Friday, 27 August 2021

Lots to Look At

A quick catch-up. In a nutshell, birding is genuinely exciting right now. Not only are there good numbers of regular migrants to bump into, but you can sense the very real possibility of a bit of superior quality too. None of the latter for me just yet, but lots of the former. Cue many photos...

Cogden. It's 06:45 on Wednesday, and I'm nowhere near the beach yet. Whinchat and Wheatear. A flavour of what's to come.

And down on the beach...Wheatear...

...and Whinchat

Nice juv Ringed Plover, evidently weary after its overnight travels

It was also a ringed Ringed Plover, a first for me I think.

Whinchats are even more demanding of camera time than Wheatears. This one on Dock sp(?)...

...this one on Sea Kale...

...and Yellow Horned Poppy.

There were two of these on the beach. I'm a lot more cautious with Alba wagtails than I used to be, but I would probably still call this one a White Wag. Elsewhere on the beach were a local adult and juv/1st-winter Pied, and the youngster was much duskier than this one.

Yellow Wag with breakfast. Great to see a few on the beach.

Oh, and a Whinchat

A totally different kind of Whinchat. A West Bex one.

Wednesday's Whinchat tally was an astonishing 24! And that was the minimum; I'd be pretty confident that the real figure was 30 or more. By location, it was nine at Cogden, 14 at West Bex (including at least 11 in one field!) and one at East Bex. Although I don't have historic figures I'm sure I've never seen more in a single day.

Wednesday basically went like this: 17 Yellow Wags, 47+ Wheatears, 2 White Wags, 3 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, Turnstone, Water Rail, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler.

Thursday and today were pretty full-on work, but I managed an after-dinner walk on both evenings. Thursday to Cogden, where it was obvious that Chiffchaffs are moving now too, with at least five seen, plus a couple each of Willow and Sedge Warbler. Highlight was a party of four Spotted Flycatchers, feeding together in the evening sunshine...

Spotted Flycatcher at Cogden - the 'birder's photo' version

This evening I tried West Bex, parking at the beach and walking east. Four Wheatears was all I could muster before heading inland to Labour-in-Vain Farm for the return leg. It was getting quite late now, and felt very quiet. About half way along Labour-in-Vain Lane I heard a phyllosc in the tall, dense hedge flanking the road. 'Yes', I thought, 'definitely a Willow Warbler'. A quiet, obviously disyllabic 'hoo-eet'. I reckoned it was a nice opportunity to test my pishing skills, and got to work. A few seconds later I spotted a movement in the foliage, then suddenly a head popped out and peered at me. Even before it flicked away with a louder 'hoo-eet' and dazzling flash of red tail I could see it was a Redstart! Well, that was a nice surprise, and a reminder to follow up 'Willow Warbler' calls at all times.

Pishing rules!

Ten minutes further down the lane a movement in the canopy of a small tree caught my eye. Very pleasingly, it was a Pied Flycatcher. Yep, this weather pattern has certainly spiced up the birding right now...


  1. So that's where all the birds have gone. A fabulous tally.

    1. It's been so good Dave. What starts out as a 90-minute walk ends up almost twice that! I'm using up brownie points big time!