Saturday, 7 March 2020

Go Easy on the Optimism...

After work yesterday I popped to Cogden for the last hour of the day. The optimist in me was thinking 'Sand Martin, yes, I can easily imagine a late arrival hawking over the Burton mere reed bed as the light fades...' The trouble with optimism is its fellow traveller, disappointment, whom I met once again last night. Ah well...

The birdy highlight was a calling, but invisible, Chiffchaff in the car park scrub. In my mind's eye I could see its little pollen horn, clear evidence of a migrant. Because I'm an optimist. Thank goodness it remained hidden.

I spied another birder at Cogden, further along the beach. Not someone I recognised. He carefully avoided me on his return, detouring close to the water's edge. I smiled wryly. Just the sort of thing I probably would have done. What a miserable old so-and-so I've become.

And so to this morning...

Starting early, I walked the coast from Burton Bradstock to the West Bexington mere and back. Wheatears were conspicuous by their absence. Frequent scans of the sea revealed no passing birds at all, and absolutely nothing of interest bobbing about on it either. A few birds were in cheerful song. A Skylark, the odd Dunnock, and this chap...

A Reed Bunting giving it large. Massively underwhelming.

I can only imagine that female Reed Buntings are simple souls, choosing their mate on the basis of 'most boringly repetitive song', a clear indication of a steady, reliable provider. Mr and Mrs Dull.

Approaching the point where the West Bex mere lurks behind the beach I could see a modest gathering of gulls...

A distant, spray-shrouded hint of promise...

I managed to spook them in small doses, so couldn't even console myself with the possibility that I might have missed a goody. I saw them all, and none were goodies. So I climbed the beach to view the mere, inexplicably counted the Tufties (27), noted the dearth of other ducks, and began the long trudge back to Burton Bradstock. As I spent most of the return trip daydreaming, it was very therapeutic.

So, what can I say? A long walk. Few birds of interest, if any. But in all that time I passed just one dog-walker and a couple of anglers. And the scenery...

9 comments:

  1. So many miles apart and different habitats and yet Steve Gale and yourself both had a worryingly bird free day at the same time.

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    1. Unfortunately Derek, this bit of coast is not known for sea-duck, divers and grebes, and unless you like gulls really comes to life at migration times. However, a few miles to the east, the Fleet will be heaving with birds. It's just a matter of distribution! Steve's farmland is a different matter I think. Sadly...

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  2. It's days like that that make the good days great.

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    1. Dave, that would make a great theme for a blog post! :-)

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  3. Actually, your self-isolation might be very appropriate soon... just a thought!

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    1. Ha ha! Good point. When you spotted me in the distance yesterday could you see my face mask? And pockets bulging with bottles of hand gel? ;-)

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  4. at this time of year bird populations are at their lowest. I'm not sure why birders don't make a bigger thing of this. Take you average pair of passerines - on Spring there are two of them. They breed. Once maybe twice. In autumn there are, say, 7 of them. Come spring, and there are only 2.

    Anyway, those target birds are MacGuffin's. They are the contrived plot reason for being out. Once you are out, the day has a plot line all of its own. It could be just that male Reed Bunting giving cracking views, but there's usually something that makes the day worthwhile.

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    1. Such sense you talk. And the perceived ups and downs are no doubt as frequently influenced by mood as by actual birds...

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  5. Yep, highlight this morning was a displaying Little Grebe pattering across a pond in the nature reserve. Ignored me completely, obviously had his mind on other things.

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