Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Stilt Sandpiper

Rarely does a bird entice me to leave the county, but the summer plumaged Stilt Sandpiper that has been at Lodmoor, Weymouth, for a couple of days did that indeed. So much so that my alarm clock went off at 4:30 this morning...

I met James Mc in Axminster, bundled into his snazzy 4x4 thing and just under an hour later we were parking up by Overcombe Corner.

Now this was my kind of twitch, this was the scene on the raised bit of ground from where this bird is viewable ...

James Mc and my scope - we were the only people there!

We had lovely views of the Stilt Sand - which looks like no other wader in the world! Maybe Curlew Sand is the cloesest common relative I can come up with...but only structure wise (ish!). What a plumage though, with lovely barred breast, belly and flanks, and a gorgeous rufous flash below its eye. A very aptly named bird too- very leggy indeed!

Beause we were so early, the light wasn't good enough to attempt a photograph of the bird. So you will have to make do with a 'it was here' photo...

A lovely bit of 'habbo'

Other birds we saw here, and during a quick look at Radipole and Ferrybridge were four (plus) Green Sands, one Common Sand, 30 Dunlin, two Sanderling, two Med Gulls, several Common Terns, one Sandwich Tern and singles of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat.

We were back in Axminster by 08:15, and I was home soon after that. I then had a quick look through the moth trap that I threw out late last night. There were just two migrants amongst the usual critters; a Silver Y and a...

Yes it's yet another 'micro moth' featured on this blog - a female European Corn-borer

A photo I have failed to post over the past week is this one of 'The White One'. I've seen him/her (I suggest the latter as it's quite a petite bird) several times over the past few weeks...

Stands out doesn't it!!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Is This The Longest Awaited Post Ever.....

... answer; NO! But this is me giving in to all the the cries of "we need a moth update", well both of them anyway!

I'm afraid it is going to have to be a brief one, but there's a few pretty pictures to enjoy. And - just for the 'proper mothers' - there's even a few micros featured!!

I'm not going to publish the full lists of the six catches that haven't been mentioned as yet on this blog, just some highlights.

I haven't trapped anything that's been new for the garden - although I'm 99% I had a Small Marbled 'get away' a couple of weeks ago. Just as I was unscrewing the lid of the pot to put it in, it flew off... I was rather miffed at missing out on the Rannoch Looper influx too - although it serves me right as I wasn't trapping on the nights of the main influxes.

Obviously I have had all the usual 'new for the years' as the months tick by, this morning it was nice to get the year's first one of these...

Jersey Tiger

Also this morning, I had what can only be described as the prettiest July Highflyer I've ever seen...

Well smart!

For me immigrant numbers have been very poor. In fact i've only trapped two immigrant macros so far this year, and both of them have been...

Silver Y's!

Out of the new species for the year that I've trapped, it was nice to see three beasts that are nationally rather scrarce and patchily distrubted...

Four-spotted Footman - a rather worn and faded male

The Fern

Crescent Dart - a male

And now it is micro time! Without noticing, I am looking at these little critters a little more now...

Rusty-dot Pearl; boring to look at - but it's a migrant!

Catoptria pinella; lives in wooded heaths and bogs - not sure why it was in my garden then!?

Endotricha flammealis - a smart little critter

And that's my mothing update done, now time to go out and look at some Gulls.......


Friday, 22 July 2011

A Late Morning Mooch Of The Marshes

I thought I'd pay Blackhole and Colyford Marshes a visit at high tide today, nice to see a few more waders coming through.

On Blackhole Marsh, our sixth Little Ringed Plover of the 'autumn' was distantly visible from the island hide...

I did say it was distant!

Also on show were several Common Sands, four Dunlin and ten rather fine looking Blackwits. Several Little Egrets were feeding close to the hide...

Shame it wasn't the orange punk that's on the Otter at the moment!

On Colyford scrape were six more Dunlin, two Lapwing and a Green Sandpiper. A second Green Sandpiper was on Colyford Common itself.

