13 January, 2012


Very contrasting themes today.

Finishing the last night of a week to forget, I decided to sod the sparrow and stick with the plan I'd had in mind since, well last week. The high tide was nicely timed and suitably high, with the forecast threat of ice and mist hopefully keeping the chavs at bay [I said 'hopefully'...]. Nightshift advantage showed, with my knowing that while there was a layer of frozen dew on my car, the roads themselves were fine.

The trip started very well, with no less than 3 Woodcock flying over the Old St. Marychurch Road :D Bowling Green was cold. It was damn cold. It was so cold I thought I might actually have to wimp out. [This is very serious indeed, as I don't suffer from the cold like most people. I have been seen in shorts in midwinter in t'North, even. In snow and hail. But that's another story.] Fortunately, I withstood the freezing fog with only a few mutters about wearing warmer kit next time.

It was also, as you may have gathered, foggy. You could barely see the water. The far side? No chance. Fortunately, the waders were on the near side, in a great mass. Plus Wigeon and Teal and the odd Shoveler. Ooh, those waders. The Avocet were in for the big tide and as a lessening of the fog allowed a count I gave it a go. And went WTF?!?!? I counted again. And again. Tried different methods. You expect about 400 Avocet in winter, maybe 400 and change. There were a good 650. That is a LOT of Avocet. Hell of a sight in the mist, too...

A brief stop at Dart's Farm gave little joy and no Brent flock, so on to Exminster, where it was sunnier. Plenty of what you'd expect, including Wigeon and Lapwing and singing Cetti's :) Getting down past Turf and back, I also met a lot of Brent Geese, though the biggest flock was flushed by a damn ultralight before I could get to it :( No sign of the Red-breasted Goose, which was a pity as in the sunshine it would have been very smart. A great deal of compensation, though, as the Glossy Ibis that's been hanging around turned up and showed down to about 40'!! Brilliant brilliant views.

Finally, I stopped off at Cockwood Crossing on the way home, hoping for Goldeneye, Slav Grebe, or even the yankee quacker, but got none of them. A band of Little Grebes and a Greenshank were some consolation in the now near blazing sunshine.

Annnnd finally.... I haven't forgotten. Its just been a git of a week and every time I've thought of it I haven't had time. Like now. But I will get to it. Honest.

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