Sunday, 28 June 2020

Plan A

This evening I headed over to Burton Bradstock for a couple of hours. The first 30 minutes I gave to the sea. In return it gave me three or four Gannets and a couple of Fulmars. It therefore owes me.

Next, I had a good poke around for a satisfactory seawatching-in-a-south-westerly spot. This has always been an issue at BB, but I might possibly have found somewhere at last. Admittedly the wind tonight was probably more WSW than SW, so I may have been fooled, but we'll see...

Following that, I went for a walk out over the back of Burton cliffs, and down to the Freshwater Beach Holiday Park. This whole area has slowly grown on me. Some of it reminds me of Beer Head, with a lot of open fields and scattered scrub. Most of the latter hangs off the inland side of the cliffs, where they slope down to a little tree-lined stream. Whenever I visit this area I cannot help see potential everywhere. There are lovely stone walls, plenty of fences, the scrubby bushes and stream I mentioned. In addition there is currently a vast, open area of short grass where the tents and camper vans would normally live. That will change eventually, but right now it looks brilliant.

I have birded here a bit, but never given it the attention it deserves. It provided my only Grasshopper Warbler of the spring, and many Wheatears, plus a Spotted Flycatcher two days ago. A few autumn efforts have produced Whinchats, Yellow Wags and a Pied Fly. So this year I think I'll try and make a bit of a campaign of it. It's probably my closest bit of sexy coast to home, but if boredom sets in I've always got the option of dropping in to Cogden, or East and West Bexington for a change of scenery.

A few photos from this evening to give some idea of what we're talking about...

Walking east. The left hand skyline is the top of vertical cliffs. Holiday Park static vans in the distance.
Looking back west from the same spot. Burton beach is in the dip beyond the white buildings.
The inland scrub. Cliffs are beyond skyline.
Looking west again. Trees on extreme left follow the stream.

There is plenty of cover, but unlike some areas along the coast here it doesn't feel overwhelming, like you're only ever going to see about 0.2% of the birds present! I've noticed in the past that you quickly know if there is much about, and if something really good has dropped in, I like to think there's a good chance I'll see it. That's another reason the place reminds me of Beer Head, which to me has a similar vibe.

Anyway, that's plan A. Watch this space...

Parking at Burton beach means there is a seawatching option, plus the beach itself, where you might see one or more of these...

Stonking adult Med Gull this evening
NOT-stonking first summer Med!

Right, that's it then. The nocmig kit is rigged for action, all fired up and listening carefully. In the last four nights I've had three Common Sandpipers and an Oystercatcher. The 'autumn' wader passage has begun. Bring it on!

I'll close with last night's Common Sand...

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