Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Fog It

The weather has not been too kind to us so far this week. Monday was a complete wash out, Tuesday we were fogged out for most of the day, and even today there was still a layer of fog in the valley at dawn - although at least this morning the higher ground was clear...

The river valley from Beer Head

There has been a few scarcities about though. The Canada Goose flock on Colyford Marsh continues to host a Barnacle Goose, and since Monday a first-winter Dark-bellied Brent Goose too. Have seen up to 14 Dunlin on the river, with three Grey Plover still, a Knot and yesterday Dad had an Avocet on Black Hole Marsh. Gull numbers are low but with the Black-heads I've seen two Med Gulls recently (an ad and a first-winter). Also yesterday, I came across my first patch Black Redstart of the autumn, a nice first-winter male at Axmouth Yacht Club.

The trees and bushes are certainly harboring more Goldcrests than the last few weeks, but Chiffchaffs have suddenly become harder to find. It looks like they've all grouped together at the traditional sites (Lower Bruckland Ponds, Seaton Marshes) and are less evenly distributed.  There was quite an amazing sight yesterday as up to 3000 Starling were feeding on flying insects in the river valley - I spent ages checking through them but it wasn't easy! Quite a spectacle though.

This morning Beer Head did feel quite good, it was definitely the best morning so far this autumn for Chaffinch passage, but with the light winds they were flying in all directions and many were really high so they were pretty much uncountable.  Not many other finches were going over though, and a Mistle Thrush, a Reed Bunting and two Lapwing were the only oddities. The bushes seemed overall quiet but there were clearly more Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Robins about.

Weather looks good for the next few mornings, so let's see if I can uncover something nice like a Bluetail.  If I don't it won't be through lack of trying...

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