Monday, 13 August 2018


"We've got water on Colyford Common LNR again." This is what's known as a classic case of British understatement. By the time I bailed out from the hide last night the boardwalk back to Pope's Lane was in danger of being overtopped. It probably was after I'd gone. Many birds were now behind the hide on rarely-flooded parts of the reserve. Blackwits, Curlews, Little Egrets, BH Gulls, 3 Green sandpipers, 2 Greenshanks, Teal x20, 3 Whimbrels in front of the hide and many Herons & Corvids cashing in on the feeding opportunity. Snipe flying and calling.Remarkable scenes.
    Earlier on, I'd been watching a Southern Hawker at Stafford Marsh when Phil Abbot messaged me from Tower Hide so I joined him to see the Sanderling he'd picked out from the large mixed flock of Dunlin & Ringed Plover on the estuary. We had a couple of Greenshank which flew to Coly Common but couldn't see much on BHM other than the usual. I had a Sparrowhawk fly across the cycle path plus a Barn Owl that looked at me then turned away before I could get my camera out.
    I missed Ian Mac's Curlew Sandpiper on Saturday but let's be optimistic and expect more of those. IM also had a Bonxie (Great Skua) from Seaton which is no mean feat. I think that brings us up to date unless you fancy giving Beer Head a go as it's done OK for migrants lately...

Friday, 3 August 2018

Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper, BHM 02/08/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Wood sandpiper, BHM 02/08/18 ( Copyright T D Wright)
Just one Wood Sandpiper still present last night but Turnstone was another new bird in - an adult too - spotted by Phil Abbot. I paid Coly Common a visit but no joy there. Yet...

Thursday, 2 August 2018

August Off To A Flier

       Having been inland all day I could only get to BHM late on yesterday but it was well worth the effort. The only shank species I could see was Common Redshank from Tower Hide (although the Green Sandpipers were still present) but very late on (one of those final scan moments!) I noticed that 2 Wood Sandpipers had joined the throng. Fortunately there were several people still about and some of them managed to see and even photograph them. Too dark for my camera though and my attempt to phonescope failed miserably. I'm told by IM & SW that there's at least one still present this morning.
       Also from Tower hide before this was one juvenile YL Gull which flew down the estuary and 2 Whimbrel, one of which headed for Coly Common which I didn't have time to check as it was dark by the time I finally quitted BHM. Several Barn Owls were entertaining us all and Charmouth birder had a close encounter with a Sparrowhawk along the track. The very white Common Buzzard was about but apparently an Osprey was also seen. I missed that but I'm not worried as we'll get more I'm sure. Another splendid evening on the Axe...

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

ColyCom Addendum

Just to bring this blog bang up to date the Spotshank was still present last evening as were 2 Greenshank and 2 Green Sands on BHM. A massive turnout at BHM of birders and toggers flushed me out of Island Hide and I checked in to Coly Common hide where I've been monitoring the return of water to the recently parched scrape. My scant reward was one Whimbrel among the 78 Curlew, 2 Teal, 4 Lapwing and 3 Oystercatcher. However, I still believe that CC hide will strike back before the returning Sun forces us all to concentrate on BHM again. Watch this space...

Seaton Stuff

Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 28/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Spotted Redshank, BHM, 29/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Peregrine, Axe Estuary,29/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Barn Owl,BHM, 29/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Apart from a distant calidrid spotted by Ian McLean on the estuary which wouldn't come close to Tower hide but looked like a Sanderling to me, the best birds were the same gaggle as recently over the weekend. The predators put the throng into the air but when they settled it was still the YL Gulls, Spotted Redshank, Greenshanks and Green Sands that caught the eye. Dunlin & Common Sand have remained plentiful, and Med Gulls are still about ( I had a nice assortment of plumages off Spot On). Numbers of House Martin were very high at Colyford Common, Stafford Marsh, Black Hole and Seaton Marshes; also along the beach! So a bit of movement took place but numbers of Sand Martin and Swallow remained low by comparison. Plenty of Swifts about though. Once August arrives tomorrow we'll be expecting a gradual increase in wader species. I hope we don't get another rarity this year as the throng of twitchers tends to fill all the hides up. Just kidding!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

More waders & gulls

Yellow-legged Gull, Axe estuary, July '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Since my last post I've shared a YL Gull with Corkhead which he shared on Twitter and the response was again positive from the Devon Gulling Luminaries so that cheered me up. I failed to see the Curlew Sandpiper that was reported but was compensated with 2 Green Sandpipers instead. Ian Waite spotted a summer plumaged Knot on BHM which performed nicely last evening. We also had at least 22 Dunlin and 11 Common Sandpipers. This morning Clive had a Spotted Redshank too so the wader tally is doing OK for July. On the gull front, another Common Gull - an adult this time - was a nice addition to the flock of 200+ BHG which still contained at least 2 juv. Mediterranean Gull. Unfortunately I had to travel inland today for an important appointment so missed the SpotRed and also the Risso's Dolphins.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Yellow-legged Weekend

Yellow-legged Gull with GBB & Herring Gulls 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Presumed Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Stafford Marsh, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
A few interesting birds about this weekend but the insects too are performing well with lots of damselfly species keeping the Emperors well-fed! These Small Red-eyeds were more abundant than ever. A nice Wood Sandpiper found by Clive was distant but very welcome what with the lack of Greens just lately. Plenty of Commons and more Dunlin about plus the odd Whimbrel. On the gull front, we've had several Meds and a lone Common plus a brief YLG juv. which I had from Tower hide on Saturday but which flew to Coronation Corner where others managed to twitch it. However, the stars were certainly the 2 juvenile Yellow-leggeds which were on show together from Tower hide on Sunday. I put the news out quickly so several photographers will have better pics than me but here goes anyway with my distant shots...
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
The top 2 pics are of the first bird and the bottom 2 of the second. The first bird was clearly smaller but is OK as bird 2 was massive - as big as the GBBs almost! Let's keep tabs on them and see just how many we can add to SW's initial bird last week, eh?