Thursday 18 August 2016

Marsh Harrier

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull
Some good birds this morning but the gloomy, almost misty conditions meant that all my attempts at photography were doomed. I started checking the beach sometime before 6am and was pleased to find yesterday's brutish juv/fw Yellow-legged Gull still present. It didn't hang around long before flapping lazily out in to the bay. Three Whimbrel flew out to sea calling and a flock of 5 Common Sandpipers looked like they were heading for Orcombe Point.
On Orcombe Point itself I was pleased to find my first Whinchats of the autumn - 2 birds together by the Geoneedle before making their way up the hill towards the top fields. Otherwise 2 Whitethroats and 5+ Chiffchaffs were probably local birds rather than migrants, and 10+ Swallows moved overhead. Another stop by the lifeboat station shortly before 8am proved very worthwhile. I was attempting to photograph a juvenile Mediterranean Gull when I glanced up to see a Marsh Harrier beating steadily offshore, along the beach, towards Orcombe Point. My gut feeling is that it was probably a juvenile bird. It appeared to be all dark and the wings looked very tidy, but I would have loved better views. This is only my third Marsh Harrier ever in Exmouth so to say I was chuffed is an understatement! I returned to my car to find a text from Lee Collins who'd had it go over the Warren moments earlier. Many thanks Lee. Incidently the last Marsh Harrier I saw in Exmouth was one over Orcombe Point. Lee phoned me to inform me of its presence and I glanced up to see it directly over head! I'm sure I wouldn't have ever seen it had Lee not been kind enough to phone.
The estuary (from the Imperial and Mudbank combined) produced 5 Wigeon amongst 100+ Mallard, 37 Mute Swans, 33 Little Egrets, 3 Common Terns, c40+ Sandwich Terns, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Greenshank and 5 Ringed Plovers.

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