I was chuffed to find my first Colt's-foot flowers this afternoon. Stunning things!
Saturday, 27 February 2021
Friday, 26 February 2021
All it takes is a bit of sunshine and the male Black Redstart fly-catches and flashes its gorgeous red tail around the Shelly Beach apartments. Off Mudbank - the male and female Goldeneye.
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Despite putting a lot of effort into learning plants last summer, I still feel very 'green around the gills' so I may very well have misidentified some of these. Spent a bit of time looking down at the ground after work. Musk Stork's-bill is a new one, as is Common Whitlowgrass - lovely splashes of colour on a grey winter day, and some species flowering that I wasn't really expecting.
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Odds and Ends
The local female Blackcap has finally discovered our small feeding station - photographed through the kitchen window. The male puts in occasional appearances too, but seems less brave.
Little to report but I fitted in a couple looks at the lower end of the river, around work, today. Counts included 35+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Wigeon, c3/400+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Goldeneye (male and female), 1 Greenshank, 1 Redshank and 6 Sanderling. I have a hunch that a party of three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, this evening, were new-in.
One of just two Mediterranean Gulls this end of the river today.
Sunday, 21 February 2021
Saturday, 20 February 2021
Off Mudbank today - drake and female Goldeneye and adult Mediterranean Gull. A Great Northern Diver was off the seafront, along with an adult Mediterranean Gull and Fulmar.
Yesterday - 2 Great Northern Divers off the seafront and the day before (18/2) - 3 Great Northern Divers together and 5 Purple Sandpipers on Maer Rocks.
A Great Northern Diver in heavy wing-moult and presumably unable to fly
Thursday, 18 February 2021
This one from Paul French, chairman of the BBRC and a man with much more experience of Redpolls than me, both on the east coast and on Scottish islands:
No worries, although looking at pics of these is no substitute for watching them in the field. I can't rule out a mixed flock, but the grey ear coverts, white wingbar, pale sides to the nape and whitish base colour to the rump make me happy at least the bird in pic 77 is probably Common. However, the dark surround to the ear coverts is limited or lacking in all of them, and the left bird in pics 65 and 74 looks browner toned with a darker rump. Tricky, as i don't think these would get identified as Lessers on Shetland, but I'm not sure they are acceptable as Common in the SW. Be interested to hear what Andy thinks.
Thank you Paul.
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Final Word on Redpolls?
The first thing to say is that this isn’t easy and I’m not actually totally sure what your birds are. There are some obvious pro-Mealy features such as extensive greyish-white in the rump and (on some) a greyish face/neck ‘shawl’. Furthermore, I can’t see any birds showing the giveaway Lesser Redpoll undertail coverts pattern of many short fine streaks overlain by a rich buff wash.
So, your birds could be Mealies but, like Roger, I can see brown hues in the face and flanks of some. Given that this hasn’t been a good winter for Mealies (there are hardly any in Norfolk) whereas it has been a bumper, record-breaking winter for Lessers, I’d be hesitant to log a decent-sized flock of Mealies, particularly in the SW where the subspecies is rare.
I’m sorry I can’t be any more precise – redpolls are devilish things!
All the best.
Thanks again to everyone who commented on these birds, thanks to Andy for allowing me to publish the above e-mail, and particular thanks to Chris Townend, who endured all kinds of dreadful weather to photograph and sound-record these birds. I hope it didn't feel like a fruitless exercise Chris!
Monday, 15 February 2021
Mediterranean Gull - Mudbank.
Great Northern Diver - Maer Rocks - popped up whilst walking the dog on the beach with Lu and Joel.
Chris texted this afternoon, with news of 18 or 19 Redpolls in the boggy area below Woodbury Fort. Feeding on the deck, and occasionally landing in their favored thicket, they were never easy. Having seen a few of Chris's 'back of the camera' photos I'd say there are now some Lesser Redpolls in the flock, but this individual at least is surely too white for any Lesser, and in the field brought to mind Arctic Roll!
Sunday, 14 February 2021
The birds are feeding on the ground in this very wet, boggy area.
Saturday, 13 February 2021
This is the heavy-billed individual. Note the extent of streaking on the under-tail coverts. Note how white the supercilium and ear coverts are. I'd expect this to be washed orangey-brown on Lesser Redpoll.
Male Crossbill - one of just four this afternoon.