Tuesday, 7 October 2008

An Unexpected Visitor

Generally a much quieter day today after all of yesterday's excitement. The weather was still very wet and windy this morning, but not ideal for seawatching because the wind was a more or less straight southerly. When this happens there is little or no shelter to be had anywhere in Seaton and so the only option is the 'emergency reserve' shelter at Beer. This is where I found myself this morning along with Steve, yes, even he abandons the 'Spot On' in a wet southerly!! Here it is, blurry through rain spotted lens:

Emergency Shelter

Actually unlike the Seaton thatched shelter, this one actually does shelter you and this is why we are sometimes forced to go here. Unfortunately the birds are often distant because they tend to turn and head out seaward far to the east of here. It's better than nothing though. Here's a photo of the inside, showing contents, those contents being, Steve and some other bloke. This morning this other bloke was heard to make a few querulous comments about being surreptitiously photographed whilst innocently engaged in birding activities and then gratuitously displayed on various blogs! I can't imagine what he means!! Anyway to put his mind at rest I will adopt a 'tried and tested' method (much favoured by the tabloid press) to conceal his identity. It's foolproof!

Who on earth could that be with Steve?

The visibility was dreadful and the pickings were slim, with 3 or4 Arctic Skuas, a few Common Scoter and a single Gannet!! One of the Skuas , which looked good for a Long-tailed (with conspicuous pale upper tail coverts) came right in over Beer beach chasing a juvenile Herring Gull (not so good for a long-tailed!?) and gave great views.The others were quite distant. We were hoping the weather would clear up a bit but it didn't.

Here's a picture of Beer beach and the rough but pretty empty sea:

Lovely day for sunbathing

Someone was expecting an imminent improvement in the weather. Why? Because just visible in the above picture between the fishing boats and the dinghies are these:

Any takers?

The seawatching was so slow that Steve and I decided to pop along to Colyford Common. As we battled against the gale force wind and horizontal rain on our way to the extremely welcoming looking box, Steve commented that every time he visits Colyford Common in these conditions there's usually a single unusual visitor on the scrape, and guess what! There was! An Avocet, no less, usually a very scarce patch visitor but this year we've had a massive FOUR now! I took a few snaps in the rain, so they are in the post-modern naturalistic naffism style again:

Unexpected Visitor

It was a bit breezy

Also on the scrape were about a dozen Blackwits, 4 Ringed Plovers (which were new too) and 2 Ruff.

Later in the afternoon I popped along to the Farm Gate where Ian Waite had spotted a juvenile Merlin perched in a tree. I hadn't been home long after this when he texted to say the Marsh Harrier was back at Colyford Marsh. I wasn't feeling too well so decided not to go out for another look. A while later though Steve phoned me to say that it was hunting just to the north of Coronation Corner and that I should be able to get it on my house list and I did. Here's the indisputable photographic evidence!

Three specks

One of the specks in this picture is the female Marsh Harrier, it is honestly, can you see it? (click for larger view) I'll give you a clue it's not the Grey Heron-y speck or the Buzzard-y speck but the other one!!

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