Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Change Of Scenery

James Mc kidnapped me yesterday morning and took me to Dart's Farm.  After he pushed me out the car and dragged me down a muddy track to a half hide half shelter thing, we stood about for what seemed like hours watching bulrushes in the rain.  Not fun.  Even less fun was the fact that when James took me from Seaton the sun was out and it was actually quite mild, so I was wearing clothes from my summer collection. What was he doing with me!?

Thankfully we had some great company, with Bill and Dave stood beside us telling us the tales of Torbay - it was great to see them both and to hear how other patch birders are getting on this winter.  A Black Brant proved a nice distraction as well amongst 900 or so Brent Geese, and if you've not seen this Brant you must, it's a really fine example of one.  Eventually the rain stopped and the sun peaked out from behind the clouds, and when three little birds dropped out of the sky the penny dropped as to why James had brought me here - Penduline Tits!  They spent no more than five minutes feeding on the bulrushes in front of us, showing superbly well, before flicking up to the top of a willow tree and flying off high west.  It really did feel like they dropped in just for us, and I'm not sure if they've been seen since?  What stunning birds and in such beautiful plumage. Obviously I would absolutely love to see one or more on the Axe, but am really glad I saw these - I hope I get kidnapped again soon!

This morning I didn't have to be kidnapped, I voluntarily drove westwards to join fellow C-ringer Peter on the Otter Estuary.  We had a bit of walk about then bumped into Doug and Chris to discuss ringing potential in this small river valley.  Two hours later, once net rides had been decided, I was kindly shown the nearby Cirl Buntings that Chris had found last year. It was great to see ten birds today, one male and nine female/immatures.  Sadly the male didn't play ball, although the light was so dull that I probably wouldn't have got a decent photo even if he had landed on my nose...

To be honest though it did make me a bit ill watching Cirl Buntings with my patch viewable in the distance. I think I'm going to spend the next couple of days re-checking all the stubble fields I've been to this winter - and all our bulrushes as well of course...

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