Monday 2 May 2022

Cuckoo, Swift

A laughable attempt at photographing this morning's Cuckoo. It spent most of its time singing from the edge of East Budleigh Common, but a little patience was rewarded when if flew over Bystock reserve, and therefore into that all-important Exmouth parish territory. It sang for a short while from the bottom end of Bystock, and then flew back on to East Budleigh Common to resume singing. Let's hope it stays. Last year was my best ever year for Cuckoos in Exmouth, with two birds recorded - a singing male on Bystock (possibly the same as today's bird) and a late summer migrant that flew out into the bay before returning back inland.

Orcombe Point today - 8+ Wheatear, 20+ House Martins, 3 Sand Martins, 1 Swift (my first of the year) and 1 Whimbrel
Off the seafront - c20 Turnstones, 12 Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern.
Mudbank - 40 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 4 Swallows, 5 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns and 2 Common Gulls.
Lu and I walked the dog (on the lead throughout) around Bystock, late morning, where a singing Cuckoo was the clear highlight. Also there - the pair of Tufted Ducks, 3 singing Firecrests and 1 Willow Warbler.

Skylarks get a very rough ride on Orcombe. The field where at least one pair was nesting was recently ploughed. Cattle herds are rotated frequently, so any pocket of potentially suitable habitat is never safe. This bird was singing from its post, alongside the path that links Gore Lane to the coast path. Not sure whether breeding will be successful this year. I'm not confident. Wintering flocks of 200+ existed when fields were left as stubble but sadly, that's very much a thing of the past.

A tired and bedraggled Wheatear in this morning's dank gloom. One of at least eight on Orcombe Point today.

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