Sunday, 2 November 2008


This morning Gav and I were seawatching from the Axe Yacht Club. Actually Gav was there a bit before me and when I arrived he was scanning Beer Head, looking for the Short-eared Owl which Phil had found up there, neither of us managed to get on it, our disappointment was short lived because Gav soon after noticed a ring-tailed Hen Harrier coming in off the sea towards Beer. My disappointment was rekindled however 'coz I fluffed this one too!! Not for long though, the good birds just kept on coming, next was a drake Goldeneye sitting on the sea quite close in, we had great views and it has to be said Gav did a great job at concealing his excitement at getting this unlikely patch yeartick (coz he's not keeping a list anymore don't you know!). Of course I already have it on my gargantuan list! ;D. That still wasn't all, next Gav spotted a small Grebe, also sat on the sea, it was a Slavonian Grebe, a yeartick for the patch (199) as well as for four listers, (Phil and Bun saw it later in the morning). We also had 4 Teal, quite a few Common Scoters, I didn't count them I'm afraid. A Great Crested Grebe, and a single Brent Goose. I've probably forgotten something, but non the less a real mixed bag of quality birds. Superb!

Shortly after this I popped down for another look at Black Hole Marsh, there were still stacks of birds including at least two Water Pipits and what looked like a littoralis Rock Pipit. Two Grey Wagtails were as lovely as always and a Merlin made a low pass over the lagoon scattering all the birds and ruining my chances of a better photo than yesterday's effort, I'd just lined up a cracking shot too! My best effort from this morning was this disaster, look how I managed to get both birds totally out of focus but got a cracking shot of the mud and stalks between them! Digiscoping's such a cinch!!

I popped back to the Yacht Club to see how Phil and Bun were getting on, they hadn't seen the Slav Grebe yet and I told them exactly where I'd last seen it about an hour ago, amazingly it was still there! It's not often that happens! We also saw another Merlin, a Red-throated Diver fishing really close in and an unidentified wader, which flew into the bay appeared to take a good look at Seaton and then veered off to the east. We figured that this was obviously the characteristic behaviour of a Purple Sandpiper, which are known to avoid Seaton like the plague!! Also a bit of excitement in the shape of a duck which for ages looked like something good, but turned out to be a mere female Shoveler.

As promised yesterday here are some pictures of Martha's (and my, under close supervision of course) painting in the Seaton Community Art Project. It's taken three days mainly due to inclement weather and even when it wasn't raining it was so-o-o cold!!

First here's one of the other paintings, done by some members of the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society. They appear to have inadvertently let the 'cat out of the bag' with their painting of some of the Axe Valley's bird life, by including that extremely rare and vehemently suppressed local specialty species the Tree Curlew!

Some Seaton bird Life

Here's one of Martha and me in action:

Ever heard of a paint brush?

And one of me looking very cheery despite the cold. The picture behind me was typical of some of the paintings in having an anti- Tesco theme (allegedly!). It shows a flooded housing estate and eco-supermarket.

What Fun!!

Here's the finished article:


Actually not quite the finished piece, because as you can see just to the left of the sun I added a very authentic looking Seaton seabird, a very specky Long-tailed Skua, easily recognisable, no? Martha said it had to's now gone.

Finally, further to yesterday’s mention of the film Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I am now over the speechless stage and can quite categorically state, that it was without doubt the best film (about a singing psychopathic barber) I’ve ever seen!!

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