Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The birds in the bush!

Yesterday morning I was enviously reading about the fallout at Berry Head & then Orcombe Point, so after lunch I set off for a walk. I debated whether to take the scope or the decent camera & decided that as I'd be peering into bushes rather than out to sea, the camera may be more use. I normally just use it 'hand held', but I thought I'd try an experiment so took it out on the monopod. It was a bit awkward hanging the camera over my shoulder with the monopod fully contracted as it kept banging on my leg, but if I held it out of the way, I then had to use my bins one-handed. I soon found the perfect solution.....with the monopod fully extended it balanced perfectly over my shoulder, leaving me both hands free to use the bins & ready to use the camera at the drop of a migrant!

And so to the birds! I hadn't even gone 50 yards from the house when I saw a bird fly into a bush at the bottom of the road to Sandy Bay. It turned out to be my first Whitethroat of the year & my first of many for the walk. A bit further up the hill I checked the field for the Whinchat & Wheatears that were there yesterday. There were now 3 Whinchats & 4 Wheatears. Unfortunately they were all over the far side of the field, so although I took a few photos, they aren't much good.....

I carried on through the holiday park & as I followed the hedge-line down to the cliff path I saw a flash of red as a Redstart flew off. There was also a Sedge Warbler singing in the hedge, along with a Blackcap, another Whitethroat, a couple of Chiffchaffs & a Willow Warbler. It took me a while to actually make it as far as the cliffs!
A busy hedge
Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler again


& again...
The hedge along the cliff was really busy with lots more Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps & Whitethroats. I heard another Sedge Warbler & saw it briefly. My favourite though was a Garden Warbler, which is a new Life bird for me. At least I'm pretty sure that's what it is, although I would be pleased (that's probably not the right word!), to know if I've got that wrong, as I even managed to get a half way decent photo of it.
More busy hedges & a lovely blue sky

My first ever Garden Warbler  (I hope!)
There were lots of Swallows hurtling about along the path & a few Linnets in the hedges. It really was fantastic, sometimes there were so many birds hopping about in front of me that I didn't know where to look!

I met another local Exmouth birder who puts sightings on Devon Bird News. He took my mobile number & said he'd let me know if he ever finds anything good. Excellent!! I need all the help I can get! He also told me exactly where 3 Pied-flycatchers had been seen earlier, but unfortunately I didn't see them.

The plan had been for me to meet up with Simon & Vera so that we could walk back together. However, it had taken me about 3 1/2 hrs to get to Orcombe Point, so they'd given up & and gone home without me!

Looking West towards Orcombe Point & Exmouth
As I walked along the high path at Foxholes I saw two extremely distant blobs on the sea. I took a photo & having cropped massively, amazingly enough I think I've identified them as Mr & Mrs Eider!

There are 2 ducks out there....

....and here they are cropped somewhat! Eider!
I walked back up Maer Lane & found another Whinchat on the hedge just before Littleham Village. A lovely end to a fantastic walk.

Year List now on 178 + 2