Monday, 20 September 2010

Birds, Glorious Birds!

I haven't had the chance to get anything on here during the week, but then again not that much has happened, apart from the sensational Corn Bunting of course. A real patch mega! I didn't get to see it until Friday morning when Gav kindly 'held my hand' so to speak, because I'm a big sissy who's afraid of angry farmers with purple faces ( anyone old enough to remember the Joe and Petunia public service ads featuring such a character in the 1970's?  Great stuff, See it here.) having been shouted at in the same field last year. Not much to look at of course but great 'tick value'. No photo's of the Corn Bunting from me but here's one of a purple-faced farmer instead ( much less scary than the real thing though!)

Yesterday though, not being put off too much by last Monday's Buff-breasted Sandpiper dip, Bun and I decided to try for the one at Northam Burrows in North Devon. Almost as soon as we arrived we spotted a few familiar faces and heard that the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was still present. It was quite distant on the salt marsh and partially obscured by vegetation much of the time, but it was a very welcome lifer for us both. 
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Bun enjoying his latest lifer with some Somersetians in the background?
Well, some of these are from Somerset anyway.

Also on the salt marsh and much more obliging was this little beauty.
Lapland Bunting.

It came nice and close on several occasions while we were watching the Buff-breast, so there was really no need for this kind of thing...
...especially when people hadn't seen it yet. 
This guy was right beside me when I took the above photos of the bird, how much nearer did he need to be!!?

As if those two lovely birds weren't enough, the Grey Phalarope also put in an appearance; a very obliging individual too. Usually Phaaropes look so agile and graceful as they bob about in the waves. This individual looked quite incongruous waddling around on the mud, very unsteady on its feet. Like 'a phalarope out of water'. Its instability wasn't helped by the windy weather either and several times it was literally blown over!
After battling the wind and having a good old feed it decided to take a nap. Much to our amusement it chose to do this in a small puddle! 
 Brian digiscoping the Phalarope which was safely tucked up in its little puddle; the vast acreage of water ensuring  its safety from all but the most wily of predators!
"Safe as houses me!"

Here's a video - Phalarope vs.Wind. 

After a superb day in North Devon, the good birds still kept rolling in! I was just nearing my drive when I noticed the gulls 'going up' on the estuary. I drove up to Coronation Corner and there was the Osprey ( a bird first seen on Friday, but I hadn't caught up with it until now). It soon caught a small mullet and flew off to its favoured woodland, far from any public rights of way, which is a shame because it's great to watch one eating its catch. The sky was very grey and dull so photos weren't an option on this occasion. I couldn't resist taking this one though..
Majestic Osprey gliding over the 'Racal Rubble' ( remains of a factory which have been piled up here for over two years now!) Also in the shot is my house, so I could've just gone home and seen it through the window, not the same though and I don't 'need' it on my house list.

Later in the evening I popped down to Black Hole Marsh where the Osprey was again briefly on show. I was hoping to get a good view of one or both of the resident Barn Owls. Well I certainly did, with one of the birds flying straight at me on one occasion. It didn't see me until it was about 10ft away and then just deftly swerved around me. Wonderful! Then it perched up on a log pile and posed beautifully, I tried to get photos even though it was past 7 o'clock and thus getting dark. They're not too bad considering. I did have to use a horribly high ISO!

Today I've been out and about on patch a bit. I haven't seen anything new but there's still plenty to see. A flock of nine Bar-tailed Godwits on the estuary is an unusually high number for the patch.
Bar-tailed Godwit.
I've also seen the Osprey twice today, the first time this morning it caught quite a nice sized fish but this afternoon on two separate occasions it had to give up fishing due to constant harrying by the local Carrion Crows. Conditions were better for a photo this afternoon though.
Definitley a bird with the x-factor!
Lastly, while a small group of Osprey admirers were standing at Coronation Corner, this little chap was found hitching a lift on someone's clothing.
What a hairdo! The punk rocker of caterpillars.
Larvae of the Sycamore Moth


Anonymous said...

Great post, great photos and what a stunner of a caterpillar. Well done Karen.
Wish i could have days like that

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Dean!

I feel a teensy bit guilty now though! ;-)

Anonymous said...

No need to feel guilty Karen. It`s not your fault my patch is..... PANTS!!!!!