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Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Birds That Aren't Gulls!

With waders and gulls featuring heavily in my last few blog posts, I thought I should fill in the gaps with my other bird sightings from the last couple weeks.

As we approach the end of July, with autumn passerine migration starting to be a feature on the south coast, I gave Beer Head an early morning walk on two days last week...

Looking south west from Beer Head. Such a fantastic location to spend any time!


Both visits showed a similar amount of birds in less than ideal fall conditions.  There were between 6-8 Willow Warblers scattered across the headland on both days, all being my favourite flavoured yellow-lemon juv ones.  There was also a family of Whitethroats in the same place on both visits, as well as the usual breeding Blackcaps.  My second visit however, on 23rd July, did show one more migrant than my previous, with a very charming Garden Warbler feeding on an elder bush in the base of the hollow.  My earliest ever autumn record of this species on patch so a nice reward indeed. 

Just slightly drifting away from the bird theme of this blog post, it was nice to see up to seven Wall Browns during my second visit, which was slightly later in the morning than my first.  This is our most reliable local site for this species...

An underrated butterfly in my opinion, and scarce enough around here to be suitably appreciated


A little inland in the Morganhayes area (woodland west of Colyton), am sure like most conifer plantations in the UK at the moment, there seems to be plenty of Crossbills 'chupping'-around.  Seeing them perched up is a different story though... Why do they always land on the pines just beyond the ones in view!?  On the evening of 20th however one made an error of judgement and actually landed in view, and although it wasn't an adult male it was still much appreciated...

Hello you!  Nice to actually see the cross bill on a Crossbill for a change

Although it landed in view, he/she was never in full view!  


Back down in the river valley, during my recent gull watching sessions other birds have been rudely interrupting my fun.  Take Kingfishers for example, as usual for this time of year they seem to be plentiful, with this one in particular begging to be papped...

A token photo!  Do like the natural framing though so am pleased it stayed put for me :-)


And don't get me started on this Marsh Harrier.  Yes it's a lovely fresh dark glowing-headed juvenile, but it's been around for a week now and not only is distracting, it actually FLUSHES the gulls on occasions!  Not on at all...

My best views were on a gloomy day so pics not great!

Such a striking plumage at this age - love them!


Even a family of Reed Warblers right beside the Tower Hide have been causing me problems, loudly announcing their presence as the beg for food...

A true baby Reed Warbler

Beady eye!

Seemed to be four juvs with at least one adult feeding them


And to complete this post, the final bit of bird news is from today.  Whilst sat at my desk a tern whizzed past my office flying up river - never a common sight on the Axe.  A few minutes later I was outside watching and listening to an adult and a juvenile Common Tern calling to each other as they flew around and around the lower Estuary.  They finally departing when a juvenile Peregrine came diving in.  What a treat. There's a video of them calling away on my Twitter feed, it sure was great to hear.


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