Friday 24 February 2017

A Tour of Stover Park

Whilst at the Heathfield waxwings I got talking to a gentleman who was heading over to Stover Park for a look around. Seeing as though I'd never been there I asked if he'd mind me tagging along and he kindly agreed. What a nice place! He gave me a guided tour of the area so that I'd be familiar with it for any future visits and we had nice views of 6+ Goosander, 3+ Tufted Duck, singles of Kingfisher & Great Crested Grebe along with many other species. Seems like a nice place for a family outing or a pooch walk so I may try and persuade Nat to go there with me (if the dog can't go then she won't go)!

I only took pics of a Goosander and some LBB Gulls as the priority was to have a decent look around. Whoever you were, many thanks to the gentleman that showed me around!

Tuesday 21 February 2017

WAXWINGS posing beautifully

I perhaps had more anticipation & excitement than most to see some Waxwings as I have been very 'late to the party' and these are the first I've seen! Patch birds are always more satisfying so the (optimistic) plan was for my first Waxwing sighting to be on patch but with Winter disappearing and the weather getting distinctly warmer I finally caved and went to see the Newton Abbot birds.

The location certainly felt a bit odd for a twitch and walking down a verge next to the A38 has a certain vulnerability to it! There are some barriers in place but if a vehicle crashed there and hit a birder it'd be almost certain death... I saw the birds 15 mins after arrival then tracked them to some trees where they were resting between periods of feeding and drinking. They were very vocal so keeping track of them was fairly easy despite the noise of the busy Devon Expressway. 11 Waxwings spent most of the time distantly up in trees but would occasionally fly down to the favoured feeding area in the central reservation and pose for some photos. They were a bit more flighty than I was expecting (having seen video footage of them sitting lazily) and they would feed for perhaps 5 - 10 seconds before flying back over the road and into trees. The weather wasn't on my side; there was dense cloud cover so the backgrounds in the pics are a boring grey rather than a nice blue. Still, patience paid off eventually and I managed a few pics that I'm happy with.

*Gav has asked about the pic with two birds being the same bird copied twice which is partly correct in that some of the left bird had parts borrowed from another pic so that I could remove an obscuring branch in the foreground. He is right that I should have perhaps mentioned it so my apologies if anyone felt uneasy about that.

Friday 17 February 2017

Dartford Warbler Singing

The other half had a day off work yesterday so I thought I'd drive us up to one of the local Commons for a picnic. The dog enjoyed some exercise and Nat saw her first Dartford Warbler! The bird was generally very elusive and only called once in the 2 hours we spent there. We probably would have had more success if we had been there at first light; there should definitely be more than just one bird at the site. Pics were taken from a fair distance and have been heavily cropped but they are the best I've managed of this species to date.

Friday 3 February 2017

Big waves batter parts of Seaton

I missed the peak of high tide but the sea was still crashing over the sea wall at Seaton beach at around midnight. Parts of Harbour Road were flooded this time - a reminder of why the land level had to be raised before Tesco or the new housing could be built.

A car had a lucky escape from being hit by debris from the plant walls; it looks as though the bricks fell just short of the vehicle! It probably wasn't so lucky with the sea water though...

Here's a few snaps taken as high as ISO 25,600 on my camera:

Wednesday 1 February 2017

4 Cattle Egrets in Colyton

Today doubled the total number of Cattle Egrets that I've seen on patch! Or at least I think I'd only seen 3 prior to the 'new' 3. I noticed a report up on Birdguides from 31st Jan that said 4 Cattle Egrets now at Colcombe Farm so I freed up a few minutes to go and have a look this morning. Sure enough they were there!

If you want to see these then please do so responsibly; best bet is to check from Umborne Bridge (will need binoculars or a scope). A resident from Colcombe Road mentioned to me in passing that she had to have a word with a birder from earlier on in the morning; the birder thought he'd stand in a few private gardens to try and get a better view! Please respect others and stick to the public areas (common sense). Before the new 3 turned up the single bird could be viewed from a variety of places as it ranged between a few fields so they may be viewable from Colyton Road (towards Shute) and also from the other side of the Umborne Brook.

Here's a few snaps. They were showing well despite the distance but pics are very heavily cropped:

Cattle Egret with a Little Egret either side of it