Sunday 30 April 2023

PWC Update and Two Night Herons

Both Patchwork Challenge tallies have made steady progress this week. Since the Oystercatchers mentioned in the previous post I have added seven species to the West Bay & Eype list...

Jay - seen a while back and omitted in error.

Great Northern Diver - 3 in total, including a stonking summer-plumaged bird which landed offshore.

Arctic Skua - a dark-phase bird E on Wednesday. Very, very welcome.

Sanderling - 6, with 4 Turnstones, straight in off the sea and away inland on Thursday morning.

Turnstone - 4; see Sanderling above.

Greenshank - a bit of PATCH GOLD. Apparently much less than annual here, one heard (with Pete Forrest) from atop West Cliff this morning. It was clearly passing through, but out of view below the cliffs.

Lesser Whitethroat - 2 heard rattling away this afternoon.

And the Bridport North patch has advanced by five...

Sedge Warbler - one seen (and heard briefly) behind Co-op as I walked into town on Friday afternoon.

Wheatear - one on wires over a field very close to home yesterday. The first of a bumper haul of four new species from my afternoon walk. The others were...

Swift - at least 16. Still haven't seen one on the West Bay & Eype patch though!

Hobby - rapidly through W. Superb views, but too quick for photos.

Whimbrel - 'naked' noc-mig last night.

Still waiting for really decent seawatching conditions. Mostly it's been third rate at best, just dribs and drabs, but generally enough to keep me plugging away long after I should probably have given up. Talking of third rate, here are lots of photos from recent days...

I must have been very bored on Thursday afternoon. This is a pretty obvious sinensis Cormorant, the first I've seen for quite a few weeks.

Yesterday's Bridport North Wheatear.

A bit closer. The first local Wheatear I've seen away from the coast.

This migrant Silver Y was flushed from the grass during yesterday afternoon's walk.

Bridport North Little Grebe...

...and Tufted Duck. Neither species exactly prolific here.

The familiar silhouette of a Red Kite closed yesterday's very productive walk from home.

I've not seen many spring Sedge Warblers locally, so was delighted to come across this one singing away next to the West Bay boatyard early this evening. Tricky to photograph through the vegetation though.

First light this morning was barely bright enough to get a photo of this Common Sand on the West Pier rock armour.

At close of play today, the West Bay & Eype patch tally is 105 species for 128 points, while Bridport North stands at 69 species and 76 points. I've no 'previous' with which to compare the numbers but am pleased enough with how it's going.

Full list on the PWC 2023 page.

Finally, a quick tale of two Night Herons. On Thursday evening Steve found a Night Heron on the Seaton Marshes Borrow Pit (see Steve's blog post HERE). Eventually it flew off towards the harbour, and called several times as it went. Steve managed to capture this on video. Hearing those flight calls took me straight back to June 2020, and the massive surprise of my Bridport noc-mig Night Heron (see NQS blog post HERE). The call notes on Steve's video seemed very similar in volume and tone, and I was extremely keen to compare them with my 2020 recording. Steve kindly extracted an mp3 file from his video and sent it to me. 

This is what the calls of each bird look like as sonograms...

Two Night Herons. Ju-u-u-st a tiny bit similar!

And this is what they sound like (gaps edited down to half a second or so)...

I never had any doubts that the 2020 bird actually was a Night Heron but, if I had, this recording would certainly lay them to rest. The similarity is incredible.

With grateful thanks to Steve for the excellent recording.

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