Thursday, 19 January 2017

Lunch in Lyme

A more regular blogging service will be back soon; I have a very full schedule at the moment so having any recreational time is rare! Longer days will soon help with this though. I took a small camera (and work...) to Lyme Regis as the other half wanted to go out for lunch. We had a brief walk around in the hope of seeing Dipper and Purple Sandpiper (similar trip last Winter - CLICK HERE) but didn't see either. Best birds were a showy male Blackcap, Goldcrest and 6+ Rock Pipits.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Woodpigeons (yes really)

I spent a couple hours out on patch on 5th but although it was a nice day & fairly chilly, didn't see anything of significant interest. Here's a few pics:

Hopefully the subject of the next post is a little more interesting!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 1st Birding

The weather today was similar to that of January 1st 2016 - pretty wet. The Cattle Egret was still on patch this morning; Brendan had it in fields North of A3052 shortly after 9am. I had a look around later both by the A3052 and by Colcombe Farm in Colyton but the rain was pretty persistent by this time and I couldn't relocate it. There were around 80 Fieldfare in the field and surrounding trees by the A3052 which is the most I've seen together on patch so far this Winter. There were some smaller thrushes in with them but I couldn't tell what they were due to distance (will no doubt be a mixture of Redwing and Song Thrush).

I popped to Colyton for lunch and had a brief walk around but the rain kept most of the little birds away and sheltered. A female Blackcap was probably the best of the lunchtime birds.

A brief walk along the River Coly yielded nice views of Dipper, with one bird singing and displaying. I didn't keep the camera out for long as it was raining fairly badly by this time; it would have been nice to capture the singing on video but that can wait for another occasion. I saw a single Dipper on a different stretch of the Coly about a fortnight ago so it's good to know that this wasn't just a fluke - hopefully they settle down and manage to breed without the nest getting washed out by flooding (both Kingfisher and Dipper nests have been destroyed by flooding & associated soil erosion in recent years).

Such characterful birds to watch.

ISO 4000 and a large crop hence the poor image quality (taken 31/12/16). Cracking bird though!

EDIT: Fiona Hackman has just read this post and informed me that she sees Dipper regularly at an upstream location near where I saw the single bird a fortnight ago. If she has them regularly there and there's 2 regularly a couple miles downstream then there could potentially be 2 pairs. Hopefully this is the case rather than the first pair simply ranging over a large territory on a regular basis. Further investigation needed...

Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 - A Brief Review

Well it'll soon be the turn of another year. Regardless of whether 2016 has been a good, bad, boring, potentially tragic (not specifically mentioning any politics...), memorable etc etc, I find that there's always something oddly satisfying about heading into a New Year.

With regards to birding, 2016 has been a pretty good year with a few decent twitches & self finds both on and off patch. Here's a few re-posted snaps from 2016 - this is a selection of the rarer birds I saw rather than the better pics!

American Wigeon - Bowling Green Marsh

Green-winged Teal - Black Hole Marsh

Glossy Ibis - Seaton Marshes

Pallas's Warbler - Portesham

Iceland Gull - River Axe estuary

Montagu's Harrier - Colyford Common

Montagu's Harrier - Colyford Common

Hoopoe - Lower Bruckland

Hoopoe - Lower Bruckland

Red-footed Falcon - Morden Bog

Great Spotted Cuckoo - Portland

Dalmatian Pelican - Drift Reservoir

Collared Pratincole - Ham Wall

Least Sandpiper (1 of 2 birds present) - Black Hole Marsh

Red-backed Shrike - Beer Head

Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Davidstow Airfield

Pectoral Sandpiper - Davidstow Airfield

Pectoral Sandpiper (left) & Buff-breasted Sandpiper (right) - Davidstow Airfield

Lesser Grey Shrike - Plymouth

Baird's Sandpiper - Davidstow Airfield

Turtle Dove - Bridge Marsh

There were plenty of other good birds through the year but I've tried to keep this post to the rarest species only to reduce the chance of monotony creeping in! UK wide the Turtle Dove isn't really in the same 'rare' category as most of the other species above but this was the first I've seen, it was on patch and it's also a rapidly declining species, so I think it is well deserving of some more online coverage before 2017 rolls in...

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas folks! I hope you all have a fantastic few days off (for those lucky enough to be off) over this holiday period!

Here's a few silly Christmas pic edits from a range of cards I made a couple of years ago (due an update). I diversified away from the typical Robin Christmas card years ago but the Robin designs are still the most popular. Whichever is your favourite, please consider it as being a virtual Christmas card with a message of your choice (easy now).

Monday, 12 December 2016

Cattle Egret on Patch

A patch Cattle Egret is rather unsurprising given the recent influx; there have been good numbers of them fairly close to us both East and West of here so I've been expecting one to turn up on patch.

Steve (Waite) initially found this bird shortly after 4pm on the 10th but nobody managed to discover where it had been staying since (if it was indeed staying that is). Steve put in the leg work today and found it feeding in a field in Colyton - a proper account is written up on his Axe Birding blog.

I managed to catch up with the bird at around 3pm today, viewing from the Shute Road. Pics are dodgy as it was VERY distant and they were taken through some fire smoke. I wonder if we'll get any more Cattle Egrets this year...

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Is that it?

Is that the coldest we're going to get this Winter?! I certainly hope not. After a chilly week or two the jet stream has shifted North of the UK so we'll now be stuck with mild temperatures for a while. Although it's now 'fairly warm' again (well, it's frosty as I write this), we've still had more frosts in the last month than we did over the entire Winters of the last 2 years. Quite a concerning trend really...

Here's a snap of some proper Winter weather from 2010 when we had the coldest December since records began (mean temperature below freezing over the entire month):