Friday, 29 April 2016

HOOPOE - 29/04/16

A trip off patch. The Hoopoe reported late last night was re-found this morning and I heard that it was showing well near Lower Bruckland Ponds. I was lucky enough to see the bird which appeared at Lyme Regis golf course a couple of years ago. They're wonderful and although they appear regularly in Spring as exotic 'overshoots', these birds are rare in this country, striking in appearance and always nice to see. So, I was disappointed that I couldn't get to see the recent Hoopoe on Portland. And was at Dawlish the day before one turned up there last week, so missed that one too. I was keen to see another, particularly as it was so near to home, albeit 'off-patch'! It proved too good to miss so I drove down to near Musbury this afternoon. What a beauty the bird was, feeding energetically in the grass alongside a pond and lit up by brilliant sunshine. Surprisingly insconspicuous at distance and initially keeping low to the grass ...


... the bird gradually moved further out into the open, showing its beautiful plumage, black and white back, dramatic crest, black eye in a pinkish beige head and long slender bill:

Here's a short video of the Hoopoe feeding in the soft ground near one of the ponds.

Another brilliant local bird for April.

Monday, 25 April 2016

GLOSSY IBIS - 25/04/16

It's spring and wader-passage time. So early yesterday morning, I went down to Charmouth Beach to see if any new waders had arrived during night. The light was poor and it was beginning to drizzle. No luck. It was quiet with no waders on the shoreline. Maybe there's something else about? In the last couple of weeks a few Wheatear have arrived staying very briefly before moving on northwards. Not this morning though. I drew a blank on the West Beach too, but then caught a glimpse of a dark shape dropping out of the gloom and onto the shingle in the river. My first thought was that it was one of the local Cormorants sneaking in for a quick fishing trip. The bird flew up again and did a few circuits. I got the Bins on the characteristic silhouette of a GLOSSY IBIS! I couldn't believe it! This is a patch "mega" for Charmouth and as someone else put it ... "now THAT is a patch BLOCKER!".

Because of the rain, I'd left the camera in the car so dashed back, grabbed it and fired off a couple of record shots. The light was pretty bad so I was quite pleased with the way this pic came out as the bird prepared to land:

Glossy Ibis dropping in to the Charmouth River

Charmouth village is a seaside resort which gets many holidaymakers and visitors. The river is small, not much more than a stream, and there is no estuary, just a tiny reedbed surrounded by car parks and a few reeds, bushes and trees along the river bank. We are not talking Minsmere Bird Reserve, Titchwell or even the brilliant nearby Axe Wetlands here. Unbelievably, the bird landed close to one of Charmouth's large Caravan Parks and only a few metres upstream from a busy footbridge. I took another couple of photos and sent out a few text alerts to local birdwatchers.

Glossy Ibis in the River Char
The bird seemed fairly settled allowing me to get a few more photos showing the beautiful glossy plumage.

I heard from Steve W @axebirder that the long staying Glossy had disappeared overnight and could not be found over at Seaton (8 miles away) that morning.

Here's a short video of the Charmouth Bird near the holiday park.

Around 10am the bird took off, gained height and flew off westwards.

I heard later from Tim W @ColytonWildlife that a Glossy Ibis had re-appeared at Seaton Marshes. I will lead you to draw your own conclusions! Still that doesn't make the record for Charmouth any less amazing!

PS. Thanks go particularly to Steve W @axebirder for the timely encouragement to start this BLOG. Hopefully more posts to come as the Spring and Summer unfolds here on my patch on the south coast.