Friday, 23 June 2017

Hobby, Red Kite & More Waders

Slightly late news but Wednesday 21st yielded Hobby, Red Kite (50th of the year for me although a small chance it was a lingering bird that I've seen before), 10 Redshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Curlew and also a Teal.

I took a few ropey pics of the Hobby and it looks VERY much like (one of) the bird(s) I saw just South of BHM on 6th June. Breeding locally perhaps? I used to see Hobby almost daily by the River Coly (Colyton) in summers pre 2010 but they've been a little less reliable in recent years. Hopefully there is a pair nearby!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Kestrel Fledglings

2 of the 5 Kestrels in a nest box near Black Hole Marsh fledged in the morning of 20th June. Photos were challenging due to heat haze but it was great to witness the first flights of these birds. Another visit to the marshes in the evening yielded some surprises in the form of 10 Redshank on BHM as well as 3 Curlew and 4 Lapwing flying along the estuary.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

More Red Kites

I've been looking up regularly over the last few days hoping for some raptor movement and this paid off this morning with 3 Red Kites over Black Hole Marsh between 09:04 - 09:10. The 3rd bird showed very well indeed, perhaps closer than any I saw of the 60+ birds we had on 24th - 25th May.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Another Hobby (or 2)

Despite many hours searching between BHM & Colyford Common, I failed to see the Red-backed Shrike which was reported on the 5th. Most interesting things seen in the heavy rain was a Slow Worm and a family of Weasels; surprisingly these were the first Weasels I've seen here (seen lots of Stoats, Mink and a few Polecats).

On 6th June I had 1 (likely 2) Hobby over the field South of BHM. I only saw the rear profile of the 2nd bird so couldn't be 100% sure it was a Hobby but it probably was; a decent number of them through here this Spring. A long way off but here is a snap of it:

On 7th June there were 18 Black-tailed Godwits on BHM in the evening and they were still there today.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Incredible Red Kite passage - another 46+ birds

The exceptional number of Red Kites passing by here continued this morning; Mike Hill saw 15 before I even stepped outside to have a look! My first glance to the sky yielded a single Red Kite flying over the house and this was quickly followed by a group of 7 at 08:50 then another 2. By 09:00 Mike had seen 26+ to my 10 and he was further W than me so I'd missed a minimum of 16 by this time, presumably going over at different latitudes. Another house viewing was booked so I had to leave the home watching spot; the A3052 just E of Colyford seemed like a good bet to try next as you can see wide areas both N & S. I gave it until 10:35 and saw a further 14 bringing my total up to 24. Most of the birds from here drifted over Colyford rather than Seaton so it makes me wonder how many we didn't see; there must have been a few passing out of view earlier. This was confirmed when Dad said he had 2 over his place in Colyton (NW corner); I wouldn't have seen these or the 4 Phil reported on Twitter at 10:36, just after I left. This gives a minimum count of 46 but I suspect it would have been a few more. Let's wait for the reports to see just how many are seen in Cornwall.

Unlike yesterday I had the 'birding' lens with me so the pics are a bit closer, although shooting into the Sun was far from ideal! Here are a couple of pics:

Right, back to work!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

15+ Red Kites and 3 Hobbies in 90 minutes...

What a brilliant afternoon!

I had to vacate the house at around 15:00 as a viewing was booked so I took the opportunity to go and look for some dragonflies at Lower Bruckland. A few minutes after my arrival a Hobby and 2 Red Kites drifted in from NE and were all quite low. I hastily sent out some messages before taking a few dodgy shots; they were heading towards Colyford/Seaton so I wanted to give the other birders as much time as possible to get out and wait for them to (hopefully) fly over. Some of the birds today showed very well, within 100 yards or so, but unfortunately I was only armed with my 'small' dragonfly lens and therefore not at all prepared to take pics of what was yet to come...


Red Kites

Just after sending out the first messages, a 3rd Red Kite joined the first 2 then they headed WSW and then another 2 flew over. Could they be the same ones turning around whilst I was typing on my phone? No, these were tidier looking birds so definitely a 4th and 5th.

In total I saw at least 15 Red Kites between 15:20 - 16:50. It may have been a few more as the last 4 seemed to linger and fly higher but it was hard to keep tabs on all of them at once. It's possible some of the ones I saw slightly later on were more birds but I didn't count them in case they were repeats of the ones which flew higher. Still, 15 Red Kites is bloody good around here regardless of how many may have been missed! There were at least 3 that I missed when comparing the timings of my sightings with Steve's, but likely a few more as well.

In with the last group of 4 Red Kites were 2 more Hobbies bringing my total for the day up to 3 (and 4 so far for Spring). Interestingly I don't think the Hobbies were seen elsewhere or at least I haven't seen any further reports, but they were associating (perhaps just by coincidence) with the Kites when I had them. The first Hobby was with the first 2 Kites and they eventually headed off in the same direction with the Hobby moving first, then the latter 2 Hobbies were both up with the 4 Kites and stuck with them for a while. This was all rather spectacular to watch; at one point there were 4 Red Kites, 2 Hobbies and 1 Buzzard all in one field of view.

Sorry for the lousy pics; hopefully other people got some better shots. I regret only taking my small lens!

Red Kite

3 Red Kites, 1 Hobby & 1 Buzzard

Spot fly and dragonflies

It's getting to that time of year when posts about migrant birds wane and posts about resident ones (or Summer breeders) & seasonal insects increase. Frankly I've not seen much of anything lately; I was hoping the recent warm weather would encourage a decent number of dragonflies to emerge but I've so far only seen two. One was a Scarce Chaser seen on Sunday and the other was an unidentified insect on Tuesday due to distant flight views only. A Spotted Flycatcher was nice to see on 23rd, a bird which used to breed in a few areas of Colyton but is now less easy (although definitely still expected) on patch; this was my first here of 2017...

Only recent photos are of House Martins which briefly sheltered from wind on the side of Island Hide on Saturday evening. Just look at those feet!