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

Oystercatcher rootling round the rocks

A Saturday afternoon of squally rain at Babbacombe beach.
But the piddly-pee rain didn’t stop rock pipits pipiting about.
Or oystercatchers rootling the rocks with their preposterous red beaks.

After an hour the rain stopped.
Within 10 minutes the beach was contaminated with dogs and their dogwalkers.
Cue immediate disappearance of rock pipits and oystercatchers.

This vid shows how one little oystercatcher goes about doing his work.

Film & Words: Ian Nisbet

The Old Raven of Babbacombe Bay

This old raven was waiting for me to arrive at Babbacombe bay this afternoon.

Old Raven of Babbacombe Dec 2018

Seemingly too weary and worn out to fly.
He showed no inclination to take to the air or join all the other ravens kronking in and out of the tall clifftop trees.

Simply sat around all afternoon, tamely watching and waiting.
(although he did rob a couple of crows of a seabird they’d just killed – and proceeded to neatly rip and tear it to bits)

As it got dark the old chap hopped up into the nearest lowest branches he could find, in readiness for roosting for the night.

He will probably be there again this Sunday morning.

The old raven of Babbacombe Bay. You can’t miss him.
He’ll be sat on the seawall.
Waiting for ships (or chips) to turn up.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Turnstones (er, turning stones)

I was down on the beach at Corbyn Head not expecting much.

But there they were, a little gang of turnstones, doing exactly what it says on their tins: turning stones.

For such a small bird, turnstones certainly punch well above their weight (and size) They’ve been tracked migrating huge distances: more than 16,000 miles from Australia to the Arctic and back again.

And from the evidence of what I was seeing yesterday, their stone turning is almost at the level of an Olympic sport.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet