Tuesday, 31 August 2021


By failing to respond to any number of snoozed alarms, I missed out on the chance of a really smart 2nd-winter Little Gull at Cogden this morning. So I hoped an afternoon walk from West to East Bexington and back might offer some compensation...

Driving past the Freshwater Beach Holiday Park was a revelation. Yesterday it was rammed, with a 'Full - No Vacancies' sign which had been in place for weeks. Glancing at it today, I could see many patches of faded grass where once were tents. I reckon two-thirds or more had gone. The summer season is over for another year.

The best bird at West Bex was a Redstart, yet another one 'pished' from a thicket of foliage. It almost posed for a photo, but changed its mind, darted round some buildings and vanished. Otherwise there was just a thin supply of migrant warblers: 4 Blackcaps, and singles of Chiff, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler. A bit more life down by the coast path though, with the magic Whinchat field producing at least eight birds, and the beach Wheatears bringing my tally of that species to 21 for the day...

The magic Whinchat field is pretty enormous, which enables all the birds to be as far away from you as they fancy. Which seems to be very far. The field is packed with flowery growth, as this photo shows, and must be home to a zillion tasty invertebrates. No wonder the Whinchats love it.

A little hint of white tail flash on view. Mmmmm.

Bird of the day was at East Bex, and almost slipped past me...

In late July and on into August my Twitter feed presented me with a steady stream of juvenile Yellow-legged Gull photos. Everyone was seeing them. Meanwhile I saw absolutely none at all. A bout of illness coincided with some of that period, but before and since I have been making at least a bit of effort to try and find one. To no avail though. Until today.

As usual I had checked the beach. Nothing. But good gulls don't necessarily need a beach, so I wasn't that surprised when a really good YLG candidate flew past me and across the farmland. It plonked down with a few Herring Gulls in the middle of a huge stubble field. Not close, but yep, I was sure. A juv Yellow-legged Gull. At which point something spooked the gulls and it was off again...and away.

My handful of tenth-rate flight photos just about saved the day...

This collage shows a surprising number of excellent features, despite how tiny the images are. The usual superbly black & white tail for example.

And from below

It felt good finally to see one of these, even if the whole event was a bit subliminal.

So that's August done and dusted. Let's see what September has to offer...

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