Sunday 14 March 2021

Simple Things

Almost two weeks ago I came across a group of six Golden Plovers in a field at sea level. Two days later there were ten. No big deal, but a surprise for me because locally I associate Golden Plover with high ground unless it's really cold. This afternoon I walked out there again. To be honest I wasn't expecting any at all today. I just assumed the little group would have moved on by now, but no, it has swollen to 36 birds!

Most of the the 36 present this afternoon are in this shot

I'm at a loss to explain what they're doing here really. The location has only been on my birding itinerary for 18 months, so it might be a regular thing. However, I didn't see any here last March.

Never has a small flock of Goldies had such a careful grilling! Nothing untoward, but like me, a few looked keen to get into their summer togs...

A sunny break in the cloud

Not too long and that will be one handsome beast

The sunny breaks soon gave way to 8 oktas of cloud cover, but the rain held off until the last hour and remained light, and for the first time in three outings I went home damp rather than soaked. A strongish NW hammered straight along the coastline, but literally nothing was passing offshore. Many scans for zero return. The only obvious migrants were actually passing just inland instead...

The lovely rakish form of an adult graellsii Lesser Black-backed Gull. Gorgeous.

I counted a total of 16 heading W in ones and twos through the afternoon

It's funny, on the page of my fictional notebook the tally from this afternoon's birding would look very slim, but I really enjoyed myself. I had no illusions that I'd be tripping over Wheatears everywhere, rather I expected nothing. So the Goldies were a nice treat, and the odd passing LBBG provided a migrant buzz. I spoke to a local farming couple, exchanged a smile and greeting with two other couples I passed, and was carefully ignored by two lone walkers. Other than that it was just me, the bracing weather, and 12-thousand steps' worth of West Dorset coast...

Simple things.


  1. I find the LBBG sighting interesting as I didn't have them down as migrants, purely because I'd never given it a thought. But the day on which you recorded your first of the year, I had one briefly land in the garden of my house in landlocked Herefordshire. Just a few days later (23/02/21), somebody reported 230 of them at Holme Lacy by the river Wye.

    I guess I know even less about gulls than I thought... and that wasn't much.

    1. 230 is a much bigger count than I've ever managed here Dave. Normally we get just dribs and drabs locally, but a reasonably steady turnover through the late winter/spring period. At lunch time today (16th) for example, 20 on the Axe Estuary was pretty average. Another one that can easily be taken for granted is Common Gull. Loads moving through right now. Admittedly not quite as iconic as Wheatears and Swallows though... 😊