Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Ruff Weather

      All I could manage again last week was a Sunday afternoon visit to Tower Hide and Coly Common. It was worth it though as I had a Ruff on BHM amongst the Redshanks and Phil spotted another from Coly Hide. Both were female sized and probably both juveniles. Greenshanks were visible from both hides too. Singles of Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper were on the estuary and BHM respectively so not bad for the dying days of September.
     October looks like being a busy month for me so I'm not sure if I can fit birding in at all. I will be back at some point though...

Monday, 23 September 2019

Rare Update

     Finally managed a brief visit to BHM Sunday afternoon and was surprised by the numbers of birds present. A Curlew Sandpiper was visible near the walkway and a Barwit was viewable (with a scope) from Island Hide. Two juvenile female Ruff were on the estuary then flew to BHM also. A Green Sandpiper was there too.
      From Tower Hide, a lone Common Sandpiper flew upriver past a single Greenshank . Best bird of all was a juvenile/female Pintail asleep in front of the hide. It took off and seemed to land on Coly Marsh. Plenty of blackberries and apples to scrump along the cycle route on the way home too!

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Barn Owl in the Headlights

       I had to work all day Sunday and didn't get home until midnight so no wetlands birding for me unfortunately. The best I could do was lots of House Martins over Colyton area in the morning then a Barn Owl perched on a post in the headlights of my chauffeur's car* just to the NW of Colyton. Finding time for birds is tricky just now but I hope to report from the wetlands again soon.

*Thanks for the lift, Matt!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Spotted Flycatcher & Whinchat

      A lunchtime visit to BHM produced no new waders on Wednesday. Ruff, Knot, Barwit & Greenshank singles were still about. The best bird from Tower Hide was a Whinchat amongst the Stonechats on the estuary islands. At Colyford Common (well, the cycle path) on the way through a small group of passerines contained a Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap (female), Bullfinch(juv) and several phylloscs. It was good to see Chris of South Devon Birds & Wildlife paying us a visit but unfortunately the Osprey was not showing during either of our birding 'windows'. Apparently at least one of the 2 is still present this morning as MB told me he saw one about.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Knot: A Record

Wood Sandpiper,BHM,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Wood Sandpiper,BHM, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Little Stint with Dunlin, BHM, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Curlew Sandpipers plus Dunlin, BHM, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Knot, BHM, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
The flow of waders kept on coming over the weekend when this solitary Knot was joined by a flock of 8 on Black Hole Marsh. I don't recall ever having 9 here before so I think that's a record! Many of the species mentioned in the last couple of posts were also still around, and I was impressed with the small scrape at Coly Common which held 5 very vocal Green Sandpipers. The main scrape there had 2 Whimbrel amongst the Curlews. Wheatears & Yellow Wagtails are about, as was a single Whinchat between BHM and Seaton Marshes one evening. A lone Ruff arrived after the trio had departed.
     On the insect front, at least one Long-tailed Blue was still present on the everlasting pea (sea pea?) by the rivermouth on Monday at 16:00. Over & Out!

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Little Barwit & Stint

          The flow of birds continues! Brendan Shiels had a Little Stint on BHM on Friday which I checked out in the evening. An adult bird as opposed to the juveniles we usually seem to get more of. Scanning the Blackwit flock for the 3 missing Ruff I stumbled upon a Barwit, a very diminutive looking individual dwarfed by the Blackwits beside it! And so the wader list continues to rise. Several of Thursday's birds still present; 3 Curlew Sands & a Knot.
          At Coly Common a lone Whimbrel again among the Curlew. Also Yellow Wagtail distantly, on Bridge Marsh with the cattle.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Fresh Waders

      Just a quick update as last evening I popped down to BHM and Coly Common to find that Phil Abbot had discovered some new migrant waders on BHM ahead of me. A moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper was flanked by 2 juveniles and 3 Ruff were also fresh in. Whilst scoping them I stumbled across a juvenile Knot too. Two Greenshanks and a Green Sandpiper plus the usual suspects were also present.
      At Coly Common 2 Yellow Wagtails were my first of the Autumn and at least one Wheatear was about. Another Green Sand joined the Curlews on the scrape but not too much from the hide.
      Apparently the Osprey is still about too! That's all for now though.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

