Saturday there was a window of opportunity regarding the weather in the south west. After a very bad Friday, it looked like the rain and wind would hold off all day so we decided to go to Brixham and the White Billed Diver.
The run down the A303 in heavy rain was not pleasant but by the time we reached Honiton it had cleared, leaving mist and thin cloud. Many of the fields and roads in the area were flooded and we hardly saw any birds until we reached Brixham shortly before 1000.
Parked by the breakwater and almost immediately I saw divers close in shore. The White Billed had been reported on the sea, and for a while I thought we had it-unfortunately it was just one of the many Great Northerns with a rather pale bill. Scanning the bay picked up more Great Northerns-they were everywhere with a few distant Red and Black Throated. Lots of Shags too.
We made our way along the breakwater where many birders had gathered, scattering Turnstones and Rock Pipits as we went. No on had seen the White Billed since early morning, though rumours suggested it was opposite the fish market. Picked up many more Great Northers, a couple of Black Throated and a very distant Red Necked Grebe. Further up the breakwater we found the Purple Sandpipers on the abandoned jetty.
We stuck it out scanning the harbour mouth for a while and then slowly made our way back. Met up with a crowd who thought they had the White Billed in the middle of the outer harbour. Eventually we managed to pick it up, and in the space of three dives made its way to the jetty where we managed to get very good views. Our first since the famous Tattershall Bridge bird, though we have attempted to find them in Scotland.
The only disappointing thing was that no-one had seen the Iceland Gull since early morning, and we left around 1230 having also picked up Long Tailed Duck, Eider and so on.
Early afternoon we moved a few miles to the car park at Broadsands and almost immediately picked up the Siberian Chiffchaff. A very pale bird (compared to a normal one also seen) and incredibly active, it proved hard to get decent images.
Luckily I heard it call-a thin peep, and it remained on view all afternoon.
The Cirl Bunting feeding station was the main attraction and several birds came down from time to time, two males and four or more females.
A very enjoyable day and the run home was pretty good as well, with no hold ups.