Friday, 31 December 2010
Happy New Year everybody.
A quick stop at Bursdon Moor saw one 'ringtail' Hen Harrier and a Merlin hunting. Also huge Starling flocks (10000s) heading for what must be a massive roost nearby.
Thousands of Herring Gulls (min 4000) feeding along the beaches and surf at Broadsands and Goodrington I had a good look through but couldn't pick anything else of note except 1 ad w Med Gull.
A quick return visit late pm produced c30+ reed buntings, great grey shrike approx 800 yds east of the Warren carpark, 1/2 redpoll sp, ringtail hen harrier and 2 raven.
Thursday, 30 December 2010
In the second car park, 11 cirl buntings, 7 reed buntings and 1 chiffchaff.
A party of seven Med Gulls (4 ads, 2w & 2 1w) also flew down the coast.
Out to sea was a feeding frenzy of c50 Gannets, but we could not tell if they were shadowing any cetaceans.
Heading home past Beeson (cross?) c290 Lapwing were in a field by the road.
If you haven`t looked at the website for the proposed development on the Yelland Ashbeds then here is the link below.
From within the website you can register to receive all the latest information and also to express your own views and concerns. Needless to say I have already expressed my dissaproval both to the developer and to Tom Evans, the town crier and tourist info officer, who wholeheartedly supports the project.
It`s down to you to tell them what you think of the idea.
Some good local counts on the Plym yesterday with three Goldeneye, eight Gadwall, 25 Teal and six Red-breasted Mergansers.
Also counted were 128 Mallards, five Greenshank and three Lapwing.
In flight over Blaxton Meadow were c.60 Linnet and c.40 Skylark. These landed on Blaxton but were impossible to see in the ground cover.
Tuesday the Great Northern Diver and a Goldeneye were seen on the Cattewater from TR2.
South Huish marsh- 80 Wigeon , 50 Teal, 6 gadwall, 2 Dunlin 1 Curlew 3 Lapwing. A Yellowhammer flew over( unusual on the site )
Small birds were notable only by not being there - no Stonechats, no Meadow Pipits... the only passerine I saw before the point was a flighty Lapland Bunting! never seen one here before!
Off the point a female Eider was also a site first for me, then a Red-throated Diver, and a flock of 20 Common Scoter.
Sadly, no sign of any Dartford Warblers.
one of two woodlark - Orcombe Point
Surprisingly good birding this morning but had to cut short seawatch because of the cold easterly-biased wind and no gloves!
Otter Ledge - 905-1005 - red-throated diver c15/20+, auk sp c1800+(v rough estimate), gannet c100+, kittiwake c200+, great northern diver 1, pintail 2, great skua 1 tufted duck 1 - all birds east
Scattered across the marsh several thousand wigeon, a few hundred black-tailed godwits fed on the fields. 20 tufted ducks had returned to the lagoon and 7 pintail flew in from the estuary - the first I have seen for over a month. One kingfisher, 6 long-tailed tits and a wren suggested some small birds had survived.
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
A quiet and interesting walk yesterday, Tues 28th at
7 male Goosanders
9 female Goosanders
1 Grey Heron
3 Mute Swans
A marked lack of small birds
5 male Goosander and 6 females.
At 16.00 Starling flock to roost was 10k. This is the first big roost of the winter. Last year the roost moved from Thurlestone on 30 Dec, this year they return on 29 Dec. Does anyone else have roosts that have a common date change ?
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Bird Ringed "FJ9" was ringed in April 2007 in Spain and has spent several winters on the Taw. See History No.9.
Left leg:- White ring inscribed FJ9.
Right leg:- Metal ring no. ESI 9050263
Flagged bird was ringed in Holland in June 2007 and is also a regular winter stayer on the Taw.
Left leg:- Dark green ring over yellow flag over dark green ring.
Right Leg:- Dark blue ring over metal ring over lime-green ring. Metal ring no.NLA8048768.
See History no.7
A total of at least 6 ringed Spoonbill have been recorded on the Taw since 2006.
Stubble fields at Powderham - Linnet 750
1 with yellow band on left leg, either FJ9 or EJ9
1 with colour bands which appeared to be: blue over yellow flag over blue on left leg, blue over pink over white on right leg - colours hard to make out properly
Grey Plover 20
25 Brents over heading E
Plenty of Teal and Wigeon along shore, plus 4 GC Grebes and 3 Little Grebes on water.
[from Mark Skevington]
Preston/Paignton: 1 Long-tailed duck, 1 Common Scoter, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Purple Sandpiper on rocks with Turnstones.
