Friday, 7 May 2021

A Few Migrants

It was beautiful first thing. A cloudless sky, the lightest breeze and at least three or four degrees above zero. A few birds were up and about at Cogden. Four Sanderlings flew W, led by a Turnstone, and evidently some migrants had just arrived, including 11 Wheatears and a Whinchat. Cue the first tenth-rate Whinchat photo...

Whinchat, with adoring Wheatear. It was miles away, and I reckon the camera did pretty well to get anything really.

Against all the odds (clear night, wide-open door to virtually anywhere else) the Tawny Pipit was still on the beach, so there was a steady trickle of admirers. As yesterday, it was wary and unapproachable, perhaps even more so. I didn't bother trying to get any rubbish photos, mainly because a striking Wheatear begged a bit of attention...

A large and rusty Wheatear decorating the sea kale.
 

Late afternoon I tried West Bexington, and within 15 minutes or less had bagged a female Redstart, two Wheatears and another Whinchat. This was going to be good, I thought. Wrong. More accurately, the first 15 minutes had been good. I saw absolutely nothing else worthy of note.

For some stupid reason I decided to try an evening seawatch at Cogden. I lasted 45 minutes. For that precious fragment of conscious existence I was paid 5 Kittiwakes. And not one at a time, so as to eke out the excitement. No. All at once.

Cruel.

So I wandered over to join the happy band of Tawny Pipit watchers, and actually used my scope for something other than seawatching - a rare event nowadays.

Heat-haze is a weird thing. Bird photos take on this curious frosted-glass effect, where some bits are borderline in-focus while others are very much not. The West Bex Redstart was too quick for me and I didn't manage any pics at all. However, the Whinchat was in an open field. Distant. Horrible heat-haze. Perfect...

Whinchat blob thing.

Not quite sure why I bother with these rather hopeless photographic situations, but I do seem to have some strange need for record shots of anything vaguely decent.

Over at Cogden later, despite the hour and the extensive cloud cover, heat-haze was still an issue. I took a few long-range shots of the Tawny Pipit, but almost all of them were bin jobs. This one is passable...

Teeny Tiny Tawny Pipit and some amazingly blurry shingle.

It's been a pretty excellent spring so far, but I still have some personal gaps to fill. Like Hobby, Grasshopper Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Pom. Hobby will come I'm sure, but I may have missed the boat with Gropper and Pied Fly. Pom Skua though...well, prime time approacheth. I foresee some highly focused seawatching, starting tomorrow I expect...

Tawny Pipit, still showing well.

4 comments:

  1. Heat haze? I blanked whilst tench fishing in a cold Northerly - heat haze he says, good grief.

    Mind you, the swifts joined the growing number of swallows and martins yesterday so maybe it is getting warmer.

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    1. It's deceptive, Dave. I'm amazed how much heat-haze there can be on an otherwise chilly day. My shorts are still in mothballs - unprecedented for May.

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  2. Gav, if the weather is to be believed, there could be anything from the deep south landing on your patch in the next day or so. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Yes Ric, loads of useful spring potential still...

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