Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Red-Backed Shrike And a Few Waders

Early this morning I had a phone call from Ian W. to tell me of the juvenile Red-Backed Shrike found up on Beer Head earlier by Kevin Hale and there I was heading for Exeter!  Still thats the way it goes sometimes.  I'm sure we all know that feeling.  However after a late lunch and armed with the knowledge that the shrike was still showing well and its whereabouts I finally headed up to Beer Head about 2pm.  On arrival Tim Wright had the shrike in his scope though a scope was not really necessary as it was so close.  So when Tim said it was right in front of me I didn't realise at first he meant it literally and so close.   Tim and I spent some time watching this showy and confiding bird which was still there when I left.  Needless to say I took a few photos.  What a great little bird to see and on our own patch.

 While up on Beer Head the numbers of swallows passing through must have been in their thousands though I'm afraid I am no good at estimating the numbers and there were also plenty of yellow wagtails amongst the sheep.
Meanwhile Black Hole Marsh has continued to give us a few different birds to the usual.  10 days ago Ian M. had 13 Bar Tailed Godwits drop in in front of the tower hide on the river several of which still remain today at the back of Black Hole Marsh today.  Distant pictures I'm afraid.

Last thursday Steve found a Sanderling in the rain so not the best of photos here either

and yesterday he found an avocet on Black Hole Marsh which is not particularly common on the Axe let alone on BHM.  The avocet spent the day as far as possible from both hides but was still a good bird to see.

The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper is still with us today

along with these 2 ruffs and all the usual waders. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Another good few days

I'm so lucky to live across the road from such a wonderful area of wetlands although I didn't feel quite so lucky this morning when I got soaking wet in the rain.  Despite that there was plenty to see with the 2 little stints still being present, along with the ruff and the knot.  This afternoon Tim Wright found a turnstone so gave me a good excuse to return.  Not that I need much excuse.
Here are 3 favourites on Black Hole Marsh this afternoon.  A little ring plover and a little stint being dwarfed by a black tailed godwit.

The turnstone deserved a photo though its not particularly good

and the ruff spent a lot of time this morning in the company of 2 redshanks

Yesterday there was a lone greenshank on the Colyford Common scrape and 2 days ago on Seaton Marshes there were plenty of goldfinches along the path

Plenty of yellow wagtails

and this rather tame reed bunting on the footpath

The egrets have been squabbling regularly on the river

and here is a better picture of one of our magnificent black tailed godwits

And finally I have to say its great to see Steve (Axe Birding) having more time to get out and about and blogging again, and yes Steve your posts on gull id are interesting but they still either ALL look  different or all the same.  To me anyway.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

So Many Wheatears

There were plenty of good birds to be seen today (well yesterday now) starting with Seaton Marshes.  On the way down to the hide were the usual linnets and goldfinches along with some young pied wagtails,  several wheatear and a whinchat.  There was nothing much from the hide itself but on the way back there where too many wheatears to count.  They were in the grass, all along the posts and flying over.  The whinchat didn't show again unfortunately but there were a few yellow wagtails with the cows, though they were never particularly close and difficult to pick out in the long grass.

Round the Borrow pit and there were 2 bright yellow willow warblers, a greater spotted woodpecker and a large flock of long tailed tits 

The swan family still seem to be doing well.

Over on Black Hole Marsh there were plenty of swallows

The little stint remains faithful to its small area of mud and as the waters start to fall slightly this afternoon a wood sandpiper has reappeared and the ruff was showing well for a short while.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Beavers And Back Hole Marsh

Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to see some of the River Otter beavers which was so exciting and I still can't believe how lucky I was.  Black Hole Marsh has had plenty to look at
 recently even after the least sandpiper, though the water levels are currently quite high at the moment with the high tides.

 Of the 2 little stints one in particular was very close last week on several occaisions  as you can see.

The ruff on the other hand never came particularly close and as for any curlew sands and the knot I've only seen them at scope distances.

There have been 2 regular wood sandpipers

Plenty of ring plovers


and plenty of common sandpipers

plus of course plenty of dunlin

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Closer still!

I thought I was lucky yesterday with the least sandpiper giving such close views but today for a few of us it was unbelievably close.   As I'm not usually able to get quite so close with my camera set ups I couldn't resist a few more pictures of such a rarity to add to yesterdays posting.  Having given such wonderful views for some time it then proceeded to sleep just in front of us.  How privileged we were to be so near to this beautiful tiny little wader! It really is rather cute.