Well, that was better. After a somewhat tortuous May, the first third of June was relatively productive, pleasantly varied, and even provided a long-overdue self-found scarcity (and a particularly appropriate one at that).
|Red-backed Shrike (and rock-poolers)|
The 1st was sunny and warm, and Carr Naze hosted not only multitudes of weekenders but also a very accommodating female Red-Backed Shrike, still present after a day or two in the area; a good hour was well spent enjoying its forays along the southern flank of the cliffs. The 2nd was equally bright, and a wander with the Mrs onto the Brigg for some seal pup convening unexpectedly produced close-up Bonxie and Manxie (both personal local year-firsts) as well as a handful of wader species, including (presumed Tundrae) Ringed Plovers.
The 3rd and 4th were unremarkable, although the regular circuits in suddenly sunny and mild conditions were a quiet pleasure. The 5th, meanwhile, was the first day of a repeat two-month contract surveying the bay, its birds and their movements - meaning extended observational sessions, from shortly after dawn onwards, several days a week throughout June and July. To be fair there's a bit more to it than that, but at the same time there are far worse ways of spending the summer, and of course there's the constant chance of picking up something interesting ....
|Bonxie and victim, 2nd|
.... and the first day instantly provided. Two pale-bellied Brent Geese in the bay corner were unusual, and would otherwise have been a satisfying early highlight, but were trumped by a pair of Little Terns heading north across the bay at lunchtime - a barely annual species here and nigh-on impossible to predict. More hints of movement included Arctic Terns, a high-flying northbound Greenshank, and a very late Wheatear fresh-in on Carr Naze.
|A late Northern Wheatear on Carr Naze, 5th June|
|Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the bay corner|
The 6th dawned cloudy and mild, and after a pleasantly uneventful few hours, the one-minute walk from my clifftop vantage point to Jack's Cafe finally and unexpectedly gave me the long-awaited quality migrant I'd been chipping away for over recent weeks. I'd all but given up hope of finding a county rare this spring, but with takeaway tea in hand, I was stopped in my tracks by a uniquely captivating virtuoso singing from the herbage by the path - Marsh Warbler. A Redemption Song indeed.
|Willow Warbler, Top Scrub|
The 7th was quiet (although with the pleasant high pressure-dominated conditions continuing), but for four Barnacle Geese heading north over the Brigg early on. The 8th was spent enjoying a lie-in, and then Nightjars and Redstarts in the forest; the 9th and 10th were also generally quiet, except for a Great Northern Diver, which had kindly taken up residence right in front of my VP and became increasingly unfazed during today's survey period.
|Great Northern Diver, bay corner, 10th|