Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Easter Titbits

Redpoll, Seaton Marshes, Good Friday '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
video
Whilst the weather was still benign I decided to get about on GF. I started with LRP on Bridge Marsh, where I also had a female Wheatear beside the Coly and a couple more Swallows. From Tower Hide I had a 2nd LRP on the estuary. At Seaton Marshes, this Redpoll plus the Ibis & GW Teal still remained. A couple of distant male Wheatears on Sheep's Marsh added some colour, as did a superb adult Med Gull from the hide.  On Easter Sunday I had to walk in the rain thanks to a puncture and no bike shops open but Cownhayne proved productive with 20 Sand Martins along the track running East from Cownhayne itself. Further down, the field next to Colyton Water Treatment Works yielded a White Wagtail among the Pieds. At the A3052 Axe bridge I then saw my first House Martin of 2016, albeit briefly. On Monday, I dodged the rain showers again but saw only greater numbers of Sand Martin & Swallow and little else. Not as exciting as Easter 2015 was, eh?                                                                                                  

Willow Emeralds & Cranes



Willow Emerald, Boyton Marshes, Suffolk, 03/10/2011 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Willow Emerald, Boyton, Suffolk 03/10/2011 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I hope the poor quality of these images is forgivable but I looked them up on my phone after seeing Steve Waite's Twitter feed beside his blog today.The insect world seems even more dynamic than that of birds sometimes.Fascinating stuff. The reason I was in Suffolk in October 2011 was slightly larger though...      
Sandhill Crane, Boyton, Suffolk, 03/10/11 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Sandhill Crane, Boyton, Suffolk 03/10/11 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Sandhill Crane, Boyton, Suffolk, 03/10/11 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Sandhill Crane, Boyton, Suffolk 03/10/11 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I have to say that Cranes are always good value. People have been asking me about the Demoiselle in Cumbria just now, but I saw one on Lesvos last year and there was one in Surrey when I still lived 'up country' so I don't think I'll be driving up the M5 & M6 any time soon! The British ones are usually considered to be escapes anyway; nevertheless, I'd enjoy an escaped D.C. if it pitched up here in Axe-land. Those 3 Common Cranes I had fly over Colyton last year were probably 'plastic' too - part of this re-introduction programme - yet they're still magnificent Cranes...

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Glossy in Flight

Redshank with American Green-winged Teal, Axe Estuary, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I managed to see the Ibis in the rain today but not the GW Teal. Yesterday, both were still present.
Glossy Ibis, Seaton Marshes, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Glossy Ibis, Seaton Marshes, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Glossy Ibis, Seaton Marshes, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )  

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

More migrants

video
video
Today, there was still one ( or maybe a new one? ) LRP on Bridge Marsh. Also a male Wheatear there. At ColyCom, Island & Tower hides nothing special. At Seaton Marshes the Ibis & GW Teal were both still about. Yesterday afternoon, I saw my first Swallow of the year over Borrow Pit. On Sunday, I had decent views of a tristis Chiffchaff there also, but not since. However, Spring is not just about migrants but also nest-building, so here's some phonescoped video of local Long-tailed Tits hard at it.                                                                                                           

Seaton Birthday Stuff

Little Ringed Plover, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Little Ringed Plover, Lesvos, April 2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Back on Patch I caught up with some locals on Saturday before heading off to 'celebrate' another birthday. I had the LRP on Bridge Marsh which Phil saw first, it was too far away for photos so here's some from last year's Spring which I've not posted before. I missed out on 3 Goldeneye though - the first ones visible from Tower hide for 6 years - because I'd headed off too early for some reason. All in all, not the best birthday I've ever had!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Pallas's Pics

Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I tried my best but my pics aren't as good as some. My excuse is that I'm a primitive Birder who started before the digital age and struggles to come to terms with it.                                                 
Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Portesham Pallas's, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
The Portesham Pallas's, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Portesham Pallas's, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Portesham at Last

Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Pallas's Warbler, Portesham, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I decided to go see the Pallas's after it had been present for 3 weeks as they are such superb birds. I've seen a couple on the Scillies in the past and I've seen them in all 3 East Anglian counties but they weren't as showy as this one. However, the one I saw at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire in November 1991 was probably the most exciting. What a day that was! A mate who'd been voluntary wardening for the RSPB at Dungeness all week decided to collect four of his friends from London on Friday evening and drive us to Staffordshire in his Ford Cortina. Why Staffordshire? Well, a Nutcracker had been visiting an orchard there so we joined the throng of 'Twitchers' at dawn on Saturday and were treated to excellent views of it. Not satisfied with that, we headed across country to Flamborough because there was a long-staying Desert Warbler at South Landing. Once again, we saw the bird very quickly and therefore had time to go round to the lighthouse area where a Pallas's was flittering about the cliff face. I got it in my scope and followed it, having only seen one at dusk in a Southend park up to that point in my life, and was in Pallas's heaven as it showed off its stripes, bars and rump to impressive effect. To cap it all off, one of our 'crew' heard what he was convinced was a Dusky Warbler calling from a patch of grass. We alerted the ringers who set their net at one end and flushed the bird into it. We were now treated to Dusky Warbler in the hand! A day to remember all right! I suppose this makes me guilty of having been a sometime twitcher but it's possible to be both Birder and occasional Twitcher I reckon. I just hope I'm not too much of a Gripper...

Monday, 14 March 2016

Resident Rail & Robin

Water Rail, Walters Mound, 11/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Walters Rail, Water Mound, 11/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Before the migrants start pouring in I thought I may as well post some nice pics (for me anyway) of a couple of our residents which have performed well for their public just lately. My first Water Rail pics (at last - hooray!) and a Robin that was very determined to be on NABB. He flew past me to perch again after I ignored him as if to say "Come on, get a load of this!" as he sang right into my earhole and posed for publicity shots. I gave in and 'papped' him good 'n' proper...                           
Robin, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Robin, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Robin, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Robin, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Water Rail, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
And back to the 'British' Rail again. If the migrants don't start arriving soon I've got more where this lot came from...

Colyton Siskins

Siskins, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Siskins, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I decided to avoid the weekend mayhem down in Seaton and have look around Colyton. Sidmouth Road Cemetery was disappointing but I decided to continue my walk along Burnards Field Road as there's some excellent habitat along the stream which passes under it. Then I heard the weeoo call of Siskin and then watched a fine male singing among 12 birds which were spread about the area. I think they are one of the most attractive finches so it was great to photograph them in Colyton, where I've only had fly-overs before...                                                                                                           
Siskin,Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Siskin,Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
As eye-catching as Pallas's with that bright rump. The smartest of the finches? Quite possibly...       
Siskin, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Siskin, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Siskin, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Even the females are pretty good...                                                                                                        
Siskin, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Siskin, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Siskin, Colyton, 12/03/16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
And a male again to finish off. No, that's not the same picture as one above; I took it one tenth of a second later...

Seaton Sheep ( non-migratory )

Black Sheep, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Black-faced Sheep, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
White Sheep, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Weird Sheep, Seaton, March '16 ( Copyright T D Wright )
I had a good look at Sheep's Marsh today hoping to see some migrant birds but all I got was sheep. The clue's in the name I suppose...

Rock Sparrows

Rock Sparrow, Alentejo, Portugal, Nov.2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Rock Sparrows, Portugal, Nov.2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )

Rock Sparrows, Portugal, Nov.2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Rock Sparrows, Portugal, Nov.2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Rock Sparrows, Portugal, Nov.2015 ( Copyright T D Wright )
Rock Sparrows were easy. I wasn't even worried about them as I saw them very well on Lesbos but in Alentejo I kept bumping into them. I've held these pictures back as my settings were incorrect and they came out very dark but hey, this is a blog not a photo gallery! "At least you can see what they are" is my catchphrase now. I couldn't shift my ground to get better light as they were in a fenced off area but my scope views were far superior to my photos so I was satisfied with what I saw.