Friday, 29 May 2020

All or Nothing

I've done a fair old bit of birding these past couple of days. Yesterday there was an early jaunt to the coast before work, plus a stroll round some of my old Seaton patch afterwards, and today an afternoon/evening visit to West Bexington. Here is an illustrated summary...

Mute Swans heading for Abbotsbury, and a free meal.

Canada Goose at West Bex, proving that the Nikon P900 can do flight shots

Long-range Avocets at Black Hole Marsh, also some lovely heat haze.

Brown Trout in Stafford Brook at the Seaton Wetlands. First one I've seen there.

Swallow at Colyford Common.

The two Avocets at Black Hole Marsh were by far the 'best' birds in what must be 15 miles of walking and birding. A few Swifts and Swallows were the only noticeable migrants. This afternoon I scanned two-hundred and twelve thousand metres of hedge for my top wish-list bird, Woodchat Shrike. None of it held one. Every twenty paces I stopped and listened for rogue Acrocephalus warblers of the Marsh and Blyth's Reed kind. None obliged. A million acres of sky have been scoured ferociously for vagrant raptors. Again, none. Nothing...

Which is how it is in almost-June. All or nothing. Normally the latter.

On the garden front it has likewise been mainly slow. Since a superb Little Grebe three nights ago the nocmig has consisted of just the local Barn Owl(s) and occasional blood-curdling Fox. The only reliable bit of excellence has been provided by Red Kites on an almost daily basis, plus another Hobby on 26th. Four Red Kites together that same afternoon was very nice...

Even as tiny silhouettes, Red Kites are now instantly identifiable.


One afternoon we had a human drifting east, and then slowly back west again...

That's basically an office fan strapped to his back, right? Perhaps I'm getting old and unadventurous, but, why? Why would you do that??

Also in the garden, the very excellent Lesser Stag Beetle.


Is that it then? Is the birding over until autumn? Is NQS now going down the spurious plants/insects route to which some resort in times of birdy direness? Or am I going to get the fishing rods out? Or the bike...or running shoes? Or the caulking gun? Well, who knows? At this stage I honestly have no idea. What I can say is that I have no intention of giving up on the birding just yet. Despite the all-or-nothing feel to it, I am hopeful. There are still a few real crackers turning up, the weather is good, the wind is in the east...and Rosy Starlings are apparently on their way. Let them come!

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Golden O

Golden Oriole is a bird I have always wanted to jam into along this coast somewhere, and this morning I did. It was not a surprise, yet it was a massive surprise, if you get what I mean. I would imagine that most birders head out with a mental wish-list, based on time of year, what's been about lately and so on. I certainly do. And when you get home with your wish-list pristine and unfulfilled, you sigh at the depressingly inevitable, and tuck it away for another day...

Golden Oriole was very much on my wish-list this morning. Chris Townend had one near Budleigh Salterton yesterday, there was another at the far end of Cornwall, and no doubt others I didn't hear about. It's the right time of year, the weather could hardly be more helpful, and a few have evidently crossed the Channel just lately. So, not a surprise.

But getting something that's on the wish-list so rarely happens. I mean, almost never. So yes, also a massive surprise!

Whenever I visit this bit of coast early in the morning I like to do the return leg along the beach with the sun behind me, which means the outward leg I normally go inland a bit. Today though, I went a lot further inland than normal, my intention being to give myself a nice panoramic view down to the sea (so as to pick up male Pallid Harriers more effectively) and to listen for Cuckoo and Golden Oriole. Yes, my wish-list is odd...

All was going to plan, when I suddenly got distracted by flowers. For some reason I found myself hunting for orchids. It began when I spotted a tiny purple thing while scanning a rough field for birds. More about that later, but suffice to say it held me up. Then I found a permissive path I'd never been along, and took it. Then a singing Yellowhammer along a hedgerow I have only passed once before made me spend a few minutes trying to get a photo...

What I'm trying to say is that I ended up in a spot I never visit, at a time when I would normally have been well into the return leg along the beach. Pure chance.

