will be notified by email to confirm your bid initially and if you are knocked off the highest bid, you will then be informed of the new highest bid. Please check your junk email to make sure you don't miss these emails!


GoFundMe Page

To go alongside the above fundraisers, we are also looking to raise £2,000 to finalise the sale of this land. So far, we have been able to draw £7,500 from our Land Bank fund through the regular 'Securing the Future' donations that some of our very generous members have accumulated, to add to the cost of this purchase. We understand that many people are going through a very difficult time financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why we have tried to ensure our fundraising plan has a range of options to get to the target figure to allow us to purchase the Cliff Farm land, with most of the options giving something back to our supporters.

Our directors have thought long and hard about ways to raise funds for this land purchase and lots of calculations have gone into the finances, with the outcome that we are likely to still need to raise £2,000 to confirm the purchase of this land. We are asking that if you are able to do so, please donate to our final fundraiser here. Many thanks for all the support shown by the birding community and beyond.

You can donate directly through GoFundMe here.


Spurn Warblers Card Collection

In addition to all of the above we had also already launched a Spurn Warbler A6 card collection, we can now confirm that all proceeds from this product will go straight to the purchase of Cliff Farm land.

With the great help and support of Swallowtail Print, Chris Gaughan at Designwing and our three generous artists: Alan Harris, Tony Disley and Richard Johnson, we are able to offer these great little A6 blank cards.

This is a pack of nine cards, three of each design. The artwork was produced for Spurn Wildlife publications of recent years. They are available to purchase on our shop here for £12.