Wednesday 30 January 2013

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Green-winged Teal on Colyford Marsh

When I got the text from Steve saying that there was a Green-winged Teal on the Colyford scrape, I naturally went down to the hide at Colyford Common but once there I noticed that everyone else appeared to be looking from the Farm Gate. I phoned Gav who 'reassured' me that it was most probably impossible to see from the hide! It had been on the main scrape when Steve first spotted it but had later flown to the network of small pools to the north. These are indeed extremely difficult to see from the relatively low vantage point of the hide, but birds can be seen if they stand out on one of the tussocks. After waiting for about an hour (it seemed longer) it suddenly appeared (Mr. Ben shopkeeper style). It then jostled around a bit with other drakes before going to sleep. It was way too distant for photos, being a long way beyond the back edge of the scrape but I managed to get a couple of identifiable digiscoped record shots. I'll count it on the photo patch yearlist because I may not get a chance for any better photos and it definitely is identifiable. Not only on the patch photo yearlist but also a patch first!

This is a lightly cropped digiscoped shot giving an idea of the distance.

No. 36 Green-winged Teal
(I'm not counting Teal...yet)

Before all the excitement of a patch first, I'd been down at the Axe Yacht Club trying to photograph gulls from the car. There were a lot of Common Gulls just offshore but they were a bit too distant to get shots as nice as I wanted and I didn't fancy walking down to the water's edge in the wind and rain. So I can't complain really can I? I did get photos of these two though....

No. 37 Great Black-backed Gull

No.38 Herring Gull

Sunday 27 January 2013

Lesser Redpolls

A whole twenty-two days after Phil first found them I've finally caught up with the two Lesser Redpolls which have been frequenting Seaton Marshes. I've lost count of the number of times I've dipped them in the last few weeks, but today, on my second attempt of the day I struck it lucky at last! I sent out texts to Ian and Steve, the only two patch birders apart from myself who hadn't seen them yet and I'm pleased to say they both arrived in time to share them with me, which was nice! I got a few photos of each of them.(the Redpolls that is, not Ian and Steve). It was easy to tell them apart because one had a much more solid black bib and one was wearing a ring too. Seems to be becoming a bit of a theme.

Bird One 

Bird Two

No. 35 Lesser Redpoll

Saturday 26 January 2013

Barn Owl

I met up with Bun late this afternoon, he had offered to show me where to look for the Barn Owl that can sometimes be seen in (censored) of an evening. When we arrived on site it was almost four thirty and light was fading fast. Fortunately the Barn Owl was already out and about and I managed a few quick shots before the light got too dim for photos. I might go back and try for some better shots sometime but the ones I got were easily good enough for photo yearlist purposes. Very easily!

No 34 Barn Owl

Friday 25 January 2013

Entertaining Greylag .... Yes, Really!

Most times we have a Greylag Goose gracing our patch I don't even bother to look for it. Let's face it it's not the most exciting bird is it? But with a chance to get one on my patch photo yearlist I was out quite early this morning to look for it. It wasn't as distant as I'd feared but wasn't near enough to get a nice photo from any of the gateways on Bridge Marsh. I had to get a bit nearer ... not a problem on some peoples patches I suspect where getting far enough away might be more of an issue! So I scrambled down the road embankment and hid in the trees. I got my shot...

No33.Greylag Goose

The goose obviously appreciated my efforts and treated me to a display of his footballing prowess... he did really! ... Look!

Ball placed on the spot...

... Walks away ready for his run up...

... Turns to begin run up..

...He runs..

He shoots!
Personally I thought the grass was a wee bit long and the ball a tad too flat.
I know, I need to get out more!

Thursday 24 January 2013

Thrushes Galore!

They're everywhere on patch at the moment, in almost every lush green field you care to look at. Bearing that in mind, this morning I decided it was about time I tried to get them on my patch photo yearlist. The first place I tried was Bridge Marsh where there were indeed oodles of them but alas, all pretty distant. I wasn't too worried about it though because there were also a couple of massive flocks of Golden Plovers roosting there. I started to count the birds in one of them but only got to a couple of hundred before they set off north up the Axe Valley for a day's feeding. Still, that couple of hundred was only about a third of the one flock and the other  flock was of more or less equal size. So at least a thousand then. Incredible! Well it is relatively speaking as we only usually get a couple of individuals a year. I took a couple of photos of the flock I was counting and stitched them together thus...

 Less than half the Golden Plovers roosting on Bridge Marsh this morning... I hear the flock has increased to around 5,000 this evening!

Leaving for a day's feeding.

After enjoying the spectacle of the Golden Plover flocks I headed off to the fields around Musbury in search of photograph-able Redwings and Fieldfares. I had a lovely walk and saw thousands of Thrushes but didn't get any photos other than a couple of flight shots (a challenge to say the least!) they were just too flighty, flushing even when I was walking along the lanes behind the hedges. I got my photos later in the morning though at Seaton Skate Park of all places!

No30. Song Thrush

No.31. Redwing

No32. Fieldfare

While on my walk I also stumbled upon a small group of Roe Deer. Wasn't really fast enough with the camera but I like this one of the buck.....

... Not the best quality but look at those lovely velvety antlers...I want to touch them!

Sunday 20 January 2013


I finally managed to catch up with the flock of overwintering Woodlark today on about my ninth or tenth attempt. They seem to be commuting between a selection of fields in the Axmouth/Rosden area and it's just a case of looking in the right one. So easy then! I managed to get a couple of digiscoped shots, which took a bit of patience, both waiting for them to approach near enough and getting one of them standing still for long enough. Digiscoping and shuffling, scampering little birds just don't mix! While I was standing about waiting I noticed a Stoat sauntering along the edge of the field towards me. I lifted my  camera and unfortunately it soon spotted me but not before I manged a couple of quick snaps. They're a bit grainy due to the poor light but I'm happy because they are the first photos of a Stoat I've managed.

No28. Woodlark


No29. Black-headed Gull

Saturday 19 January 2013

Golden Plover

I  didn't have much time for birding today but went out for a while this morning. I decided to go and look at the Golden Plover that have now arrived on patch in unprecedented numbers. I tried the lane adjacent to Colyton WWTW where I had reasonable views of the singleton on Tuesday. Phil and Clive were already there and the field was full of birds but  none of them were Golden Plovers. Flocks soon began moving north though, coming from the Bridge Marsh/Colyord Marsh direction and flying right over us. Some landed in the fields nearby but were always pretty distant. Clive and I decided to walk down the footpath adjacent to Lower Cownhayne Farm and as we were scanning over the fields we suddenly noticed a small group of Golden Plovers relatively close to us. The had seen us first and were in 'frozen mode' hoping we hadn't seen them. After we had watched then for a few minutes they got used to our presence and began feeding again. I was hoping they'd  wander even closer but they were flushed by a Sparrowhawk. They were in good digiscoping range so I got a couple of nice shots of one of them. I couldn't make it out yesterday afternoon and so missed the pair of Pintail which I could have added to my patch photo yearlist. I had a quick look for them this morning with no luck. I haven't heard if they've been seen today or not. I'll have more time tomorrow so fingers crossed!