Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Friday, 31 October 2014

RB Fly in the Hole...

Lucky to find time today to slip down to Seaton Hole to see this lovely Red-breasted Flycatcher, a first for the Seaton area. Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler had also been seen in the same location but didn't get time to catch up with them:

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Seaton Hole: Dave Helliar
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Seaton Hole: Dave Helliar
Red-breated Flycather: R. Harris

Worth going back for...

Andy Grinter chose to go to Cornwall the week after Dave H and although the Moltoni's had gone, it was soon replaced by an even better mega in the form of a yanky Yellow-billed Cuckoo! Definitely the place to have been last week. Thanks to Andy for supplying some of his photos from his Cornish break and Dave Helliar who having just returned, had to head back again for the cuckoo (see pics).

Red-legged Partridge: Andy Grinter
Lesser Yellowlegs, Copperhouse Creek: Andy Grinter
Ring-necked Duck, female, Drift Res: Andy Grinter
Black-tailed Godwit, juv: Andy Grinter
Black-tailed Godwit, juv: Andy Grinter
...and the star of the show, photographed on Friday 24h October:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Porgwarra: Dave Helliar
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Porgwarra: Dave Helliar
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Porgwarra: Dave Helliar
YBC crowd shot -  the cuckoo is the small pale blob
in the bushes on the right: Dave Helliar
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Nanquidno (1 of 2 present): Dave Helliar
Lesser Yellowlegs, nr Hayle: Dave Helliar

Lots of these around at the moment too - this one taken near Chard:

Hornet: Dave Helliar
Hornet: Dave Helliar

Friday, 24 October 2014

Cornwall in October...

Ok, this week has thrown up some mega birds but Dave Helliar was in Cornwall the week before and still saw some fantastic birds including the possible Moltoni's (subalpine) warbler at Porthgwarra and a smart juv American Golden Plover at Davidstow.

Porthgwarra:

Chough: Dave Helliar
Chough: Dave Helliar
Possible Moltoni's warbler: Dave Helliar
Hooded Crow: Dave Helliar
Drift Reservoir:

Chrysolina sp either oricalcia or banksi: D. Helliar
Wheatear: Dave Helliar
Peregrine having a scratch: Dave Helliar
Ring-necked Duck: Dave Helliar
Davidstow:

Some nice pics of this obliging bird showing the characteristic subdued, greyish colouration, strong supercilium with darker cap and darker ear coverts/paler nape to name but a few...

American Golden Plover: D. Helliar
American Golden Plover: D. Helliar
American Golden Plover: D. Helliar
American Golden Plover: D. Helliar
Hayle estuary:

Whooper swans: D. Helliar

Other species seen included Barred Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest, Ring-Ouzel and Whinchat - not a bad week at all.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Grey Phalarope

For the last few days there's been a very confiding 1st winter Grey Phalarope present on the Otter estuary in Devon. With reports of it getting 'too close to focus on' I decided to take a look for myself yesterday as I was working just a few miles up the road. When I arrived there was nobody there except a single woman out toward the estuary mouth. I figured she must be watching it and set off along the footpath behind the shingle ridge. I hadn't gone more than 20 metres when I just happen to glance to my left and there it was, about 10 ft away quite happily feeding and ignoring all passers by. I nearly walked right past it! What a stunning little bird though. I spent nearly three hours watching as people came and went and it didn't care in the slightest. The light was poor but I got a few shots of it. Dave Helliar got much better photos from the day before:

Grey Phalarope: Dave Helliar
Grey Phalarope: Dave Helliar
Grey Phalarope: Dave Helliar
Grey Phalarope: Dave Helliar

Grey Phalarope, Budleigh Salterton: R. Harris
Grey Phalarope, Budleigh Salterton: R. Harris
Grey Phalarope, Budleigh Salterton: R. Harris
Grey Phalarope, Budleigh Salterton: R. Harris
and some video too...


Grey Phalarope, Budleigh Salterton: R. Harris

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Itsy, bitsy spiders...

Found both of these at Wayford Woods nr Chard at the weekend while walking Jake (that's my boy, not a dog). Both incredibly small just a few mm long and difficult to photograph in appalling light but interesting little things. Amazing what they look like when seen closely:

Cyclosa conica, male - with distinctive conical
shaped abdomen: R. Harris

Cyclosa conica, male - colour variation: R. Harris

Ozyptila praticola - a mini crab spider: R. Harris

...and then there was this bruiser on the patio doors:

Araneus diadematus: R. Harris

Monday, 6 October 2014

Pec on the patch...

Dave Helliar found this smart juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper on his patch near Chard on Sunday morning. Unfortunately it didn't hang around after being flushed by a sparrowhawk intent on chasing a couple of nearby Green Sandpipers. This is a first for the patch and a great local find:

Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Hopefully it will resurface again somewhere else - last seen heading south in the general direction of Axemouth.

Blast from a twitching past...

Great to see Rich Heddington's account of our 1984 Scillies trip - memories come flooding back! Even pics of my brother Duncan and myself (I'm the one soaking my feet after covering some mileage in search of a mega).  Those were heady days (no pun intended). Not sure Scillies will ever again get the quality birds they use to get then, that's up to the Jet Stream, but it's still a magical place and I'd go back in a heartbeat...in October of course.

Twitching a Common Yellowthroat
Samson Hill, Bryher, Oct. 1984: R. Harris
Note: I don't think there's a single camera lens in the photo above - the good old days when birders were birders and stayed a respectful distance. Everyone enjoyed the bird and it stayed for 15 days, that wouldn't happen today.