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Backwater Birding - Seaton, Devon (1 Viewer)

Gavin Haig

Well-known member
Uist revisited....

Just got back from a nice little spell in the Outer Hebrides - Uist, to be precise. Not a birding hol, but still managed to look at the odd bird. last time I was on Uist was in 1984, twitching Steller's Eider. Well, 'twitching' is a bit of a strong word for a bird that had already been there about a decade (no exaggeration, that!). Actually, 'twitching' would be the wrong word anyway - 'dipping' would be the right one.....and that's another story. Anyway, I shall not bore you with all the gory details (might put a blog entry in at some point), but here are some little photographic tasters.

1. One of the reasons I love wildfowl is because they are so exciting and glamorous, as this classy pic of a juv Ring-necked Duck shows to fine effect. So many shades of brown on ONE living thing....
2. A regular hazard on Uist is the risk of being ambushed by Grizzly Bears hiding along the shore.
3. Sunset from the beach by our cottage, illustrating what a bleak and dreary endurance test a holiday there can be.
4. More misery.....what a dump!

I have enjoyed catching up with all the latest Backwater antics, but surely some of the latest photos are - how can I put it - doctored? I cannot understand how such dodgy behaviour could have found its way on to this thread.

I notice that Steve has commended Karen for getting a description of her Yellow-browed Warbler in nice and quick. I'm not so sure that this is good practice. Personally I like to write the description, then compare it with what's in the field guides, make necessary adjustments (adding any clinching details I may have missed), embellish with a flurry of nice little field sketches (always much easier to do in the comfort of your own home) and THEN send it in. Job's a good 'un........|=)|

Better go birding soon....

EDIT - some time ago I decided to actually pay money for bird info by registering for 'Bird News Extra' on BirdGuides. The investment has finally reaped dividends - the funniest directions to a bird that I have yet read. A Dusky Warbler in Notts is 'showing well, on and off, between the viaduct and the maggot factory'. Excellent. |=)|
 

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KarenWoolley

Well-known member
Personally I like to write the description, then compare it with what's in the field guides, make necessary adjustments (adding any clinching details I may have missed), embellish with a flurry of nice little field sketches (always much easier to do in the comfort of your own home) and THEN send it in. Job's a good 'un........|=)|


What on Earth makes you think I didn't have ample time to do all of those things in one afternoon!? After all, I haven't been to the life shop yet ;)
 

Steve Waite

What you looking at?
A good day today, with a few nice highlights. After being told a Richard’s Pipit was heading towards us over Bridport, I took myself up to Axe Cliff – but no luck! Did have a nice surprise though in the middle of a field where I had stopped to scope a flock of Finches/Larks/Wagtails on the golf course. As the tripod/scope came off my shoulder and on to the ground, up came a Jack Snipe! It flew low over the field and went down again just the other side of the nearest hedge line. Really makes me think how much is missed that's sat tight in the middle of a field, any field, anywhere on patch! Then think about the whole of Devon! How many fields are in Devon, a zillion? Also here a nice Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 GS Woodpecker (flew high W - probably a proper migrant!) loads and loads of Linnets, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Yellowhammers with a few Reed Buntings and several small flocks of Siskin went over….though I never actually saw one!

I then went to Colyford Common – waders everywhere! The 2 Spotted Redshank, Ruff, 4 Little Stints all still present, and a single juv Curlew Sand was new in (my first for a while) with 26 Dunlin. Also here saw the whitest Buzzard I think I’ve ever seen; it so should have been something better! Then, on the river, over 100 Wigeon, 2 Blackwits, 1 Barwit and 3 Common Sands. From Seaton Hole mid afternoon 6 lady Common Scoters were sat on the sea, plus 3 more flew west.

I’ve had a tot up, and we are on 16 species of wader for the day, we still need Grey and Ringed Plover, and maybe the late Wood Sand is still with us….
 
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Simon and Sue Wakely

Well-known member
Evening everyone,
Finally back online after a slight mis-hap with the computer. A woodland report seems to be needed after such a long time.
• Our patch, ie, our garden has been more than enough for us to enjoy. Birds seen since last report include:
• Hobby flew over on the 31st of Sept.
• Regular Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Little Owls.
• Willow Warblers.
• Chiff-Chaffs.
• Hoping to see some over-wintering Chiff-Chaffs.
• Male black cap.
• Two Gold Crests feeding on the leaves in our apple trees.
• We hope you enjoy these pictures, without a doubt our two favorite woodland birds:

Happy Birding
Simon and Sue
 

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Gavin Haig

Well-known member
Greetings again, Simon and Sue - thought you'd been absent for an unusually long spell. Look forward to seeing what the winter brings to the 'Wakely Reserve'.

Had a brief-ish look at Beer Head this morning. There were quite a few Meadow Pipits, alba Wagtails and Linnets milling around, plus a few Skylarks, but no real vis mig of note. The bushes appeared to be warbler-less, and just a single Wheatear. The most unusual bird was a Common Sand, which called several times, but I couldn't see it. I think that may be a new one for my Beer Head list.

