Friday, 22 October 2021

Of the Season

The local glut of gulls didn't last long. Two days after the swarming mass documented in the previous post, this was the scene from the West Bay harbour wall...

I can pick out just two birds that might be gulls, both up in the sky. Absolutely nothing over the sea. As an aside, despite all the warning signs and obvious clues that recent rockfalls have occurred, people still poke about right beneath those cliffs. Gives me the willies being anywhere near the base of them!

Still, I enjoyed a nice potter around West Bay on Wednesday afternoon, and eventually came across a small handful of gulls on a damp field. Among the half-a-dozen big ones was an obviously white-headed 1st-winter job. Interesting...

It's the one on the right, partially hidden by the adult Herring Gull

Sadly it came to nothing, and turned out to be just another Herring Gull [At least, I think so! See edit, just below the last gull photo]. I suppose it might have had a little genetic 'influence' from more interesting quarters, but who knows? A few more pics...






In the absence of anything better to do, it was fun to watch this bird and take a few photos. Mind you, I did spend quite a lot of my time thinking 'If only...' and sighing a lot. A West Bay Casp would be jolly nice

[Last-minute edit A good friend who likes gulls a tiny bit has pointed out that much of the plumage (except maybe the strongly marked upper tail/rump and lack of eye mask) fits Yellow-legged Gull. He has a very good point. If it is a YLG then it's a small and annoying one. My gut tells me it isn't though. But my gut has betrayed me often. So. On the off chance that any NQS readers sometimes think 'You know what? I ought to get into this gull watching lark'... Well, yes, if you want your brain fried it's a great idea. Welcome aboard.]

The last couple of days have been dry and pleasant, so I've been catching up with work. Mostly there has been little time for birding. Mostly.

A few minutes before I clocked off yesterday, a WhatsApp message: 2 Whooper Swans on Seaton Marshes. And I was about 200 yards from the entrance! Perfect...





White birds in harsh sunlight I find extremely challenging to photograph, but I'm quite chuffed with the results here. Such magnificent birds. I assume they are a pair. I don't know whether I'm making this up, but one appears to have a slightly more swollen base to the bill, and possibly a thicker neck. The male? Whatever the case, it was a genuine privilege to enjoy these recent arrivals from Iceland at such close quarters.

I finished a bit earlier today, and had a late-afternoon walk at West Bexington. One hundred percent routine fare, except maybe this...



Possibly my final Wheatear of 2021? I think my last one in 2020 was on 17th October. Today's was in almost exactly the same spot. A bit depressing to think I might not see another for five months...

2 comments:

  1. Do I detect melancholy in your writing Gav? A realisation that the season has turned and you have to suffer wheatear withdrawal during the long cold nights. Don't worry, just think of all the winter migrants to come.

    Good call on the mute swans by the way, they certainly look like a pair.

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    Replies
    1. Just a touch, Dave. Spring is my favourite time of year, and yes, though I like autumn for different reasons, it always feels like the season of fading away...

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