Posts Tagged: Rarities

Osprey on the River Tavy

I read reports of an Osprey sighted on the River Tavy flying from Warleigh Point upstream to Lopwell Dam recently so decided to go in search of it in the hope of catching some shots of it fishing. From Lopwell I walked downstream along the river towards Maristow Boat House keeping my eyes peeled for any signs of the distinctive shape of the bird in the sky. Whilst waiting,  I spotted a bird in the river and realised it was a Red-legged Partridge!  At first I thought it was in distress but later when I checked it turns out they are able to swim so would’ve made it to shore eventually.

Red-legged Partridge

I sat for 15 minutes or so and then spotted the Osprey flying up river at speed, too high to get a shot. I jumped up and followed it but it was too fast for me and it flew out of sight. Back at Lopwell Dam, where the tidal part of the Tavy meets the non tidal fresh water side of the river, I decided to sit and wait in hope of another sighting and possibly a close encounter if it decided to dive down to the water fishing.

Other birds of interest on the river were a Little Egret and a Cormorant flying past at low level.

Little Egret


Also on the River were two Little Grebes, a Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher,  all too far for decent shots.

Eventually the Osprey appeared above the trees along with several Buzzards, two of which were having a dog fight.

Buzzard dog fight

I managed to fire off a few shots as it circled but then it flew back down river again out of sight and that was the last I saw of it for the day. There have been more recent sightings so I hope to see it again next visit and get a closer view of it. I’m also planning to find a place to get close to the Kingfishers which are also seen regularly at this great little reserve owned by South West Lakes Trust.


Lesser Grey Shrike at Mount Batten

Having heard reports over the last two days of an unusual sighting on the South West coastal path at Mount Batten in Plymouth I decided to make the trip down to see what all the fuss was about. On arrival this spectacular bird, a Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, showed itself immediately at close quarters and posed for photos for myself and the other numerous birders and photographers there. 

I was happy to get one shot but overjoyed that it came even closer and sat up nicely on the end of a branch for these frame filling images, not the best background but shows good feather detail

A very worthwhile trip to see a bird that would normally be in much warmer climes in southern and eastern Europe and southern Africa.

Wryneck at Wembury 

I spent a couple of hours walking along the South West coastal path from Wembury beach heading East towards the Yealm estuary last week in search of passage migrant birds, in particular Yellow Wagtails which had been sighted there recently and possibly Clouded Yellow Butterflies. No sign of either of these but even better was this Wryneck sitting on a gate which I managed to get a shot of before it disappeared.

These birds, a member of the Woodpecker family, are rare passage migrants in the UK, mainly on the south coast so I was lucky to spot this one, a life tick for me.

Following the path further I then spotted a Kestrel flying westward so I followed it back up the path and got close enough to catch some flight shots, this one with it hovering looking for prey.

I then made my way back eastward to see what else was around. There were at least a dozen Wheatear sitting on the fence posts preparing to make there way South.


Also a handful of Stonechats were flitting around and this one allowed me to get quite close.

Further on towards the mouth of the Yealm there were numerous Gulls sitting on the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs and one or two flying over. I also spotted a Razorbill on the sea, close to the shore but a little too far down to get a decent shot.