Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Seaton Sunday Sightings

Just for non-twitter dudes, I saw the first-winter Marsh Harrier on Sunday afternoon from Tower Hide, and there may still be 2 around as other people have posted pictures of a different-looking bird. I also saw the Glossy Ibis from Tower on BHM late on where a redhead Goosander was also present.

XTDN .20-10-2013 Revisited

I've been asked for images of a gull I reported back in October 2013. All I have are these 2 video clips on my old phone. The green ring read XTDN so I sent the details off and got a letter from the Hiddensee Ringing Group in Germany. The bird was ringed as a nestling in June 2013 at REDDERN, which is close to Dresden and the Polish border. From what I could see on the maps available to me there is a huge lake at this location which must contain a gull colony. The paperwork was perplexing as the ringers seemed to have recorded the bird as belonging to Herring Gull "group" i.e. argentatus/cachinnans/michahellis. This suggested to me that they were 'lumping' Herring,Yellow-legged and Caspian Gull together, or that the young bird was non-identifiable to species. As you can see in this video (I hope) the first-winter plumage was still quite challenging for Ian MacLean (he joined me to look at the bird if I remember correctly) and myself. I noticed an adult bird nearby which briefly features in the video and may have been a YL or even a hybrid. The temptation was to see XTDN as a YL but its head & bill look more Caspish,although surely (as I thought) far too 'dirty' for 1stW Casp? I even wondered if it was a LBB! I left it up in the air and hoped that the ringing details might clear that up,which of course they didn't.Typical! Anyway, it may be that I found a Caspian but wasn't confident enough to claim it. If these clips are enough to convince anyone all well and good. Otherwise, I'll stick with my original plan to 'put it down to experience'...

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Colyton,Colyford & Seaton News Update

Just to bring the blog up to date I had 12 Hawfinch today at Colyton Church before getting the bus and a Cattle Egret flew over Colyton on Friday 2nd. Possibly the same CE was visible from Tower hide on Sunday 4th, as were 2 Goosander, a Greenshank and a 1stW Med Gull.
       On Tuesday, a real pipit-fest at Coly Common with 8 Water, 4 Rock and 20 Meadow from the boardwalk. From Tower hide 3 adult Med Gulls brightened up the estuary.
Hawfinch (Alternative View!), Colyton, 2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
       Today (Weds.7th) I managed to see the Glossy Ibis on Sheep's Marsh but nothing exceptional otherwise. 4 Shoveler on the lagoon and 5 Great Crested Grebe on the sea were next best sightings. Stonechats on Coly Common and on the Seaton Marshes fence got me thinking about the Wheatears that will be joining them in a few weeks...roll on Spring!
Water Pipit, Colyford, 2018 (Copyright T D Wright)

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Hawfinches still around Colyton

Hawfinch, Colyton Church & Vicarage, 25/01/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Hawfinch, Colyton Church, 25/01/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
I didn't mean to take more Hawfinch pictures today but I bumped into Sue Smith & Tammy who caused me to linger too long as I passed through the churchyard (it's all their fault!). In the sunshine, they showed so nicely that I dashed home for the camera and took a couple of pics. However, Sue's blog Bicycle Birder on the Axe will be worth a look tomorrow if she posts her shots.
         As well as the churchyard & adjoining Vicarage, the birds have also been visible in Sidmouth Road Cemetery and on Sunday afternoon from Colyton picnic site briefly. I think they might be feeding in Colyton Community Woodland but don't go in as you'll only flush them. Views from Picnic site car park are good as treetop birds are at eye level.
         Ian Mac, Gavin Haig & Supercilious Steve keep gripping me off with news of Iceland, Glaucous, Caspian & Yellow-legged Gulls on the Axe estuary but I don't have much time to get down there just now which is a shame. Plus, we might not get Hawfinches next year. As for these gulls, they're regular visitors to the area so there will be more in the future. As for the Hawfinches, we'll have to wait and see what the long-term situation is...

Friday, 19 January 2018

Hawfinches in Colyton

Hawfinch,Colyton 18/01/18 (Copyright TDW)
Finally got some Hawfinches in Colyton Churchyard yesterday at the 72nd attempt. My only other Colyton one was back in November from the bus stop so I wanted to see them feeding in our Yew trees which I now have. I even got some flight shots of the Superfinch variety, although with the winter Olympics looming I now think they look like ski-jumpers!
Eddie the Hawfinch, Colyton 18/01/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
We'll be seeing more of this technique in Korea next month!
Hawfinch, Colyton 18/01/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Hawfinch, Colyton 18/01/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
It's funny, isn't it, but seeing them up the road in Shute just wasn't as thrilling. Shute is a traditional site for them as I remember seeing Hawfinches there back in the 90s. This winter's irruption means we all want to see them in our home town which I've now done. The next challenge is to see them from the bathroom window whilst shaving; hope I don't cut myself!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Water Pipits Too

Water Pipit, Coly Common, 11/1/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
I had one more go at trying to get a decent photo of the wintering Water Pipits but these were the best I could manage. Just getting great views though is unusual for here so I'm enjoying them so much.
Water Pipit plus botanical interest, Coly Common, 11/1/18 (Copyright T D Wright)

Friday, 12 January 2018


Golden Plovers, Colyford 11/1/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Ian Mac had 25 Golden Plover on Bridge Marsh Thurs. morning which I spotted on Coly Marsh late afternoon. They then went up and separated from the Lapwing which allowed me to take some dodgy pics. I bumped into Corkhead on my way back and agreed with him that there were 28. However, I think the above photo shows 29; the joy of bird counting! I think Derek Moore who taught me a thing or two about counting flocks would be delighted by my small addition. As nearby Tesco is always saying - every little helps!
Golden Plovers, Colyford 11/1/2018 ( Copyright T D Wright)