Thursday 27 September 2012

Axe- Peregrine, 2 Ruff, 2 Wood Sandpiper & Barwit

As I had the day off, I took advantage of the pleasant weather in the morning and had another look for the Marsh Harrier which was showing well in the afternoon of the previous day. No luck. Steve said there was a Ruff and 2 Wood Sands up close opposite Axmouth FC. When I got there they were all pretty distant but another Ruff and joined them. There was also a Peregrine in the same field, a couple hundred metres away. It was on a kill which I was able to identify as a Pigeon when I saw the Peregrine fly off with it. There was also a Greenshank and a Bar Tailed Godwit on the estuary, showing near to Coronation Corner. Here's a few pics from the morning; all of them either quite distant, or VERY distant:

Monday 24 September 2012

Marsh Harrier- Axe Estuary

I had the day off work and had initially planned to go to Exeter (phone upgrade due), so much for that idea! There were ambulances, police cars, and a lot of traffic on my very short route, all thanks to multiple accidents on the A3052. I eventually managed to get to Black Hole Marsh in the morning (it was a good job I was on the motorbike really). What a waste of time that proved; the best Black Hole Marsh had to offer was 4 Shelduck. Pitiful! I did get some pics of a landed Hawker and Darter (dragonflies) though, and a Comma which was still rather smart considering the time of year:

Here's one of 3 Oystercatcher that were together on the estuary:

Next trip was to Seaton Marshes to see if there was a Whinchat about. There wasn't (not in view anyway). 
So instead another trip to Black Hole Marsh was in order in case the high tide had encouraged anything there. The only new arrival of interest was a particularly attractive Little Stint.
A text from Steve Waite alerted me to a Marsh Harrier over at Colyford Marsh. I headed there, and fast. When I got to the hide, Tim Wright informed me that the Marsh Harrier had been showing well and had flown pretty close to the hide, about 25 metres away. About 15 mins of waiting and the bird flew again; the view was good but too distant to get a decent photo. The closest it came was probably about 100 metres or so; not ideal but could have been a lot worse! It also flew over the tramway around Black Hole Marsh a couple of times. I got a few distant shots here as well, from the Island Hide. The annoying part of this was that on one pass, the bird flew along the tramway and veered back over the marsh RIGHT in front of the windows of Tower Hide. The view would have been incredible if anyone was in there, with the bird probably being within a couple of feet, and in good light. Unfortunately for Karen, Doug and Sue, I think they must have arrived literally seconds after this happened as they assured me that they hadn't seen it that close (it did happen, as the other 6 people who were in Island Hide can confirm)! Here's a few (lousy) shots of it:

Hopefully it hangs around for a few days; looking at the weather forecast for the next 2 days, it may have little choice...

Thursday 20 September 2012

Nothing new

This autumn has been pretty lousy on patch so far this year, to such an extent that I'm considering going off patch to see some decent birds! There seems to be plenty of Osprey in North Devon...
I tried for some better shots of the Curlew Sandpiper at Black Hole Marsh earlier on in the week but it was still frustratingly distant. I won't bother posting any pics. Here's another Wheatear pic though, I stopped down to f/9.0 to make sure that the whole lot was properly in focus (it annoys me when I focus on the head and get an eye in focus but the tip of the beak slightly blurred. Distance was approximately 10 feet):
SHARP pic, worth clicking on!

Sunday 16 September 2012

Curlew Sandpiper (BHM) and close-up Wheatear pics

So I had a (nearly) whole week off of work, and there was NOTHING of interest on patch until it was over. Great. Best of the week was some dragonflies, some butterflies and this Wheatear which let me sneak up very close to it:

Or at least that was the best of the week until Phil texted about a Curlew Sandpiper being present on BHM not long after 10 o'clock this morning. So myself and Dad cut our aeromodelling (another hobby) day short and reached BHM by late afternoon. It was further away than people had it earlier, but I understand that it never came close enough for a decent photo. So here's my very mediocre attempt (from a good 100 metres away):

I've still got some holiday from work which I have to use by the end of the month so hopefully some more birds of interest will turn up (please).

Thursday 13 September 2012

More pics from BHM, Seaton marshes and River Coly

Woo there are finally decent numbers of dragonflies out! I took a couple of pics of them today; they're pretty poor but the best of the year so far.

Now all we need is some decent migrants to come through...

Sunday 9 September 2012

21!! And (not) a Spotted Crake

So I'm now 21. Yay. Shame I feel as though I'm double this age! This brings a minor change to my info section -->
I couldn't get to Tower Hide to see the Spotted Crake yesterday, nor this morning. Hopefully it stays for a bit so I'll get chance to have a glimpse. I hear it's an elusive little tyke... Alarm is all set for 5:45 to go and see it (more in hope rather than expectation...)

Sunday 2 September 2012

Vastly improved Little Stint (& Snipe) pics

Still pretty mediocre but not bad considering how far away the Little Stint was, and how bad the conditions were for photography. Dull and damp. I suppose that it's marginally better than having sun from the wrong angle, but only just!
I headed out to BHM early this morning to see if the Turnstone I found last night was still present. When I arrived at just after 6:30 (am) it was there, but soon left and flew off over the estuary. The Little Stint was a very long way away (could hardly see it through bin's) so I headed home at 9. I was back not long after 11 to discover that it had been performing very close to the island hide, and on the right side from a lighting perspective. Damn this bird must hate me! I went back to bhm 4 times in all today but it never did come that close again. A second Little Stint was also present today. Here's the best shots I could manage:

One of the 3 Greenshank

A particularly bold Snipe

To see some nice shots of the Little Stint when it eventually posed close to the hide, I recommend taking a look at Sue Smith's blog.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Lots of pics: Little Stint, and another Turnstone at BHM (plus more)!

Firstly for a shot of some Yellow Wagtails from last night. There were 6 in total. These 3 posed together briefly (distant and pretty dark conditions):

After work today I visited Black Hole Marsh and got some shots of Ringed Plover in some sun (for a change):

There was also a distant Lapwing:

A very distant Little Stint (pretty late and dark by this point):

And then at around 8pm, I saw a couple of birds fly in, one of which was a juvenile Turnstone. Only my 2nd that I've seen on patch, although this one was a self-discovery so it's a little more satisfying!

Once it was too dark to see any birds on the marsh, I left and just had to take a pic of the moon... It was looking quite striking: