Thursday, 15 June 2017

Sand Martins Galore

Several hundred sand martins have been coming into feed on Black Hole Marsh during the day over this last week.  There have been a couple of house martins with them but otherwise the rest have all been sand martins.  It has been quite a sight to see so many.





 Both lots of kestrel chicks appear to be doing well and are growing fast now.  Here is one five days ago.


And here is one taken yesterday.  Quite a transformation.


And here's the hard working Mum


The swallows seem to be doing well and posing for cameras



and there are plenty of reed warblers letting their presence be known amongst the reeds.


This young little grebe was on Black Hole Marsh yesterday.  Unfortunately taken into the sun this was the only chance I got as it dived immediately and I couldn't locate it again.


And finally a few more sand martins.  They really have put on a good show.










Sunday, 30 April 2017

A Good Variety

Being out and about the last few weeks or so has yielded a few good birds away from my home patch.   I've travelled no further than Dartmoor, some Devon Commons and Dorset but as usual there is always plenty to see.  Probably the best sighting was this lesser spotted woodpecker that I never thought I'd ever see so close.  I won't bore you with all the photos I was able to get but it was a lot!


I haven't been able to see many yellow hammers this years so far so was pleased with this one that sat  in this tree singing for a good 10 minutes.


 A dartford warbler is always good at any time


as was this beautiful stonechat


There are certainly plenty of linnets around everywhere


and a pair of redstarts were nice too.



 The skylarks have been busy



A mandarin 


and a buzzard.  I do like a buzzard.
.

 Back on patch there was another avocet yesterday and this time it came a bit closer.



There have been plenty of black caps around



and the wheatears have continued to trickle through on Seaton Marshes







Monday, 17 April 2017

Spotted Redshank, Whinchat and Wheatear.

As it was a cloudy but bright morning I decided to try for the summer plumaged spotted redshank on Goosemoor over at Topsham.   I had only ever had good views of winter plumaged birds before so was pleased to see this one as it was pushed up by the tide not long after I got there.





Back on Colyford Common this afternoon Ian M. found a whinchat amongst a large fall of wheatears.   After a bit of waiting around the whinchat finally came a bit closer before quickly crossing the walkway and moving on with the wheatears. 




Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Cattle Egrets, Spoonbills And 2 Missed Ospreys.

As I'm usually very lucky with ospreys I can't really complain about missing the 2 that have passed through here in the last few days.  I was close today as it just disappeared over the hills being chased by a buzzard as I got back to the tower hide having left a little while before.  I hung around for a while hoping for its return which it didn't but was rewarded instead with some great views of a cattle egret landing and flying around the estuary.







Here is a distant photo of all 6 that were present earlier in the week.


Last night just as I was cooking dinner a text from Tim White, who had 2 spoonbills on Black Hole Marsh, had me heading back there just before dark.  As you can see they were quite distant for my camera and the sun had gone but still nice to see.  I made a quick trip over again this morning hoping to see them in better light when Ian M said they were still there, but unfortunately they had just flown when I arrived.


Also this evening crossing the river was a mallard with 14 youngsters


And finally there was lots of squabbling and entertainment amongst the shelducks both on the river and on Black Hole Marsh.