Monday, 17 January 2022

Record Shots

These past few days I've added a few more species to the #LocalBigYear tally, and immortalised their arrival with some dire photography. The first was Dipper, which I thought was going to be really difficult. However, some excellent gen from a fellow local birder paid off at the first attempt. And it was a spot I would never have thought of checking...

Dipper. Very flighty, so this was all I got.

That was Saturday. Yesterday afternoon I tried the Brambling stake-out again. Success this time, but the few I saw were distant and tricky...

The back of a female Brambling, in all its tiny glory

I'm afraid they only get worse. I spent the dregs of Sunday afternoon scouring the high farmland to the north-east of Bridport. My targets were Corn Bunting, Golden Plover and - very optimistically - Merlin. It was hard work. Eventually, and by complete fluke, a mixed flock of about 50 Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings flew over me as I stood at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and perched up in a distant treetop...

A few of those dots are Corn Buntings - mostly the higher ones. I think something awful has happened to the white balance on this shot.

I couldn't find any Golden Plovers, or anything else for that matter. Still, at least 17 Corn Buntings (counted from photos) was a nice total.

This afternoon I visited West Bexington. The plan was to sit on the beach and check the pre-roost gulls as they dropped on to the Mere for a wash before heading out to sea. In the event it was so slow I decided to try the bunting flock instead. The buntings were most uncooperative, feeding much further up the field than is ideal. Even so, I saw the female Cirl Bunting several times and - for the first time since last November - the male twice. I was glad I'd bothered with my scope, because without it I definitely would not have seen the male. Unfortunately only the female posed for photos...

Female Cirl Bunting in its usual hedge, and playing very hard to get. Cryptic rump view, top left.

Face pattern looks really strong in the shade here, but varies so much in different lights...

Olive-grey rump visible on this one.

Looks quite different in the late afternoon sun...

...and in this one, taken at 16:17, the rump even looks a warm brown.

And finally, a few extra-curricular pics...

Fallow Deer herd viewed from Eggardon Hill at sunset yesterday.

Roe Deer caught by the final rays of this afternoon's sun before it dipped below the horizon

The #LocalBigYear total stands at 82 species now, with the sole addition of Goldcrest at West Bex this afternoon. Last year I didn't see a local Goldcrest until August or something, so at least I've avoided that patheticness.

As dusk descended, and a miraculous Barn Owl didn't happen, the Wolf Moon looked bleakly impressive in its wintry sky...

West Bex - the end of the day...


  1. Record Shots Gav! Shows how technology has advanced. Imagine delivering this post pre digital.

    1. So true Ric. I'm guilty of taking it all for granted. At best there would have been a typed or hand-written journal with the odd print mounted in it. Probably it would have had just the one reader during my lifetime: me.

      The digital age really has made self-publication possible for anyone.

  2. Love that last shot. A simple composition but wonderfully atmospheric.


    1. I thought that as well. Belongs on a calendar.

    2. Thanks both, much appreciated. I don't really have a good eye for scenic shots, but couldn't ignore that reflection...