Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Black Redstart

Black Redstart, Seaton, 30/11/16 (Copyright T D Wright)
Black Redstart,Seaton,30/11/16(Copyright T D Wright)
Black Redstart,Seaton,30/11/16(Copyright T D Wright)
I took a walk along the Chine today and just beyond the Hideaway(formerly Chine cafe) I saw this Black Redstart flitting about. Just the one so no stonking male but a chance to utilise my phonescoping skills. Why do they always turn their head away? The close-up shots were not intended to clip its wings and tail but at least they're in focus which is not easy to achieve when your scope has to be out of focus to rectify the discrepancy with your phone camera. I must return with my DSLR which I've not used for a month!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Frosty Throstles

Today was a Bank-shops-doctor's-pharmacy sort of day. Considering that, I actually saw quite a few birds. In Colyton Churchyard the Yews especially were alive with thrushes - Redwings, Mistles, Blackbirds and Songs (including some greyish 'continental' types). Sidmouth Road Cemetery added Blackcap to the list before a ride into Axminster produced the same throstly crew plus plenty of Goldcrests. Both town centres had lots of Greenfinch, Goldfinch & Chaffinch plus up to 4 Tit species. If the frost keeps up I'll be doing even more cemetery birding...

Freaky Fieldfare

Look out for a Fieldfare I saw along Cownhayne on Monday with white supercilia which meet at the back of its head like a Woodlark's! Presumably a case of partial albinism as often seen in Blackbirds.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Seaton Marshes 24/11/16

I walked around SM this afternoon and didn't see any phylloscs let alone the Dusky as the cold North wind was stronger than anticipated and hampered progress around Borrow Pit. In a sheltered spot by the car park there were several tits, finches and Blackbirds but nothing exciting. Sadly, the quartet of Great Spotted Woodpeckers that I've enjoyed around Borrow Pit & Merchants Lane lately seems to have been reduced to a trio as I found one moribund along the lane. From the hide I saw 4 Dunlin fly up the estuary but only the usual Wigeon, Teal, gulls etc otherwise. On my way back to the Underfleet a number of gulls had gathered in that corner of Sheep's Marsh and I managed an adult Mediterranean Gull which was as good as it got.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Colyton Stuff 19-22nd Nov.

With Cownhayne flooded and the A3052 closed I decided to look around Colyton the last few days. Lots of Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush & Redwing were nice to see and plenty of common birds about in the cemetery. The flooded areas along the Coly have had lots of gulls but nothing too exciting.

Seaton Stuff 22/11/16

The flooding subsided enough today for me to get to Bridge Marsh. I managed a pair of Gadwall and a Shoveler on the pool amongst the many Wigeon, Teal & Mallard. I then headed to Tower Hide where I saw another Gadwall on the temporary floods between BHM and SM. On the estuary the 2 Grey Plover were showing but other than that it was quiet out there. Most of the Canadas, Wigeon and Blackwits seemed to prefer those temporary floods. BHM was fairly quiet.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear, Nanjizal,Cornwall, Nov.2011(Copyright T D Wright)
I'm aware that there is currently a Desert Wheatear in Devon but I can't get the enthusiasm up to go and see it. Here's why. I saw my first UK DW in 1989 at Selsey Bill on a day out from Croydon in my first car which I'd recently purchased, having passed my driving test that year. Great day out as there was a Glaucous Gull there as well. This is the only DW I've ever 'twitched', yet I've seen several others since by chance. I was in Lincolnshire once when there happened to be one at Saltfleetby which was nice. Then, in 2011, I spent a few days in Cornwall and saw this cracking male at Nanjizal (pronounced Nan-jizz-al apparently) before returning to Dungeness where I was 'hanging out' at the time. My first morning back at Dunge, guess what? Yes, that's right. Another DW! This wasn't a male though so I told the Assistant Warden he'd have to do better. Only kidding though - it was very confiding and great to see yet another. Oh, maybe I'll give the Thurlestone one a visit if it stays long enough. I'm just 'playing it cool' again!                     
Desert Wheatear, Dungeness, Nov. 2011(Copyright T D Wright)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Seaton Stuff 17/11/16

Just had an enjoyable couple of hours' birding with IM. From Tower hide we saw the 2 Grey Plover plus an adult Med.Gull . From the A3052 the Brent Goose was still on Bridge Marsh. Nothing remarkable otherwise but plenty of usual gulls,ducks & waders about.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Seaton Sightings 9-15th Nov.

