On a slow February morning out birding, the conversation invariably drifts to what the rest of the year might hold. We imagine that in the height of spring passage, mid May, if we get some south easterly winds and overnight or early morning rain, the world will be our oyster. Bluethroats, Ortolans, Red backed Shrikes or Wrynecks are all waiting to be found in the next bush. Great eh!
Then forward 3 months to the 16th May 2021. A steady SE wind is blowing the flag at Boulmer straight out. Its taught flapping causes us to glance at its direction. It is overcast first thing but soon after we get there rain starts. This increases to soaking levels so we dash to the car for tea to wait it out. An hour later it passes leaving everything cold and wet.
What will it have dropped onto the big square headland? A Rosefinch? Maybe, but a Bluethroat is more likely at this time.
We stride out to Seaton Point from the north, checking weedy shorelines, gullies and stunted hawthorns. 5 Puffins are added to the year list tagging onto the ever present flocks of Guillemots and Razorbills. A few waders potter around on the wet sand, 16+ Ringed Plover, 10+ Dunlin, 17+ Turnstone a late Purple Sandpiper and a dozen Sanderling. A Whimbrel spends the whole morning flying between fields and beach, trilling as it goes.
In the sparse scrub, 2 Whitethroats.
Right, back to the cars and a short drive around to the south end to check Foxton bushes and in to Seaton Point from the south. Another Whitethroat sings from the hedge. We scan golden yellow rape fields for a Whinchat and scan skies for Swifts. Neither is found but an adult female Marsh Harrier is a new one for the year as she quarters the distant fields.
Another walk turns up two fledged broods of Stonechat and a fly over Redpoll but no other passerines except the local Meadow Pipits. Not so much as a Willow Warbler or Wheatear, Nada.
Down at the village, more waders here include 28 Ringed Plover, 20 Sanderling and 22 Dunlin, 1 Knot and 2 Grey Plover both in winter plumage, as befits the scene really.
That about sums it up. Not much happening and not one photograph taken. As an old birder once said to me, 'never make a plan, son'. I hope it is a bit better next weekend, I'm doing a guided walk for the local wildlife group!