Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Birds...and Only Birds

The last two or three of days have been lively, so I'd better get some writing done or there'll be a depressing backlog...

Monday was lovely, which allowed for an al fresco lunch and some garden-based idling. The sky was very quiet though, until this dark shape that wasn't a Buzzard...

Female or juv Marsh Harrier, a delightful garden first.

Sadly the bird was not hanging about, and I just about managed to grab a burst of shots before it vanished. This happy event galvanised me into a fairly protracted bout of skywatching, for which I was rewarded with 2 Black-headed Gulls.

A late afternoon visit to West Bex was pretty good, with 7 Spotted Flycatchers, a typically uncooperative Redstart, 5 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears and singles of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Also a Clouded Yellow, and an orthopteran encounter which I'll return to in a bit...

Spotted Flycatchers have been a very welcome presence this year

Always the annoying twig...

Typical Whinchat view

Not sure if the focus fail on the bottom bird is heat-haze or...er...focus fail

Yesterday was mostly spent building Ikea wardrobes with my son in Lyme Regis, but there was still time for an early jaunt, and for a change I went to Burton Bradstock. In autumn 2020 I was there quite often, but this was my first visit for ages. The problem is how busy it gets. A massive holiday park and a million dog walkers. But it does get birds, and an early start always bags a few.

Yesterday's prize was an elusive Pied Flycatcher, my fourth of the autumn. Burton Bradstock seems to have an attraction for them, with up to three together last year. Back-up was provided by 13 Wheatears, a Spot Fly, 20+ Yellow Wags, a Garden Warbler, 2 each of Chiff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap, and my first 3 autumn Meadow Pipits.

The sun's first rays illuminate a clifftop Wheatear. Lovely light...

Spotted Flycatcher with touring caravan backdrop. I wish Pied Flycatchers posed like this.

I know. Another Wheatear. But just look at it!

And in the evening I was at West Bex again. I did see approximately 15 Yellow Wagtails going to roost in a field, but I wasn't there for birds...

And so to this morning. For some reason I fancied a seawatch. After a bit of a walk at Cogden I plonked myself on the beach and spent almost an hour and a half just chilling. The seawatching was dire really, and from a purist's standpoint probably a waste of time, but there was enough going on to keep me sitting there, quietly content.

The main event was a steady stream of hirundines - mainly Swallows - heading into the brisk easterly. They were skimming the waves up to well over half a mile out, and if I turned around I could watch them pass along the beach too. A broad-fronted movement of driven migrants is a compelling sight, and had there been nothing else happening I would have been quite okay with that. But there were several gulls on the move too, including a few Meds. A Dunlin, a Little Egret and 3 Teal all made it into my notes for the morning too. Rarity-wise though, this was the prize...

Such a slender bill is an unusual sight in this neck of Lyme Bay...

..and I'm pretty sure I didn't see Shag locally at all last year.

The morning's tally is completed by 14 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 3 Chiffs, a Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 12 Yellow Wags an 2 alba Wags. Which brings the birdy happenings up to date once more.

In other news...

Tree Cricket happenings have been happening. But I won't sully a nice birdy post with six-legged shenanigans. Another time...

No comments:

Post a Comment