Thursday, 19 October 2017

That's More Like It!

Well Ophelia has come and gone, but in birding terms delivered nothing. She didn't bring any American land birds or waders, and didn't even drag up that many sea birds on her journey - bit or an ornithological flop really. But since then things have picked up...

The last week has seen an exceptional arrival of Firecrest across south Devon and Dorset, well some parts of south Devon and Dorset! Portland recorded an unprecedented 150+ on Sunday, with probably just as many around Prawle/Start/Soar. But other places (Dawlish Warren, Exmouth, here) recorded none on the very same day!  Pleasingly they have started trickling through here now, I had my first at Spring Head, Axmouth on Monday afternoon, with another on Tuesday up by Axe Cliff Golf Course car park. Dad had six at Beer Head also on Tuesday, and Bun another in Beer village. Such smart birds.

A quick look along the beach to see what Ophelia had left us revealed just six Ringed Plover, a Little Stint (presumably the lingering bird) and a whole load more Man o' War.

Looking east along Seaton Beach on Tuesday morning

Wednesday gave us a nice double, although sadly one of which I missed.  Our Reserves Officer James Chubb saw a Great White Egret on Colyford Common (which had previously been at Abbotsbury Swannery), but it soon took flight and headed off south west. So proving to be as brief a visitor as the other two recorded here this year. Drat.  What followed cheered me up though...

Yellow-browed Warblers have proved much scarcer this autumn than recent years, presumably solely because we've not had the easterly winds of the previous few autumns. So, stepping out my front door early afternoon, I was really surprised to hear one call from trees just up the road - my third from the garden! I didn't have great views of it, but Tim White clearly did an hour or so later as he managed THIS fab picture of it - always such smart birds and always great to see/hear.

The drizzle and completely still conditions of last night saw (well heard!) an excellent nocturnal passage of Redwing and Song Thrush overhead, which gave me high hopes for this morning.  But those hopes have not really been lived up too (as usual!), although it did feel really good out there. There was one lovely highlight though...

As I drove over the lower Axe bridge into Seaton, I was amazed to see a flock of six Avocet fly across in front of the car! A really mega-sized flock by Axe standards.  I watched them fly upriver, they then circled around a bit before seeming to drop down on Black Hole Marsh. So I went around for another gander...

And that brings me and this blog up to date! So good to feel proper autumn excitement - we are a go...


  1. Beautiful Avocet photos Steve. Got a feeling someone in east or south Devon is going to find something really good in the next couple of weeks, a national mega.

  2. Should add I've felt this way before and nothing has happened !

    1. Perry I do hope you are right. Mind you us Devon boys are due something mega - a nice American land bird would do, probably more likely at your end of the county.

      I wouldn't mind a nice window of vismig weather, so many finches in the country this autumn and we need to start seeing some of them. Especially the BIG ones :)