Friday, 9 March 2018

Lyme Regis - Little Gull

With more than 1 Little Gull having been reported at Lyme Regis a few times recently it was worth a short journey over to have a look. And blimey it was showing well, often feeding just a few feet from the shore at Monmouth Beach and in view the entire time I was there. What a wonderful little bird to watch! It's definitely worth going to see it if you're fairly local and haven't had decent views of a Little Gull before.


Whilst there I just had to spent a few minutes with the Purple Sandpipers on The Cobb:

Nice iridescence!

Monday, 5 March 2018

Avocets Galore!

After having a decent afternoon down the marshes yesterday I headed out at 9am this morning in the hope that some of the goodies would still be here. Most of them were plus a few new birds too. My totals of the most interesting birds of the day are as follows:

11 Avocet
8 Pintail
4 Gadwall
2 Bar-tailed Godwit
1 Grey Plover

When I arrived at Black Hole Marsh there were only 2 Avocet but before long I spotted another 9 flying in at 09:35 bringing the total up to 11. As far as I'm aware that's a record for the patch here (will no doubt be corrected if need be). All 11 looked settled and were still there when I left, with some on the estuary and some remaining on BHM. Next locally decent bird was a Bar-tailed Godwit which I saw in flight only, heading North of Tower Hide and at a similar time the lingering Grey Plover flew downstream over the other side of the estuary. With Colyford Marshes still quite flooded I stayed in Tower Hide for a while and got some great views of some of the Avocets:

The group of 9 which landed slightly too far away from the initial 2 to squeeze all 11 into one shot

Once the water levels had dropped a bit I headed to Colyford Marshes hoping for some of yesterdays ducks to still be there. 8 Pintail and 4 Gadwall were on the main pool of water and the males of both species were displaying; great to see. I really like Pintails, such stunning birds (well, mainly the males).

I had one more scan of the estuary at dusk and was rewarded with another Barwit with 2 from Coronation Corner. Like yesterday I was heading home from the gym so I phone-binned an awful photo of the Barwits. Phone-binning in moderate wind and rain was an interesting exercise; the result of which can be seen somewhere near the top of my Twitter feed on the side of this blog...

I forgot to include this in the post yesterday but there were still lots of Hawfinches around St Andrew's Church in Colyton. They've frequently been feeding on the ground over the last couple of weeks, both in the church grounds and nearby gardens. Great stuff! Must get down and have another count up soon; it'd be nice to hit the 20s.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Excellent afternoon on patch!

A check of Colyford Common early afternoon yielded the goods with 4 Gadwall and a Grey Plover when I arrived. Seeing as birds were still flying in I waited a couple of hours and was rewarded with another 2 Gadwall bringing the total to 6. Then a Ruff flew in. And then another! They soon flew to fields on the other side of the estuary but there was one up on Bridge Marsh shortly afterwards which was probably a 3rd bird based on plumage, although it was hard to tell due to scoping from a distance. Next bird to fly in was a stunning drake Pintail! It was great to see so many (locally) decent birds at once on Colyford Common. The long-staying Greenshank and Marsh Harrier were still about too.

I checked the area again at dusk on my way back from the gym and ended up getting soaked; the only additional birds of note were 2 Peregrines on separate kills.

As is usual with Colyford Common the pics are all very distant so please forgive the limited number of pixels here:

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Birds in the Snow

Colyton has been looking absolutely spectacular with the recent snow and ice. Not the most snow I've seen here; we've just had 6-7 inches compared with 8-10 inches at the end of 2010. Despite the stunning scenery bringing joy and entertainment to many of the people it was a much more sombre situation for the wildlife. Like on 1st March, there were still many hundreds of Redwings and low thousands of Fieldfares here on the 2nd and they were clearly struggling. There was also a steady passage of Lapwings over West throughout both days, as well as a few Snipes and Golden Plovers.

After being armed with only a wide angle lens when I had 18+ Hawfinches in Yews by St Andrew's Church on 1st March, I made sure I had a long lens with me for the next trip down! The aim was to get pics of Hawfinches on snow and I came away with very cold hands and a few shots:

Thrushes were posing well too:

And here are a few pics of the town, most of which were taken on my phone:

Looks a bit better in black & white

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Snow and birds

A late morning message from Steve had me heading down to the Axe just as the snow started to fall properly (hasn't stopped in the 8 hours since at the time of writing). He'd found a Spoonbill at the lower end of the estuary and when I parked up there were 2 Avocets present as well. There was plenty of movement due to the cold weather and in the short time I was by the estuary triple figure counts of Lapwings of Golden Plovers flew over, a few of which landed by the river. Here are a few dodgy pics taken through the snow:

When driving home to Colyton there were lots of thrushes on the sides of roads with both Redwings and Fieldfares foraging around, as well as hundreds flying overhead in small groups. A couple of walks around Colyton showed a huge increase in Fieldfares around the housing areas, again with triple figure counts showing.

Most of the afternoon was spent taking landscape shots but I wish I'd had a different lens when I walked by St Andrew's Church in Colyton and had 18+ Hawfinches in the Yews. I suspect the actual number was more than this as I saw 18 in the air at once when some moved from one tree to another. They usually use more than one tree so I suspect my count was short of the real number, perhaps even by a lot...

Although the cold weather movement of birds is exciting for birders and the snow is beautiful, it's sad to see so many birds struggling with the temperatures and lack of food. Of course it's just nature, but hopefully not too many things die.

I took loads of landscape pics but will leave you with just one of St Andrew's church with precisely zero Hawfinches visible: