Sunday, 16 August 2020

The Weekend

I managed to get a fair bit of time in this weekend, despite a lot of rain. Don't think I've done so much birding for many years, and I'm really enjoying myself. West Dorset is not the east coast, so nothing dramatic as yet, but a steady trickle of early-autumn migrants has kept things interesting. Here's a bunch of photos...

Wheatears on the Burton Bradstock cliff top
Always an encouraging sight on a murky morning

This lot are from today...

Adult Peregrine at West Bex, being buzzed by a Kestrel
East Bexington Spotted Flycatcher
An East Bex perspective I'd not experienced before. Interesting...
Lesser Whitethroat
East Bex Chiffchaff in a welcome bit of afternoon sunshine
Immaculate Willow Warbler
Same Lesser Whitethroat as above
West Bex Wheatear

Assuming no repeats, this is the weekend tally...

23 Willow Warblers, 17 Chiffs, 12 Whitethroats (definitely under-counted), 27 Wheatears, 2 Yellow Wags, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Reed Buntings, 3 Blackcaps, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Whinchat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher.

Other highlights included the smart Peregrine pictured above, and my first local Common Dolphins for many years, with at least 2 off West Bexington yesterday evening. They weren't close, and they weren't fully breaching, but I managed a couple of very poor, short videos in the rubbish light, from which this grainy still is taken...

West Bex Common Dolphin

Notably absent from the weekend list are Red-backed Shrike, Icterine Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Wryneck, Long-tailed Skua, etc, etc...

Knowing what's going on around the country is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, in that you don't have to guess about what you're missing, you know precisely. And a curse, in that such knowledge can nibble away at your happy collection of modest birds until all that remains is a nasty, festering little heap of dissatisfaction.

Don't let it happen!

Someone else's birding is always better than yours. Tough. However, when an Icterine Warbler or Wryneck or Red-backed Shrike turns up on your patch one day, you won't yawn and go 'Blah, blah, blah...another one...' No. Your eyes will pop out, your heart will pound, and you'll be forced to remember what adrenaline is.

To close, here's a photo I took at 07:19 yesterday morning from East Bexington, looking towards Abbotsbury Beach. I sometimes wonder if I'm on the right planet...


  1. Oh wow. You need a caption competition for that last pic - I mean, the guy nearest the gull...WTAF haha!

    1. The donkey-kick follow-through is presumably a valid casting technique. I've definitely seen it a lot!

  2. I could do with just one or two of those migrants Gav. I went out this morning and a Mute Swan was the only notable bird I saw. Ok, it was foggy, but quiet isn't the word.

    All those anglers! Any reason for so many in one place?

    1. Yes, Ric. Proximity of the car park! They are more spread out than the telephoto effect suggests, but still packed into a relatively short section of beach. There is a tarmac road running W behind the shingle for approximately a mile. It is currently closed to traffic, but anyone can walk it. Just the odd one or two ever bother.

      Re migrants, yes, living near the coast is brilliant.

  3. I see dolphin fishing is a team effort :o)

    Even if you had the wryneck and shrike feeding out of your hand today, you'd start tomorrow with an empty notebook. It's the Intergoogle's fault, it makes the world feel small where everything is just out of reach.

    1. You're probably right, Dave. I suppose the 'grass is greener' effect is amplified somewhat by knowing, in too much mouth-watering detail, exactly what's on 'the other side'!