Thursday, 19 October 2017

Quick Update

I've not had much time - or much luck - for birding this week. Today, I managed a quick walk along Seaton beach but all the Portuguese Men O' War (hope useaproperplural finds that acceptable!) were gone so too late for me to add to the vast array of photographs of 'em. Still, I did see a Wheatear on the beach and the Bar-tailed Godwit was flying around the bay with its Oystercatcher mates before returning to the estuary.
                                      I've not connected with the Firecrest & Hawfinch influx yet but I'm trying to find them around Colyton ... which could take a while. Last night, I walked back from the bus stop in the dark and could hear Redwing-like calls overhead. Shame I couldn't see if they were Starlings or other thrush species mimicking them. A sonograph would help but I don't carry that sort of equipment around with me! Happy birding everyone 😈😊 !

Monday, 9 October 2017

For Non-Twitterers

Just so those of you who don't get my tweets can catch up with anything of note really. Yes, I have had complaints! An adult Yellow-legged Gull found by IMc on Saturday 7th Oct. was my only reward from Tower hide, although people had earlier seen Cattle Egret (at Seaton marshes today) and a Bittern drop into the reeds 'opposite' Tower. We still had a couple of waders about but many have moved on. 5 Dunlin looked suspiciously like alpina birds. One each of Little Stint, Greenshank and Ruff was all I could muster besides the Blackwits, Curlews and Oyks plus the increasing numbers of Lapwing and Redshank. A Marsh Harrier eluded me but was well seen by other locals and photographed by Sue Smith I believe. I checked Colyton Wastewater Treatment Works Sunday but only had Browncap, Chiffchaffs & Goldcrests there. A couple of Stonechat along Cownhayne was an improvement on nothing...oh and Siskins are about so  'listen up' too! Redwings very soon I reckon...

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Black Hole Extra

Grey Wagtail, BHM, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Wagtail, BHM, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Amongst all the Yellow, Pied and White wagtails we've also had quite a few Greys about. Some of them may be from further afield than our own Axe & Coly birds. This 1st Winter was by the Island hide on BHM. We've also had more than one Curlew Sandpiper but not always together. One of them seemed to have 'palled up' with a Dunlin yet we had 2 together one evening. Possibly 3 in total?
Curlew Sandpiper, BHM, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Curlew Sandpiper, BHM, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
The Ruff, or Reeve in this case, must be a female as she seems unimpressed with the Redshank's antics...
Ruff & Redshank, BHM, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)

Ruff & Redshank, BHM, Sept.'17(Copyright T D Wright)
Ruff & Redshank, BHM, Sept. '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruff & Redshank, BHM, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
And finally, a nod to the humble Dunlin. We've had lots of variety with schinzii & alpina plus some odd-looking ones. They're easy to overlook, dotted about the marsh like this. But 'The Hole' wouldn't be the same without them...
Dunlin, BHM, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Ruff Stuff & Phals

Heron Gang, BHM, 23/09/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
That Grey Phalarope, BHM, 23/09/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
The Grey Herons seem to be roaming around in groups of six or more just now. Must be adolescents. As for our Phalarope friend, it seems quite settled...
Grey Phalarope by Walkway, BHM, 23/09/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Phalarope, BHM, 23/09/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
If you thought it was a black-and-white bird, its legs provide a bit of colour now and again. Anyway, I ventured up to Colyford Common where it's not just those Blackwits that have been feeding near the boardwalk...
Ruff, Coly Common, 23/09/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruff, Coly Common, Sept. '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruff, Coly Common, Sept. '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
They came even closer when I sat down on the boardwalk to photograph them. Seemed quite curious...
Ruff, Coly Common, 23/09/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruff, Coly Common, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
But carried on feeding...
Ruff, C.C., Sep. 17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruff, Coly Common, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
And preening. There were 2 males and a female but they seemed to be getting along as a trio...
Ruff, Coly Common, Sept. '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruffs & Reeve, Coly Common, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruffs & Reeve, Coly Common, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
A little stretching was required.
Ruff, Coly Common, Sept. '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruffs x3, Coly Common, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Then they waved goodbye! But what a show it was...
Ruff, Coly Common, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ruff & Reeve, Coly Common, Sept.'17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Last night I realised they were still at Coly Common but there were 2 new ones on BHM. Eventually, all 5 got together on the estuary before flying North. Maybe back to Coly Common? Otherwise, there was still a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stints and several Yellow Wagtails at Black Hole.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Grey Phalarope

