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March 20th

After a brilliantly sunny start cloud cover soon increased and although remaining quite temperate, the weather tried to catch us out at times with some showers that became more frequent towards the days end. Ossie and I had a nice long walk today taking in Doggetts Lane, up along the cliffs and then through the village, returning to take the track across the fields south of the lighthouse via Lighthouse Lane. I'm sure an earlier start would have produced much more in the way of visible migration but even late morning it was apparent that a few Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits were heading west. Heading for the village from the Decca site the wide grassy strip is always worth a careful scan and this morning it had attracted, as I was hoping for, a male Wheatear. In recent days there have been a few sightings of this summer visitor at watchpoints around the coast and mid-March is prime time for seeing the first returning birds. I watched him closely for a while, as I always do with the first one of the year, relishing the feeling that better birding days are not too far away now. Pressing on, we reached the village and I was a little surprised to see a Stoat scurrying along the cliff edge, it's black-tipped tail held aloft as it raced for cover. In the background a Chiffchaff gave a brief burst of song to further enhance the 'Spring is in the air' feel.

I'd taken some video of the Wheatear but, due to a technical hitch, had wiped the file so I returned in the afternoon to try again.
Heading up Doggetts Lane a male Reed Bunting dropped onto the path where he rested for a few minutes before strongly flying off west. Also present, which hadn't been there on my earlier passage, was a flock of 20 or so Meadow Pipits, avidly feeding on the turf and marram in one of the gardens. On arrival at my destination, a Wheatear immediately showed, but it was a female. A couple of people walking the beach disturbed her and she flew to one of the huge boulders where the original male suddenly appeared on the sand, and over the next half hour I managed to take some more footage from the top of the cliff.

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