01 November, 2021

Birding Backwards. Pt.1, Wait... There's Birds Outside The Patch?!?

Sunday afternoon saw me do something I've not done since, well... June. Go birding off-Patch.

I know, it's a long time.

Anyways, first twitch since the River Warbler was for, oh yes a year tick. For Devon, which I'm not chasing. 

But I did it anyway, as it's been quite a few years since my last Barred Warbler, and to be honest, I realised I just had to do something.

A Wobbler lurking in the entrance copse [Willow trees are not bushes, I'm sorry] at Dawlish Warren seemed interesting [and close] enough. Especially as it was a bit blowy to be hanging on for dear life wandering about Slapton looking for at Snow Buntings.

This was the sort of twitch we like; turn up, people are looking at something, it's the bird, oh there it is. See the bird, photo the bird. Ching!

Barred Warbler, 1cy

Head shape

Tail! And frosty fringes.

I didn't linger long, not least due to the extortionate parking charges [now extended to Station Road, the bastards]. [[No, not blanked out; I'm livid.]]


I still had some daylight, so onward to Exminster! 

Various birds on the hit list, and several showed very well right away;

Cattle Egrets!

Lots of Cattle Egrets

Really close Cattle Egrets. As in 'as close as the Wobbler' close. Woo.

At least 8 on site, also one of their Great cousins, who was far more bashful and lurked in a ditch near the lagoon.

Far more Lapwing [118+] and Teal [465 on the two corner pools alone!], both of whom gave me plenty to sort through once I'd braved the flood and got up on the canal bank [No, I didn't remember to put my wellies in my new car. Yes, it was deeper than boot depth. No, that didn't stop me*. Yes, the water was rather chilly.    I didn't care. Much.  No, really. I was too happy being out birding again. C'mon, this is me, I'm nuts, remember?] to wait for Marsh Harriers. Of which I saw 2, eventually.

Marshie at dusk

Needless to say, I found no Green-winged Teal or AGP, but if you don't look... At least 14 Wigeon and a couple of Gadwall, a Curlew and a half dozen Blackwit were also of note.

Exminster at dusk

As that photo shows, it was all sunshine and the odd shower. You can't really get the wind, though. So take my word it was a bit blowy.

I stayed on until it got dark in the hope of owls [SE, Barn, whichever!] but got zip. As I said, it was a rather windy...

Still, not a bad afternoon, and following a not bad morning, but that's to come in Part 2 [shock] [[Also; yes, that's the gimmick. Wow.]]

Be Seeing You...

[[*To ford deepish water {up to about calf depth} you just need to move very quickly; smashing your feet down to create an air pocket around your foot. If you can pick your foot back up again for your next step before the pocket collapses, you stay with un-flooded footwear. Your legs will get very splashed, though**. Gaiters really help with this. Would have been good if I'd worn them... ]]
[[** Water on trousers that can run or soak down can of course flood your boots almost as well as getting topped, this is another benefit of gaiters [water goes down the outside]. ]]

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