Monday, 2 February 2009
On Friday afternoon, I spent an hour at the old airfield at Hatfield and the adjacent scrub/pits at Beech Farm where I met one of the people I know from Amwell. Apart from three Stonechats, and a small flock of Lapwing, things looked very quiet, but after about half an hour, one of thee Short Eared Owls appeared and put on a good show for us. I was somewhat relieved as I had paid several visits last year and not seen any.
Saturday was penciled in as a long trip down to Devon.
The main target was the Penduline Tit in a small reed bed near Paignton Leisure Centre. After about twenty minutes it was found low down in the reeds opposite feeding. Shame really as there was a lot of reedmace heads close to us which would have made a better photo. Overhead, a pair of displaying Ravens cronked while being mobbed by a Buzzard.
Broadsands has become a popular destination due to a flock of Cirl Buntings by the main car park. Due to the wind, they stayed in a hedge but showed well in scopes. We saw about six or seven birds, but more have been seen by others. The bay held a large flock of Grebes-mainly Great Crested, but a few Black Necked were also present. From the headland, more grebes and sea duck could be seen, as well as divers, but the best bird was a dark blue phase Fulmar which is quite rare in the channel.
Brixham Harbour held a small flock of Purple Sandpiper at the end of the break-water. I had to return to the car, and when Colin returned he showed me the Grey Phalarope on his camera screen. Luckily it was still present when I got back, but flew off. The harbour was also filling up with Kittiwakes and Little Gulls as a result of the strong easterly winds.
We ended a long day trying to find Cattle Egrets at Powderham Castle and on the river Axe, but without success. I suspect that they had already gone to roost asit was quite late in the day.