Saturday 29 March 2014

Close but Not Quite

The siberian chiffchaff popped up right in front of me in the garden this afternoon and just sat there, begging for me to snap away. It's an incredibly grey individual and usually secretive, always low and unobtrusive. I'm assuming it's a female because I haven't heard a whiff of song from it so far. Both 'colybitta' chiffchaff and blackcap have been singing out the back today. 
Early this morning Derek Carter and I traipsed around Orcombe Point, but the star bird eluded us. As we skirted the 'turnip' top field a dove burst out in front of us and flew in an arc down towards the coast path. On the brief views we had it had to be a turtle dove but as with any scarce bird, 'concrete' views were required to claim it with certainty. We tried hard to relocate it but had no luck. Apart from that we had just 6+ chiffchaff. Thanks to yet another timely call from Lee Collins at the Warren we did get a spoonbill off Mudbank -a pink-billed immature bird that vanished as quickly as it appeared (though Derek did get some photos of it a little later on off the Imperial rugby ground). 
I had to be back for 9am to take Joel to football out at Newton Poppleford and was a bit miffed to learn of a kumlien's gull off the Warren mid-morning. It would have been particularly annoying had I not had the first-winter bird back in February. Also today 4 sandwich tern, 2 great crested grebe and the 2 female eider off Maer rocks.

Continuing the 'head shot' theme I photographed this magnificent great black-backed gull on Exmouth Quay today. For once though I didn't get the glauc.

Note the 'bic biro' yellow, white-tipped, hatchet-like bill, scarlet orbital ring and speckled brown iris - nice!

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