Monday, 21 March 2022

What? No Garganey?!

I spent much of yesterday afternoon waiting in vain for another garden Red Kite. The powder blue sky was just begging for one, and the 'gardening' that I was out there for suffered from want of attention. Still, there will be other days. And compost doesn't go off.

The local Ravens do a close fly-past

Rather late in the day I scuttled off to Rockit Land, but struggled to find any. Just two for my troubles, and photos of only one of them. Mind you, it was a significant one. Just a quick pic for now, but I shall revisit this bird in a later post...

An old friend, this one. Rock Pipit number 10.

I headed there again first thing this morning, but likewise struggled to find some Rock Pipits, ending up with just three, and no decent photos at all. My previously prolific sessions have all been late morning visits, so maybe I should stick to that time of day if possible..

When I first arrived at Burton Bradstock today, I paused for a quick scan of the sea. Four Common Scoter immediately flew east, then a couple of close Gannets. Momentarily I wondered if I ought to be seawatching...and then headed of to hunt pipits. And again, just before leaving I had another scan. A small flock of dabblers flew in from the west and landed on the sea. Definitely two or three drake Shovelers among them, but way too far out to ID them all with bins. Just as I was zeroing in with the camera, they took off. I managed a quick burst of shots, and got back on them with bins. As they headed away east I could see there were 12 birds. By size it looked like 7 Shoveler and 5 Teal. Conscious that there has been a fair bit of up-Channel Garganey passage recently, I checked the photos. Hard to tell for sure, but yes, those little ones did look like Teal rather than Garganey.

Later in the day, news reached me (also gripping photos) that at least two little groups of Garganey (five and three) had passed West Bexington, the trio among a wonderful flock of 17 Pintails. Needless to say, this evening I sat down and revisited my photos...

There they all are. A fine flock of 12 pixels.

As you can see, there isn't much to work with. But I tried...

Three of the little ones bringing up the rear. The left-hand bird has the ring of a drake Teal to it. Kiss of death. Even I can't string a Garganey out of that lot.

Yes. I should have been seawatching. Possibly the honey on my breakfast toast might have tasted even sweeter than usual.

Anyway, it was pretty obvious that at least a couple of all these Garganey were going to drop in to the West Bex Mere before the end of the day, so there was a late-afternoon shingly slog...

One of three gorgeous male Wheatears on the beach.

Absolutely immaculate drake Pintail on the West Bex Mere.

And of course, no Garganey.


  1. I reckon you'll get Garganey on your nocmig kit before you see one :)

    I'm eagerly awaiting my own first Wheatear of the year (there's been 7 reported elsewhere on Skye this week). Two Killer Whales swam past the top of Skye yesterday, then turned south which means they would have been swimming past me early pm. They were picked up at a headland south of me late pm, still heading south. I swear I'll jam into them one of these days, but for now I'll keep waiting for that first Wheatear flicking through the rocks on the shore. Won't be long!

    1. At least the Wheatears can be relied upon, Seth. All the other nice-to-haves are just too fickle! 😄

      I recently listened to a nocmig recording of Garganey, from Spain I think. Amazing sound!

  2. Are you losing your touch Gav? A couple of years ago you were regularly pulling rarities out of your hat, and Garganey would have been sat on you shoulders :o)

    It's never an even spread is it.

    1. I think I am, Dave. Need to up my game somehow. Or start lying! 😄

  3. Waiting for a Raven to fly over my place Gav. Plenty of Red Kites though. Two pairs and a single passing in the space of ten minutes from my front window while watching the telly.
    Masses of Parakeets too. Neighbour reports them trying out a hole in his soffit boards.
    He won't need an alarm clock if those start calling from the nest!

    1. Raven is a terrific garden bird to have. Ring-necked Parakeets, not so much. They are getting a toe-hold in one or two spots down here. The thin end of an unwelcome wedge I suspect...