Tuesday, 31 July 2018

ColyCom Addendum

Just to bring this blog bang up to date the Spotshank was still present last evening as were 2 Greenshank and 2 Green Sands on BHM. A massive turnout at BHM of birders and toggers flushed me out of Island Hide and I checked in to Coly Common hide where I've been monitoring the return of water to the recently parched scrape. My scant reward was one Whimbrel among the 78 Curlew, 2 Teal, 4 Lapwing and 3 Oystercatcher. However, I still believe that CC hide will strike back before the returning Sun forces us all to concentrate on BHM again. Watch this space...

Seaton Stuff

Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 28/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Spotted Redshank, BHM, 29/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Peregrine, Axe Estuary,29/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Barn Owl,BHM, 29/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Apart from a distant calidrid spotted by Ian McLean on the estuary which wouldn't come close to Tower hide but looked like a Sanderling to me, the best birds were the same gaggle as recently over the weekend. The predators put the throng into the air but when they settled it was still the YL Gulls, Spotted Redshank, Greenshanks and Green Sands that caught the eye. Dunlin & Common Sand have remained plentiful, and Med Gulls are still about ( I had a nice assortment of plumages off Spot On). Numbers of House Martin were very high at Colyford Common, Stafford Marsh, Black Hole and Seaton Marshes; also along the beach! So a bit of movement took place but numbers of Sand Martin and Swallow remained low by comparison. Plenty of Swifts about though. Once August arrives tomorrow we'll be expecting a gradual increase in wader species. I hope we don't get another rarity this year as the throng of twitchers tends to fill all the hides up. Just kidding!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

More waders & gulls

Yellow-legged Gull, Axe estuary, July '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Since my last post I've shared a YL Gull with Corkhead which he shared on Twitter and the response was again positive from the Devon Gulling Luminaries so that cheered me up. I failed to see the Curlew Sandpiper that was reported but was compensated with 2 Green Sandpipers instead. Ian Waite spotted a summer plumaged Knot on BHM which performed nicely last evening. We also had at least 22 Dunlin and 11 Common Sandpipers. This morning Clive had a Spotted Redshank too so the wader tally is doing OK for July. On the gull front, another Common Gull - an adult this time - was a nice addition to the flock of 200+ BHG which still contained at least 2 juv. Mediterranean Gull. Unfortunately I had to travel inland today for an important appointment so missed the SpotRed and also the Risso's Dolphins.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Yellow-legged Weekend

Yellow-legged Gull with GBB & Herring Gulls 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Presumed Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Stafford Marsh, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
A few interesting birds about this weekend but the insects too are performing well with lots of damselfly species keeping the Emperors well-fed! These Small Red-eyeds were more abundant than ever. A nice Wood Sandpiper found by Clive was distant but very welcome what with the lack of Greens just lately. Plenty of Commons and more Dunlin about plus the odd Whimbrel. On the gull front, we've had several Meds and a lone Common plus a brief YLG juv. which I had from Tower hide on Saturday but which flew to Coronation Corner where others managed to twitch it. However, the stars were certainly the 2 juvenile Yellow-leggeds which were on show together from Tower hide on Sunday. I put the news out quickly so several photographers will have better pics than me but here goes anyway with my distant shots...
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Yellow-legged Gull, Axe Estuary, 22/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
The top 2 pics are of the first bird and the bottom 2 of the second. The first bird was clearly smaller but is OK as bird 2 was massive - as big as the GBBs almost! Let's keep tabs on them and see just how many we can add to SW's initial bird last week, eh?

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Greenshank etc.

Greenshank, Axe Estuary, 18th July 2018 (Copyright TDW)
Kingfisher, BHM, 18th July 2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
A lone Greenshank joined the throng of Redshank last night. Otherwise the wader selection was much as it has been for a week now. A lone 2nd Cal. Common Gull and a similarly-aged Med Gull were also nice to see. Barn Owl and Kingfisher showed nicely too...
Greenshank (Copyright TDW)
Greenshank (Copyright TDW)

Monday, 16 July 2018

Back in Black Hole

Over the weekend I made several visits to BHM and there were good numbers of Common Sandpiper, Redshank and a few Blackwit. 4 was the peak count for both Little Ringed Plover & Dunlin. Several Mediterranean Gulls were about with juveniles outnumbering adults. Water Rails and Barn Owl showed from Coly Common hide where three Whimbrel loitered among 40+ Curlew. Fair numbers of hirundines & Swifts too. Autumn's getting going so an interesting few weeks ahead we hope...

Monday, 9 July 2018

Dorset Stuff:Portland

Bee Orchid, Portland, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
The first time I saw Bee Orchids (many years ago) I was surprised that they were so small (see comparison with human hand). "What's all the fuss about?" may have been my response back then. But now I get it; there were loads of people walking by, completely oblivious to their presence. Even for the experienced amateur naturalist they take a bit of effort to spot. But when you get your eye in, you start to find several in a small area and marvel at the fact that they are smaller than most of the bees they imitate. I don't often feature plants on this blog (that's Karen Woolley's territory!) but these turned out to be exceptional.
Rock Pipit, Portland, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
I've also become a bit of a Rock Pipit fan. They are more co-operative for photography than Water, Tree or Meadow and will often feed within yards of us humans. They almost rival Robins for being confiding.

Rock Pipit, Portland, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Rock Pipit, Portland, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Even the Jackdaws were friendly...
Jackdaw, Portland, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
AND there was a plant that doesn't photosynthesise. Broomrape I believe...
Broomrape, Portland, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
So it's not dead; it just parasitises other plants and therefore lacks chlorophyll. But what am I doing?! The plants and insects are taking over my blog! Better get back down to Black Hole Marsh I reckon. We did have a seawatch off the bill that day and enjoyed decent views of Manxies, Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes. I've probably forgotten one or two species it's taken so long to post this. At least the photographs give us a record of past bird-days, don't they?

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Dorset stuff : Abbotsbury

Common Tern, Abbotsbury, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Whooper Swan, Abbotsbury, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Common Tern, Abbotsbury, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Copyright TDW
Med Gull 1st Summer, Abbotsbury, June '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
A lift into Dorset last month gave me the chance to clock a few different species. I'd not been to Abbotsbury for a long time so enjoyed the walk round. Nice selection of terns, gulls and wildfowl.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Colyton, 03/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Colyton 03/07/18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Although I've seen HH before (and in Colyton too) I've never had the camera handy until yesterday. So I'm glad to be able to supply pics this time but still feel frustrated by the lack of quality. If only it had performed for longer I might have achieved the perfect shot. Oh well, back to the World Cup...