Sunday 23 April 2023

Four Subheadings

The last three days have been brilliant. Loads of action, a few surprises, some ropey pics. Here it all is, organised into spurious categories...

The Sea

Once again I've spent too much time looking at it. Cumulative totals as follows: 5 Common Scoter, 11 Common Terns, 88 Sandwich Terns, 6 'Commic' Terns, 51 Gannets, 68 Manxies, 8 Shelduck, 5 Whimbrel, 8 Guillemots, 1 Med Gull, 2 Shags, 1 Pale-bellied Brent.

The Pale-bellied Brent was a surprise, as were the two separate Shags. All flew east. No skuas here yet, though a couple of Poms and plenty of Arctics have been seen off Chesil and Portland Bill.

While peering through the damp and dismal murk late on Friday afternoon, I spied this, 280m away on the West Pier rocks...

Purple Sandpiper

It's a few weeks since I last saw Purple Sand here, so yesterday morning I headed out early for a proper look...

Two Purple Sands!


Before I forget, here's a pucka seawatching photo...

One of five Whimbrel that went past in yesterday evening's rain. Not sure what it's up to. Calling? Throwing up? Lovely bird of course. Always.


I saw a Grey Seal off  the West Pier this morning, pointed out to me by a passer-by. A quick burst of photos, and it was gone. I didn't realise it was looking away at the time...

There is something oddly satisfying about this pic of a shiny bonce and whiskers in the oily sea.

And I'll take this opportunity to include a photo I took almost a month ago. Just a Brown Hare, but the closest to Bridport I've personally seen, just north of my West Bay & Eype patch boundary...

Hunkered Hare.


I'll be honest. I've had reservations about my decision to stick more local in 2023. Getting to know West Bexington and Cogden over the last few years has been very enjoyable and very rewarding. Would the West Bay area cut it, or would I wind up dissatisfied? Certainly it is a different kettle of fish, but last autumn hinted at the potential. First of all, it has proper seawatching 'facilities', with seats and a roof. Winner! And despite being a comparitively poor vis-mig year there was plenty of excellent quality logged from the West Cliff watchpoint, including two Woodlarks that I was jammy enough to see. A personal highlight was the obliging Barred Warbler of course. The tiny ex-quarry which held it proved to be a proper bird magnet, and perhaps the first location I realised must be quite a hot-spot. For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of getting to know somewhere new is discovering such hot-spots, those relatively small areas which seem to draw birds in certain conditions. Today I came across another.

Right on the eastern edge of the West Bay & Eype patch, I have really fancied this particular area but thus far seen little there. Today it came good. Plenty of Blackcaps and a few Willow Warblers had found this corner, but the highlights were a Redstart and two Garden Warblers...

I saw this Redstart twice in about an hour, both times very briefly.

'Just' a Garden Warbler, but truly a welcome local sight. Initially a bit of a tease in the beautiful Blackthorn blossom.

I know I've said it before but, for me anyway, Sylvia not borin.

I spent a fair bit of time here, hoping for a jackpot Pied Fly, but in the end was more than happy with my winnings. Earlier I had seen a very elusive Sedge Warbler in the reeds next to Rise restaurant in West Bay, so that was three new species for the PWC2023 list.

Migrants are certainly dribbling in still. This morning a Whitethroat flew over the garden and plonked into a neighbour's tree. Garden tick, and addition to the Bridport North PWC2023 list.


Nothing too dramatic yet, but some lovely recordings. Here are a couple of beauts. First, a cracking little bit of Whimbrel song...

And from last night, possibly my best recording of Little Ringed Plover, which flew over at 04:04. Just over a minute, edited down to about 30 seconds. An absolute corker which illustrates perfectly why I don't plan to pack in the noc-migging any time soon...

I should point out that Little Ringed Plover is apparently on the Bridport Recording Area list purely on the strength of my noc-mig recordings, and has yet to provide a sight record! Which I find pretty remarkable.

I was planning to add further sub-headings to this post - Expectations, Frustrations and Breeders, to name three - but have run out of time and inclination. Until next time...


  1. Busy, busy and plenty of reward. The seal picture has a soothing quality, is only it had looked at you.