Monday, 26 January 2009

Sea Watching, Med Gulls And Cattle Egrets!

Well what a day! I shall start at the beginning of the day, but keep reading as the day ends on a HIGH!

Sea watching again at the Spot On, no fluffing today! I was here from 08:00 - 09:45, with most action within the first hour. As well as the Divers, there was a bit of wildfowl on the move, with the highlight easily being a gorgeous pair of Velvet Scoters (including a stunning male, jet black with the white bits ultra white!). They flew in from the east at 08:15, came in real close past the Spot On, flew right in to Seaton Hole then banked round and followed the coast past Beer and around Beer Head. Other wildfowl included ten Brent Geese west (a seven and a three) and six Common Scoters west. Later on I also had two Gadwall sat on the sea.

The Divers were spectacular, with a total of 57
Red-throated Divers west - some awesome flocks! Two more flew east and as I left five were sat on the sea, giving a total of 64! Later another look at the sea revealed at least 16 Red-throats sat on the sea, so I don't know what that does to todays total count? The only other Diver I saw was a single Great Northern Diver past east during this morning's watch, but I know Ian and Karen had another.

The first glimspe of sunlight today

Several scans of the Gulls didn't reveal anything different, but it was nice to see SEVEN adult Med Gulls. All during one scan, though I had seen some of these birds earlier too. Two of the Meds were colour ringed, these are both birds I've seen over the past few days but have not been able to read. Here they are....

'White 3P65'

'Red 5P5'

Told you so!

'Red 5P5' is the interesting one, as we've had him on this estuary before. I will post details of both these birds when I get them.

Now to tonight, and I thought I'd spent the last part of the day at the Farm Gate, Axmouth. It was pretty quiet, the pair of Tufted Ducks flew down river and apart from the odd Little Egret and small flocks of Gulls nothing much was flying past.

Whilst scanning with my bins, a very distant field which had cattle in also seemed to have some Egrets in too! Curiousity soon got the better of me and I had to have a closer look so drove to where I thought this field was - the other side of Colyton! Well for the life of me I couldn't find the Egrets, the cattle, or the field! So I drove down to Colyton Football Club, and from here could see the cattle again. I whipped my scope out and sure enough, one of the Egrets poking about looked smaller. With the light fading I had to get closer so went to where I thought this field was (again!). This time I found it! I pulled up alongside the field, but as I did, all the Egrets took to the air - there were about twenty of them! And all of them were Little Egrets, well - except the last one - CATTLE EGRET.... YEAH!!!!! They all headed off over Colyton and down to the estuary to roost, so I sent the texts out and headed for the river to the usual Egret roosting spot in Axmouth.

There were lots of Egrets sat in the trees, many out of view. All the ones in view were Littles. Karen then joined me and we continued looking, it was now about 17:20. All of a sudden four more Egrets came in and landed in the tree, and the two that landed in view were BOTH Cattle Egrets! WOW! The other two that came in disappeared deep in to the tree, were they Cattles too?

So...how many are there? There was DEFINITELY only one in this field in Colyton amongst the twenty or so Littles. I reckon he was already tucked in the tree when I got to Axmouth, and these others that arrived were different birds, whether it be two, or four! So we have at least two, and at the most five...or more... Hopefully an early morning watch tomorrow will reveal the true number?

EDIT: Re-reading this post I realise I haven't actually said what field the Egrets were feeding in. They were in the field on the corner where the Shute turn-off is from the Colyton to Whitford road. Grid ref: SY249947

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