This evening I popped down to Colyford Common before the light ran out. I met Fraser as he was leaving. "It's a wader-fest", he proclaimed, grinning. He has good reason to be chuffed - his handiwork (along with some fortuitous water injections) has produced consistently good wader habbo all autumn. It's not a huge acreage, but some excellent results even so. Highlight for me were the 2 Spotted Redshanks - both juvs going into winter plumage, and the first I've seen for more than 2 years. Lovely, elegant birds, always been a favourite of mine. Also a juv Ruff and Curlew Sand, 5 Little Stints, Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover (also a year-tick) - any of which would be a nice little patch highlight on their own. Something like 26 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Green Sands added variety. Enjoyed all this lot in the company of Phil and Karen and, as we were leaving at dusk, the Egyptian Goose dropped in to the scrape, loudly honking its arrival. A few blots on the landscape looked suspiciously like Canada Geese. A lovely evening. I like it here.
 
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KarenWoolley

Well-known member
I also visited Beer Head this morning and there wasn't anything worth reporting really, I didn't even see the Wheatear, never mind though, I'll still be visiting often, at least until I have that Ring Ouzel in the bag!! I may have said this before but, tomorrow for sure....

I really enjoyed the 'wader-fest' this evening at Colyford Common. Brilliant stuff!! |=)|

Whilst walking the dog along the River Coly this afternoon I managed to photograph a Hornet, been looking for one of these beauties all summer!!

EDIT: Better make that Ouzel, Wednesday for sure.... Lashing it down tomorrow AM apparently.
 

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Steve Waite

What you looking at?
Glad you managed to pin down the Grey Plover for the day, making it 17 species of wader on the day list - a record I wonder??? Could have done with a nice Yank in there for a bit of quality though....maybe tomorrow.....
 

Roger Boswell

Well-known member
Just returned from a few days in the Somerset Levels. Absolutely glorious weather with the mist rising over the river Tone on our way up. We were looking for the Gt Bustard reported in this location, but instead saw a large bird perched on one of the drainage banks - a long way away. Can anyone suggest what it might be? (Image 2)

Although we visited several NNRs and RSPB reserves I am sure we saw less species of bird than those reported in the Axe Valley. Two rare visitors were drawing in birders from quite a distance - a Pectoral Sandpiper and a Purple Heron; we were in the right place at the right time to see the latter.

Too early for the million plus Starling flights we were given a pre-view by a flock of about 1000 (ie about Karen's Linnet flock size), which gave a brief but spectacular flight around the houses at Meare. You should not be driving when such spectacles come into view!!!!
 

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Steve Waite

What you looking at?
Nice bit of quality today.

Didn't have much time for birding today, but my last port of call before I had to return home to get ready for work was Lower Bruckland Ponds. Hoping for a decent duck I looked over the top pond, but my attention was soon diverted by a gang of Long-tailed Tits and Chiffs flying into the pond-side willows from the other side of the road. After several minutes of checking every movement I saw, I glimpsed a couple of wing-bars through the back of the nearest willow, but the bird immediately melted back into the tree. I waited and waited, but no sign....then I realised why the tree was looking less bird-filled than it did a few minutes before - the blighters were escaping out the back and heading north through the trees on the island.

I legged it to the top end of the pond to intercept the flock - but either they were on speed, or I need to cut down on the pies (probably the latter!), because I only just caught up with the back end of them! Still, I did have a good view of the whole flock as they made their way along a low hedgerow - Long-tailed Tits, plus a few Chiffs, but nothing else. Just when I was starting to think 'Oh bugger!' a few Chiffs calling in some nearby willows caught my attention, and soon enough I had a bin-full of Yellow-browed Warbler! I had superb views of it down to c8 meters feeding low on the near side of a willow, but after about 15 seconds it melted away again into the tree amongst its commoner cousins. Gav was first to arrive, shortly followed by the two Ian's - they had to wait, but an hourish later they were treated to some nice views I hear. It wasn't the yellowist YBW I've ever seen - but really well marked, real crisp.

Earlier in the day I managed a visit to Colyford Common, all the same still present: 2 Spot Reds, 1 Ruff, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Blackwits, 1 Barwit, c25 Dunlin, 1 Curlew Sands and 5 Little Stints (though I hear that has gone up to a huge EIGHT now!). The Jackdaws are being really weird over the scrape at the moment - they are chasing everything! Black-headed Gulls, the small wader flock (or a single small wader), the Ruff is their favorite, and I even saw one today chase a Great Black-backed Gull for about half a mile down river!!!!

EDIT: I forgot to mention, one of the Chiffs I saw at LBP looked quite interesting, very dull and brown with a notably different call, higher pitched. It wasn't tristis, but probably something a bit eastern.....
 
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KarenWoolley

Well-known member
I had to wait in most of the day for a courier to arrive, so what to do with all those idle hours, two choices really, house work or practically anything else!!
Then I remembered this:

I'll bet this thread is blessed with pics of an odder variety of species than most (any?) other Local Patch threads - eg, Dartford Warbler, Audouin's Gull and Clark's Nutcracker. I wonder how many species, exactly, are featured? We could have a league table - a list of each species and how often it has been featured. Sounds like a nice research project for someone....perhaps before they pop down the shops? ;);)

So here's the answer 166 different species are pictured on this thread (not counting any hybrids and probables) Not all actually seen on patch (or in this country) but the majority are. I didn't count the number of each though surely.......

