Thursday, 3 September 2015

Wiley Curlew


Curlew - Orcombe Point - 26/8 - the best shot I've managed so far - note the short bill.

Reading Graham Catley's latest post (see 'pewit' on my Blog List) prompted me to go and try to get better views of the bird that has been frequenting the 'Top Fields' of Orcombe since at least August 18th. I've tried to photograph it several times, intrigued by its diminutive size and choice of dry fields (when several hundred curlew are feeding happily a stone's throw away on the estuary), but you can never get close to it and I usually flush it inadvertently before I see it. It always then flies off strongly and then usually does one or two high circles before dropping down into more distant fields on private land. This means I've only ever scoped it on the deck once, about a  couple weeks ago. I did some sketches on a scrap of A4 that I stuffed in my pocket and subsequently lost while we were away last weekend. The main features I noted however were a dark and noticeable lateral crown stripe, coupled with a very short bill to give a whimbrel-like feel to the head, a warm buff-coloured breast giving a distinct 'pec band' effect and much lighter buff flanks than usual, enhancing the effect of the darker breast area. Finer detail is too difficult to see and I've never had a decent look at the underwing. The favoured field is the large flat grass field at the top of Gore Lane but it's often not visible from the road and it prefers to be nearer the edges of the field than in the middle. Probably just a small Eurasion Curlew but intriguing all the same.
Also on Orcombe this afternoon - 1 Garden Warbler (my first this Autumn), 1 Wheatear, 1+ Yellow Wagtail, 1 Stock Dove and my first Meadow Pipit of the Autumn.
Off Mudbank - 3 Knot, 58+ Wigeon and 6 Pintail in with c2/300+ Mallard.

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