I had just put my camera away, and stood there surveying the lovely view to the sea. Starting down the slope I was suddenly aware of a thrush-sized bird flying from left to right. Even my naked eye could see it had bright, yellowy-green bits, and instantly I knew what it was. Bins up, rapidly. 'Oh, wow!' out loud as usual. Not a bright yellow male, but ridiculously colourful even so. I briefly contemplated getting the camera out and trying for a record shot, but realised it would be a speck by the time I was ready, and that I would probably lose it too. Better to try and make out if it lands. The oriole flew a long way west, and was eventually so low that it went over a hedge line and out of view. I figured it could well have come down somewhere east of the Cogden Beach car park. Mike and Alan were both able to come and have a look, but we couldn't relocate it.

I don't find rare or scarce birds very often, but whenever I do it frequently strikes me how random the whole thing is. With the exception of Caspian Gulls, which I specifically look for with some care and effort, almost everything else I ever find is totally out of the blue. Brilliant!

So. Flowers...

The tiny purple thing was a nice, fresh Pyramidal Orchid. There were several...


Pyramidal Orchid


Scanning around further I spied a few larger, more flambouyant orchids. I recall Karen Woolley (of Wild Wings and Wanderings fame) introducing this species to me, on Goat Island along the Axmouth to Lyme Regis undercliff reserve...

Greater Butterfly Orchid


To be honest I found myself quite captivated by these lovely plants. Orchids really are very impressive, and to encounter them so unexpectedly was a real treat. In the past I have no doubt walked within a few feet of them without noticing they were there. But now that I am aware of their presence...well...

Glancing left and right I realised just how much flora there is here. I can put a name to almost none of it, but that didn't stop me looking. And by complete fluke my eyes came to rest upon this little stunner...

Bee Orchid
Just look at that!


I have seen Bee Orchid before, so knew what it was. But I am simply amazed that I was fortunate enough to spot it, because it certainly wasn't obvious...


The Yellowhammer that held me up

Troops. Advance party on reconnaissance mission

Reinforcements approaching...


And finally I turned for home. It was the first time for ages that I haven't seen any Wheatears at all, but I am not complaining.

En route I pass through this NT car park at Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock. Already, at around 09:00 on a weekday it was filling steadily. I was very, very glad to be heading in the opposite direction...

Monday, 25 May 2020

Picture Post

This morning I was out early. A short drive to a quiet coastal parking spot, and by 05:20 I was birding. It was chilly in the offshore wind and my naked knees weren't happy, but soon enough the sun was up, the breeze a mere sigh, and my old-man's wrinkly parchment knee-skin warm and content...

By 08:00 I was nearly back at the car. The route takes me through a large National Trust car park. Already it was scuttling with life. One 'family' of five had pulled up on a grassy area, arranged a picnic table and chairs next to their van and were firing up a large barbecue of the non-disposable kind. As I drove away from the coast I resolved not to go anywhere near it for the rest of the day.

Now for lots of photos. Apologies in advance for the lack of expertise attached to some of the later ones; I have delved into areas where my knowledge is scanty...

It was great to see a pair of Common Scoter close enough to photograph


The beach flora is bursting with seeds right now, a bounty which many species know how to harvest. But I think it's the first time I've encountered Bullfinches doing so. Normally they are mega-shy and you can't get anywhere near them, but perhaps the seeds of whatever plant this is are slightly intoxicating and they thought I was their best mate..

An awful lot of fluff per seed.


Next I chanced upon a Wheatear. I've seen a female Wheatear in almost the exact same spot the last three times I've walked past it. If I hadn't taken photos of all three I could easily have been persuaded that it was the same bird each time. But no, different birds.

A Linnet, just because. Another seedoholic.
Whatever a Raven perches upon immediately looks rather petite, like these dinky little signs.
A terrified young Raven avoids detection by crouching invisibly in the long grass
A gorgeous male Wheatear in an absolutely perfect setting. Makes me want to weep with joy.

Mrs NQS and I fancied a lunchtime walk, so later in the morning I had a look online for any local nature reserves which might be sufficiently off the beaten track to avoid the bank holiday horrors. I found one which looked promising. In the info blurb it said: 'If you are lucky you may find the rare Marsh Fritillary.' That sounded good. The only Marsh Fritillaries I've seen previously were in a meadow just E of Axe Cliff, on the old Seaton patch, and they were understood to have been released, not wild. So off we went...

Okay, now we are sailing into tricky waters. Plants and invertebrates. At least I know these are orchids. Orchids which had spotted leaves. And that's about the extent of my plant skill...

Pale pinky-mauve orchid sp.
White version of the above, I'm guessing...


