Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Vis mig begins!

My fondest birding memories are of looking for spring migrants on the south coast of England- in particular searching a headland such as the Lizard in Cornwall or Portland Bill, Dorset- oooh the excitement of watching multiple lbj's come in off the sea! Saw my first hoopoe at Portland in April 1981 (along with Black kite, woodchat shrike, pied fly, etc. making a brilliant day) so it is always good to see one. Migration has kicked in here off Morocco- small numbers trickling through but all the birds are heading north, presumably for Europe and the British isles. Over the last week there has been a light,  steady passage of bonxies and sandwich terns. More recently several distant flocks of waterfowl have been recorded plus a distant, probable red-rumped swallow. Yesterday 3 chiffchaffs and a hoopoe briefly visited the vessel before continuing north. This morning at first light another unidentified leaf warbler and a chat sp. were flushed and a second hoopoe was seen flying past- exciting times! Hopefully the tempo of passage will increase over the coming weeks as will the number of species encountered.

I have also been lucky to see plenty of common dolphins, a sunfish and a small (circa 2.5 metre) basking shark.

ocean sunfish
basking shark
common dolphin

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