August Bank Holiday 2019

Painted Lady,Axmouth, 25/08/19 (Copyright T D Wright)
Wood Sandpiper, BHM, 26/08/19 (Copyright T D Wright)
     Well we always seem to get something of interest over the August Bank Holiday weekend and this year was true to form once again. The most extraordinary find was a new species of butterfly for Seaton & Axmouth. Long-tailed Blues have been hoped & looked for here for many years (especially by KW I'm told) but it was an anonymous visitor that struck lepidopteran gold and enabled Lloyd Evans to astound us all with news of 2-4 individuals on our Sea Pea by the mouth of the Axe. This coincides with a large arrival of this species along the Channel coast, with no less than 17 being recorded in Sussex. Also present were Clouded Yellows & Painted Ladies carried in by the warm cross-channel winds.
     As far as birds are concerned, the lingering juvenile Osprey entertained us all at various points; the Marsh Harriers & 3 species of falcon provided the supporting cast of raptors. Best waders were 3 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Greenshank, 7 Ringed Plover and Whimbrel plus the usual Dunlin, Blackwits and Redshanks in large numbers. Snipe have certainly become more visible as one would expect at this time of year. At Colyford Common 2 Wheatears were possibly in addition to ones seen on the estuary and BHM on separate days. I won't include birds I didn't see myself but there were reports of several local scarcities as well.It seems that a good time was had by all!
Wood Sand, Dunlin & Ringed Plover, BHM, 26/08/19(Copyright T D Wright)
Long-tailed Blue, Axmouth, 25/08/19 (Copyright T D Wright)
Osprey, Axmouth, 25/08/19 (Copyright T D Wright)

Wheatear, Colyford Common, 26/08/19 (Copyright T D Wright)

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Gratuitous Long-tailed Tit Pics

Long-tailed Tit, Colyton, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Long-tailed Tit, Colyton, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
A close encounter with what would be our smallest bird if it wasn't for the outrageously long tail is always a joy. On this occasion, however, I actually had the camera handy. So I couldn't resist giving you all some zoomed-in birding porn to savour. Hope there's no offence caused!
Long-tailed Tit, Colyton, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
There were at least 8 of them and they chased away the Painted Ladies, Small Tortoiseshells and Large Whites from this Buddleia bush. Or ate them?!

Marsh Harriers & Waders

Unorthodox Marsh Harrier shot, Coly Common, 15/08/19 (Copyright T D Wright)
Marsh Harrier, Coly Common, 15/08/19 (Copyright T D Wright)
Not the best pictures of them but it was terrific last Thursday to be watching a Marsh Harrier from CC hide and have another fly behind it through my bins. On the scrape there was still a Turnstone, 2 Green Sands, many Dunlin & Ringed Plover plus a Whimbrel amongst the Curlews. Kingfisher & Barn Owl on the reserve. Peregrine on the marsh flushed everything too! Greenshanks were all at BHM. End communication.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Barn Owl versus Crow

Barn Owl, Seaton Wetlands, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Barn Owl versus Carrion Crow, Seaton Wetlands, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Excellent display from the Barn Owl on Sunday,which evaded this corvid attack to continue hunting the area between BHM and Seaton Marshes...
Barn Owl, Seaton Wetlands, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Barn Owl,Seaton Wetlands,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

Greenshank & LRP:Recent Photographs

Greenshank, BHM, August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Greenshank,BHM,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Greenshank,BHM,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Greenshank,BHM,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Greenshank,BHM,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Greenshank,BHM,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Little Ringed Plover,BHM,August 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

Monday, 12 August 2019

Tower Hide Rules

       Haven't got time for photos but Sunday evening in the Tower was excellent. The chiff-iff-iff of a Wood Sandpiper interrupted the chew-chews and the bird showed itself amongst the Greenshanks & Redshanks on the estuary late on. Before that, 3 Turnstones were present but flew toward the Tramsheds area. Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl & Kingfisher all showed nicely as did several Kestrels.
       Dunlin & Ringed Plover numbers have increased, with groups on the estuary, BHM and further up the valley as a flock of 7 Ringos came flying past Tower having emanated from Coly or Bridge Marsh. Common Sandpiper numbers remain in double figures. A probable juvenile YL Gull was out on the estuary too. Should've photographed it really! Some pictures next time or I'll lose my blog audience, won't I?!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Tower hide update

       Just managed to cycle to Tower Hide yesterday evening and was directed onto 2 Ringed Plovers by Miss Yallop. I noticed 2, possibly 3 Greenshanks by myself and counted 26 Dunlin on the estuary. The Wigeon and Greylag Goose were still there but otherwise the birds were as you'd expect at this time of year. Except that there were no waders on Black Hole Marsh! When will our Autumn get as interesting as that of other South West birding hotspots? Soon please!

