Wednesday, 18 April 2018

A Few More Spring Migrants and Pale-bellied Brents

I enjoyed an hour and a half out birding at each end of the day today, which produced a few more nice little highlights.  

A pre-dawn wander around Black Hole Marsh revealed, at last, my first Reed Warbler of the year chuntering away. I then headed down to the Spot On Kiosk for an hours sea watch from 6am, the conditions were far from perfect though with blue skies and almost no wind by the end of the watch! Still it wasn't a complete write-off, although I'm yet to decide whether it was truly worthwhile!? All west unless stated; 

34 Common Scoter
5 Manx Shearwater
3 Kittiwake (all east)
5 Whimbrel
3 small wader sp. (in off)

During a wander along Seaton Beach with the family a little later in the morning, I picked up a flock of about 40 Pale-bellied Brent Geese flying west offshore, although only just before they disappeared around Beer Head. This was at 09:38, and precisely 29 minutes later they seen off Dawlish Warren where they continued to follow the coast south, which is slightly unusual as most spring Pale-bellied flocks fly in to the Exe. 

Tonight's trip out starting very frustratingly. There was no passage over the sea this evening but there was a group of 6-8 'Commic' Terns feeding some distance out, viewing conditions though were atrocious with a blurry haze offshore.  Three of them came above the horizon in a tight group for about ten seconds, revealing a clear cut Arctic Tern with two Commons, but as for the other three or more am not sure. I did get the feeling there was more than one Arctic in there though.

Once I'd got completely fed up with straining my eyes I had a look up the river valley. Two Whimbrel and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose were on Estuary, singles of Wheatear and White Wagtail were viewable from Bridge Marsh gateway, and on Axe Marsh our first Whinchat of the year - a cracking male.  To say it was distant though is something of an understatement...

It was on the fence posts in the middle of this pic

There it is...just!

Off-patch, during a family trip to Budleigh early this afternoon, it was nice to see a Yellow Wagtail bombing around on the beach just east of the fishing boats with a couple of Pied Wags. It didn't really settle though and headed off north soon after I first noticed it.

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