Tuesday 28 April 2009

Sea Watching And Border Hopping

I'll start with something not relevant to the title at all! Early this afternoon a long shot paid off. Two springs ago I had a Lesser Whitethroat singing between Whitford and Kilmington, alongside the railway line.

I didn't see one here last year, but at 13:00 today I was treated to brilliant views of a male rattling away by the railway bridge, it was in absolute pristine plumage with a lovely pink wash to its breast and a clear cut-off to its white throat. Stunner, and a good bird to get in spring on patch.

Ok, now back to the title, which means going back to yesterday....

I started yesterday with a sea watch from the beach hut. 06:50 - 07:45 was actually not too bad in good sea watching conditions, with one Great Northern Diver, 168 Manxies, one Great Crested Grebe, 15 Kittiwakes, two Sandwich Terns, one Oystercatcher and two Whimbrel past.

At 07:45, a front came through and with this, the wind dropped dead. Almost like someone just turned it off! This in turn turned all and any passage off too. The rest of the morning was quiet, with just a single
Wheatear on Seaton Marshes and an Iceland Gull on the estuary.

Knowing Bun and Karen both needed Ferruginous Duck, and the fact I've not seen a drake since Feb '02 (Marton Mere - Lancashire), we left off at 15:00 and headed to Wimbleball Lake, Somerset. I'm pleased to say it was a succesful twitch! The Fudge Duck was here...

The north arm of the lake

It remained distant, as can be seen from my best photo of it, was a smart bird though.

We did try and get closer, but totally failed!

Also here, a singing male Redstart was a nice bonus, as was a calling Cuckoo and a Tawny Owl which flew through a small woodland and landed in full view. Other birds on the res. include just a few Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes and Coots.

After this, we went to a site near Taunton for Nightingales. We heard at least three males singing, and they gave a great vocal performance for us. One stayed loyal to these bushes...

Never showed though!

My camera is rubbish at recording sound, it distorts most frequencies. But this snippet of Nightingale song came out OK, and it's my favourite part of their repertoire. It's only short...

It was an enjoyable jaunt off patch yesterday, but I'm looking forward to an evening patch year-tick hunting session tonight!

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