Thursday, 25 August 2016

Charmouth and an Ocean Sunfish at West Bexington - Thur 25th Aug

CHARMOUTH - An early morning walk around the patch yielded 2 Dunlin and a nice flock of 9 Yellow Wagtail on the beach along with the usual fare. I missed out on Yellow Wagtail on patch in the Spring so it was good to see these at last. After the overnight rain this still, humid morning had a good feel about it for rares. This possibility was confirmed by posts from nearby Beer Head, Devon (Steve W.) and Mike  M. at West Bexington, Dorset @Bexbirder reporting good counts of migrants, so I had a careful look around the bushes and trees along the river and the wild flower meadow. Although I flushed a warbler in the meadow which went immediately to cover I couldn't make an ID which was frustrating. There were a few Willow Warbler around in the bushes but otherwise it was pretty quiet.

W. BEXINGTON and an encounter with an OCEAN SUNFISH - a trip off patch - I saw the reports from Mike M. on Twitter @bexbirder that 2 Wryneck were still present at W.Bexington, so I decided to try my luck. Dipped on the Wryneck but the bushes and fences were jumping with Willow Warbler (10), Lesser Whitethroat (3), Whitethroat (10), Winchat (3), Wheatear (5) with quite a few flyover Yellow Wagtail. Passage of Swallow was strong eastwards around 11.00 but by 12.00 the movement was reversed possibly because of an approaching shower of rain. So plenty of migrants around and a really exciting early autumn morning's birding:

Here's a short vid. of the Star of the morning though, which was this rare visitor from warmer Atlantic waters - An Ocean Sunfish lying just off the beach at West Bexington. Much rarer than the Wryneck I had hoped to see, I'm told this Sunfish is a patch-first for this stretch of wonderful Dorset coast, although one was seen at Abbotsbury (per Steve G. twitter @SwannerySteve) and/or Burton Bradstock (per Paul H. twitter @PaulUpwey) a few years ago and they are seen from time to time off Portland Bill. Uncommon but seemingly becoming more "regular" with Martin C. @PortlandBirdObs having seen 3 in the last 5 years:

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