Sunday 15 April 2018

First Redstart and Iceland Gull

Yesterday morning was a dull and misty one, often conditions we don't do that well in during migration time. Still I thought it was worth a wander around Seaton Marshes, so took little Harry out for an early morning walk...

Next month he'll be a year old, how did that happen!??

Although in general the bushes were quiet, a cracking highlight came in the form of a smart male Redstart in the north west corner of the Borrow Pit, our first of the year. And it really was a stunner. Many spring male Redstarts actually have quite restricted orange on their breasts, with a mostly white belly, I've always put these down as second-year birds. This one though was orange the whole way down the breast to the vent area, so presumably a full adult male.  Pity it didn't stay put for another ten seconds as I'd be able to post a photo of it if it had!  Half an hour later Phil and Ian Mc had a female Redstart here, and Kev had a third bird (another male) in Couchill Woods later in the day. Clearly something of a Redstart-day!

Otherwise all I saw in the bushes were four Chiffchaff and two Blackcap, but the skies above were busy with low flying hirundines, about 50, and they spent lots of time perched up on overhead wires...

All three species here

Can you spot the two House Martins among the Sand Martins?

A House Martin flanked by Sand Martins

Three White Wagtails at Cowhayne Lane during the afternoon was the only other highlight during the rest of the day.

Today the weather has been tasty, but sadly I've had such little time out - I reckon the sea would have been worth a watch, especially this evening.  I did just about manage a look along the Estuary mid afternoon, which showed there had been a decent influx of gulls. Not the Little Gull I was hoping for but 69 Common and a first-summer Med Gull were north of Coronation Corner, and among the large gulls was - hugely pleasingly - my first Iceland Gull of the year...

It was always pretty distant from my viewpoint

Always love a white-winger!

Despite the distance, I'm happy it's a second calendar-year bird, and to me it looked a fairly hefty and especially long-winged individual. I could see it wasn't the bird Tim Wright had on the Estuary at the start of the month, and when Ian Mc twitched it he was certain it wasn't any of the three Iceland Gulls that he's seen on the Axe this year (he has done really well for them!). So I'm happy it's a 'new bird'.

This Iceland Gull just proves that even if you only have the shortest window of time to go out birding, use it...

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