Monday, 5 August 2019

August Update

    Apologies for lack of news lately but other things have got in the way of my blogging. On Saturday 3rd August I managed a brief visit to BHM and noted one LRP (juv.) and several Common Sands. From Tower hide I added Greenshank, 5 more Common Sands and an eclipse male Wigeon.
    Apparently a Spoonbill was seen by Mike Blaver earlier in the day but no further sightings. That's all for now but we'll get a nice arrival of birds soon I expect. Ospreys have been reported and passerines have started to move. Now for the waders...

Monday, 8 July 2019

Autumn is With Us

Just a quick update as I finally got to Tower Hide last night after the football. There was only one Common Sandpiper on BHM but 9 more on the estuary took us into double figures for the first time this 'Autumn' (so far as I know). Amongst them was a lone Dunlin and a single Greenshank was lurking amongst 25 Redshanks. Plenty of Blackwits and several Curlew now so return passage is really getting going. I heard a Whimbrel call but didn't see it. More to come over the next couple of months no doubt...

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Colyton White-legged Damselfly

White-legged Damselfly, Colyton 22/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

White-legged Damselflies

White-legged Damselfly, Colyton 22/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
WL Damselfly, Colyton, 22/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
I've often wondered if I was missing a trick locally as all these blue damselflies seem a bit tricky to me. I also thought that White-legged Damselflies only occurred on the Axe. This year however I finally looked at a photograph and thought I saw enough to seek confirmation from the 'Insect Nation' (apologies to Bill Bailey). Unfortunately I can't zoom these pictures up as much as I can on Twitter which is a shame. The close-ups revealed a thorax pattern very like WLD and some big fat hindlegs too. The Richard Lewington illustrations seem to be less strikingly blue though and even show greenish tones so I put it out there on Twitter and waited with baited breath for comments. To my great delight several accomplished entomologists immediately said WLD and I knew I'd got a Coly tick and evidence of breeding on my 'home' river. What a fantastic surprise!
White-legged Damselflies mating?, Colyton 22/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Dipper Encore

Dipper, Colyton area, May/June 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Hidden Dipper! (Geddit?) Colyton area, May 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Couldn't resist posting some more Dipperpix. They really have been fantastic this year. Long may that continue!
Dippers, Colyton area May/June 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Bee Orchids Plus

Orchid sp?, Seaton area, 12/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
I've put the above picture straight on the blog even though I don't know what species it is yet! If anyone wants to save me looking it up please leave a comment!
     Anyhow, I checked out a local Bee Orchid site and wasn't disappointed...
Bee Orchid, Seaton area 12/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Bee Orchids Plus Various!, Seaton area 12/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Thanks to Fran Sinclair for the information leading me to the site. I got more than I bargained for, including some fly-over Canada Geese. Here's 2 more pics of that first specimen...
Species TBC, Seaton area 12/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Species TBC, Seaton area, 12/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis, Axe Estuary, 08/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Glossy Ibis, Axe Estuary, 08/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Thanks to Mike Blaver for messaging me that there was a Glossy Ibis about. It seemed to have gone when I arrived at Tower Hide but I made do with 2 Dunlin, Lapwing and Whimbrel plus lots of superb hirundines. Fortunately Clive turned up and kept me talking long enough to see the Ibis fly back in. It then walked right in front of the hide (feeding voraciously) before treating us to a flying display. Superb! Thanks also to Kevin Hale for later messages.
Swallow, BHM 08/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

Sedge Warbler, BHM 08/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Swallow, BHM 08/06/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Quiet Weekend

Quick update to mention that the wetlands were relatively quiet at the weekend. A lone Whimbrel on Sunday from Tower hide was best bird. A single Lapwing also remained as did 5 Dunlin. I took some photographs of cygnets though so may post them if nothing much happens with late migrants and suchlike...

Tuesday, 28 May 2019


Dipper, Colyton 27/05/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Dipper, Colyton 02/05/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Bumping into a Dipper by Umbridge yesterday caused me to blog again with pictures attached! Sorry the blog's been text-only for a while but time has been limited for downloading photographs. Anyway, the Dippers fledged at least 2 chicks as I saw them at various points along the Coly being fed by the adults earlier this month. Hope you like the pics of them.
      Since my last post I have visited Coly Common which was worth doing as 8 Ringed Plovers and a Wheatear were on the scrape. At BHM a Goosander was briefly present but disappeared when I looked away so I don't know where it ended up! Anyhow, the Dippers...
Dipper, Colyton 27/05/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Mediterranean Gull 2ndSummer, BHM, Spring 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Dipper, Colyton 02/05/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Dunlin & Ringed Plovers, BHM, 22/05/2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Goosander, BHM May 2019 (Copyright T D Wright)
Thought I'd throw in some recent pics while I'm at it! Enjoy...