Tuesday, 1 March 2016

In Seach Of The Purple One (Part Two)

Last Thursday saw an early afternoon low tide, and calm weather conditions. This, coupled with an apparent increase in Purple Sandpiper numbers at our two nearest sites (Sidmouth and Lyme Regis) within the last week, encouraged me to try again and walk the rocks on the beach east of Axmouth Harbour.  

Looks so right!


It all looked so perfect. So much exposed rock covered with weeds, and I saw more wading birds than I ever have before; 47 Curlew and 11 Oystercatcher, plus three Little Egrets...

A good Purp-carrying species


And for a few seconds I thought I'd done it.  I'd very nearly got to the point that I turn back, and three more Oystercatchers lifted off from a large, gently sloping and smooth surfaced rock.  As I got closer my eyes caught sight of two small grey birds shuffling about on the weed - Purple Sands!!  It took probably just over a second for my binoculars to get to my eyes, but in this short space of time I was already celebrating - all the effort I have put in had finally come good. Local birders would be queueing up to buy me drinks at the pub and my name would go down in history as the birder that finally got Purple Sandpiper on the Axe patch list.  What an amazing feeling it was. But then my binoculars got to my eyes...

Rock Pipits.

I immediately felt very very flat. All the elation, even though it was fake, evaporated into thin air in an instant.

Isn't it funny that when you are so so focused on one particular species, your brain can so easily come to a premature and wrong conclusion without any real thought process. Thankfully there was no one with me, otherwise I could have looked like a right plank if I'd open my mouth before the bins came up.

On the plus side, I managed to see a very distant Red Kite during the boring walk back, thanks to a phone call from Bun - he had just seen it fly north east over Beer.

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