Wednesday 24 April 2019

Osprey, Garganey and Marsh Harrier

Well that was almost as good as the Hen Harrier two days ago! Not for rarity value, but to get three (locally) good birds in one afternoon was very nice indeed. Paul Cook phoned me mid-afternoon saying he had a drake Garganey showing well on Black Hole Marsh. I saw 3 here last year but it's always worth twitching a drake Garganey on patch; they are less than annual here. Upon arrival I couldn't see the Garganey but soon spotted a Marsh Harrier over the estuary, our first of the year here. Some others came to look for the Garganey and Harrier but we all initially drew a blank for the former. I persisted and checked the Colyford end of the reserves and eventually re-found the Garganey in the Reed Bed Loop (highly probable that it's the same bird). It was often out of sight but the effort paid off and a few other locals connected with it.

I hung around for a bit to make sure people arriving got on the bird and it was at this point when I spotted an Osprey floating in, low and slow. It's a shame that the views were looking into the Sun; the bird was really close, perhaps only 100-150ft above me. I managed to miss all of the Ospreys here last year and I've missed a few this year as well (not sure on the exact number, 3 or 4 I think) so it was nice to see this one.

An excellent afternoon.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Hen Harrier on patch April 22nd

River Coly, Colyton.
What an afternoon that was! Hen Harrier is a raptor I had been wanting to see on patch for a rather long time, especially after having already seen two of the rarer Montagu's locally. The sighting reminded me of the 1st Monty, with the view being both distant and brief, and confirmed (beyond doubt) from dodgy pics after the event. The Hen Harrier was so distant that I might have missed it had a Buzzard not flown up to mob it. I've been spending a lot of time looking up during the warm weather lately but this was mainly with the hope of seeing some more Red Kites, so you can imagine the excitement when a ringtail Harrier showed up. Hen Harrier was my initial impression with this bird but I wasn't confident enough to rule out Pallid until I'd got the pics home, at which point it became pretty obvious (thanks to Steve and Brendan for their views on some lousy BOC pics whilst I was still out). Some of the pics were overexposed so it looked artificially pale on BOC, but did appear to show 5 'fingers' in some (not all) of the pics from the little that I could see on the screens. It was rather bright outside and my experience with Pallid/Hen Harriers is not thorough having not seen either properly, hence the slight lack of confidence initially.

The below (cropped and adjusted) pic makes things look a lot clearer than what I had to work with at the time...

Versus the original, viewed on a dull camera screen whilst I was out in the field:

Now, a Pallid Harrier next would be nice wouldn't it? We can dream.

Friday 19 April 2019

Red Kite

Blimey it has been a while since my last blog post! 2019 is proving rather challenging and I haven't been able to do much birding so far this year but have managed a couple of short walks this week. Dippers have been showing well on the Coly and providing excellent views; they're easily one of my favourite birds to watch, just so full of character!

A Red Kite heading west over Colyton at 16:59 on the 18th was also nice to see (not the best pic mind). I wonder if we'll get anything like the 100+ Kites we had over Colyton in 2 days last year  < SEE HERE >.