Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Portugulling - Slender-billed (Stills)

Slender-billed Gull, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Slender-billed Gull, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I thought I may as well inflict my phonescoped stills upon you too. It's nice to have the comparison alongside Black-heads and Sarnies I think. I'm now dreaming of finding the same set of birds here in Devon...                                                                                                                                          
Slender-billed Gull, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Slender-billed Gull, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Very long-necked when they extend...                                                                                                 
Slender-billed Gull, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Slender--billed Gull, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Very long-legged for a 'small' gull as well. The leg-colour caught my eye too - I'd describe it as 'bubblicious' as opposed to Bonaparte's 'bubblegum'. Does anyone else remember this shade of gum?! 
Grey Plover, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Greenshank, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Couldn't resist all the waders nearby either. There were loads of Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, Sanderling and Dunlin. Also Grey Plovers and quite a few Tringas, like this Greenshank. Compliments of the Winter Solstice Season and a Birding New Year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Portugulling - Slender-billeds(Vids)

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Slender-billeds were also easy enough in the Ria Formosa. This area was great for waders too - but I enjoyed picking out SBs from the throng of Black-headeds, Mediterraneans and Sandwich Terns. These vids show you all of these but can you pick out the SBs in the bottom one? Stills on next post!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Portuguese Otter Revisited - DSLR stuff

Little Egret + Otter, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Otter, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Otter, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
It looked in my direction but wasn't bothered, going back to its fishing so long as I stayed put. Even the frisky cows didn't shift it...                                                                                                           
Otter-watching Crew, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
                                                
Otter, Egret & Cow-leg, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Then a flock of Spoonbills dropped in...                                                                                  
Spoonbills, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Spoonbills, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Spoonbills, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
12 of them! Superb... but they didn't stay long as they got flushed. Not by me though...                      
Spoonbills under Attack, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Spoonbills looking-out, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Evasive Action, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Spoonbills Scrambling, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I've got some video of them feeding before they left but that can wait for now. What a superb cowfield that was. Otter, Egret, Spoonbills and even Green + Common Sandpipers.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Colyton Gulling

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You know your car's not going very well when you're afraid to drive it from Colyton to Seaton in case it breaks down. This can result in time spent checking the gulls by Umborne Bridge. Species-wise, all I've seen there is Herring, LBB, BH & Common gulls. Behaviour can be quite interesting at times, they were all 'paddling' in the fields to bring up worms which always amuses me. A passing Peregrine failed to rouse them from their obsessive stomping. Fieldfares chack and Redwings seeeeeip but not much else to report from Colyton, although lots of finches & tits at the allotments plus woodpeckers was nice to see. Colyton came up trumps last December though with my Yellow-browed, so you never know...

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Cattle Egrets in Portugal

Cattle Egrets, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egrets, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egrets, Portugal, November 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egrets were very easy to see, both in the Algarve and in Alentejo. The 7 immediately above were part of a typical pseudo-steppe straggling of 20-odd in Alentejo. But even on my doorstep, in the suburbs of a golf resort, the top 2 pictures show how ubiquitous they were on my walks around my local Portuguese Patch. Just a stone's throw from the Swamp-hens! Below, I include some closer views I obtained near the Foz de Odeleite. It was quiet and peaceful up there and I was the only birder around. Loved it!                
Cattle Egret, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egret, Portugal, Oct. 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egret, Portugal, Oct. 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egret, Portugal, Oct. 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egret, Portugal, Oct. 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egret, Portugal, Oct. 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egret, Portugal, Oct. 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Cattle Egret, Portugal, Oct. 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Colyton/Seaton Walks

So far in December walks both in daylight and in the dark have produced 2 species of Owl, Chiffchaffs, Redwings & Fieldfares. Otherwise, lots of expected species of finch and tit. Treecreeper, Goldcrest and Sparrowhawk have been much in evidence too. I looked from Seaton seafront today but only Fulmar and Gannet caught my eye. Where are the seabirds these days? The estuary seemed quiet too. Never mind, things will pick up soon!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Swamp-hens by the roadside

Purple Swamp-hen, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright TDWright )
Purple Swamp-hen,Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Just a short walk from my accomodation I found a lake fringed by reeds. Lots of Coots, Moorhens and Cormorants liked it so I wondered if I'd get lucky and discover Purple Gallinule on my doorstep. Or Purple Swamp-hen - it's the same species but they seem to prefer the latter name now as it doesn't clash with the miniature version of itself from the New World I suppose. Anyway, I returned the next day and saw one over the far side. Brilliant! But the day after that was even better. I noticed one in the reeds right next to the road so got my camera out. Fantastically, as I was snapping it dodging the terrapins another joined it, allowing these pics. The reeds kept getting in the way of course but perseverance produced what are,for me, some decent shots. Hope you like 'em...                           
Purple Swamp-hen, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Purple Swamp-hen, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Purple Swamp-hen,Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Purple Swamp-hen, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Purple Swamp-hen, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Nice views of big toes and white undertail above.                                                                                         
Purple Swamp-hens, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Purple Swamp-hens, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Purple Swamp-hens, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Purple Swamp-hens, Portugal October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Crested Tits

Crested Tit, Portugal,October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Crested Tit, Portugal, October 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
These were the best I could manage of Cresteds but it was great to see them again having only seen them in Scotland before and not for 20 years. Strange that they're absent from England, Wales and Ireland. All these UK listers must have been relieved when the Scots voted NO last year, eh?!

Ducks in Flight

With the guns going off by the Axe today I got a chance to check the wildfowl. A fine drake Shoveler caught my eye. Apart from him it was what we'd expect; Wigeon,Teal,Mallard and Shelduck plus Blackwits, Curlew and lots of Lapwing. All I've managed gull-wise is adult Med by Tower hide this week. The Glossy is still about but no fresh news I'm afraid. Back to the Portuguese pics then!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

A Brief Visit To Somerset

Brambling ( Copyright T D Wright )

Somerset Signpost ( Copyright T D Wright )
Considering I don't live far from the border, it's surprising I don't visit Somerset more often. Especially since one can see Hawfinches and Bramblings if one knows where to go...                    

Hawfinch, Somerset Vid, ( Copyright T D Wright )
The signpost will enable you to work out where exactly I was, with the help of a large map and a compass.Just strike 3 arcs! Yes, I saw 30 GC Grebes on a nearby reservoir plus 9 Tufted Duck and 2 Gadwall. The finches were at a different site though; and on a previous visit. Not sure if they're still present but will check when I next get the chance...