Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Old Turnstone Pictures

Turnstone, BHM, ( Copyright T D Wright )
Turnstone, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
Turnstone, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
I've had these waiting to be blogged for a while, however they're still relevant as somebody told me they had a Turnstone on the estuary yesterday. This is the time of year to see them on BHM and the Axe. Look for the above patterns and white underwing in flight if you're on a seawatch though!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Knot Again

Knot juvenile, BHM, 25/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Knot juvenile, BHM, 25/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I had this not from Tower but Island Hide this afternoon. Is it the same one? I'm not sure, as the one last night looked darker on the breast but it was late in the day. The light was pretty poor today though with the never-ceasing rain. At least these pix are better you can see the fringing to the feathers. A juvenile then!

What's Knot To Like?

Knot, Axe Estuary, 24/08/15 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Why Always Me? Mario Balotelli's question was the one that came to mind when I noticed this bird from Tower hide late last night. I seem to be the Knot magnet or the Knot-King or something. Maybe I should make my middle name Timothy 'Knot' Wright...er, perhaps not. Oh well, it may not be the most exciting wader but as it's scarce here I do feel pleased when I see them. Following on from our Woodies we've had a little wader influx- 5 Green Sands were on the estuary before flying to BHM at dusk. We've also had a few chats at Seaton Marshes; I had 2 Whinchats on Sunday plus 3 Wheatear and a couple of Stonechats too.

WoodSandLand

Wood Sand, BHM, 23/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Wood Sand, BHM, 23/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Well, with the opening of Banksy's Dismaland the weather seemed apt for just such a place. However, although we may not have got a massive fall of Pied Flycatchers like those lucky East coast birders ( In Yorkshire alone more than 500! ), we did get an extraordinary wader event. I thought Phil Abbot and Ian McLean must be having me on but when I got to BHM I was amazed to see 27 Wood Sands! By the end of the day people were counting 30+ so this should be an all-time Devon record. The nationwide influx seemed to have peaked at 22 at Pennington marshes in Hampshire, but Black Hole sucked them in and we topped the national charts. Supeeerb!

Yellow - legged Gull 21/08/2015

Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 21/08/15 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 21/08/15 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 21/08/15 ( Copyright T D Wright )
video
video
I usually only see Juv YL Gulls after others have seen them first, so, with no sightings on the Axe for a month, this would be a first self-found juvenile for me - if accepted - so I'm posting these phonescoped images to hopefully support rather than undermine my claim. The bird was large enough and had the correct tertial and greater covert patterning. The tail was white enough which can be seen in the video clips. There were a few 2nd Gen. feathers on the upperparts which, in August, points to YL. In flight, the inner primaries were just a touch paler than the outers which also suggests YL. The bird would still be classed as a juvenile but just beginning to moult a small number of scapulars into 1st Winter plumes.                                        

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Seaton Sightings W/C 17/08/15

We've had some movement of Common Scoters West off the seafront - 17 on Monday evening - plus a couple of Sandwich Terns. Last night ( 19th ) in an onshore gale I thought I glimpsed a juv Sabine's but I lost it behind a wave and can't convince myself to count it. If there's a report from Dorset of one today I wouldn't be surprised though. We've had a Little Stint briefly on BHM, it may have been snaffled by a Sparrowhawk though...the lashing rain discouraged me from taking pix as my camera's not waterproof. More photos next post, I promise.

DSLR Baird's Pics

Baird's Sandpiper amid Dunlins, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Baird's Sandpiper, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Nice view of breast-band above. Not sure if I should be posting these after seeing other people's DSLR photos. My phonescoped shots are better, eh?!                                                                                                  
Baird's Sandpiper, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Baird's Sandpiper amid Dunlin, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Baird's Sandpiper between Dunlins, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Wrong Sandpiper


Baird's Sandpiper, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Baird's Sandpiper, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
In Lars Jonsson's Birds of Europe , the first thing he tells you about Baird's is that it's "Like White-rumped Sandpiper but with a straighter and all-black bill." I know my phonescoped shots are not great but we can still see this, plus its eye-ring and plumage colouration which point to Baird's, especially when we notice the complete lack of 'flecking' on the flanks. Plus the almost Pec-like abrupt cessation of its breast-band, contrasting with very white underparts. Many authors feel that it's not even necessary to see the rump and tail-pattern to separate Baird's from White-rumped. Eventually, this too was observed by all but I think this was more because we had all been expecting a White-rump as there have recently been several of them around the U.K.! What we got was the wrong sandpiper, Gromit, but never mind, we all learned something. I must admit, I craftily scanned my ancient texts to refresh my memory of all this ( Richard Chandler's Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere and the very old Hayman,Marchant & Prater Shorebirds amongst them). So, I'm not having a go at anybody just reviewing Saturday's events. I'd like to thank Phil for putting the news out even before we knew the precise i.d. as this is very helpful to others that want to see the bird before it goes. Its one-day stay might have meant more people missing out otherwise. Anyhow, another cracking wader for BHM - let's hope there's another this Autumn!                                       
Baird's Sandpiper, BHM, 15/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Synchronised Ruffs, Seaton, 16/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Synchronised Ruffs, Seaton, 16/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Thursday, 13 August 2015

More Wader Movement - a Glorious12th!

