Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A Minute Marsh Harrier

I've not had a car for most of today, so yet again my legs haven't known what's hit them!!!

I did have time to drive up to Beer Head first thing, but could only whizz round part of it - had to be home by 8am. There were Phylloscs EVERYWHERE! Mostly Willys, moving through the bushes rather rapidly in small parties - it looked just great! I counted at least 60 Wills, but there were probably at least four times as many in total!

Also saw singles of White Wag, Whitethroat, Redstart (a female) and nine Wheatears.

I dropped my car into the garage just before 08:30 then began the same marathon walk I endured yesterday afternoon....

Seaton Marshes gave me three Whimbrel and singles of Wheatear, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler plus a brief glimpse of a Redstart sp. (a male Black Redstart was reported in the same place a little later).

Blackhole Marsh gave me two Wigeon and singles of Greenshank, Yellow Wag and Sedge Warbler.

Colyford Common gave: Greenshank, four Dunlin, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and Reed Warbler. Also watched an Otter for five minutes from the hide feeding in the river.

Karen kindly picked me up, and via good views of the Kilmington Lesser Whitethroat (with my first Swift of 2010 flying about over head) returned me to base.

This evening, still car-less, I decided to walk around Couchill Woods and the surrounding farm land. It was all very predictable; a few Willys, Chiffs and Blackcaps. But when I reached one of the highest points of our patch, it all went very UNpredictable!!!

I was taking a few photos of the river valley from near Tower Services....

Note how big Blackhole Marsh looks from this distance


....when a text came through from Bun "Marsh Harrier below farm gate"...

After a little bit of scanning with the bins I picked it up hunting over a small patch of reeds adjacent to Colyford Marsh. It quartered back and forth for barely a minute, before purposely flying low NW over Colyford Marsh, Colyford Common, then seemingly off over Colyford.... and that was that gone!!!

It wasn't the closest view I've ever had of a Marsh Harrier mind.... being at a distance of 1.74 miles!!!!

The rapid departure of it meant a couple of locals dipped, and Phil and Bun only managed brief views of this brief visitor. Here are three local birders hoping it would return, this is taken with the Lumix at a distance of 1.43 miles....

Can you guess who's the one wearing the white shorts?

I'll finish this post with a couple of photos I've literally just taken....

A regular visitor to our garden

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