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Spring's Home Straight

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Submitted by Gavin Haigh on Sat, 16/05/2020 - 19:15

The vast majority of birders will not have had the spring they were wanting or expecting. Not just birders. The vast majority of everyone. Such a strange year...

The spring birding season is a finite entity, and right now we are fast approaching its end. Already I notice that early-morning birdsong is less frenetic, the urgency of new arrivals replaced with a more steadily-industrious feel as many get on with raising families. The rush of common migrants is largely done, and mostly now it'll be a few latecomers, plus the odd something special. Everything is easing down somewhat. I detect a bit of that in myself too. Now that we can get a bit further afield my initial excitement at the prospect of doing so has been tempered by the realisation that spring is already drawing to a close, and I sometimes catch myself ambling along, mind elsewhere, not paying attention at all. However, I must snap out of it. Mid to late May is a prime time for rarities, and I've a long-standing order for Black-eared Wheatear that hasn't yet been filled...

Which is a good reason to always look at Wheatears. While I saw very little else of note on this morning's outing, I did see five or six Wheatears. And as usual I couldn't resist trying to photograph them, despite the almost total lack of sunshine.

This and the male below were two of three or four birds on the beach, and really skittish

Managed just the one shot of this bird.

A different male, but similarly uncooperative.

Full 2000mm optical zoom, hand-held.

Stonechat. Not skittish.

Back in March I realised that lockdown would effectively cancel any spring seawatching plans I might have had. However, with almost constant offshore winds I don't think my scope would have seen much action anyway. I have counted zero skuas this year, and I don't reckon that figure is going to change any time soon...

So, the current plan for the remainder of this spring: get out a bit, don't daydream, and see what happens.

Gavin Haig