Saturday 2 March 2024

Fly-by KG

One of at least four Chiffchaffs that have wintered on Orcombe Point, beside the dung heap.

Mudbank first thing - 1 female Goldeneye, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers and 7 Eider. A quick look at Orcombe's dung heap produced 4+ Chiffchaffs along with a couple Redwings, and off the seafront this afternoon - 7 Eider, 1 Great Northern Diver and 29 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.
Shelly beach - 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 3 Eider and 9 Ringed Plovers - late pm.

It's unusual to see the Eider over this side of the estuary. Seven of the nine were present this morning.

Kingfisher - Exmouth seafront 29/4.

You can't park there mate.

Lovely to see Steph and Rob Murphy yesterday afternoon. The Juvenile/first-winter Kumlien's Gull kept us waiting 'til nearly dark but it eventually flew past us to land on Bull Hill, after Steph had expertly spotted it miles away, off Mudbank. Many thanks to Steph for letting me use her photographs which of course put mine in the shade! Also off Shelly Beach - 8 Eider, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and 1 Great Crested Grebe. Earlier - c60 Cattle Egrets on two wrecks, north of Starcross and the Common Sandpiper was in the brook between Highland Motors and Mudbank.

Steph's photos show some interesting detail that you normally just don't see as the bird is usually miles away!. It was almost dark when they were taken so some of the more dark-pigmented areas look much darker than they actually are, particularly the secondaries and primary coverts. Remember this bird is essentially very pale, cream-white in coloration. Never the less  - note the pattern of dark vs light and the smooth, velvety-textured underparts. I'm not sure what's happened to the primaries but they look to have been damaged. The tail is a little tatty too. The bird was getting pecked at and harangued by Herring Gulls so perhaps they're responsible?

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