The orchids were very difficult to photograph satisfactorily in the harsh sunlight, and while I was faffing with the camera a couple of butterflies sneaked up and landed nearby. One was a Small Heath, but the other was this beauty...

A very lovely Marsh Fritillary, on a baby orchid sp.


Nearby were a load of webs of the funnel type, and lurking at the entrance of one was this magnificent spider. Obviously I have no idea what it is, but I cannot deny it has presence...



Meanwhile Mrs NQS was pointing her phone's camera at a day-flying moth. It never settled well enough for me to get a shot, so here is the phone pic. Despite it being a moth I've not knowingly seen before, I did actually know what it was...

Mother Shipton. Habitat context shot.


Well, I have just confirmed the power of Google. If, like me, you are an entomological ignoramus, just type in the first thing that comes to mind when you look at the creature you're trying to ID. Like this...



Now I can caption my photo like a person who knows things...

Swollen-thighed Beetle oedemera nobilis (male, obviously)
Slightly darker purply orchid sp. Somehow I felt it was different to the one[s] above. Probably wrong though.
Another gorgeous Marsh Fritillary, seen later.
...and just a hint of the beautifully marked underwing.


Dear reader, all too rapidly we are sliding into June, and in the absence of some kind of happy diversion the gradual drying-up of birdy action might see us being sucked into DIY country, or worse. Today's dalliance with other aspects of our wonderful natural world was just a toe in the water really. I would like some sunny-weather options for the next few weeks, and it is very nice to discover such a pleasant spot just down the road. And I don't think it will be the only one...

I am quite keen on the idea of distractions right now. I am too long in the tooth to be surprised, shocked, outraged (or any other wide-eyed response) when it is revealed that a polititian (of any stripe) has lied, been hypocritical, or done just about any self-serving dastardly deed you care to name. In my relatively brief experience of life it has always been so. Disappointing but inevitable. More reliable are the birds, the fish, the plants and creeping things that I cannot name, the nice cold beer and stinky cheese...

And that's probably about as close as I'll ever get to a political comment on this blog.

I'll close with this, a short burst of Garden Warbler from this afternoon. At least, I hope it's a Garden Warbler! It's such a long time since I last heard one, and I now know how rubbish I am at bird sounds...



PS. If any kind soul can put a name to the orchids or spider, that would be terrific.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Sea by Day, the Sky at Night

Today I'll begin with a photo...

The feet of a desperate man.

Taken yesterday evening on the coast near me, the photo depicts a saddo in boots.The bloke is so desperate for a skua that he is willing to try seawatching even in a poxy south-westerly. In this corner of Lyme Bay your average spring skua heads E, intent upon showing nicely for the clients at Chesil Cove and Portland Bill. Not every single one, but almost. So, in a nice SE wind they plod into it manfully, relatively slowly, and sideways on. Lovely. However, in a SW wind they zip past like a leaf in a gale, shearing madly, and every which way but sideways. Not lovely. So when a distant pale phase skua hurtled by at 18:02, the poor sap stood no chance. Could have been a Pom. Could have been an Arctic. Who knows? In compensation a Bonxie had bucked the trend and gone W, slowly, twenty-five minutes earlier.

Basically our hapless hero has been seawatch-starved since March, and was willing to give it a go in any conditions frankly. He'd already been in action at 05:20 that morning, and ditto today, notching up another Bonxie at 05:55. Over the three sessions, this is some of the tally...

Bonxie 2
Annoying unidentified skua sp 1
Balearic Shearwater 1
Manx Shearwater 171
Common Scoter 31
Turnstone 2
Sanderling 8
Great Northern Diver 4
Shag 1
Kittiwake 10
Med Gull 3

At times it was quite busy, with lots of Gannets and auks and things, but most were flying E, with the wind, and far, far too quickly. Strangely unsatisfying.

Anyway, that is probably it as far as the spring seawatching season goes. On the plus side: three skuas and a Balearic, and my scope still works. On the minus side: two months.

Finally, I must share a couple of nocmig videos from two nights ago. Just tiny little squiggles on the spectrogram - in one case really tiny - but again, wow! Especially the first one here...



Yes, that is a Sandwich Tern. A Sandwich Tern flying past my microphone located in a little Bridport bungalow estate some three miles from the sea. I suppose the novelty will eventually wear off, but I hope not too soon - some of these nocmig birds still make me laugh out loud!