Turnstone, BHM, 12/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Turnstone, BHM, 12/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Well, maybe they were running before the Perseids or something but the waders fell upon BHM last evening...especially the Ringed Plovers. On Tuesday, our long-staying invalid 'Hopalong' was joined by an adult, making two. On arriving in Island Hide last night I counted 9. Then a mixed flock containing 6 more flew in. Then a lone flock of 6, plus we noticed Hopalong on his own. A total of 22 Ringos is an elevenfold increase in 24 hours. What with 3 Greenshank, 6 Green Sands ( plus 6 more reported from Coly Common = 12 ), 20+ Dunlin, a juvenile female Ruff, Snipe and lots of Redshank and Blackwit plus 8 Lapwing, the mud on Black Hole is being well-exploited now. The Wood Sand I think may be an adult and is still around today ( 13th ) apparently. I'm heading down there now to see what else we've got!

Woodies on Lesvos 2015

Wood Sandpiper, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Wood sandpiper, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Wood Sandpiper, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Wood Sandpiper, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
The presence of Wood Sand here in Seaton reminded me that I had these shots from my Lesviot or (some would say) Lesbian Spring. My DSLR shots are better there because I can get closer to them. I don't have such a powerful lens so I phonescoped the BHM one as my mobile has greater zooming ability than my expensive camera! Of course, if I got a new laptop I might be able to crop my photos more which would improve many of my DSLR pix. No need for cropping here though - I had to back off to get these Woodies in the frame!                                                                               
Wood Sandpiper, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Wood Sandpiper, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Wood Sandpiper, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

New Waders In BHM 11th-12th August '15

Wood Sandpiper, BHM, 11/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Just as I was heading down to BHM yesterday I got a text from Phil saying we'd finally been delivered of a Wood Sand, plus a Turnstone. Both showed nicely from Island Hide as did Snipe, Sedge Warbler and Water Rail. No juvenile Rails that I've noticed yet even though last night I saw 3 adults, the others being from the 'Walters' mound and on the Estuary N of the tower. I had Greenshank on the estuary too...                                       
Greenshank, Seaton , Devon ( Copyright T D Wright )
Greenshank, Seaton, Devon ( Copyright T D Wright )
Greenshank, Seaton, Devon ( Copyright T D Wright )
Turnstone, Seaton, Devon ( Copyright T D Wright )
Turnstone, Seaton, Devon ( Copyright T D Wright )
These Turnstone pics are not of last night's bird but of our long-stayer from last year, by the way. It looks much the same, though!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Seaton Sightings 7th-10th August 2015

Green Sandpiper, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
Green Sandpiper, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
Green Sandpiper, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
Green Sandpiper, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
My personal maxima of Green Sands has been just two so far this Autumn, but Phil had four I think by hiking up to Coly Common hide so their numbers are getting to where we expect now. By contrast, we've had loads of Common Sands around for ages...                                                             
Common Sandpiper, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
Whimbrel & Curlew, Axe Estuary ( Copyright T D Wright )
Whimbrel & Curlew, Axe Estuary ( Copyright T D Wright )
Just a handful of Whimbrel but a massive number of Curlew, I counted 107 from Tower Hide alone on Sunday evening. New in are Snipe and a couple more Greenshank...                                                
Greenshank, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
Greenshank, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
We also have Dunlin and Ringed Plover...                                                                                           
Ringed Plover, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
Dunlin, BHM ( Copyright T D Wright )
And plenty of Redshank...                                                                                                                
Redshank, Seaton ( Copyright T D Wright )
Redshank, Seaton ( Copyright T D Wright )
We've also had a fall of warblers, Sylvia and Phylloscopus species mainly but I was suspicious that the Sedge Warblers around Stafford marsh were also migrants as we've not had many about lately. These ones were living up to their name for a change, liking the sedges by the insect walks.

Local Insect Sightings 7th & 10th August 2015

Meadow Brown female, Seaton Wetlands, 10/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Meadow Brown female with Flash! Oops! ( Copyright T D Wright )
So, why was my flash on? Well, I used it to photograph a moth in Colyton t'other night...                   
Old Lady, Colyton, 07/08/2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
This was the first Old Lady I've seen here. I checked it later and it pointed its abdomen up, revealing an orangey tip from which I presume it was releasing feromones. I noticed it had been joined by another later on and had got lucky, so we should be glad that our thinly spread population might be added to. Photos not great, but an interesting sighting for me as I'm not a moth-er, I just try to identify what I stumble across. I saw a couple of Emperor dragonflies at Stafford Marsh and there were still lots of Blue-tailed Damselflies. Also other blues which I think may have been Azure but not sure. Birds on next post.