Thursday, November 30, 2023

Twitch twitch

Not a lot of time to nip out the last couple of weeks, but when rarities turn up on your doorstep it makes sense to create a little time. So two days after the escaped Canvasback turned up at Abberton Mike and I went to see it. The football-crowd scrum of the first weekend had dispersed but there were enough people to put us on to it, and it turned out to be quite easy, convenient, close in. A very nice bird.

I managed to squeeze in another trip to Abberton a week after to see the Velvet Scoters from the Church view point. Birds can be hard from here given the expanse of water, but these three kindly swam around directly in front. Normally just a brief flash of white in a distant scoter flock, or a white wing bar on a passing sea duck, these were comfortably the best views I've ever had. Zooming in on the scope revealed fine detail on the face patches and elsewhere I'd never previously appreciated. A search through the flock of tufts managed to locate a couple of Scaup and a female Common Scoter. A Brent Goose had attracted some attention, but personally I find it hard to get excited about one individual bird at the reservoir when just over the hill there are hundreds of them.

This week saw me in Weymouth on family business, so I took the binoculars in case the American Golden Plover was still at Lodmoor. And indeed it was. On arrival my heart sank as a flock of 500 Goodies flew high overhead; my experience is these birds can remain airborne for a long long time. But they began to settle and soon it was picked out. I managed a glimpse down someone's scope - many thanks - and it was quite straightforward, being smaller, greyer, with a big white super onto the from of the forehead and a darkish cap. A touch of Wood Sandpiper in there I thought.

So that's two decent ticks for very little effort, which is always very welcome. 

Commonly Spotted Orchids

We are fortunate in the UK in that the commonest orchids are also amongst the most beautiful. I spent a morning photographing some on the lo...