Monday 1 March 2021

Good Riddance

In Bridport, the first day of meteorological spring was about as good as it gets. Cloudless blue sky, wall-to-wall sunshine, and old blokes faffing about cluelessly in the garden. I was in my element. Last week I blitzed the work backlog and consequently have a beautifully lightweight week ahead. The only thing missing, as I carefully prepared our little raised beds for a future of nectar-rich luxuriance, was a Red Kite or two. Still, all in good time. Meanwhile...

Beefy-looking Sparrowhawk; presumably a female.

One of three noisy, high-flying Ravens.

A yaffling Green Woodpecker, a fly-over Great Spot and Bullfinch, plus plenty of twittering Goldfinches all added to the blissful vibe. Winter is over. Definitely. And good riddance to it.

I will concede that winter has its attractions, but the short days, endless rain and finger-numbing chill are less and less palatable with each passing year. I expect it's just a function of getting older, so I probably ought not to be quite so eager to see the back of three of my ever-diminishing stock of remaining months...

I briefly skimmed through recent NQS posts to see what the winter highlights looked like. Best bird was the January 1st female Cirl Bunting that I co-found at West Bexington, and seeing it quickly become two was great. Predictably, gulls played a major role in keeping me going, with a very brief Casp video-recorded on the Axe, the mahoosive Glaucous there too, and three Yellow-legged Gulls: at West Bay, West Bex and the Axe Estuary in that order. Catching up with the elusive West Bay Purple Sandpiper was nice, and then there were a few little birds: Black Redstart at West Bay, Sibe Chiff at Kilmington - the only definite tristis I saw all winter - and single Firecrest at Colyton WTW. A pleasing collection, but far from epic.

In February I began to try nocmig recording again. Seven nights in total. Oh boy it was slow. Even so, there was one significant highlight...

February 19th at 20:37 - Grey Plover. There were actually 40 seconds between the two calls.

Grey Plover is not a common bird locally, and probably even less so over Bridport. This was my second; I had one nocmig bird in May last year. Apart from this goodie, Redwing and Moorhen featured twice each, and Song Thrush once. The local Tawny Owls are getting fruity - though I've yet to hear any with my ears - and at least one Robin gets going about 03:00 each day. Compared to nocmiggers on the east coast, or much further north, it is slim pickings here. Still, I have happy memories of spring/early summer 2020, and the jaw-dropping surprises which came my way. Let's say I am optimistic...

One sunny morning last week I went for a pre-work shingly trudge, starting out at first light...

Not even fully dressed yet, but he's belting it out. He knows. Not long now...


  1. Spring seems to matter more with each year that passes. I guess the rebirth and growth is felt deeper when you realise it will happen one year without us. And just think of all those birds that are just around the corner.

    1. Yes Dave, I think it does. And mostly I'm trying to focus more on the second reason than the first! 😄

  2. That final photo is a beauty - eyes to the skies mate. It can only get better from here on in?

    1. Thanks Dyl. Yep, looking forward to the annual Red Kite tour of the southwest!