A single Golden Plover was hiding among the Lapwing on Friday on BHM and was still present today (Tuesday) as was the Brent Goose on Bridge Marsh. The Little Stint was still on BHM on Sunday. A drake Pintail was on Bridge Marsh pool on Saturday as was the Brent Goose which had visited Seaton Marshes and the estuary on Thursday. Several Blackcaps were around Seaton Marshes on Monday (all males) also male Bullfinch; and adult Mediterranean Gull on the estuary seen from Tower today also. Maximum Dunlin count was 9 on Saturday. Last Weds.(9th) Colyton's Sidmouth Road Cemetery held 4 Mistle Thrush and 2 Redwings. 
Golden Plover, BHM, 15/11/16 (Copyright T D Wright)

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Elusive Spoonbills

Spoonbill, Portugal, 2015 (Copyright T D Wright)
This is a Spoonbill. We've had 2 in the last 6 days visit BHM and the Axe. For some reason, they're proving very elusive for yours truly. I missed Thursday's because I had been and gone already and wasn't limping back for it. Today, however, the 2nd bird came & went before I arrived. After Tower Hide I even went up to Coly Common Hide from which I saw 2 Grey Plover on the scrape and a Brent Goose still with the Canadas. Plenty of Stonechat about today even along track to Tower hide. Where's that Siberian? Also lots of Chiffs & Crests at Colyton WTW so Firecrest soon I hope...

Monday, 7 November 2016

Deja Vu Birding Part One

I keep seeing the same things locally. (After my last post I went to see a doctor and the Anti-inflammatories have made me less sedentary). Lots of Chiffs & Goldcrests, lots of Mipits & Linnets & Stonechats along Cownhayne Lane. From Tower Hide, the Little Stint, Grey Plovers and Dunlin plus Snipe and another jacking Jack Snipe were all great but I'd like something new please. The diving ducks were absent from Borrow Pit Sunday p.m. and SM was disappointing generally. A walk along the Chine today did produce Blackcap but nothing else except Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Tits, Finches...

Butterflies Extra

Clouded Yellow, Extremadura, June 2016 (Copyright T D Wright)
Queen of Spain Fritillary, Extremadura, June 2016 (Copyright T D Wright)
Queen of Spain Fritillary, Extremadura, June 2016 (Copyright T D Wright)
I've finally gotten round to posting the rest of my Spanish haul for all you butterfly fans. I think the Clouded Yellow is the same one we get but there are some close relatives to it present in Spain I believe.Sorry the Lang's S.T.B. picture isn't better but it flew off...
Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Extremadura, May 2016 (Copyright T D Wright)

Thursday, 3 November 2016


It always feels like a juicy bonus to get good birds in November with so little daylight to look for them in. For me especially just now it's difficult getting about as I'm suffering back and abdominal pain caused by whacking into a sunken drain whilst cycling - Ouch! But today I just had to visit Borrow Pit to see my first patch Pochard in 5 years of intense birding around Seaton. I vaguely remember seeing one back in the 1990s when visiting the area but that wasn't the same as today's as this wasn't my patch back then. Steve Waite must have creamed his coffee when he stumbled upon it this morning! Also, Ian had a McSpoonbill from Tower Hide today. All I've managed is to notice Mistle Thrushes and Grey Wagtails much in evidence in Colyton Churchyard and Seaton Marshes (St. Leonard's? St. Michael's?) Churchyard which seemed quite a coincidence. At Seafield Gardens just now there was no sign of any Black Redstarts although Bun had 3 there earlier in the week. I'm now planning to look for Firecrest at various local haunts - if I can still manage to walk...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Quick Gander

I popped down to Tower Hide late on but all that was there was this lonely goose...
Lone Goose, Seaton, 01/11/16 ( Copyright T D Wright)

Eastern Black Redstarts

Eastern Black Redstart, Kent, 2011 (Copyright T D Wright)
Eastern Black Redstart, Kent, 2011(Copyright T D Wright)
Eastern Black Redstart, Kent, 2011(Copyright T D Wright)
Eastern Black Redstart, Kent, 2011 (Copyright T D Wright)
With so many E.B.R.s in the country this Autumn we must have a chance of one of these in the SW. I saw this one near Margate in November 2011 (if memory serves me well) and the beach/cliffs it was frequenting reminded me of Seaton Hole or Beer Beach! Wouldn't that be nice...Anyhow, I looked at Seaton Marshes yesterday and had Blackcap, Chiffchaff & Goldcrest plus I heard a single call which I think was a YBW. Not much from hide although apparently further up the estuary there was an Arctic Skua from Tower which is extraordinary. Poor thing was not in great shape by all accounts and was taken into care so not a happy ending (and not seen by me). Hope it gets set free soon...

Yellow-browed Pix

Yellow-browed Warbler, Dungeness, Oct. 2011 (Copyright T D Wright)
Yellow-browed Warbler, Dungeness, Oct. 2011 (Copyright T D Wright)
I'm sad to say I failed to photograph Friday's YBW. It was seen by others on Saturday & Sunday but frustrated a lot of people as it was in dense foliage a lot of the time. Here's a couple of pix I took a few years back just to break up the text! I also failed to photograph a Black Redstart which was being hassled by Pied Wagtails along Church Street, Colyton on Saturday. I last saw it on the roof of the Town Hall...