Axe Estuary Birds #144

Axe Estuary Birds No 144 15th November  2010

NB: The following is reproduced by kind permission of Axe Estuary Birds. Full credit goes to the team that produces the newsletter (see the bottom of the post for specific details). Photographs are credited throughout the text although we are working to preserve the original layout wherever possible in the future.

The Birds

Another period and another American wader!!!

On 9th a Long-billed Dowitcher was found on flood water opposite Axmouth Football Club, just north of Boshill Cross.  It was still present the next day but then disappeared.  Surprisingly it reappeared again in the same place on 14th.  This is the first record for the patch of this national rarity and was found during the search for a Grey Phalarope that had just been seen flying up the river from Axmouth Yacht Club.

There were plenty of other ‘patch goodies’ during this period, with two Bearded Tits on Colyford Common briefly on 1st starting the month off nicely.  A Hawfinch flew over Beer Stables on 3rd, on a morning that 1,290 Wood Pigeons were counted flying west.  Much larger passages of Wood Pigeons have occurred since, but all have gone over uncounted.

The sea got some attention this period – and offered some nice rewards.  A Red-necked Grebe and three Great Northern Divers were off Branscombe on 10th, two Little Gulls flew past Beer on 11th, and the sea from Seaton on 13th showed the, Red-necked Grebe, or another, one Black-throated and five Red-throated Divers and an Eider.  A few Brent Geese have been seen passing over the sea, and a flock of twelve spent at least five days in the river valley; at first they were feeding on Colyford Marsh throughout the day, but they now only appear at dusk when they come in to roost.

Gull scanning on the Estuary appeared to be a dead loss this period, although on 12th that all changed when a first winter Glaucous Gull was found near the tram shed.    Unfortunately it didn’t hang around and flew off after about five minutes.

The adult Whooper Swan remains with the Mute Swan flock opposite Stedcombe until 13th at least.  The following day (14th), a family party of four Whooper Swans were present briefly opposite Axmouth Football Club before moving on.  The Axe always seems to do well for this species, they are annual now!

Lapland Buntings are still on patch, with up to three seen and heard on a couple of dates at Axe Cliff.  They can be very elusive in the stubble, and hard to pick out amongst the 300+ Skylarks here.

Lastly, just when you think all the signs of summer are long gone….a Swallow was over Colyford Common on 8th!

Photos: Long-billed Dowitcher – Karen Woolley; Glaucous Gull – Steve Waite; Whooper Swans – Gavin Haig.

News from Holyford Woods

The colours this autumn have been exceptional and I have not seen such a rich variety all at once in the Woods for a long time. The paths have been thickly carpeted in a mixture of gold, bronze, copper and yellow.  On dry days childishly scuffing through the leaves has been a pleasure. With so many leaves coming off the trees, bird watching will be a lot easier, though birds generally are very quiet, apart from the Jays and Nuthatches. The sound of a gun shot from the pig fields at morning feeding time has been sending a large noisy flock of Corvids into the air, which then descend into the ash trees all along the South boundary. Paco is still annoyed by the sight of Squirrels dashing across paths and leaping around in the tree tops. A prolonged cold spell might mean they depart for easier pickings in people’s garden feeders. The high winds of late have brought down a lot of small branches and twigs everywhere. On my last walk, a particularly gusty day, I heard a large tree at the far West end, beyond the top bridge, come crashing down. At that point I decided to beat a hasty retreat.  I will investigate this later.

Below there are few images of Autumn in the woods   Jean Kreiseler


The ringing on Nov 1st resulted in 32 birds as follows:

Song Thrush 2; Greenfinch 3; Blackbird 2; Goldfinch 1; Wren 3; Cetti’s Warbler 1; Dunnock 11 (3); Reed Bunting 1; Robin 2; Blue Tit 4; Long-tailed Tit 2; Chaffinch 2. Two of the retrapped Dunnocks carried rings commencing with the prefix ‘V’. This puzzled some of the team, but am able to confirm that these were ringed by the Group in 2008 in the crop field. V573478 on 11th December and V573494 on 31st December, both recorded as 3’s.

The highlight of the day was two Bearded Tits which decided to travel through the reeds where at the previous session we placed nets! Anyway a nice rare sighting for the patch.

The Trivia

Nature Explored

Earlier this year, Helene Buse visited the High Arctic.  Photographs from this trip will be displayed in the exhibition, including polar bears, walruses and spectacular scenery.

The exhibition will be held at the Guide Headquarters, Rosemary Lane, Colyton, East Devon.

Thursday 25th Nov 2010  4.00 pm to 8.00 pm.

Friday and Saturday 26/27th November 2010 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

There will be an entry charge (for Guide funds) of £2 for adults (under 18’s free). Light refreshments will be available.

Sandy Beasmon writes “Just to let you know of a Stoat that was seen on Saturday 23rd October at Seaton marshes and within about 20minutes or so had raided the nearby rats nest (by the feeder) 5 times; each time carrying a baby rat back to its nest in the rhyne to the left of the hide.”

A friend in Carlisle writes  “A Crow was being blown backward by the wind and managed to land perfectly on the top of a tree – looking very nonchalant as if he had been meaning to reverse there anyway!”

Margaret Barwick saysAround 10 am on this wet and windy morning, (11th Nov,) I went to fill up the bird seed feeder. As I approached I noticed a blob in the feeder , (which is on a 6foot pole) and thought it was soggy seed stuck together. However, to my surprise it turned out to be a Dormouse! It had been a very cold night so we presume it had climbed the pole and got into the feeder then decided to stay overnight and slept in! Whilst we debated how best to deal with it, Steven managed to get some (not very good photos) of it in the feeder. It then pre-empted us by leaping out of one of the holes in the feeder and down onto the gravel.”

Take a look at the Fair Isle webpage below. I assure you it is worth it!  Sent to me by John Wood.

Diary Dates

Thursday     18th November    7.30pm                     Talk by Richard Edmunds “The Jurassic Coast and it Conservation”
An  AVDC event at Kilmington Village Hall.

Sunday         21st November   9.00am                      Birds from the tram with Donald Campbell.

Wednesday 24th November  10.00am to 13.00 pm  Walk, approx 5 miles, with Ian Waite.  Meet Colyton Town Center
Car Park.

Thursday     27th November  10.00am to 12 Noon  Meet the Birds at Seaton Marshes.

This twice-monthly email newsletter is freely available to anyone who would like it, as is a periodic one about the activities of the East Devon Local Group of the Devon Wildlife Trust.  Just send me an email with Axe Estuary Birds and/or East Devon DWT in the subject line.  Also, for those without a computer, I will send a copy by post if you would like to send me some stamps.

Thanks to those who keep me informed – please continue to tell us of any unusual, interesting or amusing sightings, and what is about locally, and send any photos you would like to share.

Steve, Mike, Jean and David.   tel. 01297 552616  Mobile 0779 1541 744.

A couple more photographs, the Roe Deer from Holyford Woods and the December Moth from Peter Vernon’s moth trap, both taken by Peter.

November 18, 2010Permalink