Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Usual UK Winter Weather!

Boy has it been grim out there this week, with pretty hefty winds, lots of rain and all round dampness.  But there has been plenty of birds about which more than makes up for it.

Not before time our now seemingly semi-resident Cattle Egret has pulled in some friends. Twilight Tim had four yesterday afternoon in the usual spot at Colyton, and this morning I saw at least four leave the egret roost at Axmouth and head north between 07:20 and 07:30. I actually think there were five as it looked like a group of four left together, followed by a single bird about two minutes later. Also noted c30 Little Egrets and a brucy bonus in the form of a Woodcock over east just after 7am. Really don't see many of these in the valley, I guess it was returning to the cover of the wooded hills after a night of feeding on the marsh. Didn't have to risk your life for me after all Bun!

The flood water in the valley over the last few days has been heaving with wildfowl, particularly Bridge Marsh and the field opposite Axmouth FC (the field that's usually just a field, but has had Cattle Egret, Bewick's Swans, Garganey, Little Gull, Curlew Sandpiper, several Little Ringed Plovers, Long-billed Dowitcher, Lapland Bunting and Water Pipit!). Sadly the wildfowl on show have only been the common Axe species, but it's been nice to see and be able to properly look through over 500 Wigeon, 100 Teal and a few Shoveler



Gull numbers however have been very poor, despite the gull-friendly weather.  The only increase has been in Mediterranean Gulls, with three winter plumaged adults down river at dusk yesterday, an adult east over the sea this morning, and a slightly hooded adult opposite Axmouth FC this afternoon...



Sea watching has also been quiet - which I guess is to be expected in late Jan/early Feb. As well as the Med Gull this morning, three Red-throated Divers and a Common Scoter flew west. Yesterday I finally managed to see a Guillemot after a month of just Razorbills, with one in winter plumage settled off Seaton Hole, along with another lone Common Scoter past west.

No sign of the Trinity Hill Little Bunting during a 45 mins look this morning, but it finally popped out at about 13:00 for others.

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