Saturday 19 March 2022

A Pinch of the Unexpected

The back end of the week has been heavily loaded with work and other stuff which has kept me from Rock Pipits. But I am very encouraged by the nice noises made by some of this blog's readers. Clearly I am not the only birder intrigued by the cryptic little blighters. Two or three have been enormously helpful with literature too, and I now have a small pile of homework reading. Not only am I very grateful of course, but, as always, touched by such unsolicited kindness. Birders are a decent lot, by and large.

No work on Wednesday though. What a dismal day! In the afternoon, as the rain began to ease, I headed out to find a Garganey, reasoning that the West Bex Mere would be the best bet. No Garganey, but a pair of Pintail was a nice result.

Pintail pair. Grim record shot through rain-spattered lens. I was quite eager to get the camera back in its cosy bag, and didn't wait for a better pose.

I walked on, all the way to Cogden, where some rainwater pools behind the beach held a nice little prize...

Only a Dunlin, but my first of the year.

One other notable aspect of that afternoon was the number of Chiffs, presumably held up by the weather. I counted 14 in total...

Chiffchaff just behind the beach at West Bex, freshly arrived.

And so to today. Lunch in the garden was a good move. Two Red Kites were my first of the year. The first bird was through like a bullet, but I managed to grab a shot of the second about 40 minutes later, as it was hustled out of Bridport airspace by a Herring Gull...

Red Kite. Just. That roof is about 230m away.

After lunch I almost went a-Rockit-ing again, but the prospect of mixing it with the inevitable sunny-Saturday-afternoon crush was too unpalatable, and I opted for another plod around West Bex instead. Standard fare, until the very last stretch of beach. I was surprised to spot a small flock of waders fly in and land by the water's edge, just like you might see later in the spring. I hurried over to see what they were...

11 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover

Excellent. They soon moved up the beach and settled down for a rest...

Ringed Plover

Two Dunlin

Yeah, I know. Dunlin and Ringed Plover are 'only' common waders, but the Ringo was new for the year, and all 12 of them added that big pinch of the unexpected which spices up any local outing. Wonderful.


  1. Hi Gavin, it may just be the photo but your Chiffy looks a good candidate for a Siberian Chiffchaff with no colour in the head or mantle. What did it look like in the field?

    1. Thanks Adam, but it's probably the photo! Not great light, which doesn't help, but this bird was just like the several others that afternoon. No hint of that pallid appearance which sets alarm bells ringing. Cheers for the heads-up though. 😊👍