Saturday, 15 October 2016

Turtle Dove on Patch!

A text from Steve shortly after 5pm had me rushing down to Bridge Marsh; he'd re-found the Turtle Dove which other Tim found a while ago. This is the 1st one I've seen in the UK so I'm glad it was on patch. With the massive decline of this species in the UK it begs the question of whether or not we'll get another one here.

Ian Mc had a Yellow-browed Warbler at Seaton Hole in the week and as soon as I got the message I went for a look. After searching for an hour or so I gave up but then thought I heard it call as I was driving back out. YBW are normally really obvious on call but it's not as easy from inside the car with other noises going on! Determined to see it I turned around and went back. Needless to say the following hour of additional searching yielded no sign of it at all. A shame but hopefully there'll be more to come. I don't 'list' so therefore don't 'need' any bird, but I just really like to see & appreciate them!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Baird's Sandpiper

It's been pretty quiet on the birding front for me so far this month, primarily due to work having returned to 100+ hrs/week territory! In my absence there's been a couple of patch goodies this week; other Tim found a Turtle Dove midweek then a Great White Egret on the evening of 7th. I did manage to get out on patch briefly this afternoon; Ian Mc found 3 - 4 Ring Ouzels at Beer Head so I headed up for a look. It took 30 mins or so for one to appear but eventually Dave H and I had some excellent flight views of 2 together.

As I was 'in the area' on Thursday afternoon I thought it'd be worth a look around Davidstow Airfield for the lingering Baird's Sandpiper. I only saw it briefly before it started to get dark but the views were pretty good...

Fine dining

Checking out some of the poop on offer...

Very close approach to the car for this shot - I just sat and waited for the bird to come to me

Taken at Sunset in the last few seconds of direct Sunlight

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Patch update

A brief update from the airport whilst waiting for the plane to get in -
It's been a quiet week or so on patch with the exception of a reported Yellow-browed Warbler on private land in Colyford; there will no doubt be more of these to come over the next few weeks. At least one Grey Plover is still lingering and Wigeon numbers are building now with 30+ on the Estuary. The windy conditions on 3rd October seemed to bring a few birds down as Brendan Sheils found some goodies in the afternoon including a Ring Ouzel at Beer Head and 3 Turnstone on Seaton Beach.

Hopefully the next post will be a little less bland than this one!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Grey Plovers & Common Tern on the Axe

There are still at least 2 Grey Plovers around the Axe Estuary, viewed distantly North of Tower Hide this evening. Just as it was starting to get dark a Tern sp. flew upstream so I quickly got the camera out to bank a few shots. I'm 90% sure it was just a Common Tern but I'll look at pics later just in case; conditions were too dark to tell through the bins or scope so hopefully the (awful) pics are more useful.

Here's another pic of the Lesser Grey Shrike (Plymouth). I took my shots from about 40ft away but it's been showing down to 10-15ft at times today apparently! That's so close that my lens wouldn't be able to focus on it. Remarkably tolerant bird:

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Lesser Grey Shrike - Action Shots

Here's some pics of the bird in action! It's still being reported as present today and showing closer too; hopefully it'll stick around for a few more days so that some of the weekend birders can see it.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Lesser Grey Shrike in Devon

I simply couldn't resist going to see the Lesser Grey Shrike near Mount Batten Point (Plymouth, Devon). The original plan was to dash over yesterday but I ended up spending all afternoon on calls with some overseas colleagues; thankfully the bird was still there this morning. Here's a video clip and 1 pic of about 1000, so there'll be a lot more appearing on here soon:

I'm hoping for some patch action soon as 300-400 Yellow-browed Warblers have arrived in the UK over the last couple of days. This is both early and on unprecedented scale - it seems they've had another bumper breeding year. Brendan Sheils had one in Charmouth in the evening of 20th and it was still present this morning; they aren't far away from us here...

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Buff-breasted + Pectoral Sand getting friendly...

Given how many fantastic photos of the Davidstow Airfield Buff-breasted have been put online I thought I'd try something a little different - going on a drizzly day. This does make getting decent shots significantly more challenging (poor light and wet optics) but the results can be really interesting. With the right shutter speed, the raindrops make little streaks across the image, something which I find looks quite pretty in some scenes. Things didn't go totally to plan; the forecast was for an occasional shower so I was hoping to get some shots of the bird both in the wet and in the dry. However it ended up peeing it down all afternoon; the Buff-breasted was looking really quite scruffy. The Pec remained looking smart regardless of the rain so all was not lost.

After initially finding the Pec in a separate area to the Buff-breasted, I was glad when they posed together for a while. This happened a few times but as they scurry around quite quickly it was often difficult to get a good shot. I'm pleased with this one though:

Pectoral Sandpiper (left) with Buff-breasted Sandpiper (right)

Here's a few more of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper:

And a few more of the Pectoral Sandpiper: