NB: the following is reproduced for the web by kind permission of Axe Estuary Birds. Photos/text are the work of the respective contributors.
Axe Estuary Birds No 157 May 31st 2011
Steve Waite went to the Island Hide at Black Hole Marsh on Friday 20th hoping for something special, and was not disappointed. There was an adult White-fronted Goose.
Ian Waite reports that from the tram on Sunday 22nd visitors ere treated to the sight of two adult Water Rail collecting food from the mouth of Stafford Brook, and taking it back into the reeds,
Reed Warblers are noisily present in the reed bed alongside path to The Tower Hide at Black Hole Marsh, more often heard than seen, and Reed Buntings have also been seen in the hedge opposite.
Tim White has a blog well worth looking at, with many fine photos. This one of four young Kingfishers on the Coly caught my eye. Have look – you wont be disappointed. http://timwhitewildlife.blogspot.com
Snippets from Colyford Common Log Book
Four Little Egrets were on the scrape on 17th and 2 Grey Herons on the marsh on 21st. A single Purple Heron is listed for the 17th but no location is given nor signature or initials of the observer. There do not seem to have been other reports of this bird and juvenile Grey Heron cannot be ruled out. The same observer listed 12 Ringed Plover, again with no location given. This is a rather high number for the scrape although 3 were present there on 18th and 2 on 19th. 6 Dunlin were at Black Hole Marsh on 17th and 3 on the scrape on 18th. Two Whimbrel were there on the same day and 2 Curlew reported there on the following day. One Redshank was seen on the scrape on 16th.
There was just one record of a raptor, a Buzzard on 17th. A single Sand Martin was noted on 21st, c20 Swallows (16th) and House Martins on 16th and 18th with a maximum of c20 on 18th. A Lesser Whitethroat was reported from Stafford Marsh on 18th. Bob Olliver
Report of two Fieldfares near the FSC at Black Hole Marsh on Saturday 21st. The observer was positive that they were Fieldfares, a bit of a rarity in this country at this time of year, but often seen further south on the continent.
Possible Red-backed Shrike in Axmouth? Wendy Hyde writes “I saw a bird land on a branch, it had a coppery red back a tail that had a black centre and white either side, I think I saw a flash of white on its wings as it landed and a dark patch round its eye. It was the size of a Starling. A day or two before this my husband came in from the Garden and said he had seen two birds he did not recognise that were a beige colour and about the size of a Blackbird, we now presume he had seen two females.”
The long, warm, dry spring seems to have had contrasting effects on the birds. The BTO report the earliest ever Reed Warbler egg, and lots of nests (The reed bed on the way to the Tower Hide is full of their song, and some people have been lucky enough to see them!), but Blackbirds are struggling to find enough worms. Indeed one male in our garden has conquered a hanging feeder to get sunflower seeds to feed his chick.
A pair of Grey Herons with a juvenile were spotted at Colyford Common, and two young Mute Swans were rescued from the ditch by the Tower Hide path, and reunited with their mum who appeared reluctant to cross the reed bed.
Sue also spotted this fox at Black Hole Marsh.
On Wednesday 28th Steve Waite had a moth trap out in the back garden, a few more new species for the year were amongst the 34 moths of 13 species…
1 Red Twin-spot Carpet. 1 Silver-ground Carpe,
1 Scalloped Haze,1 Peppered Moth, 2 Poplar Hawkmoth, 1 Elephant Hawkmoth (right), 2 Orange Footman,
2 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 9 Heart and Dart,
1 Hebrew Character, 1 Ingrailed Clay (left),
6 Vine’s Rustic.
Karen Woolley writes “I’d never seen one of these stunning bugs before. It’s a Corizus hyoscyami, which as far as I’m aware doesn’t have a common name. A once rare bug of coastal dunes, it is now becoming more regular inland apparently. I also managed a better shot of a Ruby-tailed Wasp.”
How many Moths can fit in a Buttercup? Here are eight micro moth Micropterix calthella all in a Buttercup flower snapped by Peter Vernon.
A reasonable number of 24 birds were caught on 14th May as follows: Reed Warbler 8(3); Sedge Warbler 3(2); Blackbird 4(2); Reed Bunting 2; Dunnock 1; Robin (1); Goldfinch 1; Great Tit (1); Blue Tit (1); Long-tailed Tit (1); and Song Thrush 1. One Reed Warbler, on checking the database, was a control.
The team had a good catch on 26th, including three Swifts, a new species for the Group. The tally was 38 birds and only five of these were retraps. Species count: Great Tit 4; Song Thrush 2; Blackcap 2; Blackbird 5(3); Blue Tit (1); House Martin 10; Robin 3(1); Long-tailed Tit 5; Swallow 1; Linnet 1; Reed Warbler (1); Swift 3.
News from Holyford Woods
Hasn’t springtime flown by, roughly 12 weeks between mid February and late May. From the first Primroses and Violets peeping through, then on with the Bluebells, Red Campions and Ramsons, the glorious greens of the trees when the leaves open, Greater Stitchwort and Goosegrass on the rampage, to the Foxgloves which are now flowering, mostly along The Hangings. (They seem to get less and less as each year passes, smothered as the grasses and brambles increase). All that has happened to the accompaniment of the glorious dawn chorus. Recently in some places paths have been strewn with petals from the May blossom and at the top of Holyford Coppice with those off the Spindle trees that unusually have been absolutely smothered with flowers.
The young of the Corvids (mostly Rooks) that nest in the trees in Seaton Down Copse are now off their nests, their raucous calls for food ringing out from the surrounding trees. The cold has cut down on butterfly numbers. On only one day have I seen any, a peacock, orange tip and holly blue enjoying a brief sunny moment by Top Pool. There the Moorhen was calling as if to defend her chicks, but nothing came in to view. Just after sunrise one morning I checked the boundary fence against Pratts Hill, enjoying the dawn chorus and hoping to see young Roe, but was unlucky. Later however I did see a doe feeding on bramble shoots on The Hangings.
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