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!

Saturday 20 May 2017

Iceland Gull

After missing the Iceland Gull on the 18th I was glad to get another chance to see it yesterday (presumably the same bird); it was showing from Tower Hide for nearly 3 hours in the afternoon.

Not much to report from today with 6 Whimbrel over Primrose Way being the most interesting.

Friday 19 May 2017


Thursday 18th but posting after midnight so it'll appear as Friday 19th.
It's been a bit of of a mixed day for me; Ian Mc texted with news of an Iceland Gull near Coronation Corner at 08:45 but I couldn't escape a meeting until 09:30. I hurried down to try and double the number of Iceland Gulls I've seen this year but it had gone by the time I arrived.

Some heavy rain early evening had me out again in the hope that it could drop some waders in but 5 Dunlin on Black Hole Marsh was the limit of it. A Hobby over BHM at 19:40 was bird of the day for me but I would have preferred the Iceland Gull...

Swallow & Sand Martin 
House Martin with Sand Martins

Friday 12 May 2017

Avocet and Sedge Warbler pics

An Avocet was showing distantly from Tower Hide in the evening of the 11th; I think this is the 4th Avocet of the Spring for us here which is a high number compared to most years. I didn't see anything else worthy of note but was pleased to get an almost clear view of a Sedge Warbler:

Thursday 11 May 2017

Bit more movement

Tuesday 8th was the day I finally had a double figure count of House Martins with 30+ flying over Seaton Marshes and Borrow Pit. There was a Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel out on the estuary from Tower Hide but it was otherwise quiet. Another look around in the evening yielded 2 Whimbrel on Black Hole Marsh but little else. After seeing a couple of 2nd/3rd hand reports on Twitter I had a look around Axmouth for a Ring-necked Parakeet but couldn't find it. We spoke to a local and it seems no-one noticed if it was ringed or not.

Wednesday 9th had some more movement of House Martins with 8 over Seaton Marshes in the evening and 14 (perhaps including some of the 8) over Black Hole Marsh slightly later. The female Goosander was again on Black Hole Marsh late evening, as was 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper and 3 Ringed Plover. Robin Morrison reported a Whinchat from Axe Cliff. Bird of the day would have been a Cuckoo which Ian Waite saw flying from Black Hole Marsh towards Seaton Marshes late afternoon; Brendan Shiels had it from a tram whilst I was on site but I didn't manage to see it.

Monday 8 May 2017

Goosander again on Black Hole Marsh

I didn't see much of interest this evening with the best birds being singles of (female) Goosander, Dunlin & Whimbrel on Black Hole Marsh, with another Whimbrel at Colyford Common and a single Cattle Egret overhead.

Sunday 7 May 2017

Swifts and Sprawk

Not much to report from me recently but it was nice to see 12+ Swifts back at nesting sites in Colyton on Friday evening. A look around on Saturday afternoon yielded little of interest other than 13+ small waders flying upriver; unfortunately I was too far away to tell what they were (likely to be Dunlin and/or Ringed Plover). Two pairs of Canada Geese on BHM have Goslings now and interestingly the two pairs were interacting; some of the Goslings were moving from one group to the other! The adults seemed wary of each other at first as you'd expect but the 4 adults and 10+ Goslings were all together for a while.

There were few photo opportunities today although I did get a nice view of a (ringed) Sparrowhawk flying over Colyford Common:

Monday 1 May 2017

Marsh Harrier

There was quite a lot of action on the South Coast yesterday thanks to the rougher weather but I didn't have time to get out. This morning I started at Black Hole Marsh and 4 Whimbrel were the only birds of note here. On to Colyford Common and I was pleased to see that the Marsh Harrier was still about albeit quite distant from the hide for most of the time. There was also a Greenshank on one of the scrapes here but nothing else of note between 12:00 - 14:00.