Needless to say, I was not in Cuddesdon at the time, but out with the family on the beach at Holme, Norfolk. As we came back from the beach with our daughters, this huge pale supercilium walked across the path in front of me. "Dotterel!" I whispered. "Where's the cockerel?" asked my eldest. I pointed out the beautifully patterned bird in front of us, but its camouflage was too good for a 2 year old to spot. Fortunately the bird was still present when I returned with optics and camera a short while later. It did make me reflect on all the fruitless hours of migrant searching that I have spent in Cuddesdon, when in Norfolk I can pop out to the beach with the family and still stumble across a good bird.
This morning, safely back in Oxfordshire, most of the fields have now been ploughed in. This means that any migrant species will either be in the hedgerows or out on the ploughed fields. Or more likely passing overhead. I walked the hedgerows, finding a Whitethroat, a Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaffs, but not much else to inspire.
The fields came good today though. The second Wheatear of the autumn was feeding away on the main track through the North Fields:
The large flocks of Lesser Black-back Gulls are still gathering in South Field, which also still attracts good raptor numbers feeding on the ground:
A worm's, or Lapwing chick's, view:
The last four years have shown that on average I find about one scarce passage migrant per migration season out in the barren fields of Cuddesdon. Exceptional years (Spring 2011) have produced Wheatear, a possible Greenland Wheatear, Redstart and Sand Martin). Poor years (Spring 2012) have produced nothing. I just have a feeling there is more to come from Autumn 2012...