Monday, 18 March 2013

Wheatears At Last!

Saturday was a non-birding day except for a quick and urgent look at the Estuary mid afternoon, this was because earlier in the day 'Sidmouth Clive' had seen a Spotted Redshank from the Seaton Marshes Hide.  Now up to about ten years ago, we used to have one or two Spotted Redshank winter on the Axe annually, but in recent years you don't usually see them here until mid autumn, and only in ones or twos. So as you can imagine I was very keen to see this bird as soon as I heard about it, and am pleased to say I did rather rapidly connect with it - a beautiful bird in winter plumage.

Later on in the day Jess and I went for a wander around town, and jammed the Spoonbill in the corner of Seaton Marshes right by the cycle path.  It's odd how this bird disappeared for about a week and has suddenly reappeared, maybe it ventured into Dorset for this time as I've noticed the numbers at Lodmoor have varied from two to four.

Sunday was as usual a day spent at work, but with blue skies greeting me when I finished at 16:15 I was keen we went for a late afternoon stroll, but to where? I suggested to Jess we gave Beer Head a visit - where better to enjoy sun, sea and stunning views!?  Quite by chance I then found out a few Wheatears had made landfall to south Dorset during the afternoon, what a stroke of luck!  Pleasingly Beer Head came good, and the first spring migrant made it on to my year list - Wheatear.  There were two actually, both stunning males, but neither very obliging. Still, the first Wheatear of the year just HAS to be photographed how ever far away and with whatever camera you have on you...

What a great sight!

Today, I headed over to Branscombe for about 7:45. The sea wasn't as flat as I was hoping, and I could only see three Great Northern and three Red-throated Divers on it. Over it, a female Red-breasted Merganser flew east with six Common Scoters, with a further eight Common Scoter past by 08:30.  Although Merg isn't a year tick for me, it's a good reminder of how the sea can produce a good bird at a moments notice.  I think I need to spend a bit more time looking out there - there are several gaps on my year list that more time sea watching could fill.

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