Friday 1 January 2016


New year. New start. Up at 6:30, coffee and toast, then off to the Cogden patch.The first six birds were all heard: Carrion Crow, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Herring Gull and Dunnock. And they needed a bit of volume too, because the roar from the beach was pretty loud! The surf was getting ripped up by a brisk SE and giving the Chesil shingle a right pounding.

By the time I got down there a nice pink glow suffused the sky over Portland...

That's the closest we got to actual sun all day
I mooched along the beach, without much reward beyond a calling Water Rail, and eventually came to what was clearly the seawatching shelter...

I can tell you, this is perfect for a SE, which basically comes straight along the beach. The wind got progressively stronger, yet I was completely sheltered from it here. If it had rained I'd have got wet, but I have nevertheless earmarked this spot for springtime Pom joy (given the right conditions) and noted the need for a brolly! This morning's prize was a spanking adult Little Gull, which came in from the E and slowly worked back that way. I love Little Gulls. There's always a chance of one along this coast when it's stormy, yet even in a howling hoolie they never look even slightly stressed. Captivating things! A real quality bird to get on my Patchwork Challenge list so early. Nice.

Soon the forecast rain arrived, and I headed home for a proper brekky. However, just before I turned away from the beach, two Shags flew E, close in. Result! Shag was easy-peasy off Seaton, what with there being a breeding population on the Beer cliffs, but off Cogden the species is rated 'scarce', and these were my first here. Again, nice.

Mid-afternoon, and I was back. By now it was tanking down, so I donned the full wet-kit, removed specs and shuffled forth across the fields and into the wind. Blinkin' horrid it was! Despite being bent double I still managed to add Song Thrush, Pheasant and Chaffinch. I came to a sheltered spot with a view of the sea and blow me if there wasn't another adult Little Gull moving slowly E just beyond the surf! I say 'another' and, as it kept going never to reappear, assume it probably was. Brilliant!

Eventually the rain stopped and I finished the day with a walk along the beach from E to W with the really strong wind at my back. Three Med Gulls E - one of each age class - topped off a great first crack at the new patch for 2016. The first of, hopefully, many...

Blimey, a proper birding post, no padding...I'm not quite sure what to do


  1. What to do now? on yer bike, obviously.
    My first bird of 2016 was a Tui. Easy really, they tootle away at the merest hint of dawn.

    1. Just googled Tui. A bit more colourful than Carrion Crow!