Saturday, 1 August 2020

Autumn is Here

So autumn is here. My first bird of the season flew over the nocmig kit at ten minutes past midnight, calling twice. Sounding remarkably like a Whimbrel (apart from the introductory 'pip') it is in fact the garden's second Little Grebe. The closest to home I've seen one is about three miles, so once again the nocmig experience makes me smile in amazement...

I've enjoyed the last few days; there's been a steady trickle of interest. The holiday crowds are here, so avoiding them all has been the strategy, and the Bexingtons are pretty good for that. Between East and West Bex I've chalked up a few bits and bobs, as illustrated below...

A bit of flight shot practice as this came barreling along the coast early on Wednesday morning. Obviously it wasn't the Cattle Egret I was hoping it would be.
Moulting Sanderling on E Bex beach
Yellow Wagtails have been a surprise feature of E Bex visits, with up to 6 seen. None yesterday though...
A sprinkling of lovely Willow Warblers coming though now.
Don't think I've ever seen a Wheatear look so guilty. E Bex again.

And it's not just birds. Yesterday at West Bex I saw my first Clouded Yellow of the year, as well as this not-quite Bambi...

Other birdy highlights include a couple of Sedge Warblers, Whimbrel, another cracking Hobby (at West Bex yesterday)

Yes, at this point I fully expect to earn myself an August eye-roll emoji from the Wanstead Birder.

Three different juv Yellow-legged Gulls. Cue image overload...

Bird One

Lurking at the back, looking meaty...
A bit closer. beauty. A couple of 2nd-generation scapulars already.

Bird Two

Very distinctive bill markings
Dare I mention inner primary windows or the evident plainness of outer greater coverts?
I think the scaps are all 1st-generation juvenile feathers still
Yep. Very crisp.
Very leggy. Very rangy. Very nice.

Bird Three

This one was today. I'll be honest. In  the field I was happy about its ID, but reviewing the photos later I began to doubt myself. As you will see, plumage-wise it looks a little different to birds one and two. But it is still a Yellow-legged Gull. And quite a stunner actually. Anyway, here it is...

Another rangy, leggy individual. Big too.
I've never seen a juv YLG tertial looking quite like that one!
More white in the coverts than I'm used to also...
But it had the typical YLG bad attitude.

And by way of a change, here's my first juv Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year. It was the only one I saw today, and I wish I'd made a bit more effort to get some snaps...

Lesser Black-backed Gull. Typically small, dark and dinky. Though they're not always.

In the far distance I could see the Abbotsbury beach tented city, where Covid-19 is presumably banned. Sometimes I do marvel at the way my fellow humans carry on...


  1. Ignore the rolling eyes and keep posting the gull pics. My life must have been busy when "gulls happened" and when I got back to it, I felt thoroughly left behind and have never caught up. One minute it seemed there were Herring, Lbb and Gbb gulls and you might occasionally make a stab at identifying an adult argentatus or michahellis... and then it all changed: as well as YLG which I had been aware of for years, there was suddenly "Eastern Yellow-legged" which became Pontic and finally Caspian - who saw that coming? (Several people, obviously, but not me!). I can spot classic examples of imm YLG and CaGu in photos but in the field, on my own, it's a different matter. So please keep posting and I'll keep looking and learning.

    1. Thanks Ken, I am greatly heartened by that! 😊
      When I returned to birding in the early noughties, after a long lay-off, Caspian Gull had happened. I'd never heard of it before! Still, it was rare, and only really occurred in eastern counties, so I didn't really have to concern myself with it.

      And then suddenly I did! 😄

      Ah well, keeps an ageing birder on his toes...