Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Charmouth - Wed 30th Nov

Charmouth River 13:30 - 15:00. Really pleased to get a patch YearTick today. Although they've been around in the local area for a couple of months now, it's shocking really, but this Teal is the first I've seen on patch. They just don't seem to like the river maybe because its just not quiet enough. It was sitting at the edge of the reedbed about 30 meters north of the footpath bridge.

Male Teal

 It was quite wild and very nervous and did not stay long. I was pleased to fluke this flight shot of the Teal, showing a striking white wingbar as it did a circuit of the river before departing eastwards along the beach.
Teal - In flight
 A little further up the river an area of soft mud has appeared after the recent deluge when the river was in spate. I flushed a Common Snipe which took off and headed north and away from the village. The first Snipe I have seen here this year.

Down on the beach, quite a lot of seaweed has accumulated beneath the Heritage Centre carpark. Pied Wagtail and this male Stonechat were taking advantage of the insects and invertebrates living in and around this seaweed. Although resident on the cliffs I don't often see Stonechat on this part of our busy beach.

Male Stonechat on the strandline

Stonechat on the strandline
 I quite like this pic of one of the local Rock Pipit - feeding on the strandline near the Stonechat.
Rock Pipit
Late post: I saw a Goosander feeding between Lyme Regis and Charmouth on the 16th November.

Lower Bruckland Ponds and Seaton - Tues 29 Nov

I decided to follow up on reports that the (or another) Yellow Browed Warbler was still present at Lower Bruckland Ponds.

There'd a been a decent frost overnight and a keen wind was blowing from the North and East. I arrived in bright sunshine under a sparkling blue early winter sky, hopped over the style onto the public footpath and immediately picked up 2 Goldcrest feeding in some tall willow trees.

There was also a small mixed flock of Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit and 2 more Goldcrest. A promising start! Frosty in the shadows, the sun had some warmth to it and the willow were brightly illuminated. A Tree Creeper started calling in a nearby Oak tree and then a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew through. But where was the YBW? I didn't have long to wait. Suddenly and joining the first 2 Goldcrest I latched onto a 3rd bird. I've seen so many wonderful photos of this little sprite on twitter this autumn but it was brilliant to finally get my first clear view of a Yellow Browed Warbler. I followed its progress through the trees for a minute or so and then just as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone. I spent another hour or so trying to refind it but only saw the bird once more for a few seconds, in the same tree as the first sighting. Didn't manage any photos but a really great few moments with this lovely visitor.

Also present at the ponds was this femail Tufted Duck together with friends:

I got a text from Steve W saying that there was a super male Black Redstart along the seafront at Seaton. I'd been lucky enough to see the gorgeous male last winter at Seaton bowling green and also a nice male at Seaton Hole. Don't know why but I do love Black Redstarts. Anyway I had a good look along the seafront but couldn't find the bird so I decided to take a quick look around the Yachtclub on my way home. I jumped into the car drove 200yds and slammed on the brakes (checking my mirror first obvs). In the front garden of some houses and feeding with a couple of Pied Wagtail was a different Black Redstart. Here's a few pics, which is clearly not the same bird as Steve's. Always nice to see.

Black Redstart

On the estuary it was nice to see a flock of  32 Dunlin.  All in all, a lovely early winter birding jaunt off patch.