Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cirls, Smews and a Waxwing

A somewhat rushed blogpost this about some birding trips over the last week or so!

Last Sunday I spent a very enjoyable day birding with Keith and Sean....the long drive south to Broadsands car park near Paignton in search of the main target of the day, Cirl Buntings. After a bit of initial confusion as to where the seed was where the birds feed, we had good views of over 20 Cirl Buntings. Here there were also several Reed Bunting and a couple of Bullfinch.

Cirl and Reed Buntings

Male Cirl Bunting
We then headed onto Dawlish Warren to see if we could find the Bonaparte's Gull that has been overwintering. Despite not being reported for a couple of days, Sean eventually spotted the bird flying distantly across the estuary. Despite the distance, the diagnostic pale underwing could be seen quite clearly and even the black bill was just about visible. Dawlish also held an array of waders and wildfowl, as well as an unexpected Dartford Warbler.

Bonaparte's Gull
Final stop of the day was Exminster Marshes to see if we could find the 3 Penduline Tits that had been seen on and off there the previous fed days. Sadly they were not to be seen but Water Rail, Chiffchaff and Peregrine were some consolation.


The following day I ended up taking an unexpected trip to Dungeness. We started at Brickwall Farm where - from the car - we enjoyed good views of 2 Cattle Egret and a Raven. The remainder of the day was spent on the RSPB reserve (stopping off to see Tree Sparrows along the entrance track). Here we saw at least 7 Smew including 1 drake, hundreds of common wildfowl, 2 Marsh Harrier and a Barn Owl hunting near the new diggings.

Cattle Egret

Barn Owl

Redhead Smew 
Drake Smew

Last - but certainly not least - I have just spent the past 3 days in Norfolk/Suffolk. The main purpose of the trip was to attend a UEA (university of East Anglia) applicant day on Saturday. En route we stopped off at Mildenhall near Thetford to see if we could find the 1st-winter female Waxwing that had been present several days beforehand. Once found, I enjoyed great views of the bird which I had all to myself!




Given that UEA is my top uni choice (the course and location are just perfect) I thought it would somewhat appropriate to check out what is likely to become my patch in September. This worked out especially well as a couple of days previously a Great White Egret had been found just a mile or so from the campus boundary!

Great White Egret

A quick stop off at Minsmere on the way home was productive, highlights including a distant inflight Bittern, 2 redhead Smew, 4 Snipe and at least 7 Marsh Harrier.

Common Snipe
Marsh Harrier

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant birds and really good pictures of them. I'd really like to see a Cirl Bunting.