Saturday, 28 August 2021

Effort and Reward

Much quieter at Cogden first thing, but there was a major prize even so. As I walked the coast path a bird flushed noisily from the adjacent hedge and headed off over the reedbed. It was a Cuckoo, my first for a year and three months*! Silhouette views made it impossible to age, and as it approached the beach I was fumbling with the camera for a record shot. It was easily in the air long enough for a photo, but I couldn't lock on to it. Chance blown. It appeared to land on the beach just beyond the reeds, but there was no sign when I eventually made it round there.

Otherwise it was definitely a lot quieter than the last time I got out early. Just 5 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats and 10 Yellow Wagtails, plus a few odds and ends like 7 Med Gulls, 3 Manxies and a Little Egret.

Beach Whinchat

Inquisitive Whitethroat

Late this afternoon I tried West Bex again, where it is dead easy to avoid the bank-holiday weekend crush by staying on the higher ground, well away from the beach or coast path. Very, very quiet. A lot of effort for little more than a handful of warblers - 3 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffs, 2 Willow Warblers and a few Whitethroats. So I found myself checking out the butterflies again. Which paid off nicely...

My first Brown Argus of the year

I was quite surprised to encounter this Brown Argus among the myriad Common Blues, but it looks the real McCoy to me. Unlike these...

This battered specimen had me going for a minute but it looks like there are some blue tinges to the body, so that's a female Common Blue I reckon...

...and this one definitely is.

Despite the lack of birdy action I was still carefully checking every single hedge I could see, and finally...

Tiny Redstart. Yay!

A few minutes later I came across a little tit flock. Among them was a Coal Tit. No big deal probably, but I don't recall seeing Coal Tit at West Bex before.

So that's another day ticked off the autumn calendar, and another decent result. Effort is definitely being nicely rewarded just now. Long may it continue...


* Not strictly true! A fellow birder politely reminded me that I saw (and photographed) a Cuckoo at Seaton Marshes back in June (evidence in this post) so the bird mentioned above is actually my first local Cuckoo for a year and three months. That's no excuse though - I had completely forgotten about the Seaton bird. I should probably be concerned...


  1. Effort and reward Gav? My motivation to work my local patches has never recovered from finding the best bird in my own back garden.