Birds Coastal

Lunching in the Teign

Teignmouth harbour on a summer afternoon in June (the first)

A Greater Black Backed Gull is crunching on crab.
A Starling is furtling frantically under the seaweed.
(Sparrows are busybodying in)

A crow jumps in to finish off the Gulls crab leftover.

Lunching in the Teign. Easy pickings and peckings.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Kestrel hovering on high

Up on Babbacombe cliffs last Saturday was this kestrel.
Hovering high above.

Simply waiting and watching from up there, in its big bit of sky.

Hardly having to bat an eyelid (or a wing) Resting on the wind, but intensely alert.
Gimlet-eyed and focused for any little furries down below.

A free-wheeling wide-awake predator.

Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet

A Three Cormorant Triangle

Three Cormorants March 2019

Walking away from Totnes along the Dart river I saw this.

Three cormorants in repose on a fallen branch.

Equidistant from one another as if forming the 3 points of a triangle.

The cormorant sat on the waviest bit of branch was balding.

Three Cormorants 6 March 2019

Possibly molting. Or perhaps a cormorant crone, the old witch of the threesome.

The one sat at the apex of the triangle barely moved.

Three Cormorants 2 March 2019

Possibly overstuffed with fish if that engorged gullet is anything to go by.

Cormorants don’t seem to be confined to the coast. I’ve seen them at Stover Park, on the river Lemon in Newton Abbot, and quite frequently shooting up and down the river Dart.

Words & Photos: Ian Nisbet

Sealing the Bay

Seal seen fishing in what might well be his patch (of sea) last Saturday.

Left to right, back and forth, right to left, across Babbacombe Bay he went all afternoon. As easy as you like.
Sealed to the sea he was, as one wedded entity.

What a perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoon.

Also, a little Common Scoter was bobbling about (with what appeared to be plenty of his own fish to fry)

(Or was it a Velvet Scoter?! Too far away to get a positive id)

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

La Lapwing (Lap) Danse

I’d hoped to see lapwings up at Bowling Green Marsh Topsham last Wednesday.
Amazingly, I got to see this pair doing something rather wonderful.

The way they moved around one another was like some kind of stately dance from the baroque court of Louis XIV.

I don’t know if they were a male and female doing a pre-mating nuptial bit of hokey cokey (pokey) or 2 males sparring with one another.

Answers on a French postcard please. Merci Boocoo.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Black Tailed Godwits getting stuck in

black tailed godwit jan 2019

That pic is a snapshot from the vid below. Not a great pic but at least it shows the long slightly upward pointy turn of the bill; and the black tail.

This pic is the bird turned around more front on (again not quite sharp enough because snapped out of the vid)

black tailed godwit 2 jan 2019

There were 200 plus of these BTG’s (Black Tailed Godwits) at Bowling Green Marsh on Wednesday.
Getting ‘raight stuck in t grass’ with those long billed probes they were, ‘no messin abaht’.

They flittered and flocked about the marshes, their white stripey wings flashed glittery by warm winter sunlight (you can see that in the ‘A Great Day to Fly’ vid I posted earlier)

One of the Birder Blokes at the Hide said there might have been some Bar Tailed Godwits around too, but I didn’t have his better camera and bigger lense to zoom them in.

So that’s Godwits for you. Not to be mistaken for Curlews (their bills curve over and down) The high pitched shrieks you hear constantly squeaking off in the vid isn’t the Godwits – it’s those wheezy bleddy Wigeons.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Shags in the Bay

For ages this Saturday afternoon I was watching a male Shag sat on a rock in Babbacombe bay.
Eventually he was joined by 1 female. And then a 2nd female.
At which point the male Shag decided his little rock had become overcrowded – and he plopped himself off.

I counted at least half a dozen Shags floating and fishing around this bit of the bay.
It appears to be a Shag friendly sort of place.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet