Sunday 19 March 2023

Catching Up

A sunny Sunday is guaranteed to fill West Bay, so my late-afternoon visit today focused mainly on the golf course and East Cliff coast path. Three Wheatears and my first two White Wagtails of the year (among 45+ Pied) were reward enough, though I did a lot of fruitless sky-scanning for something rarer. One of the myriad Alpine Swifts currently presenting British and Irish birders with their trickiest photography challenge for ages would look great on the Bridport area list.

Rather distant and, at 17:30, in poor light, this White Wagtail was challenge enough for this tenth-rate photographer!

A broad expanse of grey rump on view in this shot.

Earlier this afternoon two separate Red Kites set the local gulls off, the first at 13:30. Almost expected in this kind of weather now but always great to see, especially from the garden...

Welcome to my Bridport North Patchwork Challenge list, Mr Kite.

I tried the golf course side of West Bay late on Friday afternoon too. The area held seven of the nine Wheaters I saw that day. It has a few spots which seem to remain relatively undisturbed, and I am looking forward to learning how to make the most of its potential as the year progresses...

Clifftop Wheatear - my first female of the year

Golf course Wheatear.

Yesterday I did my first solo stint as a Seaton Birdwatching Tram guide. For almost an hour and a half I completely forgot that I owned a camera, so the three Wheatears on Sheep's Marsh went unphotographed. I can only blame a touch of first-date nerves, which are probably also responsible for my failure to add Rook, Collared Dove or Song Thrush to the morning's trip list! I certainly cannot blame the lovely bunch of punters, who couldn't have made things easier for me. A thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I cannot wait for the next one.

No dramatic stuff, bird-wise, but decent views of one of the elusive wintering Greenshanks finally reminded me about the Nikon...

Axe Greenshank.

As far as I can tell, so far this year I have caught 76 moths of 22 species, 14 of which are new. Those figures are the result of 12 successful nights, and a few (uncounted) blanks. I have no idea how good this is, but it seems reasonable enough to me. And is far easier to cope with than the frenetic chaos of a hot summer night! Here is the latest batch of garden firsts...

Early Grey

Caught this on Friday night, and already another two (so far) have turned up tonight.

Tawny Pinion. No doubt designed to disappear on bark, this quirky brown splinter is actually not that common locally. Nice.

Tawny Pinion side view, in all its multi-tufted whackiness.

I have been hoping to catch one of these big, furry stunners since I first saw the species on my Twitter feed a few weeks ago. And I am pleased to report that Oak Beauty lived up to expectations.

Clouded Drab. Definitely got the short straw in the naming game, this one. There are other drabs too, poor things.

Not obvious in this pic, but Acleris cristana has the craziest tufts of scales sprouting from the middle of each wing. Unfortunately my side-on shots were rubbish.

Always pleasing to encounter a micro that is both well-marked and easy to ID.

Not new, but this Twin-spotted Quaker almost caught me out last night...

Twin-spotted Quaker - a pale form.

The other Twin-spotted Quakers I've caught so far looked like this...

Twin-spotted Quaker, living up to its name properly.

And finally, for no other reason than I like it, a Little Egret on the Axe yesterday morning...

That's it. All caught up now.

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