Short-eared Owl At Last

Exminster Marsh, Exminster, Devon
I had a quick look from the middle car park for the 2 reported Short-eared Owls with no joy. It was late in the day and cold so I didn’t stick around for long. However as I was driving back on the A379 just a hundred metres or so from the roundabout that leads to station road (heading towards Exeter). One of the birds flew along the road towards me! I managed to avoid veering off the road and slowed down enough to obtain a few seconds view of the bird. Luckily there was no traffic behind me as I expect I would have had an angry BEEP. Phew! I have finally caught up with one. I was beginning to think I would miss out on this cracking species this year so I’m pleased to finally see one.

Some Somerset Stuff

Oathe, Somerset
I had a work meeting in Somerset today and after it finished I popped to this area for half an hour as it was around the corner. The reason for the visit was that I had heard there were Whooper Swans here. I couldn’t find any but I was impressed by the amount of Northern Lapwing in the area. I didn’t do an accurate count but it was was in the several hundreds. I walked along the road and flushed a Common Kingfisher and best of all a Jack Snipe. There were also a decent amount of Redwing and Fieldfare.

Fieldfare 
Swell Wood, Somerset
I also popped into this RSPB reserve for 10 minutes. I didn’t leave the car park as someone had dropped Seed all over the place and there was a real feeding frenzy of woodland birds. Lots of Coal Tit, Eurasian Blue Tit and Great Tit with a couple of Marsh Tit mixed in. Also a Eurasian Nuthatch and a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker. This seemed like a really nice reserve and has a Heronry lookout hide.

Cirl Bunting

Orcombe Point, Exmouth, Devon 
I managed a quick look around Gore Lane after work until dusk. The 2 Cirl Buntings are still about and were feeding near the dung heap. They didn’t stick around for long and darted for cover in the hedge that follows the road when a juvenile Eurasian Sparrowhawk came bombing through. The bird stopped in the opposite field. I didn’t have my scope but managed this photo through my binoculars!

(Juvenile) Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Yet More Eurasian Woodcock

East Devon Commonnear Hayes Pig FarmYettington
I had a drive around the roads near Hayes Pig Farm at dusk I the hope of finding any feeding Eurasian Woodcock. My luck was in as I spotted an individual in my headlights. I only managed to get this single stinker of a record photo on my iPhone emote it flew off 

Eurasian Woodcock 

More Eurasian Woodcock

East Devon Common, near Hayes Pig Farm, Yettington
I staked out an area a few miles from Hayes Pig Farm at dusk tonight. My reward was 7 Eurasian Woodcock and a Tawny Owl. I do enjoy seeing the Eurasian Woodcock but tonight’s views were all flyovers. Still at rather close range and they started flying while it was just about light enough to enjoy.

Red-necked Grebe And Black Guillemot

Elberry Cove, Paignton, Devon
I finished work early and popped along for another look for the Red-necked Grebe. Conditions were much calmer than my last unsuccessful visit. I first noted 2 Common Loon, one of which was in rather close. The Red-necked Grebe was more distant but I obtained decent views. A few European Shag and Great Cormorant were also in the cove.

Common Loon 
Common Loon 
Common Loon
Red-necked Grebe
ShoalstonePaignton, Devon
A quick move on to the car park in the hope that the reported Black Guillemot was about. I got straight on to the bird in question. It was very distant though. Also a fly past Atlantic Puffin was most unexpected but pleasing. A few Common Murre were equally distant as were some Northern Gannet.

No Sign But Eurasian Woodcock

Woodbury Common, Devon
I had a quick look around until dusk. No sign of yesterday’s Hen Harriers or Red Crossbill but a nice flock of circa 200 Fieldfare and a few Redwing.

Near Hayes Pig Farm, YettingtonDevon
I drove home via the back road (from Yettington to Bystock) and had brief but great views of a Eurasian Woodcock in my headlights on the road before it flew off.

Not 1 But 2

Woodbury Common, Devon
I haven’t done much birding this week (well nothing worthy of talking about) so I was glad to get an early finish today and get out for a few hours up to dusk. I thought I would look around the common and I had just got out of the car when I spotted 2 birds that looked like raptors flying through at distance. I got my bins on the first bird and realised it was a juvenile Hen Harrier. I quickly moved to the second bird and had a wow moment as this was also a Hen Harrier. The second bird in my mind was a female. Also just as I was around 100 metres from the car I had 6 Red Crossbill. I walked around seeing not much else for a while but came across a flock of circa 30 Fieldfare and several Redwing. A few Meadow Pipit, Common Linnet and Common Chaffinch made the supporting cast.

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