Whilst the twitchers are chasing the latest American rarities, stressing out over booking ferries (or not) or jumping on to islands to look at other peoples' local patches, some of us are getting their kicks from finding Shovelers in places where they're normally not!
Counts on Orcombe were messed up because I was distracted by hundreds of gulls feeding in the bay. Amongst them were 10+ Arctic Skuas, at least 9 Balearic Shearwaters, 1+ adult Mediterranean Gull and just the one Sandwich Tern, though I could easily have missed others. I scrutinised each immature Gannet as it wheeled into the bay, in the vain hope that the Brown Booby might catch a whiff of whatever bait was drawing in the masses. Overhead stuff that did make it into the notebook included 150 Meadow Pipits (I would have missed/neglected many more), c50 'alba' wagtails, 8 Siskins (I didn't see a single one so again, under-counted), 55+ Linnets, a few Skylarks, 3 Swallows, 1 Redpoll, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Chaffinches, 2+ Reed Buntings and a handful of Greenfinches and Goldfinches. Also - 4 Common Scoters past the point, 1+ Goldcrest, 1 Wheatear, 1 Rock Pipit, 5 Stonechats, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and the 5 Red-legged Partridges.
Off Mudbank, on the dropping tide - 2 first-winter Little Gulls (together on the tip of Cockle Sands), 165+ Brent Geese (at least 35 Pale-bellieds, so the majority are now Dark-bellied birds), 1 Shoveler, 1 Teal, 1 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 40+ Pintail, 1 Kingfisher and 88+ Shelduck. Overhead - 1 Redpoll, a couple Siskins and small numbers of Meadow Pipit.