BIRDS FLOOD IN TO BUDLEIGH
HUGE COLD WEATHER MOVEMENT
Today was a very exciting day on the patch! After dropping the Mrs off at the station, I headed straight to Budleigh Seafront to scan the sea for any divers, grebes or seaduck. However, whilst scanning the sea the first birds I picked up were a flock of 80+ Skylark heading SW. This set the scene for the next hour as flocks of Skylark continued to stream through low over the sea as well as high in the sky above. It was not just Skylarks that were on the move either, as large flocks of Fieldfare revealed themselves in the sky as they chacked overhead with the odd smaller groups of tseeping Redwing in with them too. Next came the Lapwing as flocks of 80-100 also headed SW looking very unhappy in the snow storm. In just one hour whilst I froze on the seafront, I had notched up at least 500 Skylark, 550 Fieldfare, 50 Redwing and 475 Lapwing all heading SW or W. Also on the sea was the lone female Eider, 12 Common Scoter and 2 Red-throated Divers flying East.
I continued up the Otter to check on the Siberian Chiffchaff that was still present as well as 2 collybita Chiffs, 2 Grey Wagtails, a very obliging Cetti's Warbler and 2 Water Rail. I then decided to head back along the Otter path towards the coast where the 9 Brent Geese were still present as well as a rather grumpy looking William the Whimbrel! As another snow storm hit I arrived at the Cricket Pitch and was amazed to see 700+ Lapwing on the deck along with 8 Golden Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 100+ Snipe (50 on the cricket pitch and another 50 in the adjacent meadow), 70+ Redwing and 20+ Fieldfare. Then another 200+ Lapwing were sat in adjacent fields taking the tally to at least 900+ birds at one time in addition to the fly overs! Amazing considering, 11 was considered a good count earlier in the year!
After a late lunch at home (not even time for a cake, though I did crack open a tin of Belgian Chocolate Biscuits left over from Christmas!) with Meadow Pipits, Redwings, Skylarks and a Peregrine from the garden, I could not resist a last look at the sea before dark, particularly as I got wind of a female Smew seen off Seaton http://notquitescilly.blogspot.com/2010/01/cold-day-hot-stuff.html) and heading west! No luck with the Smew but a couple of Tufted Duck on the sea ended a very exciting day!
Some Images of the day
Lapwing mania on the Cricket Pitch
with BTG and Skylark in foreground
More Lapwing - Great birds!