Monday, 21 March 2016

First Wheatears Of 2016

I'm pleased to say today has seen another pulse of spring migration. Although we've had plenty of sunny weather recently today was the first day it actually felt warm, Beer Head was lovely in the late morning sunshine.

The day started in brilliant fashion, with the main pool on Bridge Marsh heaving with birds early this morning. At first there was just one Little Ringed Plover, but a second bird joined it an hour later - both probably new birds which takes our spring total to three...

Slightly better than Saturday's photo!

Best of all on these pools were the Water Pipits.  This is the first time I've seen them for about a month, and wow!  There were at least six, one in winter plumage but the other five in summer plumage - real beauts.  Summer plumaged Water Pipits always remind me of the close link between wagtails and pipits, their blue heads and completely unstreaked breasts make them look so wagtail-like. Wish I could have got closer views, but I was dead chuffed nonetheless.

A look over the sea showed it was quiet as usual (no flocks of Garganey here!) but a nice highlight came in the form of a Goosander that flew in high from the east and came into Seaton Hole, before heading off west.

Late morning Dad and I gave Beer Head a good stomp.  I have already endured seven Wheatear-barren treks around this place in the last two weeks, and I was dammed if this was going to be the eighth.  It really was not looking good, but thankfully this ploughed field did indeed produce my long-awaited first Wheatear of the year...

This field is just inland of the lookout

Not just one, but five, and all fine males. Sadly none came close enough to photograph but it was just so fantastic watching them hopping about and flycatching off the bare ground.

Finally, whilst up Beer Head, we were treated to a nice view of the Sea King flypast, their final day at work after 36 years with the RAF...


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