26 November 2016
Although there has been a sighting of a Long-tailed Duck which would be nice to see its not the main reason to visit the Marshes at this time of year, its the water fowl!
There is the added attraction of 14 Barnacale geese that flew in to join all the Canada and Dark-bellied Brent Geese which come to feed on the pasture at this time of year.
Other water birds include Mallard, Widgeon, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Mute Swan. Plenty of Waders about with Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Lapwing ether flying over or on the pasture especially at dusk with large movements from the estuary to the marsh with the tide coming in. Counted 25 Snipe fly over me as I got to my car in the middle car park, its just a stunning place at dusk!
Also saw Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw looking for food in the pasture with Woodpigeon and Stockdove flying over. A few Gulls with Great-black, Black-headed and Herring Gulls of all ages, Cormorants and Buzzard as fly overs.
Wren, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Starling, Blackbird and a few Redwing that were a bit scatty and never really settled on a berry bush.
I did find the Long-tailed Duck that was on the Exe by Topsham and was showing well if not distant and in fading evening light not the best time to take pics! Plenty of Waders here with Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank and Red Breasted Mergansers flying around in between the boats.
Good to meet Joe and Steve and other birders and members of public all enjoying the Marshes.
20 November 2016
Went to Thurlestone this morning to see the Desert Wheatear which didn't disappoint!
It sat on the beach for sometime giving some great views. Also saw Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Cormorant, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.
I did go to Aveton Gifford but the tide was in and the estuary was not accessible so decided to go to Dartmoor and Soussons to see some Crossbills and hopefully the Shrike.
While driving around Dartmoor I saw Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jay, Rook, Stonechat, Great Tit, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Great Tit, Robin and a couple of Buzzard.
At Soussons it was very quiet and very few birds about, sadly no Shrike but did see 6 Crossbills right at the end of my walk as I got close to the car. Did see a couple of Raven, Magpie, Jays, Woodpigeons, small flock of 20+ Goldfinches, Chaffinch, Coal, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Robin and Wren.
Met lots of nice people at Thurlestone, birders and some interested Golf players. Around Soussons met a few birders looking for the Shrike as myself and disappointed likewise but all very philosophical about it
19 November 2016
Went to Plymouth today to do a days training for ORCA, it was their Marine Mammal Surveyor training course which was run at the Marine Biological Association building at the Citadel.
It was a full day and an enjoyable one and something I would like to do so better get some practice in and sign up for the trips! They go on ferries across the channel and the North Sea and it was more scientific than I thought it would be, but then it will be worth something!
13 November 2016
On this gorgeous Autumn day I thought I would go up to Dartmoor and try and see the Great Grey Shrike and some more winter Thrushes. Well like all my great plans they fail miserably!!
Sadly the Shrike wasn't showing very well for me and to my amazement I didn't see any Fieldfares or Redwing on my travels through Dartmoor, considering my last visit were there was loads I thought I might see a few?
Anyway saw lots of other birds with Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock and a few Herring Gulls on the odd field seen while traveling around.
At Soussons I saw plenty of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Coal, Blue and Great Tits, the Coal Tits were every where!
Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Jay, Kestrel, Buzzard, Raven, Green woodpecker and some great views of Crossbills, sadly those views although close were in the shade of the trees as they were feeding on the floor, frustrating about the pics but very rewarding to be so close to these great birds! Also saw a few at distance on the tops of a few trees. Really worth the petrol just stand and watch for 5minutes before they eventually flew off, Great Bird!!
Didn't see any other birders out, only normal people enjoying the countryside! hahahahaha
12 November 2016
AGM and Bats!
Had a great day today, went to the Devon Wildlife Trust AGM at Seaton town hall. All the usual stuff that you would expect at a AGM with the bonus of a talk from Professor Iain Stewart which was just great. I also met some very nice people which is always a bonus!
Off then to Seaton Jurassic for lunch which was a bit rushed and a bit cramped but I survived ;o) hahaha
Then off to Beer Quarry Caves to learn more about the Caves and "The Greater Horseshoe Bat Project". The tour of the caves was led by John Scott which was very informative and he had a great knowledge of the caves and their history dating back to the Romans. We did also see a few bats 1 Small Horseshoe and 6 Greater Horseshoe Bats which was brilliant, we had been warned that we might not see any because it was still warm and so not using the caves for their winter roost.
Didn't get a chance to take any pics as there was a ban on it, when we returned I asked what was behind it because we stood next to them and there was lights on down there as well, it was explained that the radio waves from the flash cause the bats harm? Never heard that one before, what about mobiles? anyway still had a great time with great people.
06 November 2016
Torbay Boat Trip
Went on the first trip of the winter season around Torbay with Nigel, this year we are on the "Optimist" the boat we use in the summer and must say its much better than the big one we used last year, less likely to spook the birds.
Saw some quality birds like the 8 Purple Sandpipers, Nigel the Captain managed to get us up close without the birds being troubled, also saw around the harbour and on the rocks 50+ Turnstone, 50+ Oystercatchers, singles of Rock Pipit, Male Teal, Female Eider, Little Egret, couple of Guillemots', 28 Grey Heron, Buzzard being mobbed by Carrion Crow, Raven, Gannet, Cormorants, Shags, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Kittiwake, and a pair of Peregrine's putting on a show.
A really enjoyable time on the boat with some great company with the two Nigel's, Ian, Chris, Kevin, Ian and his partner
05 November 2016
Went for a walk around Exminster Marshes this afternoon taking in Turf Lock. The Marsh was quite dry and so very ducks except for a few Mallard and some Widgeon. Plenty of Canada Geese and Mute Swan, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Little Egret, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Pheasant, Magpie, Buzzard, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Lapwing, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Curlew, Dunnock and several good views of the female Marsh Harrier. Found it sat with some Canada Geese which was a surprise, they didn't seem to mind each other?
At Turf the tide was out and plenty of birds over the mud flats with Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Little Egret, Widgeon, Mallard, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shelduck, Avocet and the electric blue flash of a Kingfisher.
Not that many people about which was a surprise on this lovely day!
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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