Monday, 10 September 2012

Black Tern

On 2nd & 3rd Sept I tried a spot of early(ish) morning seawatching from the Lifeboat Station on Exmouth front. This was my last ditch effort to find something new before heading North for another boating trip. I didn't succeeed, but I did enjoy watching two pale & a dark morph Arctic Skua doing some synchronised tern chasing in the bay on the 2nd, and one pale morph on the 3rd.

When I got home there were 2 moths on the garage, a green & a white Marbled Green. At least that was a new moth to tick.

Marbled Green
Back at the boat, I ventured off for a day's birding while Simon stayed with Muriel as she had solar panels fitted. I started off at Eyebrook Reservoir, but as that was a bit quiet, I headed off to Rutland Water. It was lunchtime by the time I arrived so I decided to stick to the free North Arm rather than pay the £5 odd to get into the actual reserve. The North Arm was full of Tufted Ducks with a few Crested Grebes thrown in, and lots of Egyptian Geese milling about on the bank. There had been Black-necked Grebes & a Little Gull reported there in the previous few days, but despite spending most of the afternoon there, I didn't find them. I tried to view the Southern Arm from the road as suggested in the 'Where to Watch Birds' guide, but unfortunately there is no longer access by road & it was a bit far to walk. I had a quick look from the one spot I could drive to, then returned to the North Arm, setting myself a limit of 5pm before I headed home.  I was checking out the terns with about 5 mins to go when I saw a smaller & darker tern than the Common Terns that I'd been seeing all afternoon. As soon as I spotted it on a post it flew off & I had to wait a while before it finally reappeared. It turned out to be my first Black Tern of the year. That made my day!.

Eyebrook Reservoir from the North end
The North Arm of Rutland Water, full of Tufties.
Egyptain Geese

A distant Black Tern on the post by the notice, a bigger & paler Common Tern on the post to the left.
Year List: 202 + 2 sub-species

Saturday, 1 September 2012

An last!

This morning I checked Birdguides to see that an Osprey had been at Bowling Green Marsh earlier, but had flown off just after 8am. I didn't check again for a while, only to find that it had returned shortly after with a fish. It was almost 10am by then, but I grabbed the bins & scope & drove over there with my fingers crossed (but always remember, two hands correctly on the wheel at all times. Ed).

I had a brief stop in the hide, no Osprey, but lots of Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew & Redshank, a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit, quite a few Knot & a couple of Ringed Plover. There was a Spotted Redshank in there somewhere, but I didn't see it. I went off to the platform, again no sign of the Osprey. I then went down to the Goatwalk with Keith who had seen the Osprey on its two earlier visits, hoping that he would be lucky again. It worked! We had been looking for a little while when he spotted a small blob in the top of a tree on the far side of the estuary. It was miles away & we watched it for some time before it moved to give us a good view of its lovely white head & black eye stripe! A UK tick for me! A closer view would have been nice, but I'm not complaining!

The Osprey is in a tree on the far side of the estuary.....honest!
We watched it for well over an hour, pointing it out to a couple of other birders & numerous passing non-birders who wondered what we were all squinting at. It was attacked by a couple of gulls, but didn't budge. Then, just as Keith was leaving, the bird finally decided it was peckish & flew down the estuary towards Dawlish Warren. For about 15 minutes we watched it flying over the estuary between Lympstone, Dawlish Warren & Powderham before it flew down & grabbed a fish. It started heading back straight for us & we were hopeful that it would bring its lunch back to the derek at BGM where it had breakfasted earlier, but instead it landed on a mudbank to eat. Oh well, never mind.....I was happy anyway!

I haven't posted for a while, not because I haven't been out, but because I haven't really seen much. On 27th I was at BGM but didn't see a lot.On 28th it was Buddleigh where I decided to try a spot of seawatching. I went to the recently revamped shelter, where at one stage there were 5 of us. Great, I thought.   As a seawatching beginner it would be nice to know what I was looking at if I struggled with identifying any shearwaters or skuas that happened along. I'm sure it would have worked, only no birds actually passed by! I was there for 2 hours & only saw a couple of Manx Shearwaters! I should have been there a few days earlier when they saw all sorts.

Nice view, shame there were no birds!
On 30th I was back at BGM in the morning & saw the Spotted Redshank & 2 Wood Sandpiper. The Osprey was there in the afternoon

I saw more things flying on 31st, only they didn't have wings. We had a day out at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, which was very entertaining.

Monster trucks did their stuff....
... as did the White Helmets
Simon was a happy chappy talking old bikes....
...and checking out the old trucks.

Including: Fodens (S23s etc), Scammell Expolorers in heavy recovery, military tank recovery and general heavy haulage trim (and a Routeman in the main arena pulling a single axle Taskers low-loader trailer loaded with a drag line light crane)  , Leyland Hippos and a number of American Macks (from Holland, interestingly).  There were some Guys displaying the famous Indian Chief radiator badge (very rare) and a nice Ford Transcontinental tractor unit from the 1970s.  There was also a Leyland Marathon tractor unit (the type featured in Destination Doha , A BBC, World About Us documentary, Circa 1973) powered by a Rolls Royce 220 and with a Fuller, range-change gearbox.  The axlecould not been confirmed as a David Brown, so we didn`t count it. Ed
Year List now on 201 plus 2 sub-species.