Saturday, 28 May 2022

The Dregs of Spring

The last eight nights of nocmig recording have delivered one Moorhen and nothing else. In fact I am on six consecutive blanks currently. But I shall persevere, never know.

And that's how birding is in late May. Spring migration is basically over, just never know. The recent Cogden Woodchat Shrike for example. It came out of nowhere, and provided some royal entertainment for four days. Very little else about though.

I paid it another visit on Thursday evening...

There was no one else present when I arrived, and this was the sight that greeted me. I sat down in the grass and got the camera out...

The Woodchat was perched on this twig for the entire half-hour plus that I watched it

Like many birders, I cannot help looking at other stuff right now. The usual distractions of late spring. For example, Cogden is absolutely stiff with orchids at the moment...

Bee Orchids are everywhere.

There are seven other spikes in shot behind this one, two in bud.

And I have never seen so many Greater Butterfly Orchids. Big patches all over the place.

Common Spotted Orchid is apparently quite scarce at West Bex & Cogden, but Mike Morse found one this evening.

And still there are birds. Following a tip-off from the local farmer, on Thursday evening I finished up at West Bex, where I came upon this beauty...

Tawny Owl keeps an eye out

I had been hoping to see some fluffy juvs too, but they were tucked away out of sight somewhere. Still, this is the first adult Tawny Owl I have ever photographed. Challenging light, to say the least, but it will do.

And so to this evening, and another Cogden visit. I knew the Woodchat had vacated, never know. As I leaned on a gate and soaked up the gorgeous view, I suddenly became aware of a sound which I hadn't heard in the field for twenty-something years: a 'singing' Quail! The following video comprises five clips from about nine minutes of recording. There was a sixth, but too faint to be worth the bother. Visually, there is a Stonechat and one or two Greater Butterfly Orchids...

Thankfully the Quail was still in good voice when Mike Morse got there a bit later, but sadly went quiet before Alan Barrett arrived. Hopefully it will hang about...

My garden has Quail on its list, courtesy the nocmig recorder in July 2020. But my own ears have not heard one since before I moved to the Southwest in 2002. Mid-1990s I reckon, and a non-birding walk with friends on the Ridgeway near Tring.

The dregs of spring are well worth sifting.


  1. Very nice header image Gav, some great orchids too, there's always someting to look at. No mention of the gulls nesting on the police car though? Bridport on the news is surely worth a line or two.
    Enjoy June, fledglings everywhere.

    1. Thanks Dave, I've just googled that story! Ha ha! Classic! 😄
      I plan to try and learn a few plants in June. Hopefully will avoid the DIY that way...