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.


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.


  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.

    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.

  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.

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