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!


  1. I think I'm right in stating that today was the first day this working week that I haven't used a caulking gun. And I haven't seen a single one of the birds you list up here apart from Barn Owl and Swallow. Clearly one of us is having more funtimes than the other... Just don't spoil it now and get into bike riding, just stick with the inverts, buddy - you know it makes sense ;)

    1. Well, I've just ordered four cartridges of Sikaflex EBT+ in prep for a major man-cave weatherproofing job. In a few days it may be the caulking gun after all... πŸ˜‰

  2. Drag the orbit out of the shed and get back out there!

    1. I know, I know. I really ought to. 😐

  3. A parachute with a fan at the back - just think of the bird spotting opportunities.

    1. I'd be constantly worried about dropping something! πŸ˜„