Sunday 10 November 2019

Local Gleanings

This post is probably going to read like a very dull diary entry...

Chucked it down all morning. Vile. Stayed in bed.
Afternoon. East Bex. Struggled. Met Alan B at West/East border checkpoint.

Morning. Questing. No prizes.
Afternoon. West Bay and Eype. Struggled.

I really couldn't face a morning seawatch yesterday, especially with rain forecast so early. A lie-in then? Coffee? Toast? Okay.

One might question the wisdom of regular, short, morning seawatches carried out even when conditions look totally rubbish. And I do. Often. But I'll press on for a while and see what happens. This morning was a slow 40 minutes, but 4 Common Scoters came by, and 3 Red-throated Divers. Two of those divers were close, which was nice. A few distant Big Auks.

Afternoon birding yesterday at East Bexington, a gentle stroll from the Abbotsbury Beach car park to the West Bex coastguards cottages and back. Freezing. The chilly NW was blowing straight along the coast, and now that I'm nearly old and definitely a bit ragged at the edges, I feel the cold more than I used to. Never mind, out on the fields there were a few gulls to warm me up. None of them was exciting per se, but a Med Gull and a Great Black-backed wore colour-rings. Excellent! I haven't had a go at this game for ages, and I'd forgotten what a great way it is to turn a dull day into something really...well...less dull. Let's do this! The Med Gull promptly flew away before I could get anything at all, and the GBB marched about rapidly for ten minutes, pausing only when the ringed leg was in a dip, behind a stone, or in some other way hidden. Eventually I got it - S89, white on dark green, left leg. I get home, go on the Euring website, look up the GBBG projects that use 3-digit alpha-numerics on green rings and...there aren't any. Strewth! So either I misread it, misidentified it, am now colour blind, or there's a rogue ringer out there dishing out disappointment in little plastic doses.

The afternoon's highlight was bumping into Alan Barrett, one of the West Bex patchers, at the coastguard cottages. He confirmed that East Bex is very underwatched, and told me about some goodies that a birder who used to live there had found in the past, like Cirl Bunting, Lapland Bunting, adult Long-tailed Skua on the beach. That'll do.

I've taken to actually bothering with a scope at East Bex, because there are big fields with tiny, tiny birds in, miles away, and a scope helps a lot. I used it quite a bit, but all the tiny birds were common ones. There was one other highlight...

A buck Roe Deer, idling in the sunshine

The deer too was tiny and miles away, but my new camera did a good job of making it bigger. A post about the camera is on my to-do list.

Finally, this afternoon. A walk from West Bay to Eype and back. I worked out a circuit that would include some new ground for me, and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, bird-wise it was a pretty unexciting two hours for the most part. Up to 5 Firecrests have been reported at Eype just recently, and I was hopeful of scoring at a spot I've seen one previously, a birdy little gully that runs down to the sea. If it was in Penwith it would host Red-eyed Vireos (or better) every autumn. But it's not. I'd have been happy with just one Firecrest though. Evidently my happiness was not a matter of concern to the birds of Eype. Anyway, I'd nearly got back to the car, and was on the phone to Mrs NQS, organising the placement of slippers and size of whisky, when a blue flash whizzed past me along the river. A cracking little Kingfisher perched on a bankside twig, dived in, caught a miniscule fish, gave it a good shake and swallowed it. I've seen very few local Kingfishers. Result!

It's the small things...


  1. Your posts are never dull Gav.

    Many blogs are so plain, they may as well be generated by computer, such is their lack of personal reflection. To me, that's what gives the medium life.

    1. Thanks Ric. I'm with you there. I find blogs engaging when you see the author coming through a bit...

    2. Ditto Ric. I've never met Gavin but I feel I have. That's good writing.