Thursday, 20 October 2011

A (Half) First For The Patch!

It would be a full tick if I lived and birded by the UK400 club rules. Unfortunately I am a law abiding BOU birder, so a half tick it is!

Anyway, I came across the aforementioned bird whilst scoping from the 'Farm Gate' in Axmouth at about 10am... a stonking adult Greenland White-fronted Goose!

I have seen and found several Eurasian White-fronted Geese from the very same place, and the first thing I noticed when I came across this bird was how dark it was - and for a WFG quite a hefty beast too. I knew it was going to be a Greenland even before I saw its bright orange hooter - which obviously clinched it! I sent the texts out, and I understand the bird is still with us so I hope everyone who wanted to see it has.

I am a bit of a grey goose fan - and this was the most stunning grey goose that I've ever seen in my life! I'm afraid the photos don't do it justice as it was distant (as ever from the Farm Gate)....

Leg trembling stunning (in my eyes anyway!!)

There was also a Spotted Redshank viewable from the Farm Gate, walking around and feeding in the small pools on Colyford Marsh.

Before this, I had already had a good morning! I'd spent an hour at Axe Cliff. I know I really should have stayed here longer and counted the vis mig - but it wasn't overly impressive - and with the conditions as good as they are I feel as though I need to cover as much ground as possible!

The highlight came just as I was ending a phonecall with James Mc. Just as he was saying "have a good day mate", I heard the 'magic autumn rattle'. I promptly hung up, and a Lapland Bunting flew west just above cliff-top height, 'rattling and chu-ing' to its hearts content! As flight views go, they were very good - and I could clearly see dark smudging on its breast, which I guess makes it a male?

Otherwise it was just the usual suspects going over, including a few Redpolls and Siskins. There was very little on the deck though. A nice treat offshore were 10+ Bottle-nosed Dolphins, it was tip top conditions for cetacean watching with a flat calm sea.

Looking over the valley and towards Beer, it was interesting to see how the 'Pipit field' looks. It really does stand out, being surrounded by mostly green fields, it looks massive too! I'm sure it's very enticing to many over flying passerines! I really do hope to kick up a OBP or RTP from here within the next week or two....

Worth noting we didn't see the Richard's Pipit here today during a quick stomp about late morning

Also had a look around Lower Bruckland Ponds this morning, with Gav. The highlight was without doubt our first record of Cetti's Warbler for 2011!!

For years our Cetti's population has been growing, with at least six singing males in the valley during spring/summer 2010. But the harsh winter since then has cleared them all out - whether they've died or have pushed off. Anyway, this bird was very vocal, calling repeatedly, and I reckon probably the first definite true migrant Cetti's I've ever seen!...

Crap photos - but I reckon you could count the tail feathers on the lower photo!

Well I think that's it for today for me - work is looming! I wonder what tomorrow has in store? Long may this 'purple patch on patch' continue...


  1. Are you quite sure you're not related to Brett!?

  2. Hahaha - all Gulls and Geese!! Actually now you mention it, yeah he may well be my Grandad....