Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Weekend

Haven't got much to report really.  We are all a bit gripped/puzzled by a pager report of a second-winter Ring-billed Gull on Black Hole Marsh yesterday afternoon. It would have been great to have seen this bird for sure! 

On Friday last week, after Jess finished work we had a wander around the lanes of Colyford and I was surprised just how many birds were there!! Must have seen at least seven Chiffchaffs amongst two different tit flocks, for the umpteenth time this autumn I was convinced I was about to find a Yellow-browed Warbler!  

The highlight though was really out of the blue.  We had almost got back to the car when amongst a few Pied Wags a male Yellow Wagtail was perched on a telephone wire over a back garden of a farm house!  I was looking into the sun, but it really did seem to have a darker head.  I honestly thought I was cracking up though. I would say 90% of mid to late autumn Yellow Wags I see, but for the vent area, are almost yellow-less, this was yellow through the whole breast and belly!  I had a small digital camera with me, so took some snaps - these don't show much but seem to show a white throat and white super, along with two distinctive wing bars.  Anyway, I grilled it for a bit longer with my binoculars but learnt no more about it, then it took off and flew east with a Pied Wag.  It did call a few times when it flew and I have to say sounded pretty bog standard, I suppose it may have been a little less 'pleasant-sounding', but there was certainly no buzzing or rasping qualities to it.  

So my conclusion is, it was a Yellow Wagtail of some sorts...

A distant and silhouetted Yellow Wagtail

On Saturday, we were feeling energetic and walked from home to Branscombe!  Luckily we dropped a car off at Branscombe village hall first so didn't have to walk both ways - four miles is ok, eight would have been way above my limit!  Yes I am that unhealthy!!!

It was a stunning day and some of the views were totally splendid, this one in particular...

Looking west from Beer Head

There was a fair bit of overhead passage with Mipits, Skylarks and Siskins most numerous.  Grounded migrants were few and far between, with a Redstart below the main Beer Head car park being the highlight.

From Beer Head we walked to Branscombe through the Under Hooken.  It really is scary how much cover is down here, all these photos taken show different sections of it...

Simply impossible to bird. Too much cover which you can't get into or see over

 Annoyingly, later that day a male Ring Ouzel was found here. Drat.

Sunday as ever I spent at work, and whilst out the back managed a work tick!  A lone Jay flew low west over town - not unexpected I have to say.  It was nice to see a couple of small flocks of Wood Pigeons and Jackdaws going over, but not many passerines.

Monday morning, I decided to give Axe Cliff a look about.  It was nice to see a Ring Ouzel, with a very vocal bird perched up for a couple of minutes in a small tree near to the start of the Undercliff (another massive area of impossible to bird premium habitat!).  Otherwise save for a few Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests, and a flock of c150 Skylark, the selection of grounded birds was limited.

I have to say, overhead was disappointing too.  I was expecting a lot lot more passerines, with just low numbers of Mipits and alba Wagtails seen along with a few Finches.  I did however see 290 Wood Pigeons and one Stock Dove fly west - and it was nice to take a few photos of migrating Pigeons again...

The only time Pigeons become interesting!

After Axe Cliff, the Axmouth FC scrape gave a Grey Plover amongst half a dozen Lapwing - a new bird for me on this field!  And that was really it for yesterday.

Today I have been in all morning, with a net open in the front garden.  Amongst the small number of birds I've caught and ringed were a Goldcrest and two Coal Tit - migrants?  I'm sure the Goldcrest was, weighing five grams with next to no fat.

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