And here's the other one. It's rather quiet, but unmistakeable...



And that is a Redshank. I did see a couple of Redshanks on a partially flooded meadow in West Bay back in March, but as far as I know they are definitely not a common local bird. Yet another wader makes my garden's list of grippers!

Friday, 22 May 2020

Fifty-Nine

When the C-19 lockdown began and birders started talking about keeping a #BWKM0 list, I'll admit I could take it or leave it. I've never really bothered with a garden list, or any kind of 'in or from the place where you live' type list. It's never appealed. Anyway, I joined in and began to make an effort to add to the paltry collection of obvious common birds which I felt would be my lot. And then one evening in early April I was sitting outside in the dark, along with most of the nation's birders, listening (with zero expectation) for nocturnally migrating Common Scoter, when I clearly heard a Moorhen call. It was so unexpected that I said something out loud. That was species number 36, and the beginning of a slippery slope.

The other day I thought I was on 58 species, and said so. However, I had counted Jay twice, so was actually on 57. Song Thrush was one of the very few species which I felt were obvious gaps (Goldcrest and Greenfinch are others) and I've since heard one, bringing the total genuinely to 58.

Looking through those 58 species is quite amazing. There are a few I would have included in a list of possibles, like Whimbrel and Peregrine, but there are several more which I would never have predicted, like Barn Owl, Nightjar, Coot, Cuckoo and Greylag. So what I've learned is this: anything is possible. As was proven today...

After lunch I put in a hard skywatch effort. It was dire. I knew it would be. Yesterday was hot, quite calm, perfect raptor weather. Lots of exciting potential. Today was windy, a stiff south-westerly. I think I saw just one Buzzard, maybe two, but otherwise it was just the ubiquitous Herring Gulls, occasional Swift and resident common stuff. I stood with my back to the man cave, looking downwind over the bungalow roof, the most likely approach direction of new birds.

Three more Herring Gulls hove into view. One of them flapped a few times. It had stiff, flicky wingbeats like a Fulmar. It was a Fulmar. It was a FULMAR!!

I couldn't believe it! We are exactly three miles inland. In all the years I lived just one mile inland at Seaton, I never saw a Fulmar anywhere near our house, despite there being a small breeding colony on the local cliffs. There are three Manx Shearwaters and a Balearic on my London list, but no Fulmar. Fulmars hardly ever wander inland*. This was a proper garden mega. The bird slipped sideways, riding the wind, and I quickly grabbed the camera and rattled off two bursts. It was barely more than a dot, but an in-focus one...


With hindsight I should have zoomed out a little, so that treetops and roofs were visible. That would have been really crazy!



The Fulmar was soon out of view, and heading seawards, but now I was all fired up, and put in another hour's hard skywatching, knowing that a skua was imminent.

It was rubbish.

So there we are. Species number 59 on the #BWKM0 Garden List. Number 60 should be good...


* 'Fulmars hardly ever wander inland' is based on my limited experience. It seems there are places where they breed well inland, using quarries and other suitable habitat, though usually within 20km of the sea. When I wrote this post I didn't know that. I do now!

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

The Nightingale

As I type this it is just after 8pm on Tuesday 19th May and finally I can add Song Thrush to my #BWKM0 list, on the strength of a singing bird I can hear from the garden. The characteristically repetitive notes and phrases make Song Thrush an easy species to identify by ear alone. Another easy one is the subject of this post...

The first Nightingale I knowingly heard was in Kent, somewhere between Canterbury Station and Stodmarsh in May 1978. But it was another three or four years before I actually saw one, at Minsmere in Suffolk. They are notoriously skulky.

Shortly after moving to Seaton at the end of 2002 I learned that Nightingales used to breed in the undercliff woodland between Axmouth and Lyme Regis, a vast entanglement of inpenetrable jungle that runs for six or seven miles of coastline. Despite their absence of several years I did have a half-hearted listen at the Axmouth end once or twice. Predictably I heard no Nightingales. Lots and lots of Song Thrushes though. And when you're cocking an ear for Nightingale, a Song Thrush can get your hopes up momentarily...

So anyway, as things stood I had spent the last 17 years without seeing or hearing a Nightingale, because in this neck of the woods they are as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth.

And then just recently I was kindly made privy to some gen...

