Thursday, 29 June 2017

Fresh Birding

Freshly Stuffed Great Black-headed Gull, Exeter, June '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Stuffed Bufflehead, Exeter, June '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Pickings are sparse in birding terms when I'm in Exeter. Rougemont gardens provided me with excellent views of juvenile Goldcrests and the Peregrines sometimes put on a show. Apart from that, the odd LBBG breaks up the monotony of Herring Gull activity. And there's some tits & finches in Rougemont too. But that's about it unless you've got time to wander further afield. However, the RAMM is worth a look - especially if it's raining - and it's fun to ponder the extraordinary birds which have turned up here in the past. Back home in the evenings, I've lost the Dippers since they fledged. I'm still seeing lots of Grey Wagtails (good numbers of juvs.) on the Coly & Umborne brook plus Kingfishers and even 2 juvenile Green Woodpeckers in these dead trees so it's nice that so many species have fledged this year...                                                                                                               
Woodpecker trees, Colyton, June '17(Copyright T D Wright)
I've also had a few Ringlet butterflies and spotted Tawny Owl and Little Owl at dusk. There's plenty of Swift & Hirundine activity over Colyton which is conspicuous by its absence in central Exeter. If only I could find time to get back down to those Seaton Wetlands!                                                
Colyton from the West, June '17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Colyton at Dusk, June '17 (Copyright T D Wright)

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Demoiselles Galore

Banded Demoiselle, Colyton, 11/06/2017(Copyright T D Wright)
Last weekend I took a couple of walks along different stretches of the Coly and found a hotspot for Beautiful Demoiselles on Saturday with 8 or more performing for my binoculars only. On Sunday, I took my camera so when I came across my first Banded Demoiselle of the year I grabbed a few pictures before it flew off. On the bird front, the Grey Wagtails have fledged at least 4, possibly 5  young, but I struggled to get close enough for a good photo and decided to leave them alone after this one:-                                                       
Grey Wagtail, Colyton, 11/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
There were also lots of hirundines about, especially Sand Martins...          
Sand Martin, Colyton, 11/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Sorry that's all I've got but time has been limited lately. I did see a Green Woodpecker from the train and Peregrines over Exeter but no visits to the wetlands for a week or more now. VV Busy!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Estuarine Birds

Just when you think that it's not worth visiting Tower hide because it's June you suddenly get a surprise. I was delighted to spot 2 trios of ducks which qualify as 'goodies' (well, semi-goodies?) on the Axe. Firstly, 3 Gadwall swam past upriver. Nice. Then, I spotted a 1stSummer Med Gull flying down the estuary which landed just beyond 3 sawbills - which I think were all juvenile Goosander. (Bold, Italic & Underline all in one sentence; these IT lessons are paying off!) Anyhow, here's some video of the ducks plus a couple of snaps.                
Goosanders, Axe estuary, 04/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Gadwall, Axe estuary, 04/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)
Spot-the-barn-Owl, BHM, 04/06/17 (Copyright T D Wright)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Riverine Birds

Dipper fledgling, undisclosed site nr. Colyton, Devon 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Wagtail male, undisclosed site nr. Colyton, Devon 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Wagtail (shame about ring!) Colyton area, Devon 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
I got the old DSLR out of mothballs on Bank Holiday Monday and walked a couple of local Public Footpaths which often have wildlife close enough to photograph. I started with insects but then found a spot where these Grey Wags. were coming & going. I kept still and quiet so they weren't bothered by me. (Especially when you consider that this path is popular with dogwalkers. Some of those hounds hit the water so hard it sounds like a whale breaching!). A couple of Kingfisher flyovers were followed by one briefly perching on the rock that the wagtails seemed to like. Before I could swing my camera up however, an adult Dipper replaced the blue streak so I got some shots of that instead. Later, I came across a youngster from the nearby nest which was fantastic. We may not have had a great Spring for rarities & migrants here but it's great to see some scarce breeding birds doing so well.                                                               
Dipper (ringed again! They don't miss much round here, do they?), Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Grey Wagtail, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Dipper, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Recently fledged Dipper, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
Fledgling Dipper, Colyton area, 29/05/2017 (Copyright T D Wright)
It was getting dark by now but I like this wing-stretching shot even though it's blurry...