Friday 29 September 2023

Barred Warbler - what a week on patch!

Monday: HUGE display of Northern Lights visible UK-wide

Tuesday: 2 Glossy Ibis briefly visit BHM 

Thursday: Caspian Gull on the estuary

Friday: Barred Warbler (found by Tim Clark).

I couldn't get to Colyford Common until 17:30 ish, and got frustrating views of its rear end disappearing into the bushes not long after I arrived. 18:05 and I got a superb view of it, quite fortunate though as my position a bit further away from the hedge was the only spot where it was possible to see amongst the branches, and if my bins weren't already pointing at that exact spot, I'd likely have missed it. I quickly said to the others to stand in front of me so they could see it but as is often the case with warblers, it was only in that spot for 5 secs or so, and it then melted away into the bush not to be seen again before I left at 19:00.

Not a bad week. Couple days left too, in which I hope to escape work for a couple of hours...

Caspian Gull

It finally happened. I've checked the gulls countless times recently trying to pick out something decent, and have done okay with a few YLGs, but this afternoon had a much nicer prize in store. A stunning Caspian Gull. I've not seen many, but instantly this bird jumped out at me as 'Casp' despite being mostly hidden in the gull flock. Closer inspection had me a little more conservative as the bill looked dinky at times, but otherwise it felt good to me. I popped a quick message to Steve Waite as he's our most experienced Casp-er here and he wasn't completely convinced it was pure either based on the BOC (back of camera) pics I sent. I couldn't send much as I didn't want to lose the bird, or miss the chance at some pics which might be needed to clinch it later. 

Anyway, it was one, and the rest is history. Really nice looking bird too! 

Thursday 28 September 2023

2 Glossy Ibises - Black Hole Marsh

My evening visits to BHM/Coly Marshes are getting a little more difficult now with the nights rapidly drawing in, but they are still proving fruitful. Tuesday evening yielded 2 Glossy Ibises not long before sunset (although it was already pretty dark as it was cloudy). I'm surprised these pics came out OK, the conditions and settings were pretty hideous with ISO up at 25,600 at times!

Their visit was rather brief; they soon flew off over the river and out of sight, but I was glad that Steve, Ian and Tim C managed to dash down in time to see them (but only just for the latter 2 gents)!

Tuesday 26 September 2023

NORTHERN LIGHTS dancing over the River Axe

I have a heap of bird stuff to catch up with on here, and had a couple of Glossy Ibis put in a brief appearance at Black Hole Marsh tonight too! This post has to be about the Northern Lights though. The huge solar activity in 2023 continues; this is the 5th time I've seen aurora locally this year, and 3 of those displays were extreme.

It was raining when I headed out, and activity had died down significantly but I had to chance it. Bloody good job I did too because at 02:50am on Monday September 25th, this happened...

Sunday 24 September 2023

Great Shearwater

This was stressful. It was stressful at the time because I finished work late on a day when the sea was extremely busy with locally rare birds in parts of Devon. It was stressful again today when a memory card problem has meant that I've lost ALL of the semi-decent pics of this bird, as well as of a stonking adult YLG at point blank from Saturday evening, landed, preening, in flight, the lot. Non-retrievable unless I cough up hundreds of £££, and even then it's only a chance (Sony is very destructive with files, in a way unlike any other camera manufacturer). Absolutely gutted.

2 pics, as fortunately I ran out of space on the first card, and those few images were safe. I had much, much better though, including action shots of it getting harassed by gulls, and of it sat on the sea. I need something rarer ASAP to make me feel better...

Thanks and congrats to Steve for finding the Great Shearwater!

Other recent finds from me which I'll cover in a post when poss:

Sept 10th - Pectoral Sandpiper on BHM

Sept 17th - YLG from Tower Hide, 11+ Ruff on BHM a big increase for that evening

Sept 23rd - YLG (adult, only my 2nd) from Tower Hide

Sept 24th - YLG from Tower Hide

General - we've had 1 to 2 Little Stints and a Curlew Sand around for a while now.