Saturday, 8 April 2017

Osprey, Waders and Sunshine!

Well I just have to start this post with what has just happened. Basically every single day for the last three weeks I have been expecting an Osprey, especially during this current spell of amazing sunny weather. They've made land fall east and west of us, and finally just before 18:25 this afternoon all the sky scanning paid off. 

I was actually incredibly fluky to be honest.  I'd just arrived home with Jess, stepped out of the car, heard the gulls alarming, looked up and there was an Osprey cruising east!  Awesome.  By the time I had got Jess on it and reached for my camera it had become distant so I thought this was going to be my only photo of it...

Yes I know that is a Wood Pigeon - look above it!

Thankfully though it dropped down into the river valley, so I legged it inside and upstairs to watch it from the bedroom window.  It was at this point that I really wished I was sat in the Tower Hide, as it caught a fish right in front of there! Gripping. Holding its fish it circled up and up, and then dipped behind the big hill above Axmouth. I wouldn't be surprised if it landed behind there somewhere as it had to eat its catch...

Sorry for the quality but it was distant!
With fish. The adults are so much better at fishing that the autumn immatures!

From appearing to disappearing the Osprey was in view for about eight minutes. This is so typical of a spring Osprey, they are almost always untwitchable, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. If you're not then you've probably missed it.

And now to the waders. The only obvious passage that has been taking place during this clear and sunny weather has been wading bird passage. Every day something new has appeared, and three of these have been year ticks for me.  Today I saw the two Bar-tailed Godwits (one a lovely summer plumaged bird) and a Whimbrel, and since Tuesday a Greenshank has been feeding on Black Hole Marsh (which is still looking amazing and teaming with birds!)...

I love spring Greenshank they are so smart

The other recent regular sighting on Black Hole Marsh during the mornings has been the six Cattle Egrets.  They seem quite happy just sitting around on the islands of the marsh for the first few hours of the day. Most of them have been showing orangey heads for a couple of weeks now, but in recent days they're developing orange on their neck sides and fronts, and their bills are turning increasingly redder. Nice. I do hope they stay a bit longer as full breeding plumage Cattle Egrets are amazing looking things.

Three species of Heron!

Passerine migration has been so dire that I really can't believe it is the 8th of April!  There's basically nothing about but a few Swallows and Willow Warblers.  Still it was nice to visit Axe Cliff for the first time this spring this morning...

Looking towards Beer Head
Surely this qualifies as art?

Seeing as they've been so scarce this spring, two male Wheatears in a ploughed field were a real highlight. Otherwise as with recent days there was just a few Willow Warblers and four Swallows.

Butterflies have really benefited from this warm weather. In the last week I have seen so many Orange-tips, Peacocks, Holly Blues, Specked Woods, Small Tortoiseshells, plus a few Painted Ladies and Green-veined Whites. Still waiting for my first Odonata of the year though, I really hope it is a Vagrant Emperor...

1 comment:

  1. I just read this post. Interesting and fun. Yeah, your video needs more volume to it. But, great post nonetheless. Thanks.