Sunday, 10 January 2010

Some Thrills In The Chill


After a quick sweep of the estuary first thing, I spent an hour and a half on the seafront - it was thoroughly enjoyable!

It was a little after 9am that my star bird appeared overhead. In the grey skies with light snow flakes falling, a
Red Kite looked STUNNING as it drifted west overhead just off the beach, rather quickly making a bee-line for Beer Head. It wasn't until it was circling over Beer Head (between one and two miles away) that I thought I'd try digi-binning it! And this was the best I got...

It IS a bird I promise!!! Although you can't see it at all in this photo, its plumage was immaculate

The sea was good value too, with some duck passage. 17 Pochard was a good count, a flock of ten (8 males) flew in from the west and landed on the sea before continuing east. Then five minutes later another flock, this one containing seven birds (4 males), also flew east. Here's another rubbish photo...

The flock of ten....just!

A single female-type Goldeneye was very notable as it flew west along the beach, a drake Tufted Duck flew in and landed amongst a flock of Wigeon and one drake Gadwall. To finish off the wildfowl for the sea, a Shoveler flew west with 18 Wigeon, four Common Scoters flew west with two on the sea, the Velvet Scoter and Eider remain off Seaton Hole and the two Coot were still looking out of place, as did two juv Mute Swans!

Also on the sea were at least four Red-throated Divers, with another three past west and one more east. Two very distant waders flew east, they were either Ruff of Knot; there was a notable size difference between the two of them so I'd guess at the former.

Apart from the Red Kite, there was much less on the move overhead, though two Mistle Thrushes were notable as they flew west along the beach.

Now to the estuary, and I'll get the ducks out the way first. The drake Goldeneye remains, and at least 11 Tufted Ducks were dotted about, a good count. The five Brent Geese were still near Seaton Marshes, both the Bewick's and Whooper Swan again opposite Stedcombe, and Gadwall offered the 'count of the day'. I clocked at least 21 in all, including a nice flock of 17 feeding on Bridge Marsh....

Another appalling digi-binned photo!! Sorry folks!

Have you had enough of crappy photos yet??? How about a jerky video clip?

My early morning check of the Estuary revealed the Ruff flock had increased from four to SEVEN! It was early so the light was awful - the reason why I went for the video option. Anyway, enough of me rambling about it, here it is...

Although this video it pretty rubbish, I LOVE the sound of it! Listen to all those winter estuary sounds...

A Bar-tailed Godwit was new in and a Common Sandpiper flew past me near the trams sheds. All that's left for me to talk about on the Estuary now are the gulls...

These three Med Gulls were showing mid afternoon...

Ohhh... slightly improved photography skills on show here! :-)

But now it's time to be bored! I came across this thing, which I think is a HerringXLesser Black-backed hybrid. Its legs were dull greeny yellow, mantle shade in between Herring and LBBG and it did look quite cutesy. Here it is anyway.... YAWN....

What do others think?

Early afternoon I went up to Whitford, and walked along a stretch of the Axe between here and Kilmington. The area around the river was rather green, but the hills around still white...

Musbury Castle

This little trip proved a great idea, as towards the end of my walk, a lovely male Goosander flew past me and up river - possibly yesterday's bird found by Phil? Also here, I had lovely flight views of a Jack Snipe which came up from a small stream shortly after three Common Snipe had flown up from the same spot. 11 Teal were trying to remain hidden under the banks of the Axe.

It doesn't feel as cold anymore, so I hope all these struggling birds can start to get back to normal. Tomorrow though, more ducks would be nice.... especially a Smew or two...


  1. Cracking pics, Steve - especially the glider! And I don't remember giving you a single lesson, so you've achieved Haig quality all by yourself! Wunderbar!! ;o)

  2. When I saw you had commented I thought "oh good, a constructive comment about my Gull from Gav".... How wrong was I!?! Hehehe :-)

  3. ps I know it's only because you are jealous! This should have been one for your Beer Head self-found list!!! ;-)

  4. Only if I didn't notice your text first! And even that would be a bit contentious for self-found...

    Oh yes, the gull. I think I would probably have come to the same conclusion.