Thursday, 26 February 2015

Local Sightings 21-26th Feb 2015

Blackwit,Barwit & Curlew ( Copyright T D Wright )
Well it's fairly quiet really, still a Greylag on Bridge marsh, still a Barwit on the Estuary, a lone Gadwall on Monday 23rd, and the Firecrest still at Seaton Hole to 25th at least.                 
Wren ( Copyright T D Wright )
Firecrest ( Copyright T D Wright )
I spent some time on Tuesday and Weds. trying to photograph the Firecrest but this was all I got!   
Firecrest ( Copyright TD Wright )
Firecrest ( Copyright TD Wright )
Yes, you can just see enough bright green mantle to i.d. it! Fortunately, other species were more co-operative...                    
Long-tailed Tit ( Copyright TD Wright )
Wren ( Copyright TD Wright )            
Goldcrest ( Copyright T D Wright )
The Dunnocks were singing while the Blackbirds fed on Ivy berries...                        
Blackbird ( Copyright T D Wright )
Dunnock ( Copyright T D Wright )
Anyhow, sorry the Firecrest pics weren't better but I'll try again soon. At least I saw it OK and it called a lot, even 'singing' at one point ( if you can call it that ). Dare I say it? "Not a bad day in the Hole"...Ouch... C U next post.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Rock Pipits at Grey Phalarope 2014

Rock Pipit ( Copyright T D Wright )
I enjoyed the other birds on the Otter, especially the 'Ripits'. They kept the Phalarope company, and the colour of the water plus the light conditions provided a natural 'Sepia' filter effect.      
Rock Pipit ( Copyright T D Wright )

Grey Phalarope Contd.

Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )
Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )
Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )    
Grey Phalarope( Copyright T D Wright )

Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )
Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )  

REVIEWING 2014 - GREY PHALAROPE

Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )
Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )
Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )
Grey Phalarope & Rock Pipit ( Copyright T D Wright )
The long-staying Grey Phalarope attracted much attention from photographers here in East Devon during the Autumn. You'll notice I call it a 'phalarope' rather than abbreviate it, as a 'phal' is a very hot curry and I don't want to imply that I had it for dinner in an Indian restaurant!
Grey Phalarope ( Copyright T D Wright )  

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Local Birding Feb 13 - 16th

video video video

Well, the Greylags stuck around until Sunday when I saw them flying North toward Musbury at 3pm. One bird still remains with the Canadas on Coly Common for some unknown reason- perhaps it's got wing damage? The Estuary still has the overwintering Barwit with at least 100 Blackwits, plus several Med Gulls have been lurking among the myriad BH Gulls.Seaton Marshes on Friday 13th was not unlucky as I had a Stonechat right by the Car park. Car park birding can also produce Redpoll in the Axe Valley and I had one briefly on Sunday at Seaton Cemetery(BHM) car park. It's been such a poor winter for Redpolls and Siskins that this was a nice surprise. However, the numbers of Linnets and 'Green' linnets ( i.e. Greenfinches! ) has built up recently, and there are lots of Reed Buntings about.           

Primroses ( Copyright T D Wright )
It seems strange that Primroses derive their name from Latin Prima Rosa ( First Flower ) when there are so many species flowering before them nowadays! Even a non-botanist like me can notice Snowdrops, Daffs etc. in January but it was fascinating to read Karen Woolley's blog about species flowering on New Year's Day. Apparently, the total keeps getting bigger in the Lyme Bay area. But I still see Primroses as harbingers of Spring. Does that make me a Dinosaur? Well if it does , I'm living on the Jurassic Coast so I'm in the right place.      
Here's a video clip of the Black Redstart I already posted pics of at Beer. Apparently we still have 2 of these plus a Firecrest at Seaton Hole. I last saw Firecrest there back in November so we may have a new one.
video
Here's some Beer Rock Pipit too while I'm at it.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Local Sightings Feb 12th

