Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Answer to the Quick Quiz - Tues 30th Aug

I posted this image on Twitter with the question. (What bird) is this?:
A. Black Redstart
B. Rock Pipit
C. Meadow Pipit

Scroll down for the answer ....

... And the answer is Rock Pipit

Taken a couple of days ago, the bird was so confiding it walked between the legs of my tripod before posing on the steps of a Beach Hut to have its photo taken:

Monday, 29 August 2016

Charmouth - Mon 29th Aug

A single Mediterranean Gull with readable Colour ring was in the gull roost with the usual Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

No waders were evident on the beach or river. I counted 50+ Pied Wagtail but found no Yellow Wagtail this morning. 8 Mute Swan flew through heading west a mile or so off the beach.

Friday, 26 August 2016

WRYNECK at West Bexington - Fri 26th Aug

Yesterday had such a nice migrant-filled feel to it at West Bexington that I decided to pay another visit today. Who knows I may be able to refind one of the reported 2 Wryneck . The chances were pretty good, I reasoned, particularly as James M. on twitter @tentims had reported a 3rd individual flushed at nearby Cogden Beach. 3 Wryneck? Surely I could hook up with one of them? But would they stick around? It was a clear night, maybe they'd decided to move on?

It was a gorgeous late summer/early autumn morning as I arrived, much clearer with bright blue sky and plenty of sun contrasting with yesterday's overcast, humid conditions. But there were just as many migrant birds about. One of the fencelines was alive with migrants - Wheatear (10), Winchat (2), Stonechat (5) and Whitethroat (2). They were busy feeding making repeated forays into the adjacent fields. A brilliant start. And like yesterday, there were plenty of Yellow Wagtail about too, with several over and good close views of an adult. I heard a Willow Warbler call and had great views of a gorgeous bright juvenile perched close-by on barbed wire fence. They look fantastic at this time of the year. A Tree Pipit briefly joined the Wheatear and Winchat on the fenceline before flying off to land on a bush at the end of the field. Could it get any better? It certainly could! Just after 08.30 out popped one of the Wryneck, sitting obliging, albeit at distance, on a fencepost for a few minutes. I did manage to get a pic but to be frank I'm a bit disappointed with the image. But hey! It's a Wryneck on a lovely Dorset morning. Can't get much better than that?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Charmouth and an Ocean Sunfish at West Bexington - Thur 25th Aug

CHARMOUTH - An early morning walk around the patch yielded 2 Dunlin and a nice flock of 9 Yellow Wagtail on the beach along with the usual fare. I missed out on Yellow Wagtail on patch in the Spring so it was good to see these at last. After the overnight rain this still, humid morning had a good feel about it for rares. This possibility was confirmed by posts from nearby Beer Head, Devon (Steve W.) www.stevesbirdingblog.blogspot.com) and Mike  M. at West Bexington, Dorset @Bexbirder reporting good counts of migrants, so I had a careful look around the bushes and trees along the river and the wild flower meadow. Although I flushed a warbler in the meadow which went immediately to cover I couldn't make an ID which was frustrating. There were a few Willow Warbler around in the bushes but otherwise it was pretty quiet.

W. BEXINGTON and an encounter with an OCEAN SUNFISH - a trip off patch - I saw the reports from Mike M. on Twitter @bexbirder that 2 Wryneck were still present at W.Bexington, so I decided to try my luck. Dipped on the Wryneck but the bushes and fences were jumping with Willow Warbler (10), Lesser Whitethroat (3), Whitethroat (10), Winchat (3), Wheatear (5) with quite a few flyover Yellow Wagtail. Passage of Swallow was strong eastwards around 11.00 but by 12.00 the movement was reversed possibly because of an approaching shower of rain. So plenty of migrants around and a really exciting early autumn morning's birding:

Here's a short vid. of the Star of the morning though, which was this rare visitor from warmer Atlantic waters - An Ocean Sunfish lying just off the beach at West Bexington. Much rarer than the Wryneck I had hoped to see, I'm told this Sunfish is a patch-first for this stretch of wonderful Dorset coast, although one was seen at Abbotsbury (per Steve G. twitter @SwannerySteve) and/or Burton Bradstock (per Paul H. twitter @PaulUpwey) a few years ago and they are seen from time to time off Portland Bill. Uncommon but seemingly becoming more "regular" with Martin C. @PortlandBirdObs having seen 3 in the last 5 years:

Friday, 5 August 2016

Charmouth - Fri 5th Aug

There were some big tides this week and one high tide coincided with strong winds, scouring out the entrance to river. The water level in the river has consequently dropped by 2 -3 feet exposing some nice areas of mud. There's plenty of flying insects about but disappointingly I couldn't find any Waders. However, there was a bit of activity along the edge of the reedbed with at least 1 Sedge Warbler and a Whitethroat feeding busily. A male and female Reed Bunting were also present as was a Little Egret, the former in the reedbed, the latter feeding at the side of the river. On the beach were 5 Feral Pigeons. Amongst the rocks 2 Common Sandpiper were being driven up the beach by the rising tide. They soon flew off, flicking there wings, low over the sea towards the west.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Charmouth - Wed 3rd Aug

Some news hot off the press about the adult male Lesser Black-backed Gull (Black 5AU2) I reported on the beach at Charmouth on Monday. It was ringed in May 2013 in Guernsey and since then it has been seen periodically mainly in the Channel Islands but also on the west coast of France in the Vendee at Les Sable D'Olonne last October 15. The previous sighting to mine was at Axmouth by a Birder I know there (Ian Mc.) 20 days ago on 11th July 2016. So at time of sighting the bird was 1168 days old.  Many thanks to the Paul Veron for the quick response (http://guernseygulls.blogspot.com)

Monday, 1 August 2016

Charmouth - Mon 1st Aug

No waders on the river or beach this morning. It was a beautiful morning though and as the sun rose the local pair of Mute Swan were showing off their new addition:

Rain came in around midday so I had a look down on the beach early afternoon. There were plenty of Gulls roosting, washing and preening. A count of 12 Great Black-backed Gull is the most I have seen here this year. 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull were also present including this individual with black ring reference 5AU2, which I will report to BTO/Euring. When/if I hear back from the research project, I'll try to remember to post the details of where the bird was ringed. It will be interesting to see how far this bird has travelled over the intervening period:

Lesser Black-backed Gull - 5AU2

By evening the rain was very heavy and the wind had picked up. I spent an hour on the beach. It was extremely wet and the best I could come up with were a few Manxies shearing westwards at great speed at around 17.45 in the strengthening wind  and by 18.00 with weather conditions deteriorating I could only just see the yellow outer marker Buoy and the passage soon fizzled out.

Charmouth - Sun 31st July

3 Swift over late afternoon were the first I have seen all week the local swifts having left their nest during this last week of July. A quick seawatch early evening yielded a group of 8 Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck heading west. The Shelduck were just off the beach flying towards East Cliff, Lyme Regis. The Scoter were relatively close in too in a tight flock, first heading west then turning back and becoming strung out and then heading off strongly west with the stragglers making effort to rejoin into a tight group as they flew past Lyme Regis.