Thursday 12 April 2012

Black-winged Stilt and Stuff

Black-winged Stilt is a bird which always seems to turn up at the wrong time for me, hence why I hadn't seen one until yesterday. It was very nearly the 'same old story' this time too. I'd got a couple of days off work so I'd gone up to Staffordshire on Tuesday to visit the folks and no sooner was I there than I get a text from Bun informing me that there was a Black-winged Stilt at Chew Valley Lake which would have been within very easy reach... If I'd been at home!! I managed to put it out of my mind until I arrived back home at 2.30 yesterday afternoon and noticed I'd missed a text message whilst driving. It said the Stilt was now at Radipole. and by 4 o'clock both me and Bun were looking at our very first Black-winged Stilt in Britain ( some of us started birding after 'Sammy the Stilt' turned up his toes) It was my first wild Black-winged Stilt, full stop! I haven't been abroad for nearly twenty years :-(

Views weren't the best as it remained quite distant and obscured for much of the time as it fed in some reedy, marshy ground but a few good flight views and a bonus Glossy Ibis made up for it somewhat.

Ropey record shot...
 just about the only one I could get with legs showing!

We'd parked in a residential area, and we were delayed on departure by a nearby fire in a local cemetery chapel. Unsurprisingly it was suspected arson,  'Arson probe as fire hits Weymouth church'

This morning I took a stroll on Axe Cliff, there wasn't a lot to see though, a few Willow Warblers  and Chiffchaffs and  four Swallows being the only migrants.  I took a  few snaps of some of the Axe Cliff  regular fare.

 First Adder I've seen this year. I used to see them each spring on Beer Head but haven't seen one there for about two years now. In the winter of 2010 the farmer cut back several of the gorse hedges/patches in places where they are usually seen. I suspect they were hibernating and were mangled by the machinery I certainly haven't seen one since :-(

Lots of male Yellowhammers singing and looking very ....erm, yellow.

There was rather a nice little downpour this evening, with thunder, lighting, hail and some dramatic skies topped by a superb double rainbow.

Seaton Marshes looking towards Black Hole Marsh with the 'end of the rainbow' just to the right of the tower hide. You can see the marked difference in sky colour on the inside and outside of the bow.

Although the secondary bow wasn't as intense as it had been by the time I got my camera out, there was a fine example of  Alexander's Band. (not the ragtime one!)
See a much better photo of this phenomenon that I took in 2008 here

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