Monday 26 December 2016

An Overdue Update

Thought it time I put together a post as it has been quite a while since the last.  I'll start with my Christmas morning trip up the lanes behind Axmouth before a wonderful Christmas dinner and entertainment provided by some very good friends.  The weather was dull and drizzly but it was still great to see between 15 and 20 yellow hammers bathing in puddles along the hedgerows and quite a few red legged partridges.

As you can see the yellow hammers were a bit distant for my set up

A couple of weeks ago there were 3 gadwall by the FSB though they didn't stay long

and moving on to some more common varieties there were 32 dunlin flying up and down the river today and quite a few black tailed godwits again in the fields the last few days.  The fields around Colton have plenty of redwings and fieldfares though the cattle egret has so far managed to elude me.  By Seaton sewage works there were several goldcrests today with the finches and tit flock while the kingfisher provided a different background to the usual.

One of the many trusting robins around the reserve

The grey plover still puts in and occasional appearance along with the  common sandpiper

A beautiful stone chat

and dunlin from Ferrybridges

and a red breasted merganser

a redwing

and a snipe all from Topsham

Saturday 19 November 2016

Purple Sandpipers

A trip to Lyme last Wednesday to see if the purple sandpipers had arrived proved well worth the effort.  There were 6 close to the end of the cob and a few on the stones much further away with several turnstones.

As I just said the turnstones were fairly distant

There were plenty of rock pipits around the harbour

and this distant black redstart on the marine theatre roof.  Unfortunately this was as close as I saw it.

A trip to Topsham and Bowling Green Marsh gave all the usual sights including 3 or 4 jays flying backwards and forwards near the platform collecting acorns

And this grey plover collecting lunch

 Back on the Axe Estuary I had a close encounter with this sparrowhawk that had just narrowly missed a chaffinch for dinner.  Taken through very dirty glass I'm amazed it came out as clear as it did.

Sunday 6 November 2016

A bit Of Local Movement

There have been a few decent birds since my last posting as well as plenty of the usual predictable ones such as this meadow pipit on Seaton Marshes

and the hundreds of starlings that were passing through last week

This avocet was present on BHM on the 25th October though never came particularly near.  Interesting that it occupied exactly the same area of mud as the last one that was here.

Last thursday Ian M had a spoonbill on BHM.   Having not seen one for a while I thought it worth braving the rain to have a look.  It spent all the time I was there in the far corner so pictures are pretty dire through heavy rain.  Unbelievably it actually stayed awake and was feeding continuously so it was actually worth getting wet through to watch it.  It had gone the next morning which was a shame.

Heavily ringed!

Yesterday Steves tufted duck on the Borrow Pit had become 4

and the pochard was still present though appears to have moved on today

There seem to be teal everywhere

and I nearly rode over this frog which was on the cycle path behind the old tip site.  I can't actually believe I got close enough to photograph it.  People always tell me that they are more scared of me than I am of them but somehow I don't think thats true.   I believe its a marsh frog.  I'm sure someone will correct me if it is not.

Finally off patch a bit in Lyme and thanks to Pam Parsons I was fortunate enough to spend a good 20 minutes watching a couple of dippers.  Wonderful.

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