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Saturday, 1 May 2021

False Hope

Yesterday morning's trudge around Axe Cliff brought back a nice memory from the dim and distant past...

It was mid to late autumn 2004 and I was stood chatting to a bunch of birders much better than me at the Warren, Spurn. This was back when the Warren was the location of the Spurn Bird Observatory.  Three chat-shaped dots perched up on a fence way off to the north, on the edge of Clubley's, and they were just that, dots.  But within seconds the mighty Mr Hutt casually remarked "Whinchat with those two Stonechats over there"...

First of all I had to check he was looking at the same three dots as me, he was, so then had to get my telescope (note he didn't have his either!) out of my room to confirm what seemed like a remarkable feat of birding wizardry.  Of course he was right... he always was!  A great learning experience for me, just like the rest of my time at Spurn.  

Anyway, yesterday morning I got out of my car at Axe Cliff, and for some reason decided to walk up the road instead of out towards the golf course.  Only a few steps in and whilst looking ahead at the numerous Yellowhammers and Whitethroats flitting along the hedges and perching up on telephone wires, there sat a shape, completely back lit on the most distant bit of hedge I could see.  Without even a moments thought, I internally congratulated myself at finding my first Whinchat of 2021...

So distinctive!

It did allow for some slightly better pics, but sadly didn't hang around for others to see.  I knew the next car along the lane would flush it.

Didn't see one during spring 2020 so much appreciated!

Just wish that branch wasn't there!

But why the title of the post?  Well as I said, this Whinchat was within practically the first minute of my visit to Axe Cliff.  A quality migrant so soon must mean there's been a fairly decent arrival, so I took a much longer route around the site than usual...  One Willow Warbler was the only other grounded migrant noted in the 1.5 hours I was there!  I did see eight male Common Whitethroats but they were all clearly on territory.

The evening before I saw my first two Swifts of the year over Black Hole Marsh, always an uplifting sight.  There's been a really good arrival of hirundines over the last few days too, lots more House Martins about in particular which is good to see.

I really cannot believe we are already in May! Really hope for some decent sea watching in the next few days, Monday maybe?  I'll be there watching that's for sure.

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