Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A nice round number

Two new birds yesterday have taken my Year List to 200 species. I started off with a brief visit to Orcombe Point in the hope of finding a Manx Shearwater. I've never seen one, which is a bit of a disgrace when people are seeing hundreds if not thousands flying along the coast. I didn't get there until 9am, so it was a bit late, but I saw 4 birds flying west soon after arriving. They were very distant, and although they were definitely shearwaters of some sort judging by their low 'flap & glide' flight, they looked all dark. I don't know whether they were too far out to be able to pick out the white underside, or if they were one of the rarer shearwaters. Still, a short while later 9 more birds flew by, this time a bit closer & I could clearly see the white underside & the white 'notch' behind the wings on some of them.

Other birds included Gannets, a couple of Guillemots, lots of Sandwich Terns & Common Scoter & a few Oystercatchers that flew past.

That put me on 199. I couldn't leave it there, so in the evening we headed up to Mutters Moor just outside Sidmouth in the hope of finding a Nightjar. I wasn't expecting to hear any 'churring' as I thought it was a bit late in the season for that, but I was hoping to see them flying. We arrived at about 8.30pm & walked to the open area of moor behind the car park. There were lots of crows about & they were making a real racket. As it was getting dark, Simon said he thought he'd heard 'churring', and sure enough shortly after I thought I heard it myself. It was difficult to hear above the crows, but as they quietened down when it got darker the 'churring' became much clearer. A bird also flew backwards & forwards low over the heather, and although I didn't get a good look as it was a bit dark, it was the right size and shape and I can't think what else it could have been.

Simon tried a bit of hanky wafting, something I vaguely remembered Bill Oddie doing to mimic a male Nightjar. It didn't attract any more birds but at least it gave me a good laugh!

That took my Year List to the 200 (plus 2 sub-species)

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