Thought I should bring everyone up to date with my local patch sightings in recent weeks. I consider myself extremely lucky to live a five minute walk from the Estuary, a three minute walk from Black Hole Marsh, a 15 minute walk from the seafront, and have an office practically on the Axe Estuary!
I have done a little driving, but only taken myself to completely deserted places where I know I am going to be alone. And one of those trips was to woodland on the edge of Colyton on the 7th, very early on what was a beautiful cold and frosty morning. It was stunning...
And there was plenty of bird life too. All the usual woodland species, like Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Raven and Treecreeper were seen, along with the full flush of less guaranteed winter species. And by that I mean several Siskin, a single Lesser Redpoll, at least eight Crossbill and two Woodcock. All in all a very enjoyable woodland wander.
I haven't done any proper sea watching since lockdown three came into force, basically because we are not allowed to. However I have spent plenty of time at the beach because I just love the sea. Always early in the day though to avoid the crowds, which is my favourite time of day anyway...
There's actually not been a lot on it, despite the cold weather we experienced early in the month and the often flat calm conditions. Up to five or six Great Crested Grebes seem to be wintering in the bay, with anything between one and ten Red-throated Divers usually on show. No sea ducks at all yet for me, although I have seen some duck here. On 9th three Shoveler were huddled up riding the waves, with five Wigeon and two Pintail over the sea east. The Pintails weren't a year tick though, because I'd seen three fly east on 3rd including two splendid drakes.
|One of the Great Crested Grebes|
Along the Estuary, we've been graced by an Avocet which is often with Black-tailed Godwits mid way along the Estuary at low tide, or roosting north of Coronation Corner at high tide. Usually only a species we see here during migration times, so to have a lingering winterer is a bit of a novelty...
|Love watching Avocet feed|
A drake Gadwall (presumably the bird from the 1st) and a couple of Greenshank are also hanging around, as well as the seven Greylag Geese.
There have been good numbers of gulls most days, but the 14th saw a real peak in numbers, with an evening Estuary check revealing over 360 Common Gulls and eight Med Gulls - by far my highest counts of the winter for both species...
|There's five Med Gulls in the shot, four adults and a much harder to spot non-adult. Can you see them all?|
Although I have always stayed close to home, there's been plenty to see really close to home.
The cold snap at New Year brought more birds than usual into the housing estate I live on, but when the weather warmed they didn't go back with many of them still here. It's been great to see Redwings feeding right in front of my front room window, and a good selection of finches have included several perched up Siskins (see them often here but almost exclusively fly overs) and even a Brambling. The latter has been visiting a nearby birders feeder daily for almost three weeks, but I didn't jam into it until the 16th...
|Hope to see it again sometime - a nice male Brambling|
|Two male Siskins almost gleaming!|
And there we are. That pretty much brings you up to date. I'll try and keep things more regular now, but as January birdie updates go I am quite pleased with this one.
Stay safe all.