Saturday, 12 May 2018

Garganey - A Crackling Bird!

Well I've been so busy with work lately that it's been impossible to get this blog updated. Even today, I'm being frustrated by the inefficiency of modern computers and their related software applications. I'm of the opinion that the creators of Microsoft should be put on trial for crimes against humanity. They should also refund all of the money they've taken from people for products which are not fit for purpose. This would bankrupt them overnight and a good thing too.
       Anyway, since I last blogged I've found a few interesting things. The  Garganey at Borrow Pit was a fantastic surprise as I was looking for insects there due to the lack of birding action. This library computer will not allow me to show you any of my photographs of it so text only I'm afraid. The 'crackling' call was nice to hear in the intimate surroundings of Borrow Pit; especially as I had the place to myself (to begin with!). Lars Jonsson once described it as sounding like somebody dragging their finger across the teeth of a comb. Well, each to their own but I thought it sounded like a roding Woodcock's croaking call. A rare treat to have a drake Garganey in close proximity.
     On Bank Holiday Monday I visited Walters Mound and enjoyed a 'rattle battle' between 2 Lesser Whitethroats. I even saw one chase the other out of its territory. I also heard one singing at Colyford and at Colyton WTW so an arrival of LWs seems to have occurred. I'm now out of time so will add more news when I can get onto a computer that works!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Windy Wheatears 'n' Waders

    On Saturday we had a good arrival of Common Sandpipers along the estuary. At least 9 were visible from Tower hide at 2pm but Mike Lock told me he'd counted 11 which I can well believe as I saw 2 on BHM. Strangely, as the tide came in they disappeared and none remained on BHM at 7pm! Where did they go? Anyway, I was still rewarded with yet another LRP as well as the 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin which had hopped across from the estuary. Also 9 Whimbrel graced the BHM islands.
     On Sunday, an arrival of passerines meant that even the estuary got in on the act with Wheatears at Coronation Corner and Colyford Common. Both seemed to be seeking shelter in streams and ditches with the cold North wind blasting away. Some more waders would be nice now with other Devon sites notching up Pec & Curlew sands ( S.Huish) and Black-winged Stilt (Exminster RSPB). Come on Black Hole!

Monday, 23 April 2018

Grey Plover

Grey Plover & Ringed Plovers, BHM, 22/04/2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
Just when I was thinking "We've got mud on BHM but no waders" I spotted this cracking breeding-plumaged (almost) Grey Plover alongside its 2 Ringo companions. What with a Lapwing still present this made for a 3 plover species day. Woo-hoo! I also noticed the Brent Goose still present on the estuary by the tramsheds so not too bad a day.
        On Friday evening a late look from Colyton picnic site showed that there were some hirundines about with 8 House Martins and 4 Swallows. None in the town though. Blackcap, Chiffchaff & Bullfinch were present but no Hawfinches seen for a couple of weeks now. That's all for now!
Grey Plover & Ringed Plovers, BHM, 22/04/2018 (Copyright T D Wright)

Friday, 20 April 2018

Holly Blue

Just a quick update for non-twitter peepholes. I had my first Holly Blue butterfly whizzing around Colyton churchyard in the hot Sun at midday today. I also had a rather leucistic-looking Sparrowhawk over Honiton; or was it just the bleaching effect of those rays I've not seen for so long?

Thursday, 19 April 2018


Hoverfly sp?, Colyton 19/04/2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
Hoverfly sp?, Colyton 19/04/2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
At the risk of incurring the wrath of those who disapprove of insect photos on my bird blog I just wanted to say that hoverflies are a marvel of nature and are out already. I therefore couldn't resist taking a couple of shots of this individual today. Any i.d. on it from you entomologists out there? I suppose it's very common but that's because it's perfectly adapted to our environment, eh?
Hoverfly sp, Colyton, 19/04/2018 (Copyright T D Wright)

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Not Quite Portland

Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Axe Estuary, 15/04/2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
Greenshank, BHM, April 2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
Barn Owl, BHM, April 2018 (Copyright T D Wright)
I sometimes think the title of this post ought to be my blog title. Seems too close to another local blog title though! However, it's true to say that when Charmouth Birding goes to Portland and keeps tweeting all day - Hoopoe, Ring Ouzel, Redstart male, Pied Fly male... - one does tend to feel a bit deprived round here. We are getting dribs and drabs of Spring Migration just now; Portland we are not. Anyway, on a more cheerful note I got some pics of the Greenshank coming into summer plumage before it left along with most of the Blackwits (and the Barwits). We seem to have more than one Common Sandpiper today which means they are moving in now. On Sunday I was delighted to spot a Dark-bellied Brent Goose from Tower Hide even though it remained distant the whole time. There were also 5 Whimbrel on BHM. A lone Wheatear at Coly Common was all I could see there. The seawatching seems to be improving by all accounts and this Southerly airstream may nurture passerine and bird of prey arrivals. On Portland, anyway...

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Spring Continues

Sparrowhawk, Colyton, April '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
Sparrowhawk, Colyton, April '18 (Copyright T D Wright)
You can't sneak up on a Sparrowhawk! This beauty just happened to be resting right where I stopped my bike to catch my breath. Otherwise, the weekend brought my first Green Sandpiper of the Spring on the estuary from Tower Hide on Saturday 7th, it left the Axe Marsh channel to fly over the river and up Stafford brook; I met it again on Sunday from Coly Common hide on the near pool. I also saw my first Swallows x8 from Coly Common hide plus the 2 Egyptian Geese on Bridge Marsh which I think SW had first. Sand Martins have joined the throng on a daily basis. Up to 4 Goosander have been flying about the valley at dusk. At Colyton WTW, 7 Blackcaps were a nice accompaniment to the ubiquitous phyllosc diet, many Willow Warblers now intruding upon the Chiffchaff sites. In the field over the road 36 Linnet, 17 Mipit, 11 Pied Wagtail and a single White Wagtail flitted and scurried in front of the cows. Which brings us up to date - except that today looks to have brought more hirundines in. I must have a look this evening!