To end this somewhat brief post I must just mention the Greenshank I saw on the Estuary yesterday, and post this photo of a Great Spotted Woodpecker from Colyford Common today...

There are plenty of trees about for it!?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Gulls Go To Tesco

I've had a look through the gull roost at the Tesco site at least once every late afternoon/early evening for the last four days, you get really excellent views of the roosting gulls from behind Seaton Garage on the Riverside Industrial Estate. I wish I had cottoned on to this place sooner though - I bet it was covered in Wheatears during the spring!

Anyway, last night there was our first juv Yellow-legged Gull of the autumn - a very well marked bird indeed.

Tonight, there was another one, an absolute BRUTE of a bird...

How can a brown and grey bird be stunning!?? It really is though - I go weak at the knees just looking at the photos!

Going back a few days, on Friday night my first juv Lesser Black-backed Gull of the autumn was in the flock...

Not quite as 'phwoar' I know...

Friday, 15 July 2011

A Couple Of Hours This Evening

I spent a very pleasant couple of hours at Colyford Common and Blackhole Marsh tonight. The highlight was this lovely adult Wood Sand found earlier by Ian M...

my third of the year already!

I also saw; three Teal, one Little Ringed Plover (juv), nine Dunlin, 11 Common Sands, one Green Sand, six Blackwits, one Common Gull (my first of the autumn), several Sand Martins (most heading south) and two Whitethroat.

Might as well post this photo of a Comma here too, it's been on my camera for about a week!...


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I Was Not Expecting That!

When I ring in my garden, all I put up is one 20 foot net in the front garden hoping to catch birds flying on to/off the the lawn and flying to/from the feeders.

Today I only had the net up for a couple of hours this afternoon, and had caught a couple of 'new' Goldfinches, yet another 'new' Bullfinch, and a heap more '3J' Greenfinches.. Then I caught something I really wasn't expecting to catch in our small front garden...

It's only a bloody Swallow!!!

Yes, we get Swallows over the garden all the time - but never in it! He was quite a 'well endowed' male too...

Big boy!

Now this Swallow is going to fly to Africa with some bling - some Waite bling :-)

I had a ten minutes look along the Estuary late morning, there's a load more juvenile Herring Gulls out now - which is going to make picking out a juv Yellow-legged a tad more tricky! Despite grilling the gulls a good'un, all I could find were three fine fine FINE summer plumaged adult Meds; here's two of them...

I will never get bored of seeing these!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

More Garden Ringing

I caught 40 birds in the front garden yesterday morning - there are young Greenfinches all over the place this year, and I ringed another three fresh Bullfinches!

Four of the birds I caught were birds I haven't ringed in the garden before. There were two of these...

I'd expect to catch Blackcaps in the garden during the winter - but not in July! Both were second year males

One of these...

We rarely see Wren's in the garden - so when I heard this one calling from some shrubs I was rather surprised. And very pleased it ended up in my net :-)

Lastly - and surprisingly only one - of these...

I just love handling these little darlings, they are all tail and feathers!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Not The Yellow-legged Gull I Was After...

A sweep of the Estuary this evening revealed very few large Gulls, the chances are no end of small boats, noisy kids and barking dogs have been disturbing them all day!

Anyway, I did eventually find a large gathering of Gulls - they were loafing on the quiet part of the Tesco building site...

This habbo is quite unique for us - I will be keeping an eye on it during the autumn for sure

Anyway I couldn't find the juv Yellow-legged Gull I've been after for the past week, but I was more than happy with this stonking adult...

Pretty obvious isn't it!?

It was hard to get a photo of it with its head out, it just wouldn't stop preening!

Actually adults - in fact all ages other than juv - seem to be quite scarce at this time of the year when the juvs are coming through. We seem to get most non-juvs later on in Sept/Oct or earlier in the year in spring.

This was all the birding I've done today, but several hours of ringing this morning was slowish - although I did catch four of these...

Juv Starlings

And three of these...

