Happy With One's Lot

Magazine Source

Gavin Haig

Magazine Author

Gavin Haigh

Magazine Date
15-09-20
Magazine Article
I needed to be in Seaton this morning, so for a change began the day at Black Hole Marsh. I had the Island Hide to myself, and was 100% ready to take on the responsibility of finding, putting a name to, and circulating news of, a rare Nearctic wader. While I waited, this Curlew Sand crept right under the hide, nearly...

Juv Curlew Sandpiper, Black Hole Marsh

That photo was taken in pretty dismal light at about 07:00. The poor camera had to struggle with ISO1000 and 1/30sec shutter speed. I'm amazed it captured anything remotely sharp.

No Nearctic waders, but I still had time to play with, so ventured up Beer Head...

Beer Head, looking west. I love this place...

I was amazed to see zero Wheatears. In fact it was very poor for grounded migrants, but overhead there was a fair bit going on. Lots of hirundines moving W, and Meadow Pipits. I didn't count anything properly, but Mipits were certainly in excess of 500, and shortly before 09:00 I made an effort to estimate House Martin passage at the time; it was 'hundreds' of birds per minute, which is quite a spectacle.

I forget what this derelict chunk of WW2 concrete was actually for (a radar mast or something?) but it's a bit different to the usual pill-boxes, bunkers and whatnot that litter this coastline.
Spotted Flycatcher in the Beer Head sheep walk. Best bird by far.

Results from this morning's Beer Head plod were typical for your average E Devon/W Dorset coastal walk I guess. Yesterday I was at Cogden first thing and did much the same, with 4 Wheatears and a dozen Chiffs for my pains. On Sunday morning Cogden gave me 5 Wheatears. On Sunday afternoon I managed a few Yellow and White Wagtails at the Bexingtons (East and West) plus a meagre helping of Wheatear, Chiff and Blackcap. And largely, that's how it is. Much slog for a few bits and bobs...

Probably I could do better if I worked harder, or perhaps worked smarter. You know, covered more ground, different habitats, scanned the sea more often, carried a scope, etc, etc. But do you know what? I don't care. I am happy in my little world, and as far as I'm concerned that is all that matters.

Cogden Wheatear. Almost the perfect pose.
Looking towards Portland from the East Bexington high ground. Abbotsbury Swannery and the Fleet in the foreground.
Spot the Curlew Sand. Last Monday at Black Hole Marsh.
Also last Monday, a smart juv Ruff.
Juv Ruff again.