Despite the long absence I am still here but regular visits to the Wetlands when weather permitted haven't really produced very much of note for me in the recent month or so. I have missed a few good birds though due to other commitments such as the green winged teal, (though might have been a bit distant for me out on Bridge Marsh), the avocet on the same day and the redpolls that I still look for ever hopeful that they are still lingering around. With the cycle path now open it is nice to be able to get right through to Colyford Common at last without sinking in the mud. When I look back over the past year we have actually had some good quality birds and what follows is a selection of my favourites.
In April this osprey stopped to catch and eat a fish across the other side of the river for a good hour or so.
Also in April for one evening 2 penduline tits were found by the FSC (presumably the Darts Farm ones) and were even more confiding than at Darts Farm.
April also gave us a beautiful short eared owl on Black Hole Marsh which for a week was regularly seen to hunt everyday at 12.30pm.
In May a nightjar was present in a private garden near Boshill Cross and I was lucky enough to be invited to see it.
I was pleased to get this lovely chetti warbler in June having never had much luck with them before.
Summer bought a barn owl hunting which was much enjoyed by all yet again.
Came a bit close on this occasion!
July gave us young swallows and it was wonderful to watch the adults feeding young on Black Hole Marsh one sunny morning.
In August this bairds sandpiper was found on Black Hole Marsh
and of course mustn't forget all those wonderful numbers of wood sandpipers which were also present in August.
A favourite of everybody's a little stint. This one was from September.
Also in September a bittern was found on Colyford Common in front of the hide. This was the best view I had of it hidden in the reeds. Not worth the photo really but you can just see the eye through the reeds if you look hard!
A razorbill was rather strange on the river for a few days in october
and also by october there were a few kingfishers around though they now seem to be very sparse in number at present.
The 2 glossy ibis were nice in October through November. Regularly on Seaton Marshes near the sewage works until one disappeared and then the lone one was always much further away. It remained present into December but now seems to have moved on.
The Kestrels bred successfully again though this year on Seaton marshes. I felt very privileged one day to watch 4 of them fledge. It took the adults a lot of coaxing to get them out and by eventually placing voles on the next telegraph poles they succeeded. Wonderful and fascinating to watch. I couldn't really get any decent photos without disturbing them as i was hiding behind some bushes and a tree. These 2 photos are more recent taken December.
Well thats my years highlights on the Axe Wetlands though I've probably forgotten something rather obvious. The weather has spoilt the enjoyment somewhat so lets hope for better weather next year. Hope you all found this interesting and I wish you all a Happy and prosperous New Year.