Saturday, 17 June 2017

Demoiselles Galore

Banded Demoiselle, Colyton, 11/06/2017(Copyright T D Wright)
Last weekend I took a couple of walks along different stretches of the Coly and found a hotspot for Beautiful Demoiselles on Saturday with 8 or more performing for my binoculars only. On Sunday, I took my camera so when I came across my first Banded Demoiselle of the year I grabbed a few pictures before it flew off. On the bird front, the Grey Wagtails have fledged at least 4, possibly 5  young, but I struggled to get close enough for a good photo and decided to leave them alone after this one:-                                                       
Grey Wagtail, Colyton, 11/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
There were also lots of hirundines about, especially Sand Martins...          
Sand Martin, Colyton, 11/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Sorry that's all I've got but time has been limited lately. I did see a Green Woodpecker from the train and Peregrines over Exeter but no visits to the wetlands for a week or more now. VV Busy!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Estuarine Birds

Just when you think that it's not worth visiting Tower hide because it's June you suddenly get a surprise. I was delighted to spot 2 trios of ducks which qualify as 'goodies' (well, semi-goodies?) on the Axe. Firstly, 3 Gadwall swam past upriver. Nice. Then, I spotted a 1stSummer Med Gull flying down the estuary which landed just beyond 3 sawbills - which I think were all juvenile Goosander. (Bold, Italic & Underline all in one sentence; these IT lessons are paying off!) Anyhow, here's some video of the ducks plus a couple of snaps.                
Goosanders, Axe estuary, 04/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Gadwall, Axe estuary, 04/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Spot-the-barn-Owl, BHM, 04/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Riverine Birds

Dipper fledgling, undisclosed site nr. Colyton, Devon 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Wagtail male, undisclosed site nr. Colyton, Devon 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Wagtail (shame about ring!) Colyton area, Devon 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
I got the old DSLR out of mothballs on Bank Holiday Monday and walked a couple of local Public Footpaths which often have wildlife close enough to photograph. I started with insects but then found a spot where these Grey Wags. were coming & going. I kept still and quiet so they weren't bothered by me. (Especially when you consider that this path is popular with dogwalkers. Some of those hounds hit the water so hard it sounds like a whale breaching!). A couple of Kingfisher flyovers were followed by one briefly perching on the rock that the wagtails seemed to like. Before I could swing my camera up however, an adult Dipper replaced the blue streak so I got some shots of that instead. Later, I came across a youngster from the nearby nest which was fantastic. We may not have had a great Spring for rarities & migrants here but it's great to see some scarce breeding birds doing so well.                                                               
Dipper (ringed again! They don't miss much round here, do they?), Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Wagtail, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Dipper, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Recently fledged Dipper, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Fledgling Dipper, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
It was getting dark by now but I like this wing-stretching shot even though it's blurry...

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Colyton Catch-up with Added Axmouth

I've not seen the Cattle Egrets at Colcombe or Road Green this week so they may have changed their habits or gone completely. At Axe Cliff on Sunday the Lesser Whitethroat was still singing ( I've also had one regularly at Colyton WWTW) and groups of 9 Manx Shearwater and 9 Kittiwake flew West. Yes, that really was the correct number which only reminded me of the Poms I missed! At least I got some compensation along Stepps Lane where my first Spotted Flycatcher of 2017 showed high up in the canopy. On Wednesday, I had 2 redhead Goosander from Tower hide looking upriver at 7pm. They settled on the bank and rested there until I left. Today, all I could see from Tower was Whimbrel and 3 Dunlin on BHM. It's always good to see fledglings at this time of year though and I've seen Great , Blue and LT Tits already, plus Wren, Dunnock and Robin. The Shelduck, Canada geese and Mallard young have also been in evidence. But I'm not feeling so confident about Cattle Egret now...

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Uh? Reject Photos?

Whimbrel, Axe Estuary, April 2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Colyton, April 2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Colyton, April 2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Avocet, BHM, April '17(Copyright T D Wright)
Recently, I've not been taking many pictures and have therefore not posted many either. Please offer me your opinion as to whether I ought to post 'reject' pictures such as those above - taken with old camera phone - or just post text to save you from too much visual 'dross'. By the way, I saw our long-staying Goosander fly down the valley from Coly Common hide Tuesday evening. Have a good evening.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

3052 Bridge

The bridge over the Axe along the A3052 is a spot I occasionally check. Last night there were both Cetti's & Sedge Warbler singing there plus a Common Sandpiper flew downriver. Nearby, a Lesser Whitethroat sang at the substation. I scanned Bridge Marsh close to dusk but couldn't see anything out there except Canada Geese. On Sunday, I was amazed by the number of Whimbrel from Tower hide. 25+ is pretty good going for us. They called so much I could still hear them from Colyton! Ringed Plovers still feature on Coly scrape at high tide and on Saturday there were 3 Greenshank on the estuary which I've not seen since. Nor have I seen the Grey Plover again since Friday. Swifts & Sand Martins now rival the Swallows in numbers but I'm still waiting for the final arrival of the Colyton House Martins. I think that's it...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Ringos About

Avocet + Oystercatcher, B.H.M. 29/05/17(Copyright T D Wright)
I'll not say too much about Bank Holiday weekend as I only saw the same waders that Steve Waite had despite extensive soakings. Yesterday, I had to go to Exeter for an interview and realised after we were done that I could use my Devon Ranger ticket to pay a quick visit to Dawlish Warren. From the train I had an astonishing 16 Turnstone together. Once you leave East Devon and cross the Exe it's like a different birding continent, isn't it? Once at the Warren all I had was 5 Whitethroat and my first Small Copper of the year, plus Skylark & Swallows. A Great Crested Grebe was all I could see on the ocean side of the wall (I only had bins though). Today (3rd) I had a look from Tower Hide at high tide and the Blackwit & Barwit count was even at four apiece. The same could be said for the Dunlin & Ringed Plover count which was 3-all. However, I then checked Coly Common hide and had 5 more Ringos on the scrape. Yes, it's possible 3 of them could be the same ones but my hunch tells me the final score is 8 - and my hunch has rarely let me down in the past. A Sparrowhawk flashing past the Lookout is always good to see as was the pretty girl typing inside it. They seemed to be ringing at the Discovery Hut - wonder if they've mis-identified any Dusky Warblers today?