Wrafton Pond is still mostly iced over, but a pair of Swans has arrived (to reclaim their territory?) 80+ Black-headed Gulls, including one or two showing quite a lot of black on their heads. 2 Common Gulls.
The male Black Redstart was still present at 1615hrs on the roof of Pennant House, between Shelly Beach and the marina basin.
Mist, then later fog, hampered viewing at Mudbank Lane this afternoon, but the usual good numbers of common wildfowl and waders were present.
A fisherman was fishing in one of the ice free pools on the canal. Probably because of this only a few (12) coot remained. The other pool only held 8 coot and no ducks.
Near the bend in the lane 3 water pipits were back on their favoured scrapes. Lots of skylarks flying overhead in the fog which finally dispersed about 10.00 revealing hundreds of wigeon and waders on the fields including one grey plover, 3 redshank and 21 dunlin.
On the marsh 30 Teal, 4 Pintail, 3 Gadwall, Shoveler and Black-tailed Godwit. In the bay Tufted Duck, Coot and 14 Bar-tailed Godwits. 3 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap in the sewage works, 100 Redwing and 60 Fieldfare around Marsh Lane.
Monday, 27 December 2010
A bit of news as on Christmas day a Waxwing flew over Plymstock calling heading west.
Woodcock 2, Hen Harrier male, low over 11:10 then 1/4'ing NW. Merlin, Comm Buzzard 3. Skylark 4000? in 2 groups but kept busy by the above! Chaffinch 60+, Lapwing 11
KINGSBRIDGE Est. Lincombe Bay
Goosander 4 fem. Med Gull 2W. Scaup 1Wmale. Brent Goose 83 (1pale bellied)
Whist there was no direct shooting at the Duck /Snipe they caused everything to flight . Is there supposed to be a restriction on this activity during the cold weather ?
Before the sooting started--135 Wigeon. 5 Shoveler, 40 Teal ,5 Coot. 100+ Snipe , 2 Woodcock, 2 Lapwing, 1 Black T Godwit 30 Redwing .
Snipe were interesting to watch- they were feeding on the ground and then flying up the valley in groups of up to 30
The Canal was still frozen over in part, and the Smew was still there just North of the Fishermen's Car Park.
At the entrance to Turf Locks a Bittern flew North along the Canal.
In the bushes by the Locks, Fieldfares, Redwings, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds were feeding on the berries.
At Turf a small flock of 6 greenfinches reminded me how scarce they have become. A bittern flew north over the marshes towards the canal but was lost to view behind trees so I am not sure where it landed and I failed to see it again.
The rain arrived at 3.00 pm and I hurried home.
The garden is still attracting fieldfares, redwings and reed buntings. Single blackcap (male), coal tit and goldcrest have all been seen over Christmas somewhere in the garden.
Quite a few birds in the first field on the left from the path towards the hide, best was a Ruff, also 8 Lapwings, 3 Snipe, plenty of Redwings and a Mistle Thrush.
A quick look at the sea ( no scope ) produced a couple of Red-throated Divers and a Slavonian Grebe.
Sunday, 26 December 2010
Off Preston: Red-necked Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 17 Great Crested Grebes and 30 Red-throated Divers (so at least 60 in total!). However most were spooked by the Lifeboat an dispersed.
78 Brent Geese ( 8 first winters ), 8 Pintail, 22 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 27 Tufted Duck, 3 Scaup ( ad male, ad female, first winter male ), 9 Goldeneye, 37 Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Little Grebe, 9 Coot, Snipe ( on rocks ), 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, 5 Knot, Rock Pipit, 120 Fieldfare, 60 Redwing.
Around my house today were 100+ Redwings (20 of which were still coming to cut-up apples I'd put out just a couple of minutes ago) and the male Blackcap.
Up to 13 Brambling (5 males) in the garden, typically coming to black sunflower seed but I could only manage 8 in the same frame. Also, a ringtail Hen Harrier came south over Southdown towards Mansands at 11.47am before dropping into the valley below the house when it was lost to view. It reappeared at 12.08pm but managed to avoid having its picture taken for a second time by dropping back down into the valley almost immediately. Lots of Snipe and the odd Curlew flying around later so the harrier may have ended up at Mansands (?)
Rest of the single sightings more usual, Common Sand, Grey Plover, Kingfisher.
Saturday, 25 December 2010
On another note I was very pleased to recieve 'The Birds of Devon' as a present from my wife today. On first looks it's excellent!
While at Slapton Ley highlights were a 'ringtail' Hen Harrier hunting the line and in with the wildfowl, on the unfozen part by Ireland Bay was a 'redhead' Smew. Again a fair few Lapwing on fields around the Ley and 3 Woodcock and 2 Snipe. On the sea another 3 Red-throats and Great Northern Diver.