1st Winter Grey Phalarope, BHM, 20/09/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
👍 Yeah! Having not seen a Grey Phalarope on BHM due to absenteeism back in 2010, I wasted no time responding to Phil Abbot's find last night, even though I had been off volunteering for the RSPB and was on the bus home, thinking "There's not enough daylight left to go birding". I missed my stop and told the driver to drop me off in Colyford which meant I had to leg it down the cycle path to see one eighth of what I might have seen at Abbotsbury recently. Amazing what patch birders will do for a species they could easily see elsewhere, isn't it?! I got completely soaked (again!) and had to walk home in the dark but it was well worth it. Even though all my photographic attempts were defeated by poor conditions I had to inflict at least one image of the cheeky little chap upon you (male or female? Dunno! ) which, like most of our Grey Phals, was a first-winter bird. OK, now for Red-necked...👴

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Colyford Common Update

Yellow Wagtail, Colyford Common (Copyright T D Wright)
Curlew Sandpiper, BHM, Sept. '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Spotted Redshank, Colyford Common (Copyright T D Wright)
Curlew Sandpiper, Colyford Common, 16/09/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Curlew Sandpiper, BHM, 17/09/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Water Rail & Little Egret, Colyford Common (Copyright T D Wright)
Greenshank, Coly Common (Copyright T D Wright)
I've recently started to see a bit more at Colyford Common LNR which has, for too long, been overshadowed by BHM. On Saturday, it seemed as if nothing new was about as only Ruff and Greenshank plus usual small waders were on BHM. As it was high tide, I thought I'd give Coly Common a go as the recent Least Sandpiper reminded us it can still put BHM in the shade at times. I've also been seeing Yellow Wags and the odd Wheatear up there plus up to 30 Blackwits from the boardwalk. On arrival, I scanned the scrape from the hide and...nothing! However, I noticed a couple of Greenshanks on the close pool plus Water Rails so stayed. I then heard the chewit call of the Spotted Redshank that some people thought had gone and scanned the scrape. There it was, the only wader on the main scrape! After a few minutes, some Curlew and Blackwits flew in. Among them was our lone Barwit, which was another addition to the day's list. Great, I thought; there's a couple of Dunlin as well. Scoping the 2 'Dunlin', I noticed that one was actually a Curlew Sandpiper. Our first of the Autumn! Brilliant. I put the news out and it was duly twitched by several locals. It then flew off to BHM where it still remains today. Unfortunately, Coly Common scrape is not so good as BHM for photography, which is why it gets neglected at times what with the photographers outnumbering the birders round here! (Just a joke, folks!).
Curlew Sand & Dunlin, Colyford Common 16/09/17 (Copyright T D Wright)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Not Another Least Sandpiper!

As soon as I heard last night that there was a Least Sandpiper at Lodmoor I immediately thought "Oh no! That's the bird we had on Coly scrape the other evening"- especially when I saw the pics! In my defence, the views from Coly hide weren't the best and as far as the 2 photographers present were concerned the bird had dark legs so this scuppered the idea that it was a juvenile Least. We discussed other possibilities as the bird had such a long bill but just didn't have enough at the time to clinch its i.d. . As I cycled home, I wondered if it only appeared to have dark legs and hoped that somebody would get better views the next day. Not to be but I'm fully in agreement with Steve Waite and Phil Abbot, now that he's found a photo that shows us what we couldn't see at the time, that this was our first juvenile Least Sandpiper on the Axe. What we need now is a different species of American wader!

      Anyhow, I've seen a few birds today - Bar-tailed Godwit from Tower and Greenshanks (3), Green Sands (3) & Common Sands (5) on BHM & the estuary. Clive was about and reported the Spotted Redshank from Coly hide so thanks Mr. Williams. Last night a single juv. Sanderling was in front of Tower Hide too. September's been a blast so far! 😋