Saturday 27 April 2013

Lorry Load Of Jam = Patch Life Tick!

I'll just get on and tell it how it was. What an amazing late afternoon/evening yesterday was!

After Jess finished work yesterday, we had a tea then went for a bit of a wander seeing as the weather was quite nice.  We walked from our place, along Harepath Road to Colyford, then turn back down towards Colyford Common, and through Black Hole Marsh then back up to ours from Colyford Road. It's a really nice loop walk which can be done in an hour.  Anyway..

As we got to Black Hole Marsh, Tim White was stood on the platform so we stopped for a chat.  This is no lie, just as Tim said how he's missed ALL the decent raptors so far this year (four Ospreys, three Red Kites and two Marsh Harrier to be precise!), the gulls went up on the Estuary.  They didn't go Osprey-crazy, just got up and started to loaf around in the air, they weren't even making much noise.  Some sky scanning revealed nothing, but Tim then noticed a shape flying below them heading west over the marsh.  I looked at it through my bins and was shocked to see a ring-tail Harrier! A small one too!!

It was all over too quickly though, as it rapidly continued south west over Black Hole Marsh, we probably only saw it like this for no more than 10-15 seconds. About a minute later I could see it again, but very distantly as it flew south west towards Seaton along way south of the marsh. By this time I had already sent several texts out to the other local patch birders, but don't think anyone else saw it.

So what did I see on the bird!? Well it was small and slim winged, and in the field I could see just three obvious primaries at the wing tip. I also looked for a collar, and didn't see one, so I'm pretty sure I'd ruled Pallid out of it. I didn't see the upper parts at all, but did get a fairly good (albeit brief) look at the under wing.  It had to be a Monties!!  Montagu's Harrier though is a Devon A rarity, and I certainly hadn't seen enough to put a convincing description together - this could easily have been a 'near definite' that had got away....

Luckily though, Tim White is an ace photographer, and has ace kit...

All photos (c) Tim White

Tim first sent me these pictures when we were tucking into a 9" deep crust at Pizza Hut, Exeter. Turned out to be the best Pizza I've ever eaten!!!

This is only the second patch record of Montagu's Harrier, Gavin had the first over Axmouth on 12th September 2008. So it's one heck of a grip back!  And I have to say, it's nice that we've finally had a decent spring rarity this year - about time!

There's been some more excitement this morning, when a text came through from Ian informing me of a Velvet Scoter on the sea off Seaton. I rather rapidly got up, got dressed and headed down there - I wasn't expecting what I saw though!

I can only describe it as being ridiculously close in, and 'it' was an adult drake!!! A STUNNING BIRD!  You will be seeing some nice photos later on Karen's and Gavin's blogs. Easily the best Velvet I've ever seen here - probably the best one I've ever seen anywhere!!

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