A raw north east wind encouraged me to start the day at Seaton Beach, there had been a few records of seafaring Garganey along the south coast the previous day so I was hoping to cash in. It wasn't to be but three much larger ducks ensured it was well worthwhile.
I was just a few minutes in (07:10) when I first picked up three hefty ducks skirting the hazy horizon way off to the west, flying east. Well they never really came closer just became less hazy as they passed straight out, and two of the dots were easily identifiable thanks to the super distinctive plumage of drake Eiders! Result. And seeing as the all dark duck between the two white knights was identical in size, shape and flight pattern - well that will be a female! Nice.
Not a common bird at all here, well scarce bordering on rare in fact, although there does seem to be a few more around the south west coast this spring so there's every chance we may see some more. Seeing as they are a bit of a patch rare, my desire to obtain some sort of evidence became overwhelming as they powered through east. I stuck my phone on the end of my scope and pressed record. I use the word 'evidence' in the loosest possible sense...
|The actual video is a bit better, as you can see they are indeed ducks and not Gannets!|
|Keith's camera time is set to GMT in case anyone is confused|
|That's the wrong willow!|
|They came back later|
Bridge Marsh showed a Wheatear, and among c90 Sand Martins my first four House Martins of the year. And then came my highlight of the morning, yes even more of a highlight that the Eiders...
I noticed the gulls take flight right down the far end of the Estuary (I was still at Bridge Marsh), then up went the gulls at the top of the Estuary, and shortly after out of the mass of wings emerged a stunning adult male Marsh Harrier! Marsh Harriers are now annual here and pleasingly appear to be on the up, in fact last winter we had our first ever overwintering bird, present from autumn 2020 through to mid January. Most records though relate to 'cream-crowns' with adult males remaining few and far between. I think this was only the third full male I've ever seen here. It was stunning, and so so sleek. It didn't hang around sadly, and within minutes gained height with Crows in hot pursuit before leaving high to the north east.
In line with all other photos in this post (except for Keith's) I only managed a really ropey record shot...
|(it's the upper bird!)|