Friday, 20 August 2021

Shooting Records

It's been a long week. A pressing post-manflu backlog of jobs has forced me to behave like a normal person for once, and go to work every day. I did manage two early birding outings at the start of the week, but since then I've not even bothered with an alarm. Too pooped. So this afternoon I finished early and headed to West Bexington for a recuperative stroll...

This morning a male Southern Migrant Hawker was discovered at West Bex, just the second record for the site. I know what one of them looks like because on 2nd August Steve found the first for Devon at Beer Head and blogged about it here. Momentarily I considered finding out where exactly at Bex this classy beast had been found, but it was just a fleeting thought. In truth I have almost zero interest in twitching a dragonfly; I would far rather come across one by chance. So I just walked my usual route to East Bexington and back.

The migrant tally for West Bex was one Willow Warbler. And from a single East Bex hedge I managed to coax six Willow Warblers. But that was it - no other passerine migs at all. However, there were other things to enjoy...

My camera is now as indispensible a piece of kit as my bins, and I'll point it at anything that moves. My library of 'record shots' must run into thousands now. The better ones get tweaked and titivated, and many wind up on this blog. The very best might even qualify for a notch up from 'record shot', but I'm really not aiming for anything special. The mass mediocrity of the majority does not detract one bit from their ability to capture the moment, and for me that is their purpose. Even a pretty duff shot can bring an event to life again. Quite wonderfully sometimes...

Tuesday morning was the last time I got out before breakfast. This Wheatear, and the one in the next pic, were fresh in at Cogden. Like a nice sprinkle of garnish on the beach greens.

And here are a few from this afternoon's jaunt...

The first Holly Blue I've seen since the spring I think.

This Marsh Harrier is only my second of the year, and spent a few minutes quartering a grassy field at East Bexington.

Although it didn't occur to me at the time, I wonder if the seemingly paler inner primaries indicate that this is a 1st-summer male rather than a female (or juv). Anyway, I'm no expert, but I can say with absolute certainty that it's a Marsh Harrier.

I flushed this Corn Bunting from a weedy area at East Bex, and it was a very pleasant surprise. Last year I had up to two singing birds and pretty much confirmed breeding, but this is the first I've seen there in 2021. For a boring brown thing, Corn Buntings are actually rather smart.

This photo and the next depict a Kittiwake in 1st-summer plumage. It was mooching up and down the beach at West Bex for a while, and is the first I have knowingly seen in this plumage. Most likely I've seen millions previously but never registered them. Anyway, interesting bird. Look at those nice, new inner primaries, with the beginnings of the classic black wingtip of an adult Kitt.

So, there we go. Lots of record shots. When I browse this blog as a very old man one day, they will instantly recall that time when I had to do a whole week's work.

There have been nocturnal happenings too. Last night I recorded my second-ever Tree Pipit, and just over a minute later a tight (but very faint) bunch of six Tree Pipit calls, involving at least two birds. Here is that first, clear one...

In addition to the Tree Pipits, still a trickle of waders. Nothing unusual, but another Little Ringed Plover was a stand-out record. I say 'nothing unusual' but hey, just the fact that any waders at all regularly fly over my garden is pretty amazing.


  1. "When I browse this blog as a very old man one day, they will instantly recall that time when I had to do a whole week's work" - haha, masterful! Keep up the "mediocre" pics, they're all fabulous buddy.