My visit was just after first light, and I was gone by 06:00. The air was still, but full of birdsong. Approaching the spot I could hear the unmistakable sound of a Nightingale cutting through everything else. I had brought my digital recorder, so switched it on and pressed the big red button. Half an hour later I switched it off. Half an hour of non-stop Nightingale. And it was still going strong. Let me treat you to the first couple of minutes...

Initially you will hear the Nightingale and a Song Thrush sharing the stage, and it's noticeable that their phrases rarely overlap much. I don't know if that is intentional, or just coincidence. Also, apologies for a few extraneous noises from me...



Right in the middle of that lot you will have noticed a loud sound like ripping velcro. It was ripping velcro. Having had a brief glimpse of the bird itself I realised that I probably ought to have the camera out, in the extremely unlikely event that it might provide a photo opportunity. Not that I was under any illusions - it is well known that they like to sing invisibly from the middle of dense thickets.

Well, a bit later...er...

I could hardly believe my eyes when it did this!




I'm pretty sure I have never had better views of Nightingale. There I was, all alone, while most folk are still fast asleep, with one of the most melodic songsters in the land performing like this. Life does not get much better.

I should probably point out that the light was appalling and these images have been subjected to some brutal editing in order to look presentable. The reality of things is a bit more apparent in this short video...



I don't expect to repeat an encounter like that in a hurry. Absolute magic...

Monday, 18 May 2020

Beach Life and Audio-Stringing

Yesterday's post made me do a bit of self-examination. If there really was a Wallcreeper reported somewhere, how much would I feel the urge to twitch it? Even in 'normal' times, how far would I travel for one? I've never seen one; it would be a total lifer. The answers are: 'it depends' and 'not very'. If it was local and I was one of the first to know, I'd go. Other than that I probably wouldn't. And that's how I feel about a non-Covid-19 scenario. As things stand, I would virtually need to be in on the find to even contemplate it. It's the thought of a crowd that puts me off. So, with happy social mingling off the table, and my 'Bah! Humbug!' persona to deal with, I'll just have to get my jollies some other way I guess...

One other way is to go out very early on a May morning and walk along a beach. I was comfortably back for breakfast.

There is still potential for a really good find at this time of year, but in reality things are likely to be slow. I've found I am getting a lot of pleasure from trying to take advantage of photo opportunities, even with common birds, and this compensates quite well for the lack of migrant action. I don't particularly go out of my way, just try to capitalise on any chances. A few from today...

This morning's one and only Wheatear.

And again.

There were a few Reed Buntings using the beach, but they were pretty uncooperative. Eventually one pitched up in some thrift, right on the seaward side of the beach flora. It gave me just one chance for a photo...

Reed Bunting and thrift.

I'm no photographer, but I somehow find that composition very pleasing to the eye. While I was faffing about in David Bailey mode I expect rarities were buzzing past continually.

I've only seen a handful of Sanderling so far this spring, so flocks of c20 and 47 were very welcome. Also three Dunlin tagging along with them. The smaller flock barely touched down, and was rapidly away E, but the larger flock hopped along the beach in fits and starts, and eventually I was able to view them from a low cliff. I got about three shots before they had sprinted out of range...

Sanderling. Constantly legging it everywhere...

Back at home I picked through last night's nocmiggage between mouthfuls of coffee and toast. A nice Coot (which I had heard live) and Moorhen, plus a quiet and intriguing noise which I felt I ought to know but couldn't quite place. On the Nocmig WhatsApp group one experienced birder said 'I can't decide whether it's a baby Starling in a nest or a Nightjar Gavin!' Well, there are no Starling nests here...

Trouble is, the bird evidently is not very close, and it's what you might term a partial call. Likely the microphone hasn't quite 'heard' all of it clearly. So here it is, alongside two pukka Nightjar calls from Xeno Canto (XC483258 recorded in Sweden by Mats Rellmar). Is there enough there to claim my second nocmigged Nightjar?

First call: my bird.
Next two calls: Nightjar.



To my ear it has a Nightjar 'quality' to it, and the spectrogram pattern looks very much like part of a fully-formed call, but...

I think it might have to go down as the audio equivalent of 'untickable views'. What do you reckon?

