Wednesday, 18 February 2015

River Exe...

Firstly apologies for the absence of posts recently. My mother-in-law passed away suddenly last Wednesday and it's been all-hands-on-deck to sort things out with the family.

Despite his bereavement, my father-in-law wanted to go ahead with a pre-planned birding trip on the Exe yesterday and I have to agree it was the best tonic for clearing your head and taking your mind off things. We couldn't have picked a better day if we'd tried - the weather was simply fantastic and it was really good to catch up with Ian Waite, who I haven't seen for some time.

Got off to a great start when I found a long-tailed duck in the mouth of the river. We also saw the resident slavonian grebe, spotted redshank, greenshank, plenty of mergansers, sanderlings, around 700 avocet, 2 male shoveler, three goldeneye plus lots of commoner stuff.

A very sunny Exmouth - not a cloud in the sky
Good numbers of Avocets on the river this year: R. Harris
Huge numbers of Brents but no sign of the Black Brant today
Cormorant: R. Harris
Long-tailed duck, an unexpected find: R. Harris
Red-breasted Merganser, drake: R. Harris
Distant spotted redshank: R. Harris

Monday, 2 February 2015

Before and after...

Ok, not the same bird but this is what they should look like:

Fieldfare...alive and well: R. Harris
...And this is what happens to them when a large female sparrowhawk smashes into one:

It 'as ceased to be, it 'as shuffled off this mortal coil...
Dead on impact - haven't seen such a quick, clean
kill in a long time
A flock of 40+ linnet and a flock of 56 skylarks the only other birds of note on patch at the moment. Hoping to see the regular merlin return in the next few weeks, fingers crossed.

Flock of 40 linnets have been on patch for a while now.
No wonder farmers get annoyed - why do people
have to walk right across the crops! Too lazy (or ignorant)
to walk around the outside of the field.

Purple Sandpipers...

Nice to see the purple sandpipers at Lyme Regis are still performing well. Dave Helliar saw 10 on the Cobb Wall last week as well as a handful of med gulls.

Purple Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Purple Sandpipers: Dave Helliar
Purple Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Purple Sandpiper: Dave Helliar
Med Gull, Lyme Regis: Dave Helliar
And a brilliant sunset over Chard: D. Helliar
Chard, looking much prettier than normal: D. Helliar