Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Two And Two

Well I have a few days to write about on here!

The morning after my return from Spurn (last Friday), I woke up to clear skies and some over head movement - so I dashed up to Beer Stables to do some counting.

I really like 'vis migging' from here - though it's only any good when the wind has some west in it. As this place is so high and located just after birds have flown over the Axe Valley, passage is very low, often only just above hedge-top height. And it's easy to pick things up along time before they have reached you - bigger birds (ie Pigeons and Jackdaws) you can see coming from as far away as Axe Cliff! The view back over Seaton and the Axe is just stunning...

Anything big flying up the river could be spotted and scoped from here too!

I watched 08:15 - 09:30; and at exactly 09:00 I fell in love with this spot even more...

Two Woodlark flew low (west - like everything) over the fields just to the north of me. They looked simply sublime in perfect light conditons - calling to each other as they flew out of view. This species has been long long LONG over-due during one of my vis mig watches from here/Axe Cliff/Beer Head/my garden. Finally.... :-)

Other counts for this watch were:

7 Wood Pigeon
144 Jackdaw
2 Redwing
5 Skylark
1 Swallow
24 alba Wagtail
27 Meadow Pipit
8 Starling
1 House Sparrow
207 Chaffinch
5 Greenfinch
21 Goldfinch
5 Linnet
19 Siskin
1 Lesser Redpoll

Saturday was mostly a birding-free day, except for a quick look about mid afternoon. Thought we may have a Whooper with the numbers about that day - but a look through the Swan flock opposite Stedcombe drew a blank.

The following day, after James Mc had jammed a couple of Lap Bunts at Axe Cliff, he also took a look through the Swan flock - and there nestled nicely amongst the Mutes was a Whooper! This species is fast becomming a regular wintering visitor on the Axe. I caught up with it on Monday, and took a few snaps of it today...

It appears to be neither of the two birds we had last winter - I've had a close look at bill patterns

On Monday, in the glorious sunshine, I also had a look for a Lap or two at Axe Cliff. I failed, despite seeing about 350 Skylarks! Two Brambling over west were the first patch ones for me this autumn.

The weather on Tuesday couldn't have been more different - with rain and strong south westerly winds! A look through the Gulls on the Estuary early afternoon bagged me a stonking adult Yellow-legged Gull, which Gav duly twitched and photographed. I also counted 385 Great Black-backed Gulls - a good number for us. Much lesser numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls included a variety of mantle shades.

This morning, a look from the garden just after sun rise revealed very little going over, so I headed down to the Estuary again.

Looking across the valley from the farm gate was my plan - but calls of Redwings and Siskins kept me looking much nearer. Five Redwing were perched in nearby trees, then a flock of twenty flew over south, a few Mipits and Siskins went north, but nothing prepared me for what happened next!....

At about 09:10, my eyes were drawn to two obviously chunky and short-tailed birds that were flying low south west along the far edge of the field directly in front of me (Norcombe's field). I got my bins on to them just as they were u-turning back north.....bloody hell - HAWFINCHES!! I followed them as they continued north, gaining height all the time. I lost them well north of me - probably as they were about to fly over the A3052.

When I first clocked them they were so low, so I think they had only just taken to the air - a pity they didn't land again. These are the first ones I've seen on patch since the wintering birds of 2005 - a wholly unexpected surprise!

After this, Axe Cliff again failed to give me a Lap Bunt - just oodles of Skylarks still. A check of the pig fields beside the A3052 showed lots of birds - with an adult White Wagtail being a surprise amongst the Pieds. It seems to have a 'dodgy' left wing, which may explain why it is still here!

The last bit of birding of today - and this blog post - was a look around the Yacht Club. I failed to find a Shorelark or Snow Bunting, but did have a female-type Black Red on the roof tops of Trevelyan Road.


  1. Well done with the Woodlarks & Hawfinches Steve.
    Wish there was something for me to put into bold type.

  2. Thanks Dean. I bold everything mate - Blue Tit to Blue-cheeked Bee Eater (if I am ever that lucky!)