Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Turtle Dove and more

Having never actually seen a turtle dove in the wild I was delighted to see this one and so close to home too.  Presumably the same one as was originally found by Tim Wright.  Its so sad to think I may never see another of these beautiful birds with so few left but who knows what the future may hold.  Lets just hope things can change for them.

And here is another first.  Ring ouzels have always eluded me so when Ian M found 3/4 up Beer Head I had to try yet again.  Luck was with me this time and after 15 minutes or so a stunning male came up through the vegetation below and sat out in the open.  Unfortunately not being too good at heights, (a bit of an understatement), it took me a while to let go of the post I was clinging on to so I could use my camera, by which time it had flown a lot further toward the sea.   It might be a poor picture but I was delighted to have seen it.

Back on the river yesterday this unfortunate distant gull stood out from amongst all the rest.

Black Hole Marsh yesterday still had a little stint, 4 dunlin, a ruff and 2 common sandpipers plus a curlew sandpiper still on the river.  Our extremely tame friendly robin has gone from this

to this

and now this week has transformed into this.  Absolutely beautiful.

Steves barnacle goose is still present on the river or on Colyford Common.

The little grebes are increasing in numbers now.  There were 5 together on BHM near the Tower and 3 on the river in front yesterday.

Away from here at Bicton Gardens last week this young little grebe was strangely out of place.  It was diving on the ornamental pond by the fountain despite there being people around.  I only had a nikon superzoom with me at the time but it came out OK.

Back on Seaton Marshes this week there were hundreds of starlings passing through

and plenty of meadow pipits

Kingfishers are mostly distant this year but I rather like this one

And finally this beautiful showy buzzard which didn't remain hidden for long

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Dragonflies, Portland and Seaton Marshes

Having gone far quieter on the Wetlands since the last posting I've been trying my hand at a few dragonflies.

There have been several small coppers on the marshes

and I was amazed to see this one suddenly being attacked by a spider.   

I was delighted to find this wasp spider at Portland as I'd never seen one before  

and also at Portland it was nice to see the Obs Quarry wryneck

Back at Seaton on Colyford Common a whinchat

the buzzard on his favourite wire

one of 2 stonechats on Seaton Marshes yesterday morning

and finally 1 of 2 grey plovers with 2 bar tailed godwits that were present on Black Hole Marsh on late wednesday afternoon

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.