I am afraid I did! :eek!:

The top 10 are:

1) Iceland Gull 43
2) Osprey 42
3) Med Gull 33
4) Wheatear 28
5) Egyptian Goose 23
6) Dunlin 20
7) Curlew Sand 20
8) GSW 20
9) YLG 20
10) Whooper Swan 16

One of those 166 is YBW which I tried to photograph today at Brucklands, it was very elusive and kept, both well inside the trees, and moving. I got several pictures of blurry blobs but one was really good, well, you can clearly see the birds left knee and white bottom!! What more could you want!! ;)

Sorry about that! I'll definitely have another try if it's relocated tomorrow.

8 Little Stints were on the scrape at Colyford this evening and I've attached A typical Coly Common type shot of them!
 

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Steve Waite

What you looking at?
I had to wait in most of the day for a courier to arrive, so what to do with all those idle hours, two choices really, house work or practically anything else!!

What about choice number three - do a James McCarthy! Stand outside looking up for the day.... a very good way to find decent birds!!!!
 

Gavin Haig

Well-known member
...or I need to cut down on the pies (probably the latter!)...
Indeed! I would like to draw your attention to this confession:
I came out of work at ten, ate a monster breakfast which I didn't finish till about 11:45 and then went birding!!!!
You may need to start a savings account for future trouser purchases...:eat:

After a few slack weeks Steve was back in 'finding' mode today, and I was thankfully able to benefit. Yellow-browed Warblers may be yawn-a-minute on the Feast Coast right now, but they are still eye-poppers in the Backwater. What a super gem! I think (apart from Steve) only myself, James McC , plus the senior and (at the moment, anyway) heavier Waite managed to see the YBW really well - it was very elusive. I think Ian then went to Colyford Common, found the hide too full for his liking, announced the presence of the YBW, and promptly had the box to himself. Actually, probably not much of that is true, but it IS true to say that the hide is a bit of an ordeal (that's a polite understatement of the most restrained variety) with all these nice waders about. Talking of which, indeed there were 8 Little Stints this evening, all looking very neat and tidy, and small. Lovely. I would like to think they were considering extending a bit of hospitality to a Semi-palmated cousin - that would be a nice opportunity to test the hide capacity....

Our 2 juv Spotted Redshanks were still in residence, along with 28 Dunlin and lots of other nice things that have already been mentioned.

EDIT - Karen, I am deeply impressed by your commitment to the pursuit of 'Totally Worthless Thread Trivia', but am a little disturbed by one or two of your presumptions, eg, 'Not all actually seen on patch (or in this country)...' In the words of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon: 'What is being implied here?'

PS - cracking YBW shot - no need for a description when you can submit pics of that quality. Clearly rules out all other passerines....

PPS - I think a few of us heard the high-pitched, 'pleep'-ing Chiff, but I can't say I got a good look at it.
 
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Steve Waite

What you looking at?
some time ago I decided to actually pay money for bird info by registering for 'Bird News Extra' on BirdGuides. The investment has finally reaped dividends - the funniest directions to a bird that I have yet read. A Dusky Warbler in Notts is 'showing well, on and off, between the viaduct and the maggot factory'. Excellent. |=)|

There's a better one this morning - A Yellow-browed Warbler at Kenidjack in Cornwall, showing 'by the grey cottages (and donkey!) mid-morning' 3:)
 

KarenWoolley

Well-known member
Karen, I am deeply impressed by your commitment to the pursuit of 'Totally Worthless Thread Trivia', but am a little disturbed by one or two of your presumptions, eg, 'Not all actually seen on patch (or in this country)...' In the words of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon: 'What is being implied here?'


I was referring to Townsend’s Solitaire and absolutely no other birds, honest!!! |^|


No Ring Ouzel again today on a rather cold and windy Beer Head, but I got a much better view of the Yellow-browed Warbler this afternoon, (thanks to Ian Waite for text) and also, I heard it calling at last!! In fact it became very vociferous for a while and I was able to follow it around on a small circuit of the pond. I wasn’t able to photograph it though; it’s still far too ‘fast and furious’ for that!!

Tomorrow however, it will sit still in a bare tree for whole seconds and Beer Head will be swarming with Ring Ouzels. ……............ :bounce:
 

Steve Waite

What you looking at?
Not much birding for me today, in fact the two highlights of the day were both fish, and both at Lower Brucklands! First was when the farmer of Brucklands pulled a trap up so I could see the Crayfish inside - it was a HUGE one, looked like a lobster! They have just got into the ponds and are now everywhere!

The second was this afternoon when a fisherman asked if I could take a photo for him...he had only caught a 20lb carp!!!! Flipping MASSIVE!!!!
 

Steve Waite

What you looking at?
Yellow-browed Warbler still present this morning - though I never actually saw the blighter! I heard it calling four times, once when it was right infront of me...somewhere!!!! I can't understand how it can be so elusive!!!
 

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