Monday 13 March 2023

The Usual Mixed Bag

Shortly after noon yesterday I was free for a bit of birding. Keen to get going, I skipped lunch and sallied forth with just a banana. Fatal mistake...

There were plenty of gulls about, and I spent some time watching them come and go, both in the harbour and on the river, where up to 120 at a time was way more than usual. All Herring Gulls, apart from a handful of Lesser Black-backs and the odd GBBG. Still, it was good to have a few birds to sift.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls are so classy.

Legs by Colman's English...

The West Bay gull collection may be a lot smaller than I'm used to elsewhere, but one day there will be a nice surprise. One day.

I still cannot resist a pretty Cormorant...

This gorgeous beast looks fine for sinensis...

...whereas this youngster is obviously P. c. carbo.

Until recently, this is the kind of gular pouch angle I was used to seeing locally: a lot less than 90 degrees.

Anyway, after a couple of hours pleasant, unspectacular pottering, I decided to head for home. The banana was ancient history, and at roughly the same moment that I noticed some nagging little hunger pangs, the West Bay Tea Rooms hove into view. And it's a very long time since I last did a cream tea review...

Cream tea for one: £6.50

Scones: choice of plain or fruit. Good size. Warm and crumbly. Lovely.

Cream: Plentiful and stiff; none of that runny, so-called 'clotted' nonsense. Lifting the spoon out in order to prep scone #2, the whole lot came with it. Barely a smear on the pot. Respect!

Jam: As you can see, my jam needs are modest. There was more than enough for me, a deliciously traditional strawberry.

Tea: Black Earl Grey is my choice. A proper two-cup pot. Looking at that spout, I thought there would be marks lost for dribble-back, but no, it was fine. A trap for the hesitant pourer though; a firm, decisive action is vital.

Overall score: 8/10

I've had better, but not much. Recommended.

Closing the tea room door behind me, I could feel arteries gently beginning to clog...

It blew up a hoolie last night, and the sea was raging nicely this morning. The obligatory seawatch produced three new species for the Patchwork Challenge tally: a distant pair of Eider west, eight Curlew (1, 3 and 4; all west) and an incongruous flock of c10 Golden Plover west, low over the sea. Typically, the rough weather prompted a trickle of Gannets and Kittiwakes, but less expected were two tight, close flocks of the latter (c30 and c50) bustling rapidly through. The big sea made it very difficult to keep track of distant birds, and a couple of lone ducks slipped through the net. Not Scoter, but who knows what? I do like a lively seawatch.

Late this afternoon I was at West Bay again. Still windy, still rough. No seawatching though, just a leisurely plod. A flock of 80 big gulls sheltering on the lee side of the golf course was 100% Herring, but fun to pick through. Bird of the afternoon was my first Sand Martin of the year. Noticing the total lack of interesting wetland to linger above, it was through in a flash.

The moth trap went out on Saturday night and caught two moths, sort of. One was on the garage fascia, the other on the cabin. Still, I don't care where they end up, just as long as they come. Both were new for me...

Twin-spotted Quaker. Subtly attractive, especially up close.

A rather worn Early Moth. This one seems relatively uncommon in West Dorset, with just a single Bridport area dot (representing four records) on the Living Record map.

A full day's work tomorrow. But first, a quick look at the sea I reckon...


  1. A nice mixed bag Gav, but the scones could do with being a tad thicker.

    1. Had the scones been a little thicker, there would have been no complaints from me. 😄