Sunday, 9 May 2021

May Lovelies

Yesterday I suffered the tiresome side-effects of my second coronavirus jab. I felt increasingly rough all evening, and spent a sleep-deprived night aching all over. After lunch today I was almost back to normal, so went to Cogden for a spell of convalescence. More of that in a minute. First though, waders...

Despite feeling so grim yesterday evening I still made sure to get outside and fire up the nocmig kit. I knew there had been a lot of coastal wader movement during the day, and had a hunch that a few might fly over Bridport during the hours of darkness. To be honest I am always chuffed to record any waders at all, and just two or three would make for a pleasing night. I don't count individual calls; I count 'events'. In other words, a passing bird (or multiple birds) is counted as one occurence, whether there is a single call or many. Last night, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper occured once each, Oystercatcher and Whimbrel twice, and Dunlin a staggering 40 times, including at least two or more flocks! It sounded like Dunlin were basically passing through all night long. Here is a nice, loud example...

It is fascinating to think of all those birds making their overland sorties at night, and I would love to know how many are involved. I'm sure I caught only a fraction of what went over Bridport, but locally it will no doubt have been hundreds of birds in total, at the very least. Brilliant!

At Cogden this afternoon I mainly kept away from the beach, sticking almost entirely to inland hedgerows. So I didn't see the Tawny Pipit. But I did see my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year. In fact I saw my first eight!

Spotted Flycatcher

Sharing one particular hedgerow with 5 Spotted Flycatchers was a female Redstart. Typically shy, even a record shot was a challenge...

Female Redstart, lots of greenery.

A little later I was delighted to come across two male Whinchats together in one field. Easily the best views I've had this year, so I wasted no time in trying for a record shot...

Male Whinchat. Chat-wise, up there with the loveliest.

And then one of them came a bit closer...

I was all pleased with myself, getting a few decent snaps of such a little stunner, when the second bird suddenly appeared in the frame. And, miracle of miracles, it was so close to bird #1 that it was basically in focus...

Despite how it looks, they are not stacked!

So, there we go. Spring migration really producing the goods just now, with waders galore and a flurry of nice passerines. It just remains for the sea to do its bit, and give me some Pom Skuas. Two Poms passed West Bay this evening, while my gob was full of dinner. Ever the optimist, I popped out for a quick post-prandial seawatch at Burton Bradstock. Within three minutes a lovely Arctic Skua went past, and my hopes were massively raised. But apart from 7 Common Scoters, 2 Kittiwakes, 15 Manxies and a trickle of Gannets, that was it.

Ah well. There is time yet...


  1. Good grief, I can see that last image going viral! :)

    1. Funnily enough I didn't foresee that at all, but you are right, kind of. It's been retweeted rather a lot of times on Twitter, certainly more than anything else I've ever posted on there, as far as I can recall.

  2. Cracking pictures.
    My first jab had no side effects, my second, on Saturday, has knocked me sideways. I reckon that microchip has something to do with it ;o)

    1. Thanks Dave. Very jammy though.

      Yes, that microchip packs a punch. Reckon there must have been one in my first dose too, because that wasn't pleasant either!