Saturday, 30 January 2016

Stunning Drake GW TEAL (on patch too)

A text from Ian Mc had me jogging down to Black Hole Marsh this afternoon; Mike Lock had found a Green-Winged Teal on Black Hole Marsh! I really tried hard to track down the bird which was showing on Bridge Marsh at the end of 2015, but with no success. That proved to be a difficult bird, as Dave H (Chard) also managed to miss it despite trying on multiple occasions. I arrived at Black Hole Marsh to find nobody else there; I was expecting the bird to be at the back of the reserve, like the ducks normally are, so it was a nice surprise to see it only 100ft or so away from Island Hide. A lot of the other local birders came and saw it including Bun, Sue and Ian Waite, and it was good to see Dave there - his first at Seaton. Here's a couple of snaps; not great due to wind, rain and dull light, but as GW Teal go, I understand that this was a very showy one!





Wednesday, 27 January 2016

DARTFORD WARBLER at Sand Point

Having never had decent views of Dartford Warbler, I took myself and Dad up to Sand Point on Sunday to see if we could see the two birds which had been showing fantastically well the day before. The weather however, had other ideas; it was wet, dull and windy so the birds stayed hidden nearly the entire time. I managed a couple of (rubbish) snaps but they were so elusive! Nice to see though, and the male was very vocal at times.




Apologies for lack of patch news - there is very little of interest here at the moment! Hopefully this will change soon...

Saturday, 23 January 2016

NIGHTJAR up close and personal...

Here is another one of my Nightjar shots from last year - I spent many nights at the site to monitor their progress (and politely advise dog walkers to control their dogs when necessary). After much observation I found a suitable place to leave my camera and trigger it using a remote. Field-craft definitely wins to obtain good photos, and to do so safely...


Thursday, 21 January 2016

SWAROVSKI Scope

Well I finally did the sensible thing and bought myself a scope. The intention is that it comes with me as well as all my camera equipment so we'll see how that works out... As portability was the priority I bought the 65mm version; those of you that have seen me out with the camera know that my gear is not exactly small! I was becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to scan through gulls or ducks out on the estuary/marshes; doing this thoroughly with binoculars or the camera is simply impossible (unless the birds are abnormally close of course).

And WOW what a difference the scope makes! I bought it with a Swarovski 25-50 x eyepiece and the magnification difference between that and my camera gear is absolutely phenomenal.

I have also been having a little dabble in digiscoping - there will be some posts about this in due course!

Time to examine my Collins and brush up on my gull ID skills...


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

AMERICAN WIGEON at Bowling Green Marsh

With the Yank Wigeon having spent a couple of days very close to the hide at Bowling Green Marsh, I couldn't resist finally going to see it. When I arrived, the hide was emptying and one of the birders told me that the Wigeon flock had just flushed from the area around the hide. TYPICAL. I gave it a couple of hours and eventually a young lady in the hide spotted the bird; it was always distant and the light was coming from 90deg angle which is about as bad as can be. I took some ropey pics which are posted below. I don't like posting naff pics but will make an exception here as this bird was a lifer & in good old Devon. I will try and go there again to get some pics when the bird is in a more obliging mood (it was on the field but nearly all the way out to the main body of water at the back as viewed from the hide).



Monday, 11 January 2016

BLACK REDSTART - adult male up close...

I took a quick break from work today to see if the stunning adult male Black Redstart was still hanging around in Seaton. It didn't take long to find him, although he performed sporadically and only for short periods of time. Still, persistence paid off:






Friday, 8 January 2016

Smart adult male BLACK REDSTART

Between rain showers I was treated to some great views of two Black Redstarts in Seaton today, one of which was a cracking adult male. It was mostly a case of sit and wait for them to approach. On occasion they flew in and landed 6ft from me which was far too close for my lens to focus! Was nice to just sit and watch when this happened though.




Shame the focus just missed on this one!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Great start to 2016 for the patch!

Despite the hideous weather for the opening few days of 2016, there have already been two scarce species seen on patch to keep us wildlife enthusiasts entertained. The first was the lingering Glossy Ibis which arrived here in late 2015 and the next was the appearance of 2 Great White Egrets late afternoon on the 5th. Well done to Tim Wright for spotting the latter; unfortunately no one else saw them despite myself, Phil & Ian Mc (maybe others too) trying. The alarms are set and hopefully the birds will be present at first light (ever the optimist). A supporting cast of Redpoll, Firecrest & Black Redstart(s) has also been very welcome for a few decent patch year ticks for early 2016. I wonder who is listing...