Arriving at 11h30, the first thing we saw was a 2nd-winter Med Gull that flashed in front of the windscreen as we parked the car. It then gave us some good opportunities for photography - even with a basic point-and-shoot camera - as it teed up alongside.
|2nd-w Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus|
Getting out of the car, a large, pale Wheatear flushed from the dunes. Resisting the impulse to chase what was surely Isabelline, I hurried to catch up the buys as they scurried down the slipway to the beach. After a bit of rockpooling, we noticed a small group of gulls at the water's edge and as we approached them another Med Gull flew over - this time a beautiful adult. Once again, a very obliging bird, which swam just offshore as the boys splashed through the shallows and hurled stones.
|Ad-w Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus|
The day was warm and overcast with a good southerly breeze carrying just a touch of drizzle. Every so often a flock of Starlings would fly in off the sea, battling against the wind. The only other movement was two Brent Geese passing E (S) followed by three going W (N).
After exploring further pools and finding several fossils - a couple of belemnites and two large echinoids - it was time for lunch. As we drove to Wells, larger and larger flocks of Starlings pushed in off the sea. Some of them had dropped down at the roadside and dozens of them were foraging in the grass verge by the busy coast road. Over the half hour's drive to Wells, we must have seen a couple of thousand of these birds arriving.
After fish and chips at the harbour, we headed for an afternoon in the dunes at Wells Wood. A couple of hundred metres in, a group of birders were congregated under the pines at a spot where I've whiled away many a happy hour in the past. Their target - a Yellow-browed Warbler that had not shown for over an hour - was surely beyond the patience of the refuelled boys, so we headed for the beach; then some tree-climbing and cone-grenade throwing in the dunes.
|Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus (Thorburn)|
As we drive back home I remember the first Yellow-browed I saw: at Spurn, in the early 1980s, on a school bird club trip. It was a lot harder to see. A quick sketch from my field notebook above.