At the moment, when I'm not at work, I'm stuck behind this bleeding laptop. I've been here for about three weeks now and can conclude writing reports is not my thing! I'll happily do field work until I'm blue in the face (or hands I should say!).
It's not just the local birding I am REALLY missing because of this, there's two birds out there I actually want to twitch. The long-staying Somerset Pied-billed Grebe has been there long enough now for it become 'twitchable' for me, then there's the stunning Exe Bonaparte's Gull! What a looker, and apparently its showing very well too.
I've been waiting for rain and wind for what feels like the whole spring, and last night it came. So I set my alarm for 5am and just HAD to get out there...
I started sea watching at 05:20, too early really! It wasn't all that good, and with the shadow of report writing looming over me I jacked it in by 06:30. No skua, no shearwaters. All I saw was...
1 Velvet Scoter (drake on the sea very close in)
3 Common Scoter (on the sea)
1 small wader sp.
12 auk sp.
1 Mediterranean Gull (first-summer feeding with terns)
3 Sandwich Tern
1 Common Tern (a year tick - woooo!).
After a few hours back at home doing you know what, the conditions prompted me to take an hours break. I did a quick tour of the valley, and tried to check as many places as possible. The first place I went was Black Hole Marsh, and the first bird I saw here was a cracking adult Wood Sandpiper. Sadly it was too close for photo with reeds blocking the view, so I had to walk away from it to get any sort of shots...
|I know dodgy photos - but you can just about tell what it is!!!|
Shortly after I sent the texts out, a land rover came driving down from the Tower Hide and the it took off and flew south. About five mins later I could see it flying around over Seaton Marshes, and about ten minutes after that I could heard it overhead again.
Also on Black Hole Marsh, three Greenshank. On the Estuary, one Dunlin with a few Blackwits and Whimbrel. But that really was it.
Next stop was the beach, for another quick look over the sea and a check for waders. The sea was still dead, but on the beach I struck patch bronze with a cracking Sanderling. For stunning frame-filling images take a look at Karen's blog. Have a look at those cracking pics, and now take a look at a proper photo of a Sanderling on Seaton Beach...
|I call it art. Everyone else calls it crap.|
In my defence I didn't want to go near it incase I flushed it - I knew others would want to see this bird. Waders on the beach in spring often fly off and away when flushed, obviously this bird wasn't so skittish!
The Estuary, Coly Marsh and Axmouth FC showed nothing of note, then the hour ended and I returned home.
Blog readers won't be surprised to hear I love local patch birding. Not just this local patch, but the whole concept of local patch birding. I really enjoy reading tweets and blog posts from local patch birders about their local patch antics. Being a bit of a simpleton, looking through this blog you will see my posts are pretty much just about me going birding and what I've seen. I do admire, and am jealous of those who can write proper paragraphs about interesting stuff that sparks debates, but pure birding blogs is what I'm in to. And one I love is 'Stringer' at Beadnell Birding.
At work last night I learnt of a Collared Flycatcher at Low Newton-By-The-Sea, and spent the whole evening wondering if 'Stringer' was the lucky one who turned this cracker up. Click on the link above and you will see.... what a gripper and many many many congratulations. Looking back through his blog (warning, swearing often is part of his posts so it's not for the faint hearted) you will see how he, with a few others, have got Newton on the map through habitat improvement and observer coverage.
Right, that's enough for now. I'll finish with a couple of pics from last weekend...
|Dear Oh Dear|