Monday, 16 March 2009

Some Birding At Last

It's very rare that I will go four days without any birding, but for the four days up to today I have just had no time at all. Mind you that didn't stop me landing a handy patch year tick yesterday!

Shortly after 7am a text came through from Bun which told of a Red Kite flying north towards the water tower, luckily I was in the backyard of Co-op! A look northwards revealed it flying rather low NW with two Crows in hot pursuit. I was surprised how the local Herring Gulls made no noise at all, maybe they just didn't spot it! I certainly wouldn't have done if it wasn't for Bun - thanks mate, a new bird for the works list too!!!

Today, after spending the night in Plymouth for Kym's birthday, I returned home by 10:30. I was hoping for some summer migrants, but until 18:00 saw none. At 18:01 I did see one, a lone Sand Martin over Colyford Marsh.

A big fat year tick today was the big fat Ruff Phil found yesterday morning. It was on Bridge Marsh at 11:00 and still at 15:00 today. He was always distant and in strong light but I still tried a photo or two..

You might have to enlarge this one to actually see the bird!

With the blue skies today I had my first 'sky watch' of the year, from Seaton Marshes. A surprise here was a flock of six Golden Plovers that flew high north over town; I'm used to seeing this species doing this in autumn but never before in spring. I spotted them whilst scanning for the culprit that had flushed all the Herring Gulls in the area. Also a couple of Chiffchaffs singing here which was nice.

A look over the sea from Seaton Hole at first was quiet, but soon became instantly massively more exciting when I picked up two Slav Grebes feeding in the bay. Even better was that one of them was wearing almost full summer plumage, it's head pattern in particular looking stunning. They were always distant though, and look, here's the proof...

These specks did cause a minor local twitch, with Karen, Ian M and Dad all tempted by them.

Whilst watching these an Iceland Gull flew west over the sea, then joined some loafing Herring Gulls between Seaton Hole and Beer.

A look around the fields behind Axmouth in search of my first Wheatear of the year drew a blank, but it did reveal a field full of Buzzards! The variety in plumage was amazing, but this bird was especially stunning...



And check out it's warm orangey-buff underwings, undertail coverts and 'trousers'...

One COOL Buzzard!

I bumped into Fraser early this afternoon, he informed me he had just pulled the plug on the main scrape on Colyford Marsh, the first time he has ever done this at this time of year. By 18:00 there was a lovely muddy margin on view which was simply heaving with two Green Sandpipers! It could be VERY interesting over the next week or two...

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