Devon, mid-April 2023
I stayed in Seaton for several days in the middle of the month and did some minor-league twitching to Portland for the Hoopoe, Lodmoor for the Garganey and Iford for the Night Heron. I also went on a standard Poole Harbour tourist boat trip, just in case an Osprey or WTE made an appearance and flew near the boat.
3rd Birdwatching Tram Special. Bird-wise nothing unusual was seen, nor was anything particularly close to the tram, from a photography perspective. There was a distant Whimbrel on BHM, the first that the guide, Gavin, had seen this year. The best spot from the tram was three Roe deer on Colyford common.
There were the usual Shelduck and Canada geese on the wetlands and the Black-tailed Godwits were in full summer regalia.
Some of the Little egrets had a purple skin colouration between the beak and the eye, this is apparently a breeding season phenomenon.
I had two failed attempts to find the Hoopoe in the horse
paddock off Weston Street. There many LBJ's in the local brambles, particularly Sparrow, Robin, Blackcap and Whitethroat. There was a Kestrel hunting in the scrub.
One hour cruise with City cruises. No interesting raptor spots either from the boat or at the Ham Common viewing platform.
A pair of Garganey were on show, together the usual waterfowl. Common snipe were busy feeding on one of the islands. Very pleased to get a few pictures of the Garganey.
Revisited the Dippers, west of Colyton on River Coly. The pair were busy with feeding in the water and collecting material for the nest. The Grey Wagtail was also present again, but the surprise was a Treecreeper landing in an adjacent tree. A great morning outing and a spot to go back to, and to try and get a bit closer to the birds, without disturbing them.
On the second attempt, I caught up with the Black-crowned Night Heron on the River Stour, just west of Iford Bridge. The single bird was easy to spot as there was a group of birdwatchers following its every move. Unfortunately, it was not really moving at all when I was there i.e. it was sleeping partially shielded by branches. Nevertheless, it was great to see the bird and hopefully there will be a better photographic opportunity next time.
Black Hole Marsh, Seaton
At the end of the trip a single Black-winged Stilt arrived on the Black Hole Marsh. This caused a huge stir in the local birding world and the car park was constantly busy. Initially, it was best viewed from the Tower hide, but then it moved to give the birders in the Island hide a good view. It is a medium sized bird and it did not come particularly close to the hide when I visited. Fantastic to get a 'tick' on the Seaton Wetlands.