Saturday, 29 April 2017

Barwit Thursday

An evening visit to Tower hide on Thursday produced a new Bar-tailed Godwit with just 2 Blackwit. At least 6 Whimbrel were visible but IM had 15 at Stedcombe earlier in the day! Common Sandpiper & Dunlin both numbered 2 and the Greenshank was still present.On the way home, I managed to catch the Little Owls mating again which bodes well for the summer plus I caught a glimpse of one of the Tawny Owls which have been very vocal around Colyton. A Dipper also afforded brief flight views on the Coly as did the 7 Cattle Egrets the previous evening. Hirundines have been more numerous although 90% of them seem to be Swallows. Finally, a very brief visit to Seaton Marshes Friday afternoon yielded 3 Common Sandpiper from the hide. If you like Blackcaps we've got plenty of those!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Lesser Whitethroats

I joined Ian MacLean for a look at Axe Cliff at 8am this morning and although 'Bun' had already told us that Beer Head was very quiet we didn't do too badly. Two Lesser Whitethroat were singing simultaneously from the coast path and several Common Whitethroat were also singing. Blackcap & Chiffchaff were singing constantly and a Yellowhammer also gave us a brief flurry. A Wall Brown posed in the morning Sun, my first of the year. We also noticed a decent number of Sand Martin over the Axe from Farm Gate. Let's hope the Northerly wind today has the same effect on the valley as it did last year...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Greenshank, Etc.

Tuesday evening I was pleased to see a Whinchat and 7 Wheatear in the ploughed field along Cownhayne lane at dusk. On Wednesday they were absent. At BHM it was fairly quiet but a Greenshank flew up the river. Also Common Sandpiper. On BHM a female Wheatear spent some time on an island whilst 6 Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover loitered at low tide. At Seaton Marshes a couple of House Martin showed well and there were more over the town. A lone Common Scoter was diving beyond a cluster of Shelduck off Fisherman's Gap. And that's about it.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Cattle Egret Update!

Cattle Egret, Colyton, April 2017(Copyright T D Wright)
Only a phonescoped shot as it's impossible to get close enough for a DSLR photo. Having seen 7 Cattle Egret from Tower Hide on Good Friday I thought I'd check their Colyton haunts as people had expressed concern that they'd left us. Pleased to say all 7 were about Easter Sunday but using different areas to feed as there are now more cows outside plus the growing/insect season is now getting going. (Apparently they like grasshoppers). Yesterday (B.H. Monday) I decided to avoid the crowds on Coly Common watching the Whinchat and 20 Wheatears (as per I.McLean) and head down to Seaton Marshes. I had 3 Common Sandpipers in the channel from the hide plus 4 Wheatear (2 rusty roller, 2 by lagoon). There were also 3 Sedge Warbler there. Whimbrel were still about, the most I've seen is 4. Reed Warblers are also in along track to Tower hide. This morning (18th) IMc finally got some reward up Beer Head with Pied Flycatcher and several Redstart. At last - but too late for Easter!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

More Cattle Egrets

The Saga continues! At 17:55 (approx.) I picked up a flock of 7 egrets flying down the valley from Tower hide. As they got closer, I realised that they all had yellow bills. No sign of a black, long-billed Little in there. They gained height over Axmouth and disappeared behind some trees as they headed for the high ground of Axe Cliff/Dowlands area. Wonder if that's the last of them; or, maybe they were 7 from somewhere else? Anyway, 4 Whimbrel then flew up the estuary. Perhaps 3 of them were the same ones I'd seen earlier from Seaton Marshes hide. I also saw 2 Common Sands on BHM plus at least 8 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. Along Cownhayne I saw 2 Wheatear on the ploughed field fence at lunchtime, then at dusk I found a massive flock of hirundines around Colyton WWTW. About 50 Swallow and 6 Sand Martin but no House that I could see. Does this constitute a Good Friday? Perhaps Could-be-worse Friday is more apt.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sandwich Terns

Just a quick update to say that 2 Sandwich Terns were feeding close in off WestWalk at lunchtime today. Also 2 Swallows flew over the bowling club. Last evening, I had 2 Wheatears in the ploughed field along Cownhayne Lane plus a single Greylag on Bridge Marsh at dusk. Here's a picture of me feeling the worse for wear this morning after yesterday's cycling acrobatics...                      
Nasal Roadrash, 13/04/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
As you can see, I landed on my face. Not a pretty sight but couldn't resist sharing this with you all. Back to the bird pics next time.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Spoonbills & stuff

