Monday, 19 January 2009

Tuesday 13th January 2009

Around my local patch

Right folks, this is where I get all thrifty and economical. Having accomplished my usual early New Year blast at a yearlist, it's time to draw in the reins a little and concentrate on the local patch. My patch consists of the area within the Exmouth Civil Parish Boundary and offshore from there. I have large scale maps of my patch produced and do not count any bird that is seen outside the boundary, while I am stood within it! Therefore today was rather lucky. I zipped down to Shelly Beach at lunchtime, and after a bit of searching, found the bird I was looking for, on the far side of the estuary at Starcross. An adult Spoonbill was busy feeding on the shoreline, close in to the railway line. This was easily seen by telescope, the bird swinging its bill from side to side whilst feeding. I realised that the bird was very close to a man digging for fishing bait. How I wished I was in his shoes. The bird was literally just a few feet away from where he was digging, although he seemed oblivious to it! Now, whether the bait-digger coughed loudly, sneezed or broke wind I don't know, but something spooked the Spoonbill. It flew up slowly and headed across the estuary towards Mudbank Lane, on MY side of the Exe! It conveniently flew into my local patch recording area, but then disappeared behind a large appartment block which ahem......'blocked' my view! By the time I had rushed round to the other side I could not find the Spoonbill again, so whether it had doubled back or carried on up the east side of the estuary, I couldn't say. There were still plenty of Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Red-breasted Mergansers about off Shelly, and the usual masses of Oystercatchers were being their usual noisy selves. Time was running out, so I headed back to work.
Later in the afternoon, I had a quick nip round Withycombe Raleigh Common, a nice little area of East Devon Pebblebed Heathland, conveniently placed just inside my local patch area! I had not gone very far, when a Raven flew over calling. I ambled down to the perimeter of my patch, and was delighted to find a flock of 87 Lesser Redpolls sat in a tree, just my side of the boundary. These birds have been very scarce this winter. Last winter, the trees seemed to be dripping with them! They didn't stay for long, but long enough for me to 'scope them. A bit further up the track and 4 Linnets landed in the heather by the side of me. They soon dispersed in different directions as a Buzzard lazily flapped across just a few feet above the ground! Finally a Jay flew over calling harshly as it went.
Today's yearticks: Spoonbill & Lesser Redpoll. And to that I added the following Local Patch yearticks:
Raven, Linnet, Buzzard & Jay.

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