Saturday 28 May 2016

Honey Buzzard

Since the obliteration of the dung field I've kind of lost the will to cover Orcombe, but I forced myself to have a wander around early this morning, despite the thick fog. Needless to say it was utterly birdless. I got home, had some breakfast, and pottered around the house and garden whilst the family stirred into life. A lightning quick look off Mudbank, as the tide crept in, produced the first Greenshank in ages, along with 3 Dunlin and one Black-headed Gull.
With the sun burning through the fog and noise pumping across the river from Powderham Castle, I decided to do a little sky-watching. Within minutes, at 1110, I picked up a raptor drifting east across the river, a little way north of Mudbank. It immediately looked interesting (there are Common Buzzards almost permanently in view in the surrounding area) with flat-held wings, a tiny head and long tail. Once it had crossed the river it did a few lazy circles which allowed me to clock the distinctive 'bulging secondaries' wing-shape and barred tail. The wings were held flat or depressed at all times lending the bird the classic Honey Buzzard profile. It gained height and slowly continued east and out of sight. This is the first Honey Buzzard I've seen since 2013 when I had a bird go west over the garden on 31/5 and another east over on 2/6, both of which I managed to photograph, unlike today's bird.
This afternoon, with Lu and the kids at the Exmouth festival, I walked the dog around Woodbury Common, but it was pretty quiet, and the week just gone has been equally uneventful. On Wednesday, off Maer Rocks, there was 1 'commic' tern (probably Arctic), 1 Great Northern Diver and 6 Sanderling.
The day before, early on, I had 7+ 'commic' tern off Maer Rocks, a short while later seen heading upriver with 13 Sandwich Tern. At least 1 was an Arctic Tern but I strongly suspect the others were too.

Heath Spotted Orchid - there are several in bloom on Woodbury Common at the moment.

Skylark - Woodbury Common.

The tern situation of late can only be described as abysmal. I've not had more than a couple Sandwich Terns recently so it was a pleasant surprise to pick up 7+ 'small' terns off the seafront on Tuesday. I concentrated on one bird, which proved to be Arctic Tern, but I'm pretty sure the birds it was with were also the same species. They all headed rapidly north upriver and were not present later in the day.

This Honey Buzzrad was photographed flying west over our garden on 31/5/2013. I was extremely lucky to get this shot - a point and 'panic-press' situation!

This HB (on the soar) went east just a couple days later. Note the tiny head, bulging secondaries and barred tail .

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