I have been away since Sunday so was eager to get out today to enjoy some more spring action. Sadly though I woke up to fog, which completely smashed my enthusiasm to pieces and I went back to bed. When I did finally get up I noticed on twitter that Portland was experiencing something of a fall, so I headed down to Seaton Marshes.
It was foggy.
I did eventually stumble upon some migrants, they were (amazingly!) another two House Martins with eight Sand Martins. I really don't know what is going on with House Martins this year but several have already been seen in the UK, which by mid March is so unusual. I wonder if something has happened where they winter? Maybe some got mixed in with wintering Sand Martins and they've headed north with them? All I do know is pretty much every year I don't see my first House Martins until the first week of April, weeks after my first Sand Martins and Swallows - but I'm yet to see one of the latter!
I was tied up for the rest of today, but headed out again at about 16:30. All seemed quiet, including nothing with the gulls on the Estuary, but a distant scan of the gulls roosting on the sand by Tesco revealed something darker mantled. At first I was really excited as I thought it may be a sub-adult Caspian, but when I got closer I could see it looked more like a particularly cute headed fourth calendar-year (third summer) Yellow-legged Gull...
|The bird right of centre|
|Presumably a female - you can see why I was thinking Casp at first with that lovely little eye|
This is my third, and the Axe's fourth Yellow-legged Gull so far this year, which is three or four more than you would usually expect to see by mid March. They are a rare bird in winter here (and in Devon) despite their ever increasing occurrence in late summer/autumn.
Last thing tonight I went back to Seaton Marshes, where the egret roost has recently relocated too. And in with the Little were SIX Cattle Egrets - yeah we've gained at least one more! I say at least one because I could only properly go through about a quarter of the Axe egret roost, I could see at least 30 egrets in the distance with the Heronry behind Axmouth Church and I didn't have my scope! I will try and get down there again tomorrow night and see how many Cattle Egrets we really have...