20 November 2012

Budleigh Salteron: 18 November

A report of a drake Steller's Eider flying west past Portland Bill this morning saw Jaffa and me scoping the sea of Budleigh seafront within 30 minutes of the news. A drake Common Eider (a scarce bird here) teased us, and 77 Common Scoter was a good count, but other than that, a few Gannet and Shag and 2 Great Crested Grebe was about it.

An early afternoon walk along the coast path west of Budleigh produced more Blackbirds, a few Redwings, 2 Goldcrest and a small flock of Chaffinch, but little else. Then at dusk, Rachel, Helen, Jaffa and I found ourselves standing on a ridge on overlooking an area of lowland heath taking part in a Hawk and Owl Trust harrier Survey, organised by Jaffa a couple of years ago after he and Helen found a Hen Harrier roost. No harriers this evening, but a male Merlin was a nice bonus and few Fieldfare dropped into roost.

After dark another search for Woodcock found no sign of any this evening and the sight of a Badgers arse legging it through the grass was poor compensation. However, night-birding is unpredictable at the best of times and the drive back to Budleigh produced another Badger and fantastic views of a Tawny Owl in the spotlight beside the road. No photos today though.

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