Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A light in dark times...

 I hope everyone had a good Christmas? Things were pretty much as usual at chez Boulmer Birder, which is something to be grateful for. In today's trouble ridden times it is a big thing to have our health, food and a roof over our heads when a lot of people in a world run and bled dry by a litany of greed fueled oligarchs, billionaires and liars have none of these things. 

Now that Omicron is set for global domination I can't help feel that its shadow is creeping up on us all. Not being a very social animal these days, hopefully it can be avoided for a while longer.

Today the weather was pretty miserable, maybe that's the inspiration for this post, being heavily overcast with rain for most of the daylight hours making it uncomfortable to be out in the open. This is what drove the decision for what to do on today's final birding session of 2021.

I met up with John in near darkness at 8am in tipping down rain. On any other day it would likely have been written off as hopeless, but as it was going to be the birding finale of '21 we headed for a very quiet Seaton Point, where an unused holiday chalet veranda gave us a dry place to watch the sea over the early high tide. Its a bit like the tale of Goldilocks and the three bears where we half expect an irked owner to arrive and turn us out on our ear - 'Who's been seawatching from MYYYY shed?' Luckily for us we came and went like church mice with no one any the wiser of our presence, that is providing they don't read this!  

The sit and watch paid off. From 08.30am - 10.30am we had a reasonable 2 hours for this time of year.

Red throated Diver 74N 3S

Red necked Grebe 1N

Great crested Grebe 2 N

Gannet 1N

Wigeon 40

Common Scoter 5N

Velvet Scoter 1 drake and 1 duck N very close in.

Red breasted Merganser 1 drake N.

Bonxie 1 N an unusual winter record here.

Kittiwake 1N

Grey Plover 15N

Bar tailed Godwit 8N

Knot 4 N

Purple Sandpiper 16

The view from our watch point.

Yesterday there was a nice garden birding surprise. There is an area of water forming just over our back wall in the field that was recently ploughed for oilseed rape. Since the flower rich grassland was obliterated, there is significant rain run off into the low corner, forming this flash. 

Recently it has been favoured by two or three Redshanks but today one flew and with it a smaller bird? Dunlin was suspected, an idea that was soon confirmed by a scan with the bins. This is the very first sighting I have had of a Dunlin from my garden, although I have had a couple of nocturnal birds calling overhead. Dunlins while common down the road at Boulmer are not so easy on the home rocky coast line where to get one for a year tick they are usually flying past on a seawatch. There was no sign of it today, but it was almost like finding a rare bird to see it from our drive. Maybe the flash will attract other new garden birds if it lasts? Water Pipit, Wood Sand or Little Ringed Plover would be mega here!

Garden mega!


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