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Secret Birds

Skywatching has become a slow game since the Red Kites stopped coming by. Even so, in recent days I've given it half an hour here, twenty minutes there, and so on, but for very little return. And then I stepped outside after dinner this evening and the first bird I saw was a Hobby drifting NE, its white cheek gleaming in the evening sun. Two minutes later an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull went S overhead. Since the #BWKM0 listing began nearly two months ago, that's my 8th and 3rd respectively. Eagerly I put in another half-hour stint. Nothing...

Like many birders I got involved in #BWKM0 because of the lockdown. Lockdown has dramatically changed the way I do birding. Even before lockdown began, the Covid-19 situation had me wondering what I would do if I chanced upon a rare bird. My default would normally be to release news as rapidly as possible...but now? Definitely not. However, that's easy to say...

On Friday evening a flock of Bee-eaters was discovered along the River Otter near Budleigh Salterton in E Devon. They went to roost. Sensibly the news was kept local rather than widely broadcast, and the morning twitch was consequently small. But suppose that rather than 13 European Bee-eaters it had been just one Blue-cheeked Bee-eater? The need to keep that news a bit quiet would be a very different matter! And the unhappy coincidence would not be lost on any birder who was twitching back in 1987!

News of this one was...er...not widely broadcast. Is that the correct expression?


A smart Brown Shrike stayed at Flamborough from 12th-14th May. Again, the Covid-19 situation made it impossible to release news at the time. A much rarer bird (though the third for Flamborough) but birders who knew nothing about the shrike's presence until after its departure might easily be able to shrug their shoulders and agree how circumstances sometimes make it vital to suppress such rarities in these dangerous times. But suppose it had been a Long-tailed Shrike? The necessity for suppression would have been the same though. Wouldn't it?

I wonder if there are a few secret birds out there right now? Really, really rare things, happily pootling about in their birdy world, totally unaware of the emotional havoc they have wreaked upon some hapless birder. Imagine one evening discovering, say, a Wallcreeper in a remote little quarry. Gagging with euphoria you check the back of your camera. Yes!! Only record shots but yes, yes, YES!!! Official Dream Find!!!

But how long would it take for the reality of the situation to sink in? The only route to this quarry is a long, narrow, winding footpath; there is no alternative. All the surrounding land is owned by a farmer who hates twitchers. There is parking for three cars. Who do you tell? And when? What about your mates? But what about their mates? Aaagh!! Hating yourself, you decide to tell no one and pray that it leaves overnight. You'll concoct some story to make it look okay. Your phone was dead and your car broke down and you got mugged and then passed out from injuries and heat exhaustion, and... Yes, you'll think of something.

The following day you are back at dawn. As the morning sun alights upon the quarry face, so does the Wallcreeper, and your heart sinks. Life will never be quite the same again...

I wonder what secret birds will surface in the coming months...?

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Spring's Home Straight

The vast majority of birders will not have had the spring they were wanting or expecting. Not just birders. The vast majority of everyone. Such a strange year...

Sadly the spring birding season is a finite entity, and right now we are fast approaching its end. Already I notice that early-morning birdsong is less frenetic, the urgency of new arrivals replaced with a more steadily-industrious feel as many get on with raising families. The rush of common migrants is largely done, and mostly now it'll be a few latecomers, plus the odd something special. Everything is easing down somewhat. I detect a bit of that in myself too. Now that we can get a bit further afield my initial excitement at the prospect of doing so has been tempered by the realisation that spring is already drawing to a close, and I sometimes catch myself ambling along, mind elsewhere, not paying attention at all. However, I must snap out of it. Mid to late May is a prime time for rarities, and I've a long-standing order for Black-eared Wheatear that hasn't yet been filled...

Which is a good reason to always look at Wheatears. While I saw very little else of note on this morning's outing, I did see five or six Wheatears. And as usual I couldn't resist trying to photograph them, despite the almost total lack of sunshine.

This and the male below were two of three or four birds on the beach, and really skittish

Managed just the one shot of this bird.

A different male, but similarly uncooperative.

Full 2000mm optical zoom, hand-held.

Stonechat. Not skittish.


Back in March I realised that lockdown would effectively cancel any spring seawatching plans I might have had. However, with almost constant offshore winds I don't think my scope would have seen much action anyway. I have counted zero skuas this year, and I don't reckon that figure is going to change any time soon...

So, the current plan for the remainder of this spring: get out a bit, don't daydream, and see what happens.


Edit  Original Wheatear pic, with crop outlined...