Thursday, 16 March 2017

Dusk Delights

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...

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