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Friday, 9 August 2019

Balearics and a Beast

It's high time I summarised my recent bird sightings, which thanks to today have become a little more interesting...

Black Hole Marsh had a spate of activity early last week, and although I missed the two Wood Sands that dropped in for half a day, three adult Little Ringed Plovers stayed put long enough for me to catch up with, although they were often flighty and vocal...

Little Ringed Plovers - surprisingly all adults!

On the same day I also saw a single Ringed Plover, two Greenshank, three Green Sands (also vocal and flightly), ten Dunlin and two juv Med Gulls on Black Hole Marsh.  Along with a brute of a juv Yellow-legged Gull on the Estuary and a Lesser Whitethroat on Colyford Common.  

I've not had chance to do Beer Head/Axe Cliff so far this autumn, but Willow Warblers keep popping up in front of me. Ian Mc did ok up Beer Head yesterday morning with a Pied Fly and good counts of Wheatear and Willow Warbler - although this wind will presumably have halted any further passerine passage.  Does looks like it's kick started some sea passage though which is good!

I gave the sea a couple of ten minute watches this afternoon, showing the odd Manx Shearwater and several Gannets passing, but things livened up a bit more during a 40 minute watch from 17:40 this evening when I recorded;

11 Balearic Shearwater
4 Manx Shearwater
1 shearwater sp.
1 Med Gull (juv)
2 Kittiwake
2 Common Tern
3 wader sp.

Great to see some Balearic action, with ten of the 11 passing in a ten minute window from 17:45, including a fairly close flock of five which looked so awesome. I haven't had any decent counts of Balearics off here for a good number of years - they seem to be sticking more to the west part of Lyme Bay these days - so every one of these 11 were very much appreciated.

A look up the Estuary just after this watch revealed an absolute beast of a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a real brute...

A truly epic bird - that juvenile Herring Gull looks so tiny in comparison!
Long legged, long winged, huge billed - what a treat!  Quite a dark one too (esp around the face), although note the pale ground colour to underparts

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