Friday, 6 May 2011

A Long Awaited Birding Update

Time to get this 'birding blog' back up to date.... and to be honest that won't take much because besides the birding highlights I've already blogged about (including the 'plastic' White Stork!), I haven't seen all that much!

It has been a bit of an odd spring for us (again!). Very few 'good birding days' with lots of migrants about - but the potential has always been sky high with excellent rarity conditions and other sites turning up some cracking birds.

I was gutted to miss the monster flock of Pale-bellied Brents that flew from Portland Harbour to Dawlish Warren on 16th April. They did indeed fly past here, but while I was making a cup of tea - I had been waiting for them for two hours and at THAT moment felt my thirst needed dealing with! There were two small flocks of Brents sat on the sea totalling 36 birds, but that wasn't much compensation for a flock of 220+....

They were pale-bellied, honest!

With regard to the sea, for me this has been poor and very uninspiring this spring. I wish I had more time to look over it within the past week with these strong easterlies, but we have just lacked the much needed wet weather and blustery southerly winds. The odd Common Tern, a few small flocks of Manxies, a couple of Whimbrel and a Ringed Plover is all I can report.

Wader passage picked up at the start of this week, on Tuesday morning on Colyford Marsh there were: three Barwits (two in stonking summer plumage), six Blackwits, one Greenshank, two Ruff (females), nine Dunlin and a lovely Wood Sandpiper (my second of the spring - an Axe first for me!). Black Hole Marsh I have to say has been very disappointing - the water levels look ideal and have done now for several weeks, but birds just aren't interested in it!!

Now to passerine migrants, which as I've said already have been rather few and far between for me. I suppose my highlight was a Grasshopper Warbler which after reeling for a few minutes, showed really well for about a minute on the edge of a bramble bush at Black Hole Marsh.

I got a couple of year ticks on Wednesday morning this week, with a Yellow Wagtail over Colyford Common and a very vocal Lesser Whitethroat singing from bushes alongside the tramline adjacent to Coronation Corner. The Lesserthroat was still singing there this morning, and can be easily heard from the road alongside the Axe Estuary - when there are no passing cars that is!

Swifts are now frequent over the town - they seem to have taken their time coming in this year. I saw my first only three days ago!

The hedges between Axmouth and Rousdon are packed full of Whitethroats as ever, as are the reeds and shrubs in the valley of singing Sedge and Reed Warblers...

Sedge Warbler at Black Hole Marsh

And to finish this long awaited post, I just had to point my camera at this stonker...

A fine male Reed Bunting

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