Friday, 24 December 2010
Merry Christmas everyone!
Near the new bridge, a Pochard floating down on the outgoing tide was unusual.
A few Bar-tailed Godwits with Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover and 4 Sanderling around the Pottington/Bradiford Water area - nothing of note on the reserve.
Across on the Penhill saltmarsh were the most Wigeon I have seen on the estuary in many a year - may have been over a thousand. Plenty of Canada Geese in smaller flocks.
On Wrafton Pond - which still has some unfrozen water - 6 Shoveler, and 16 Common Gulls in amongst the Black-headed and Herring Gulls.
In the Velator reserve, still lots of Song Thrushes and Redwings, but the Buckthorn berries are fast disappearing! Highlight of the morning was 2 Woodcock in the reserve.
Only fell off the bike once!
[from Jon Turner]
I would like to offer salutations to John Gale for his stirling efforts to save the roosting wrens, I don't think intervention is a bad thing John, I'd like to think that if you found me shivering under a tree, you'd put me in a box and feed me worms.
South Milton Ley late am - Walked round the top end 7 Woodcock ( a site record for me), 7 Teal, 1 m Shoveler, 6 lapwing, 45 Fieldfare ,20 Redwing 15 Song Thrush, 3 Chiffchaff( they must be hardy) No Cettis Wblr.
Broadsands: sea too choppy to check but 22 Cirl Buntings on seed at back of 2nd carpark and 5 Reed Bunting and 11 Dunnocks! still a flock of 200+ Skylark in the stubble field.
[from John Gale]
[Maureen and Rob Harrison]
Thursday, 23 December 2010
Movement this am - 22 Stock Dove -n , 10-0+ Redwing , 90+ Fieldfare, 15 Siskin -s , 34 Song Thrush, 250+ Skylark- N , 4 Mistle Thrush. 95 Lapwing, .On the Marsh 70+ Wigeon ,8 Teal, 1 Water Rail.15 Snipe. 1 Jay. 10 Reed Bunting on my feeders.
In the Bay - 3 Mute Swan, 8 Gadwall, 7 Wigeon, . 35 Golden Plover in the cafe field
at 8.20 a Grey Lag Goose flew into the Marsh -landed just outside my garden . Flew off at 9.50 -west
At Southdown Farm near Bolberry - Bob Burridge had v good views of a hunting Short-eared Owl and a male Hen Harrier- needless to say by the time I arrived neither could be found but still over 2000 Skylarks in the fields
A wren and small flock of 7 long-tailed tits suggests some small birds have survived so far, but several small piles of feathers marked successful hunting by the sparrowhawks.
Latest update - 9 birds in all seen at 1010hrs, but they flew off over the other side of Jubilee Drive. However singles seen again round the lunchtime period.
Also a male and female Blackcap in my back garden, and amazing numbers of Redwings feeding in every berry bush in sight!
Mudbank Lane this afternoon:
male Cirl Bunting still present, favouring the grassy areas around the 'stone cages' midway between Lower Halsdon Farm and West Lodge. Also 12 Goldeneye, 25 Teal, 3 Lapwing, Greenshank, 21 Avocet and 9 Black-tailed Godwits.
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Song Thrush were the surprise with 168 logged, 150 Redwing , 14 Fieldfare . 232 lapwing, ( only S Thrush west all others east.)32 Stock Dove -W , 103 Skylark -E 3 Mistle Thrush,
3 f Goosander in the bay, 12 Wigeon -e +64 on the Marsh.,10 Teal 3 Turnstone, 1 Mute Swan -w (first since Sept ) 1m Shoveler, 1m Gadwall.
46 Golden Plover in cafe field. 30 ad Gannet feeding close offshore. 1 ad + 1 1w Med Gull,
T hurlestone Marsh 1 Cettis Warbler still croaking and 1 Water Rail.
Roll on Thursday !
Male cirl bunting along the cycle path between Lower Halsdon farm and West Lodge this afternoon. It is very unusual to see them in Exmouth and this one had found some snow-free hedgerow to its liking. The skylark pictured above was clearly struggling to find food and looked very weak, again beside the cycle track. The waxwings and redwing were feeding beneath the rowans this morning because of the lack of berries on the bush!
Clennon Valley: The female Ruddy Duck (I assume it's the same one) is back at Clennon Valley: also 9 Shoveler and 2 Water Rail. Nick Bray saw a couple of Waxwing by the Leisure Centre during the afternoon.
Road through the marsh to Fishermans car park is treacherous and not worth the risk
[from Charlie Fleming]