Note: the following post is an online version of the Axe Estuary Birds Newsletter, #133 dated 31st May 2010. Reproduced here with permission. You can also get this newsletter in PDF format and see years of archives at DevonBirds.org. Thanks to Steve, Jean and David! [Edit: also I need to apologise for not getting this newsletter up in time for the first couple of diary dates. Sorry!]
All very quiet – as to be expected at this time of year. Spring migration is over, though in less than a month the first south-bound migrant waders will appear. Green Sandpipers in particular are early autumn migrants, as the females leave the breeding grounds – and the male, to bring up the youngsters.
Bird of the period was an adult Spoonbill, seen on the Estuary between 2nd and 5th. It has been a good year on patch for this species, with records in most months so far.
A couple of other notable sightings include an unseasonal – presumably a late spring – Wood Sandpiper over Blackhole Marsh on 10th, hopefully the autumn will give us more sightings of this species. Another late spring migrant was a Yellow Wagtail on Colyford Common on 4th.
Breeding birds seem to be having mixed success. With the floral cycle being noticeably late this year, nests have been a little more exposed than usual. This has appeared to have led to a higher than usual predation rate, presumably mostly from Magpies.
The rarest sighting of the period comes thanks to Catharine Willerton – and it wasn’t a bird! On 5th she found and photographed this 13-spot Ladybird at Blackhole Marsh. This species died out in Britain and is just starting to re-colonise from Europe. With marshland being its favoured habitat this could be a good area for this species, let’s hope many more are located in the valley over the coming weeks/months.
The moth traps have been busy over the last few weeks, though immigrant moth numbers are still very low – probably due to the lack of southerly winds of late. Here are just a few species that have been found in Seaton over the past few weeks…
News from Holyford Woods
The recent rain has speeded up the end of the Bluebells and the stately Foxgloves are now beginning to flower, but are neither as robust or prolific as previous years. On warm and sunny days I have seen several butterflies around, in particular 3 Holly Blue and also Green Veined and Speckled Wood. Near water a male Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly was darting around. There has recently been a lot of calling from corvids, Rooks and Crows and the occasional Raven, in the tree tops on the Holyford Copse hillside, and there today I came across a juvenile Crow on the ground near my seat demanding attention. Young birds and fledglings are still being fed everywhere, but the variety of bird song has decreased. The number of Squirrels has risen to 5. It seems they spend the winter around gardens, where they find a steady supply of peanuts make easy pickings. Paco tried to dive deep into one of the well established Badger setts this morning, yelping with excitement, but came out backwards with a rush, reeking of Fox! Maybe a dog fox was having a sleep-over. The best animal encounter was last week, when sitting quietly on a fallen trunk off the main path. Suddenly Paco stiffened and I looked round at the same time as the Roe buck came from behind the bushes and, startled by the unexpected sight of us he jumped, ‘barked’ at us (it is similar to a Labrador dog), turned and disappeared again. Lovely.
Jean and Roy Aley wrote “Sunday lunchtime and we took our gin and tonics into the garden (and our binoculars, of course) when a House Sparrow dropped down on to our lawn. These birds are unusual on our patch (Colyton) so we focused our bins on it only to be amazed to see that it had a dragonfly in its beak and that not a common species but a Golden-ringed Dragonfly! The sparrow struggled to fly off with it, presumably, to feed its brood. P.S. We had not started our G and T’s by then!”
Jersey tigers found by Ann Wright, in her garden in Seaton.
Peter Vernon thought you might like to see what he found on the path between Colyford & Colyton along the river Coly this morning. “I think it is a Sea Lamprey judging by the size of the beast and it had some serious looking teeth! Please let me know if you think it is a different species. It was probably caught by an Otter and dragged up onto the path last night. I have included the image with my welly boot to give an indication of size which I would put at approx 15″ in length.
Barbara Benfield is thinking of starting a Devon Lichen group but needs a list of people who might be interested. If you are, please contact her at email@example.com
Geoff Charman spotted a Red Kite on the 14th at around 2pm high up flying east, roughly flying along the line of the A3052 while we were at Bruckland Lakes Nature Area. They are getting to be quite frequently seen.
Saturday 19th June 10.00 am – 12 noon AVDCS Coffee Morning The Court House, Colyton.
Saturday 19th June 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm Marsh Plants with David Allen. Meet at White Hart Inn,
Saturday 26th June 10.00 am – 6.00 pm Axminster Festival. Show Ground Trafalgar Way Axminster
Sunday 27th June 10.00am – 5.30 pm AVDCS and EDDC Countryside Service and Axe Valley Ringers
will be there.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Biodiversity Exhibition at the old TIC in Seaton’s Underfleet Carpark, with various informal walks and talks – more details at the Exhibition or phone 01395 517557.
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 us 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, Jean and David,
firstname.lastname@example.org. tel. 01297 552616 Mobile 0779 1541 744.
7 Springfields, Colyford, Colyton, EX24 6RE