Cute baby House Sparrows!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

A Few More Waders

There was a ringing session at Colyford Common today, I couldn't make the 5am start time, but didn't think parking up in the car park at 06:45 was too poor an effort.

A scan over Blackhole Marsh on way to the rendezvous point revealed our first Little Ringed Plover of the 'autumn', an adult...

A very bright-legged individual

There were a few other waders about too; my first autumn Green Sandpiper on the southern end of Colyford Marsh, eight Common Sands on the Estuary and at least six Blackwits still on the Estuary.

Ringing wise, we caught the expected - a few Linnets and plenty of Reed Buntings were nice along with oodles of Reed and Sedge Warblers. Oh, that reminds me, about four weeks ago the group caught a pair of Lesser Whitethroats on Colyford Common - both adults and the female with a brood patch. Now that's good news!

In the hedgerows there were a few Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat - I haven't seen either of these species here since the spring so I presume these were returning migrants?

Right, it's now time to bring everyone up to date with ringing in my garden.... it won't take that long because in the past week or so I have only had time to set a net up in the front garden on one day - a week ago today.

I have ringed 153 birds in total in the garden - 13% of that total being Bullfinches! Anyway, one of the first birds I caught on Saturday morning required me to start a new ring size...

A Chiffy - bit unexpected when the net is set beside bird feeders!

What makes it a Chiffy - the red arrow points to the clinching emarginated sixth primary

The rest of the morning was spent catching the usuals but then had to pack up and do something productive. Later in the evening though, I had a chance to put it up again - so did! I didn't catch many more birds, a couple of Greenfinches and Great Tits. The fifth bird of the evening though meant I had to start yet another new size of ring - a bloody big one too!

I looked at the mist net in disbelief as an adult Herring Gull was flapping about in it - flipping heck!!! I grabbed hold of it pretty quick...it grabbed hold of me even quicker!! Thankfully I'm pleased to report the net is still in one piece.

I wasn't expecting a beast like this, what a handful! A full adult male - bloody massive it was! Anyway, I ringed and processed it, then tried to get a photo of it and me...

... when this photo was snapped it was REALLY hurting me - I seriously thought it was going to break my hand!

I didn't want to handle it much more than I had to, so just settled with this pic...

Here he is trying to eat my ringing smock!

And that's the ringing up to date now. One day I will have to find time to write about three weeks of mothing....

Friday, 8 July 2011

A Quick One

As usual I have run out of time to do a proper blog post - so ringing and mothing news will have to wait some more!

I have just had a sweep of the Estuary, where a stunning flock of 19 summer plumaged islandica Blackwits were looking splendid just north of Coronation Corner. Also a Whimbrel, a Common Sand and five juvenile Little Egrets.

I said it was a quick one...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Gulls...

I just had an afternoon sweep of the Estuary, hoping for a few Gulls with this rather inclement weather!

The 'odd ball' was what I presume was 'The White One'; it was just in front of the tower hide, but I was on the other side of the river near Axmouth...

It didn't fool me today!

The 'glamorous' were this distant couple of Med Gulls from Coronation Corner...

A juv and an adult; the juv continuously followed the adult about and flew whenever and wherever it flew, so I presume it was one of its parents?

And the 'unknown'.... There was only one juvenile large Gull on the Estuary, and I was happy it was just a Herring Gull. When it got out of the water though it did look very deep chested and large, and when it took to the air it looked to have darkish inner primaries and a nice white tail with neat black tail band and only a few dark spots above the tail band. As you can see though, in this photo of it in the water, it looks very uninteresting and Herring-like...

I suppose the dark eye-patch is good for YLG, as were the all black tertials that you can't see in this photo. Could it be a very young YLG!??

Didn't see anything of interest that wasn't a Gull, but over the past couple of days at least seven Common Sands, a Blackwit and a Greenshank have been on the Estuary.

I have got two pretty impressive moth catches to write about, but don't really have time to write this minute. I also have a couple of 'nice' birds to mention that I caught and ringed in the front garden last Saturday, but again you will just have to check back at a later date...