Wheatear, Seaton Marshes, April 2017(Copyright T D Wright)
Wheatear,Seaton Marshes, April 2017(Copyright T D Wright)
The rusty roller/trailer has been a good Wheatear perch for many years now. Since I last posted I've had several new migrants for the year but couldn't waste limited computing time blogging them all. I usually message people to get any news out so blogging seems superfluous sometimes. I've got Swallows over Colyton now plus all 6 Cattle Egrets at Road Green Farm. I've seen and heard my first 2 Whimbrel of the Spring (estuary/ColyCommon) and am hearing Willow Warbler song at various locations. Tuesday evening I paid a late visit to BHM and was stunned to look through the screen and see 2 Spoonbill feeding there. I moved to the Island hide to find that others were already watching/photographing them. My camera was with me so I tried a couple of shots...             
Spoonbills, BHM, 11/04/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Spoonbills, BHM, 11/04/17(Copyright T D Wright)
A Pintail was on BHM as was the Knot but darkness was approaching so that's all  I managed to see. Today, I just had a personal disaster by crashing my bicycle and damaging myself but - far worse - damaging my scope & tripod! I've a horrible feeling they can't be repaired so I'm looking for a cheap/ 2nd Hand tripod and a genius who can fix a Kowa telescope when it's been broken in two! Any suggestions?

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Waders About

Greenshank, BHM, 07/04/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
L.R.P., BHM, 06/04/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Little Ringed Plover, BHM, 06/04/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
A late visit to BHM on Thursday saw a new LRP by Island hide. Looking North, I saw another 2 at the same time showing their bright yellow eye-rings off so at least 3. On Friday, all 3 were missing but 2 Ringed Plover had replaced them. Also fresh-in were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, one in near summer plumage. The Greenshank and Knot were still present, and a pair of Peregrines skimmed the top of Tower hide to entertain us. I forgot to mention on my last post that I had 2 Common Sandpiper together from SM hide on Wednesday.So, lots of waders now that BHM has some mud exposed but not a hirundine to be seen the last 2 evenings.That will change soon...

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Another Quickie

I'm in Axminster today but amazingly was stopped in my tracks at Lyme Close by that old friend, the song of your actual Willow Warbler mate. Spring is great!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Wheatear at last!

Thanks to IM for providing the wheels to get me up Beer Head at 8:30 this morning. The Northerly 'wind' I spoke of yesterday was more of a gentle zephyr so no major fall of birds. For Beer head, the date is just ever-so-slightly early too. Even though one can see Portland from it the birds making landfall there rarely visit us. I think Sunday onwards ought to produce more variety. Having said all that, I did see a single Wheatear which Ian picked up as I unpacked my scope so I pointed it at the 'Bird on a Wire' as it afforded us prolonged views with the Sun behind us. It was all downhill from there - or possibly slightly undulating - as we noted a dearth of phylloscs or hirundines. We did see and hear about 8 Blackcaps and enjoyed several Stonechat and other resident birds, plus some friendly dogs. It will all happen soon, Igor, soon...

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Borrowed Egrets

Pintails, BHM, 30/03/17(Copyright T D Wright)
Pintails, BHM, 30/03/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Managed to get all 4 drake Pintails in one frame before they left. Had to share that with somebody. After I'd already posted yesterday I walked around Borrow Pit and, at 5pm, saw 3 Cattle Egrets fly over toward the estuary. I know people are getting bored with hearing about them but it was just the location that made this interesting. I know they've been roosting at this site but dusk is now at 8pm. I'm expecting them to be gone quite soon...unless they decide to breed! Today I popped down to BHM at lunchtime which now has more mud exposed. All I could see however were the Knot, Grey Plover and the usual Blackwits & Redshanks. The wind here is now Northerly though, so tonight or tomorrow I'm expecting a migrant or two.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Colyton Update

Just when I thought they might have dispersed I checked Colcombe farm (viewed from public footpath) and counted 5 Cattle Egrets along with 12 Littles at 3pm Sunday afternoon. So they're still around, as are Little Owl and Dipper whose precise location I shan't blog.