Sunday, 12 September 2021

Notching Up Some Good Grades

This afternoon's plod around Cogden was the only birding I managed all weekend. Although it was generally quiet, the modest tally of migrants included another 2 Redstarts and a Pied Flycatcher. Last year I saw just one Redstart all year. One. This year I am up to 23 so far: 6 in spring and 17 since August 23rd. Either it's a very good year or I've got much, much better at noticing them...

The first of today's two Redstarts. The second would not perch up for me at all.

Last Friday morning (another two-Redstart day at Cogden) I saw my first autumn male...

Male Redstart. Even when they do perch in view for a moment, it will likely be at considerable range and partially obscured.

The Pied Fly was my fifth, and an absolute pig as usual. Only one of those five has given me any kind of photo opportunity, and today's was impossible, almost completely hidden by foliage. The moment I moved to try for a better angle, it was gone. Again, five feels like a decent total. In 2020 I also saw five, but all on August 11th and 12th, following a fairly widespread influx.

I always think of Redstart as a B+ kind of 'common' migrant, and Pied Flycatcher as a solid A, so this year's grades are already looking very good.

Whinchat is another species which seems to be quite numerous this year. Although I only counted three today, last Friday morning there were at least 11 at Cogden.

One of today's Whinchats

Three photos from Friday to end with...

This beefy Yellow-legged Gull was among a good number of gulls on the beach. It was pleasing to match the bird to one of the two I photographed eight days earlier, on September 2nd.

A bit distant, but the camera still managed to nail that colour-ring: Yellow 2N69. The only other yellow-ringed Med Gull I've seen had been ringed at Pagham Harbour. I've yet to hear back on this one.

A young Cormorant. But...

Yes, a young Cormorant. But...

What is even more of a niche activity than cricket identification? Sub-specific Cormorant identification. I couldn't help thinking it looked quite diminutive in the field, and when I examined the photo, well, that gular pouch angle...

The Dorset Bird Report doesn't appear to bother much with sinensis Cormorants. Which is probably the sensible way to go.


  1. Its september and your knee-deep in migrants! Why woul dyou even be *thinking* about sinensis???

    1. That's a good question.
      There must be an answer, but I don't want to know what it is. 😄