Monday, 31 December 2012

Lyme Regis

A female black redstart, 5 purple sandpipers and a pair of dipper at Lyme Regis on 30th December.

Andy Grinter

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Rose-coloured Starling, Exminster, Devon

This 1st winter bird has been frequenting the area around the Church in Exminster for over a week now. Seen and photographed by Dave Helliar:

1st winter Rose-coloured starling: D Helliar

1st winter Rose-coloured starling: D Helliar

1st winter Rose-coloured starling: D Helliar

Monday, 17 December 2012

Hawfinch at Bruton

Two in fact, photographed by Dave Helliar at the weekend in Bruton churchyard - here's one of them, fantastic birds -

Hawfinch, Bruton: D Helliar

Hope they hang around!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

One year ago...

A year ago on 14 December, Chard Res was lucky enough to have a pair of drake ring-necked ducks drop in before settling at Chard Gravel Pits:

Monday, 10 December 2012


Thanks to Dave Helliar for the following shots of the Otterhampton waxwings, fantastic birds to see anywhere but particularly nice in Somerset:

Dave also got some better photos of the Temminck's stint at Stockland Reach, lovely little bird:

Friday, 7 December 2012

Temmincks Stint, Stockland Reach, Steart

This one's been hanging around on the flooded pool at Stockland Reach for 5 days now and looks quite happy too. It was showing down to 20 yards, pity the light was so bad and it was blowing a howling north-westerly wind - might have got some decent shots then...

Short video clip below - you can tell how windy it was...

Monday, 3 December 2012


Just clearing out some recycling in my garage this morning, when I came across this little monster.

It's a Drassodes sp. (there are two that are inseparable without a microscope) and yes, those are it's fangs you can see. Needless to say I didn't handle this one and it moved very quickly, so no able to get great shots of it either. With a body about 10mm long, it was a reasonable size too. They are fierce nocturnal hunters and use their weapons to pierce woodlice armour.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A year ago...19th November 2011, Snow Bunting, Seaton, Devon.

At times, too close to focus - within 18 inches at one point! One of two birds that were present and what obliging birds they always seem to be.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Bonaparte's Gull, Dawlish Warren 18th November 2012

Another decent bird that's been hanging around for a while is this lovely adult Bonaparte's Gull. It seems to favour the seafront near the Boathouse restaurant along the sea wall at Dawlish Warren. Although fairly mobile, it did show very well at times and it was a beautiful morning for a change...

And if you're not tired of looking at it, you'll find a short video clip of this lovely bird here:  

Cattle Egret, Colyford, Devon

This bird has been around for some weeks but it has taken me until now to catch up with it. Doing what it should be doing...

Would be nice if it stayed around for the winter. Short video clip of it here:

Also a smart white wagtail kicking about on the field by the main road too:

Friday, 16 November 2012

Med gull, Chard Res

Nice to see an adult med among the black-headed gulls yesterday. First seen a few weeks ago by Dave Helliar and subsequently by Kevin Harris, this one seems to be coming back on a fairly regular basis. It flew off shortly after first seeing it, on its own (as meds always seem to do).

I hope it continues to visit the res through the winter, always good birds to see.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Black Reds are back

Yes, two together today.  I suspected there might be two birds around as I saw initially what I believed was a 1st winter male and then a browner looking female bird on occasions although never at the same time.

Hope they hang around for the winter.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Friday, 26 October 2012

Black Redstart, Chard

At least one, possibly two black reds flitting nervously around my close yesterday evening. This one stayed still long enough for a few snaps. Apologies for the quality but they were taken through glass and as you can see, the weather wasn't great!

This is a patch tick for me - not seen one here before in six years.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Subalpine warbler

Great views of the 1st winter male subalpine warbler at Avalanche road on Portland this morning. Showed down to about 15 feet and managed a grotty record photo before it disappeared into the undergrowth. It was just after first light, so too dark for a decent picture but you can see what it is.

Also, near the quarry above Pensilvania castle: pair of blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 buzzard.
Behind Foundry close: 1 firecrest, 2 goldcrest and 1 Chiffchaff.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

First redwings in the mist and drizzle today.

I've been religiously trekking up over the local stubble fields for the past three weeks, hoping to flush something interesting, but to no avail. A walk up over this morning in mist and rain produced good numbers of meadow pipits though with C100 in a flock close to the house. Despite a diligent look I couldn't make any into RTP (or anything other than mipits). In addition a mixed flock of 200 rooks and Jackdaws were making a noise, 3 skylark, 5 goldfinch and 25 redwing - my first of the autumn.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Something scarce in the bird hide...

No, not a real birder with bins 'n' all (sorry for the dig mums with pushchairs...not) but a spider. A spider called Lariniodes sclopetarius. Described in the Collins Guide as 'very locally distributed throughout England and Wales and generally rather uncommon.' Not in Chard Res bird hide, loads of them in there! Anyone who visits the hide regularly will have noticed them getting out of the way as bins and scopes get pushed through the viewing windows but this little chap (see photo below) is quite a good find. They are always found near water (they got that right) and are sometimes given the English name of 'bridge spider' or 'grey-cross spider'. This was a smaller one - some are just enormous!

Larinioides sclopetarius

Larinioides sclopetarius

Click on the 'Spider' page link on the right for a few more recent photos.

Love 'em or hate 'em, they are all around us and there are plenty of good spiders to be seen when the birds are scarce.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Spotted Crake, Greylake RSPB

Juvenile showed well but briefly at 8:10 this morning on the first lagoon from the car park. Seen again briefly at 9:45 and video taken.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Buff-breasted sandpiper on Hay Moor

Shot out to see this little chap in my lunch hour today. What a great find by Tom Raven and just a week or so after finding a lesser yellowlegs in the same spot!

Not so very good video clip of this lovely juvenile bird can be found here:

Monday, 1 October 2012

Araneus diadematus...and friend

Everyone is familiar with these large orb web spiders but the variation in colour always amazes me. They are just about everywhere at the moment and some of them are pretty big too!

This little chap is closely related too, although they grow to a similar size, this one was only 5mm long in body length - Nuctenea umbratica - found around most gardens, usually under bark or, as in this case, improvising with my garden fence.

Short-billed Dowitcher

I actually saw the Lodmoor bird a few weeks back after returning from Canada - nice of it to wait :-)

Hadn't bothered uploading pics as it was too distant for photos and I knew they'd look like this, but here's one anyway:

No, I know that's a drake's standing next to it, just to the right, honest!

Somewhat closer and easier to photograph was one of the Green Sandpipers on Blackhole Marsh at the weekend.

And the obligatory Little Egret with a Shelduck...

Friday, 28 September 2012

Last of the summer spiders

As Autumn approaches, the spiders are making a noticeable presence in our hedgerows and around the garden. Here are a few seen today in my back garden and nearby hedge:

Steatoda bipunctata

Zygiella x-notata - very rusty coloured individual
Araneus diadematus
I noticed the little zebra spider salticus senicus is still jumping around on the wall of my house when the sun's out too.