Great Crested Grebes ( Copyright TD Wright )
Well, after the excitement of 7 Greylags yesterday I was amazed to see 22 on Coly Common today! Apparently, Ian McLean had them coming in off the Sea this morning. Rumours abounded of Barnacles also heading our way but they turned back when they got to the Dorset/Devon border ( like a lot of other things I'm sad to say! ). A quick look at the sea off Spot On failed to produce much except 50 Wigeon, 2 Common Scoter and 3 Great Crested Grebes, 2 of which were nice and close...                 
Great Crested Grebes ( Copyright TD Wright )
Great Crested Grebe ( Copyright T D Wright )
Great Crested Grebe ( Copyright TD Wright )
I've also checked Coly Common where 2 Peregrines were sitting on the marsh on Sunday. The track to Colyford has been good for Redwings ( 50 in sheep field on Sunday ) and also Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits...                   
Long-tailed Tit ( Copyright TD Wright )
Goldcrest ( Copyright TD Wright )
Goldcrest ( Copyright TD Wright )
The hedgerow also held Bullfinch but I'll have to photograph them next time.Happy birding!

Local Sightings 11th Feb 2015


Well a text from T White that 2 Black Swans had flown over Colyton made me think there might be some wildfowl movement in the light Easterly winds. I looked from the A3052 first and saw 50 Fieldfare but no new wildfowl or the 30 Golden Plover which were present on Monday. I drove around to the Farm Gate and then things started to happen. Two Pintail were circling about then went down out of sight- my first on patch of 2015. Then a passer-by said he thought he'd possibly seen a couple of Whitefronts on the Estuary. I checked where he said but no Whitefronts- maybe he saw 2 of the 7 Greylags that were fresh in and on the West Bank North of Tower hide. I checked Seaton Marshes and had 7 Shoveler plus a 2nd Winter Med Gull which headed towards the Tramsheds. Not a bad day by recent standards!
Shoveler ( Copyright T D Wright )
                   
Pintail ( Copyright T D Wright )
Great Spotted Woodpecker ( Copyright TD Wright )
      I like the way a Shoveler can feed and still keep a lookout. Note its eye above the water!   
Shoveler ( Copyright T D Wright )
Golden Plovers ( Copyright T D Wright )

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

CUCKOOS of 2014

Well, I've never had a Cuckoo year like last year. No sign of any Common Cuckoos locally after they reappeared in the area during 2013. Disappointing. However, the one Cuckoo we did get was rare enough to attract some non-local birders to Beer Head on 4th April...
Great Spotted Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
Great Spotted Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )

Great Spotted Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
Great Spotted Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
This was my second British GSC, but the first was at Shoreham in Sussex in 1990(or was it '89?!), so a long interval between.It was found by a couple staying in the beach chalets at Branscombe as far as I'm aware, but I should thank Kevin Hale for relocating it after it flew to the Mitchell's Stile hedge as I was down at Beer end hoping it might have gone there. A hurried walk means my phonescoped video is overlaid with heavy breathing so I'll stick with still images today! What a shame the fog closed in and it couldn't be found the next day. The murky conditions in Cornwall in October  reminded me of this as I struggled to see another species of Cuckoo in 100% cloud and drizzle. Yes, that's right - I twitched the Yellow-billed at Porthgwarra.( Well, I didn't visit Cornwall at all in 2013 and I missed it!) The drive down was dogged by traffic and there wasn't much daylight left when I got there-isn't Cornwall a long way from Devon! This meant I had to stay overnight in Penzance and go back the next day at first light. At first it remained very dreary with cloud and drizzle...      
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
        
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
But then things improved..                   
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
However, the dense thickets made a clear shot difficult. So I spent most of the day trying to photograph it, even though I had planned to go see the nearby 'goodies' at Hayle, Penzance etc.            

Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
As there were lots of people there, it was difficult for me to get close enough for a perfect shot. Plus I'm a birder not a photographer- which is not meant as a sleight against photographers but an acknowledgement of my own failings-so I got some reasonable images but nothing 'award-winning'!                
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
This blurred one made me laugh as it's still identifiable as a YBC!            
Yellow-billed Cuckoo ( Copyright T D Wright )
Anyhow, even though my pics are not very 'professional', it was still fantastic to see two species of Cuckoo in the Southwest in 2014. Just a shame that there wasn't a third-the once ubiquitous Common. Let's hope their decline can at least be halted, before it becomes irreversable.