Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Local birds in January...part 2

Good birds in January continues and certainly one of the best performers so far this year has to be this lovely young male Desert Wheatear, which was been enjoying life at Thurlestone in south Devon - it really doesn't look out of place in Dave Helliar's photos!

Desert Wheatear, Thurlestone: D. Helliar
Desert Wheatear, Thurlestone: D. Helliar
Desert Wheatear, Thurlestone: D. Helliar
Closer to home the regular Purple Sandpipers at Lyme Regis also performed well (they have so much character about them) also a Black Redstart.

Purple Sandpiper, Lyme Regis: D. Helliar
Purple Sandpiper, Lyme Regis: D. Helliar
Black Redstart, Lyme Regis: D. Helliar
Even closer to Chard were a long-staying female Goldeneye at Chard Reservoir and a nearby Shoveler.

Goldeneye, Chard Reservoir: D. Helliar
Shoveler, female: D. Helliar
Meanwhile in north Somerset a Snow Bunting has been entertaining birders and photographers at Huntspill allowing typically close views without a care in the world

Snow Bunting, Huntspill: D. Helliar
Snow Bunting, Huntspill: D. Helliar
Snow Bunting, Huntspill: D. Helliar
On 25th January Dave found this 1st winter female Ring-necked Duck with the tufties at Chard Res but it had gone by the following morning.
Ring-necked Duck, Chard Res: D. Helliar
Ring-necked Duck, Chard Res: D. Helliar
Overall a great month locally for birds - not a bad start to 2016 Dave! 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Local Birds in January...part 1

The 'Three Counties' area has had some good birds already this year and Dave Helliar has been making the most of his time in seeing them plus some of the more regular but good-to-see species too.

First up, the recent Cattle egret near Chard - Dave got this excellent photo of it in perfect light.

Cattle Egret nr Chard

This first group were all from 3 January in Devon.

Barnacle Goose, Exminster Marsh, Devon
Bonaparte's Gull, Exmouth, Devon
This adult has been returning for several years now
though much more difficult to catch up with these days.
Common Snipe, Goosemoor, Topsham
American Wigeon,, Matford Pools, Exeter
From 5 January we have the Rose-coloured Starling that has been around the Weymouth/Dorchester area for some time now.

Rose-coloured Starling, Dorchester
Rose-coloured Starling, Dorchester
Bearded Reedling, Radipole Lake, Weymouth
Bearded Reedling, Radipole Lake, Weymouth
Eider, Portland Harbour

 And finally from 14 January...

Dipper, Somerset
Mediterranean Gull
Waxwings - part of a group of nine near Topsham, Devon
Waxwing, Topsham, Devon

Thanks to Dave for supplying his photos and the month isn't over yet. Hoping for some waxwings even closer to home, like this one just outside my house from 2013.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Cattle Egret, take two...

Thought I'd check to see if the Cattle Egret was still hanging out near Tatworth this morning and an early visit paid off. Not only was it still there but this time it was a bit closer, around 70m away at the closest point. It looks quite happy so maybe it (and the accompanying Little Egrets) will stay for a while longer. While I was there the landowner turned up and flushed them when he entered the field to move a boundary fence but I'm sure they would have come back as soon as he went.

Cattle Egret, Tatworth nr Chard
Cattle Egret, Tatworth nr Chard
Cattle Egret, Tatworth nr Chard

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Cattle Egret...

There has been an incredible influx of Cattle Egrets recently with birds turning up just about everywhere, sometimes in small flocks!  Turn back the clock 30 years and this was a real rarity here in the UK. I vividly remember twitching one somewhere on the outskirts of Yeovil not far from Sutton Bingham Reservoir and at the time I had no real expectations of when I might see another...how times have changed!

There has been a single bird moving around the lower Axe valley area for a few weeks now and when I heard of one that had turned up locally near Chard yesterday, I assumed it might well be the same bird, that was until the Axe bird was seen at around the same time, so this was yet another.

I didn't get a chance to look for it until today but it was still hanging out with ten Little Egrets when I tried for it and not surprisingly, it was staying close to the cattle feeding in the field. It was always distant but here's a heavily cropped shot of it.

Cattle Egret near Tatworth

Never thought I'd say this but it was a pity the sun was out. Could really do with a slightly cloudier day so that it doesn't appear too over exposed (even though I'd compensated for this in camera). With a bit of luck it might hang around.

Dave Helliar arrived just as I was leaving and got a nice photo of it as it moved closer...

Cattle Egret: Dave Helliar