Sunday 13 October 2013


Looking at the pressure charts last week, this weekend looked very promising. It didn't fail to deliver, with some excellent seawatching on Friday, but a classic fall of migrants didn't happen.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning started damp, with light rain/mizzle ruling out a seawatch, so I concentrated my efforts on the bushes and gave the patch a good trashing.

Other than a few goldcrests, there wasn't much to get excited about until lunchtime, when pursuing a thrush-sized passerine, I flushed a crake from an area of thick, dry, nettle. It was quite large, but smaller than a moorhen, it's legs were dangling as it flew, briefly over the nearest hawthorns. It didn't call. It was silhouetted against the sky, so it looked generally dark (but anything would in that light). The dangling legs reminded me immediately of corncrake.

I headed off in the same direction, holding out little hope of seeing it again as I didn't see it land, as I approached a hawthorn thicket, a bird took off, through the branches, clattering them as it went, making nearly as much racket as a woodpigeon. It emerged out of the top of the bushes, legs crake again. Again it flew north, this time I never saw it again. Probably a cornflake but not clinched. Another one gets away. A 'Country Barn' pasty and mars bar crispie cake was required.

I tried an afternoon seawatch but the light and visibility were awful.

Today was WeBS count day. A dunlin on the big pools was the highlight of the count. There was nothing of note in the bushes and a 40 minute seawatch was unproductive with two manx shearwaters and five red-throated divers (in a group) the only highlights.

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