16 December, 2012

Maybe Not

Well, I'm still under the weather, so no messing about the Exe [let alone swanning off to dip that Subalp... :( ] for me. My birding has been limited to out the window and a daily stagger about the Patch in a vain hope of restorative Waxwings. [[They have magical healing powers, you know.]]

Needless to say, no joy on that front. The wet and windy weather making most landbirds keep a low profile.

I must confess that the thought of Scandinavian Blackbirds with all-dark bills hadn't really occurred to me before. So it is that I now am watching them all - no joy - with the lingering suspicion that I have seen them in winters past [as opposed to autumns past, when the locals still have them, of course!]. I have seen at least 3 Blackcaps coming into the Garden, though all but the one female find themselves exiting again quite rapidly.. One notable fight turned into a proper furball - perhaps featherball, more accurately? - when a couple of Sparrows joined in! Mrs. Blackcap [should that be Frau Schwartzkopf?] remains in possession, having a tenuous truce with the Sparrow Mob. At least for now.

Today I gave the Harbour and north Bay a quick look, but the lower tide had done nothing for Purple Sand numbers on Haldon Pier, with only 3 visible. I suppose they have a lot of weed to choose from - makes you wonder how many we really get? You'd probably need a kayak and IS bins to do a decent count, though. On the water I found 5 GC Grebes and a rather lonely-looking Kittiwake! Shag and Cormorant inside the Outer Harbour showed well - the Cormorant was that intergrade bird*, btw - no wagtails on the weedy Ramps... Hmm.

Both days I had a look for a grebe roost off Blackball, with somewhat different results;
Saturday: 19 GC Grebe, also 135+ Kittiwake, 200+ Herring Gull
Sunday: 59 GC Grebe, also 250+ Herring Gull

The wind on Saturday was much stronger and more SW - which is why the Kitts were sheltering - with more and stronger squally showers on the Sunday. Where the extra grebes came from is a mystery, as the weather has been consistently 'windy and showery', without the hard cold that normally produces a spike in numbers [ice driving them off inland waterbodies]. It is getting closer to where I'd expect them to be, so perhaps it's just a later arrival.

[[*In case I've forgotten to mention it, a Cormorant with an intergrade level gular patch angle - about 80° - has been knocking about. I reckon it's a top-end carbo, but it's still interesting.]]

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