Tuesday, 7 January 2014
I popped over to Sandy Bay lunchtime today and bombed down through the horrendous caravan park and quickly found myself on the beach. I was greeted by the sad sight of an adult Guillemot sat on a rock just below the pathway looking very lethargic. I could have picked it up, but as the sun was shining and it was peaceful, I left it where it was, as it could just have been a very tired storm-driven bird. I don't really know anyone who could have taken it in and tried to nurse it back to full fitness anyway. However, I was lucky enough today to connect with the Black Redstart (Year tick) which was in its normal corner, where Matt Knott had seen it a couple of times over the last few days! I added the Guillemot and a sprightly Pied Wagtail to my Exmouth Year list while I was there. A quick sprint (LOL!) back up to the car, and I popped into Littleham churchyard, where I soon added one of the resident Green Woodpeckers to my 2014 list. If you want to definitely see this species, I can guarantee it here - I've NEVER failed to see at least one in this location! A fly-over Sparrowhawk was also a Year tick. Back at work, I heard that there was a Glossy Ibis down in the field next to the (flooded) cricket pitch at Budleigh Salterton. So, after finishing work I arrived at the site in the last few minutes of daylight and saw, not one, but TWO Glossy Ibis feeding in the flooded field. It took me until December 28th to connect with this species anywhere last year (including southern France and Italy), so I was extremely happy to see these two birds nice and early in 2014! Four Lapwing were also Year-ticked as I left in the fading light. What I would like to know though, is why are these Glossy Ibis's turning up in Britain in early January? There have been several records throughout the country (including Shetland) over the past couple of days, and of newly-arrived birds. In fact 5 were found as far north as the Faroe Islands yesterday! What's all that about..........?