Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Hobby and Brand New Blackbirds

A text from Steve this afternoon had me popping up the road to Black Hole Marsh car park to look at a couple of Hobbies which were hunting over the northern outskirts of town and the river valley. I thought the Black Hole Marsh car park would be a good central vantage point and indeed it was. They appeared to be feeding on some sort of flying (obviously!) insects and for most of the time they remained annoyingly high up but they did eventually make a couple of  lower passes over the car park area. I got a few shots of them catching their prey although they're not very clear as they were quite high up at the time.

Although not that clear you can see how small the prey item is!

And again... The insect is right in the top left corner.


Amazing dexterity!

No. 101 Hobby

In the garden, the first batch of young Blackbirds have fledged, three of them, although I couldn't get a photo with them all in it. Mum's been  very busy for the last couple of days filling their ravenous little faces with tasty morsels.! I'm pleased they've made it this far because mum's the only one feeding them as the male was taken by a Sparrowhawk a week ago today.

Monday, 29 April 2013

A Patch Lifer!

A text from Steve this morning had me rushing over to a wood on the outskirts of Colyton where he'd found a singing Wood Warbler whilst doing his regular bird survey. I've only ever seen Wood Warbler a couple of times before and never on patch where it is definitely in the mega category. When I arrived Steve was just leaving but pointed me in the right direction. I spent a tense half hour or so hearing it singing in some tall trees and not being able to pinpoint it well enough to get a sighting. It eventually moved into some small birches and sallows in a clearing and I not only got some good views I also managed to get a few photos. One I definitely wouldn't have predicted to get on my patch photo year-list! I also added Egyptian Goose yesterday and this morning I caught a Reed Warbler uncharacteristically leaving itself exposed while singing from a reed bed on Black Hole Marsh.

 No. 98 Egyptian Goose

 No.99 Reed Warbler

Before I received the text from Steve I had just been watching an Osprey over the estuary. It was always flying away from me though so I struggled to get a photo, this being the best I could manage.

It received a typical welcome from the Axe Estuary's resident Crows and was soon on its way.

No. 100 Wood Warbler
A fitting bird to make up my century!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Velvet Scoter

Thanks to a text from Ian M this morning, Velvet Scoter has become the first and very possibly the only sea duck to get on my patch photo year-list.

No.97 Velvet Scoter

Friday, 26 April 2013

Missing all the Excitement

At five o'clock this afternoon I was at work and so missed the highlight of the day ( no, NOT the Axe Wetlands barbecue ;-)) when a Montagu's Harrier put in a brief appearance. Would have been a nice patch tick for me but then so would a lot of things. I did get out birding this morning though and decided on Axe Cliff for a bit of a change. It was very windy and a bit on the cool side, but that's becoming par for the course this 'spring'. There were good numbers of migrants though and although I only had the time (and the energy) to cover the first couple of fields I saw 16 Wheatears, 3 Whitethroats and a female Redstart. On the way home I stopped at Coronation Corner where I was able to add Whimbrel to the patch photo year-list too.  It would be nice to add a Harrier sp. of some sort as they are rapidly becoming my bogey birds this year having missed two Hen Harriers, two Marsh Harriers and now a Monty's!


 No. 95 Whitethroat

No. 96 Whimbrel

The first Adder I've seen this year was in the usual spot.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Lesser Whitethroat

Hundreds of Swallows were arriving in the foggy conditions late morning, I was enjoying watching these at Seaton Marshes (too gloomy for decent photos) when I got a text from Steve telling me of a Lesser Whitethroat which was singing and showing well on the entrance track to Black Hole Marsh. I was on foot so a bit worried I wouldn't get there in time, but luckily it was still there, if somewhat more elusive. I wasn't in a hurry though, so waited patiently for around half an hour and eventually it began singing and showing well again, only very briefly, but long enough to snatch a couple of shots good enough for the photo list.

No. 94 Lesser Whitethroat

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Worth The Wait and A Very Unexpected Addition To The Photo Year-list.

In today's post I received a book which I ordered many moons ago, at least six months, maybe more. Its publication kept being delayed and to be honest I'd forgotten about it. It was well worth the long wait though. It's superb. Here it is...

It's so good I haven't been able to put it down for most of the day. I'm really looking forward to using it, if the sun ever comes out for long enough! I did manage to tear myself away from it and venture out after a text from Steve. There was a female Tufted Duck on The Borrow Pit, a scarce bird on our patch and one that I'd already missed once this year.

No.93 Tufted Duck.

I also went for a look around  the Axmouth lanes and was very surprised to bump into this.

No.93a  Rhode Island Red

It was probably lost, because it was a long way from the nearest houses.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

I Don't Believe It!

If you were to visit Black Hole Marsh at the moment you'd probably see this notice on the entrance gate.. In case you didn't already know Black Hole Marsh is a nature reserve... Or is it?

The mind boggles. It really does!

I saw another notice today, one which I did like. I was at Trinity Hill and as I went to look in a field I've always liked the look of (having seen a few Redstarts. Wheatears and Whinchats in it over the years) I noticed there was a new stile and a sign by the gate thus..

New permissive paths around Great Trill Farm. I'll certainly be giving them a try.
I'll definitely be visiting the Trinity Hill Beacon Field more often now too.

Trinity Hill Beacon
The highest point for miles around and a good spot for migrants especially in the autumn.

I've managed to add a few common birds to my patch photo-year-list over the last few days...

No.87  Red-legged Partridge

No.88 Great Spotted Woodpecker

No.89 Kestrel

No.90 Blackcap

N0.91 Magpie

N0.92 Raven

My first Small Copper of the year.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Too Sexy for Beer Head

There wasn't  really much of interest in a couple of hours on Beer Head this morning just a few Wheatears and Blackcaps. Seaton marshes was the place to be! I saw my first Whitethroat of the year here at lunchtime, too brief to get on the photo-list though. Then this afternoon Steve spotted a spanking  male Pied Fycatcatcher there. Beer Head is usually the place to see Pied Flycatchers on patch, especially spring males, in fact the only other adult male I've seen on patch was on Beer Head four years ago (almost to the day...see it here). What a stunner! A truly sexy little bird. I was smitten! In fact unusually for me I spent more time just admiring him than trying for photos. But I did take some...Obviously :-)

No.85 Pied Flycatcher

No.86 Grey Heron

Friday, 12 April 2013

A Couple More For The List ... And A Sad Demise.

I very easily added Willow Warbler to the list today as there were quite a lot of them moving through the valley, I even had a few passing through the garden.

No.83 Willow Warbler

I also caught up with a lovely male Redstart which Steve had found on Seaton Marshes. When I saw it, it was in the churchyard and I only had chance to get a couple of shots before it vanished.

No.84 Common Redstart

One Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff which visited my garden yesterday came to a rather unfortunate end.. So sad after it had made it most of the way home safely... So near but yet so far..

I think I'm right in identifying this poor unfortunate as a Chiff-Willow ...it wasn't identifiable for long though!

I thought he would discard this leg but.....

....He swallowed it!!