Thursday 30 August 2012

No Seawatching For Me

This week has seen two outstanding days of sea watching, for Devon and the patch. Gavin has been present when most of the stuff has flown past, so read his accounts of the sea watching antics HERE. Monday was the best day, and I only had chance for an hour out so headed down to Black Hole Marsh. Wednesday was the next best day, but I had a meeting in mid Devon from 10am so had no time for sea watching at all! Typical isn't it - if only Tuesday and Thursday were the two wet and windy days then I would have seen lots!

The numbers of Long-tailed Skuas have been the biggest surprise, with the patch scoring three this week. Again, Gav has a good write up of this on his blog, and although I missed all of these, I am more than happy with the two I've seen over the years. Actually, out of all the rare/scarce birds I've seen on patch, the adult Long-tailed Skua that graced the sea over Seaton Bay back in May 2006 for some reason has stuck in my head more than anything. I can still picture it now, and recall the exact chain of events and the expletives that were uttered! What a beaut.

Ok, so what have I seen this week...

My hour out on Monday at Black Hole Marsh did prove worthwhile, as a juv-type Garganey appeared in the middle of the lagoon amongst 60 or so Teal. As soon as I found it I sent some texts out as this species is a bit of a patch rarity, but before all the texts had sent, one bird out of all the c300 birds on Black Hole Marsh took off and flew low north...the bloody Garganey! Sodding typical. The in flight views though showed it was a male.

Also on the marsh was; 43 Blackwits, 42 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover, ten Green Sands, eight Common Sands, three Lapwing and the Spotted Redshank and Tufted Duck still.

On Tuesday I had a whizz round many parts of the patch, including Colyford Common and Marsh, the Estuary, the flood opposite Axmouth FC and Black Hole Marsh. This revealed a decent selection of birds - excellent for the Axe to be honest; three Lapwing, 26 Ringed Plover, one Knot, 44 Dunlin, four Snipe, c25 Black-tailed Godwit, nine Common Sands, 14 Green Sands, one Spotted Redshank, three Ruff, one Turnstone and a Kittiwake!

The Kittiwake didn't look well at all, and is still present today so it isn't looking good for it...

It doesn't look too bad in this pic though

On Wednesday morning, before I headed off for my meeting I had chance for a quick look over Black Hole Marsh. One of the first birds I saw after I got in the hide was a small stint with the Dunlin and Ringed Plover over in the 'Solitary Sand corner' of the marsh. It was soaked wet (there was very heavy rain) and remained distant and I had to leave for my meeting.I had to leave it as a 98% Little Stint!

Whilst away, it was confirmed, so on my return at 14:00 I quickly dropped in for another look. It was closer, but the weather was still dull and awful...

..hence this crap photo!

Again there was a good number of birds on the marsh including two Turnstone, and the Ruff and Knot still.

And that brings me to today. I was down Black Hole Marsh early again (yes, I am determined to get Spotted Crake on my patch list!)...

Very tranquil compared with yesterday!

There was a bit less variety on the marsh, but the Little Stint and three Ruff were still present, and a few more Blackwits present - 44. Still no Spotted Crake though!

Later on in the morning, a quick look around other sites in the river turned up the Garganey again. It was on flood water opposite Axmouth FC along with a load of Mallard and c20 Teal. It could be quite elusive at times in the long grass, but I'm pleased to say at least three other birders managed to twitch it successfully.

And to complete this post, on 7th August I saw two colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gulls from the tower hide. One was 0.AA8, and the other L:AP8...

Looking suitably monstrous - I do love Great Black-backs!

Well I've just heard back from Bruce Taggart - and it wasn't a channel-hopper as they usually are. This bird was ringed on Looe Island, Cornwall, as a pulli on 25/6/11. This is the first sighting of L:AP8 away from Looe.

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