Monday, 16 March 2020

Wheatear Invasion. Apparently.

A close inspection of the NQS Bird-o-meter reveals a sorry tale. Recent readings have been low. Depressingly low. There are reasons. Like the relentless march of one Atlantic weather system after another. Strewth! Surely the most tedious winter conditions ever? Another reason is my current inability to turn up anything decent. Take gulls, for example. My go-to taxa for regular doses of winter-time birdy buzz. But what's going on? The odd Med Gull here and there is all I can manage right now. Where are the Casps? The white-wingers? The Ross's and Laughing Gulls? Elsewhere is where.

I will confess to lower effort levels of late too. I think my enthusiasm must be a bit needy. If it isn't regularly nourished with good birds, the occasional nice find, a little tristis-type challenge, and so on...well, it shrivels up a bit. And recently it's not been getting much at all. Until today...

Today the Wheatears came. Wave upon wave of them, streaming across the Channel. Throughout the working day my Twitter feed was clogged with reports of the invasion, and mouth-watering photos of the little beauties. I couldn't wait till knocking-off time...

Rather than head for a location already covered by other birders I thought it would be a bit more enterprising to find my own Wheatear somewhere. West Bay seemed like a good shout, with maybe a quick look up on the golf course too. I had about an hour or so, from 5:15pm. Result: nil Wheatears. Absolute poxness.

NQS will be go down in history as the only S coast [mainly] birding blog which didn't feature a Wheatear on 16th March, 2020. Poor bloke. What a loser! Oh, wait a minute though... Wasn't it also the only S coast [mainly] birding blog which did feature two Red Kites together over Bridport at 13:54 on 16th March, 2020? That day when everyone else was being distracted by stupid Wheatears everywhere? Yes, I think so. Jammy beggar...

Admittedly this is just one Red Kite, but the pics with two in the frame are a bit blurry. Just trust me.

Interestingly these birds were high enough that they didn't set the local gulls off. I simply happened to be scanning the sky at the right moment. Yep, jammy.

Oh, okay then...

Full frame off the camera. Both birds. Just.

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