Tuesday 19 January 2021


More exploration today. Between the A35 coast road and the sea at West Bay lies a broad strip of land which includes the winding River Brit and its modest flood plain. There are also grassy fields, hedges and a few intriguing little tangled areas. Again, apart from in West Bay itself, no one was about...

Looking down towards West Bay from high ground to the northwest

Judging by the little fireplace, this must once have been a dwelling of sorts. It lies next to a footpath, and right alongside the embankment of the A35 dual carriageway. A sorry relic of times long past.

Coming down the West Cliff footpath. A lively sea going on there...

To be honest I've never given any of this area a fair trial. A few times last spring I walked through some of it quite rapidly on my way to the sea, but apart from a couple of Whimbrel by the river I never really saw anything of note. But lying just inland of the south coast, surely it must have migrant potential?

Today though, like almost everywhere else I've tried locally, it mainly felt dead. However, at least a few birds were taking advantage of a wet field next to the river...

Between the birds and me lies the river itself, making this area relatively undisturbed. All the other riverside fields are dog-walked to oblivion. And 52 Lapwings constitute the largest flock I've seen locally, outside the incredible 'Beast from the East' movement three years ago.

This Lesser black-backed Gull was the pick of the bunch.

It was blowing a hoolie, so maybe a bit much to expect anything to show in the fields and hedges. Presumably any bird with sense would be keeping its head down. I shall try again on a calm day.

This female type Black Redstart was most definitely keeping its head down, nicely sheltered in the lea of some of West Bay' architectural gems.

I saw what was presumably the same Black Redstart on January 1st, at the top of the West Cliff footpath pictured above. She obviously gets about.

So no new birds for the year. The months of January and February basically serve two main purposes. One, to provide gulls. And two, to build suspense as March approaches. And that's it. Expect nothing more of them. I certainly shan't.


  1. Hi Gav, March! We dont get spring up here, just the winter gets lighter. If I didn't go birding until mid May I wouldn't miss much I'm sure...still it will soon come around...

    1. Hi Stewart, until I saw you mention it a few years back I wasn't aware of this aspect of the North/South divide. But of course it makes total sense. Mind you, it's easy to get over-optimistic about March down here. The reality is often belated arrivals, and a trickle at that! Still, it's not all about Wheatears, Chiffs, hirundines et al - should be plenty of other birds moving by then too...