Temmink’s Stint: Axe Estuary Birds 169

Axe Estuary Birds No 169 November 30th 2011

The Birds

David Cox reports “This morning (Sunday, 20th) I was with my two grandsons and we saw a female Mallard with about 10 tiny ducklings on the pond next to the Education Centre. Hope they fatten up quickly!” Ian Waite has seen them too, as well as baby Moorhens, a Wheatear and the Snow Buntings which are still around.

On 17th there was local excitement when a Temmink’s Stint was found at Colyford Common – only the second one on the Axe, and a first for Devon in November, I have put in two photos showing the relative size of the Stint compared with the Lapwing.

Untitled Poem

Did you think

Temmink’s Stint

Was extinct?

No! it trills and twitters

On the Tundra,

In case you wundra.

Rarely on the Axe –

and that’s a fax!

By A. Nonny-Mouse

Then came news of a Desert Wheatear, which had the twitchers who had missed out on the Temminck’s Stint all rushing off towards to Mansands, near Brixham, where Karen Woolley got this super photo.

Two of Sue Smith’s photos.

A Cormorant, standing out from the crowd, and a Little Grebe who looks as though he has bitten off more than he can chew.

The Trivia

I thought you might like to see a December Moth I caught in my moth trap last night – cute little beggar isn’t he, all wrapped up warm for winter? I had around 100 Yellow Dung Flies in the moth trap yesterday and no moths!! One of the Dung Flies was in the process of devouring another smaller fly (images attached) I was not aware that Dung Flies ate other insects? Maybe one of you could enlighten me to their eating habits. Peter Vernon

Yet another sign of this very mild autumn. On my walk yesterday I saw Red Campion, Dogwood, and Honeysuckle in full bloom. Mike Lock

Colyford Common Snippets

Fresh wildfowl interest was provided by the arrival of seven Greylag Geese which were first seen on 14th and were still present at the end of the period. Twelve Brent Geese were present throughout although some individuals proved difficult to see! The maximum Canada Goose count was 59 and 32 Shelduck were on the marsh at high tide on 14th; Wigeon were less noticeable with the only count being of 40 on the river opposite the hide on 18th. Teal numbers on the other hand reached an estimated 200 on the marsh on 18th and there was a count of 145 on the larger scrape on 15th. Two Little Grebes were on the reserve ditches on 14th and five Cormorants were roosting in the trees bordering the River Coly at the edge of the marsh on the 18th. A Kestrel was on the reserve (20th) and a Peregrine over the marsh on 15th and 18th when it caused ‘mayhem’ among the Lapwing and Teal. The discovery of a Temminck’s Stint, which is a real rarity in November, on the scrape on 17th led to the arrival of several ‘twitchers’ on the following day. There was a claimed sighting by one person who had arrived early but the bird did not stay and was not seen again and the twitchers moved on in haste mid morning when news broke of a Desert Wheatear near Brixham and a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Blagdon leaving just a couple of people in peace to enjoy the sight of large numbers of Lapwing close to the hide and three species of geese plus Teal not far away. Lapwing were plentiful with up to 400 on the scrape and about 700 in all in the area with a Golden Plover in attendance on the 14th. Up to 12 Dunlin were also present on the scrape and four Snipe were there on 14th and up to 30 Black-tailed Godwits frequented the reserve, scrape and marsh while the Spotted Redshank put in an appearances on the marsh (14th) and reserve reed bed (15th). Up to 60 (18th) Curlew could be seen regularly on the scrape. At high tide Black-headed Gulls in particular gather on the scrape; 300 were counted on 18th. Small numbers of Great and Lesser Black-backed, Herring and Common Gulls were also present on the marsh and scrape during the week. Single Kingfishers were seen on the reserve and marsh and up to six (17th) ‘littoralis’ Rock Pipits were on the reserve and the first Water Pipit of this winter period seen there on 15th. A Pied Wagtail frequented the scrape and a party of 11 Long-tailed Tits was seen along the access path to the reserve on 18th

Bob Olliver.

News from Holyford Woods

On dry days walking the paths has been like stepping along a glowing gold and bronze crunchy carpet. I have caught the scent of Fox several times, and there are known to be two in the vicinity. Not long and the dog foxes will be looking for mates. When reaching my seat one sunny morning Paco dived into the brambles and out shot 2 (healthy) rabbits which sped down the hillside. They don’t interest him very much, he prefers Pheasants, of which there are several around . Since the ground has softened I have been surprised to see mole heaps in a few places. Why tunnel through such shallow soil when there is deep soil out in the fields? Probably more worms in the deep leaf litter. The call of a Jay has echoed through the trees on several occasions, a regular occurrence at acorn time. Apart from the Oaks, the leaves on most trees are falling rapidly now, and my binoculars have been in use again. A lovely sight has been a flock of 7 Long Tailed Tits to enjoy. Best of all was hearing a Mistle Thrush boldly singing in an Ash Tree on the Southern boundary. It was a very windy afternoon and the name Storm Cock came to mind. The Rooks were enjoying swooping, climbing, tumbling and gliding in the strong wind. Crows and the 2 Ravens have been regularly mobbing the Buzzard. On more than one occasion I have watched a lone female Hornet gliding among the trees, looking for somewhere to over-winter. No Roe Deer lately, only prints in the mud. Jean Kreiseler

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 me of any unusual, interesting or amusing sightings, and what is about locally, and send any photos you would like to share.

Bob, Jean and David. (and many others!) davidwalters@eclipse.co.uk. 7 Springfields, Colyford, EX24 6RE. tel. 01297 552616 Mobile 0779 1541 744.

These two photos of a Lion and a Narins Trogon from the Kruger Park in S Africa, where my grandson and his wife have been attending a course on game park management, and having a marvelous time.

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