Saturday, 23 October 2010

Otter Estuary
Single Glossy Ibis still favouring the field just north of the Cricket Pitch today, 2,000+ Starlings roosting in the reedbed this evening and I am sure you will no doubt be saddened to hear negative news on the Ring-necked Parakeet tonight, despite searching!

Exe estuary

The American Golden Plover was lurking at Turf again this lunchtime; as yesterday, feeding on the patch of green seaweed on the mudbank just south & opposite Turf.

A Merlin over the Goatwalk at Topsham late morning, and a single Spotted Redshank just south of the Goatwalk.

Male Blackcap at Bowling Green Marsh, by the path to the viewing platform.

Devils Point, Plymouth

Late p.m. Three Med. Gulls this evening; two adults and a second winter.
Also a Sandwich Tern in the sound.

Exe Estuary, Exminster marshes

Single Glossy Ibis near the canal side car park but mobile. An unringed Red-breasted Goose on the lagoon and a probable American Golden Plover flew from the marshes to the estuary. Landed on the mud to the east of the canal. Several Cettis Warblers calling and showing well along the canal.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Start Point

A Merlin headed straight out to sea mid-day

At nearby Beesands

c30 Swallows and a House Martin
The Otter Estuary
A single Glossy Ibis remains on the scrapes and roosted again this evening. Also 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Biggest surprise though, was a Ring-necked Parakeet first heard and then seen being chased by Jackdaws as it headed over towards Granary Lane, presumably to roost somewhere. An escape or maybe a wandering bird from the huge and increasing numbers in the South-East?

Short-Eared Owl

A Short Eared Owl showing very well at Mansands Marsh, south of Brixham this evening.

Froward Point

07.45 - 12.10. Cloud 8/8. Light westerly first thing, strengthening throughout the morning.

Most notable were 2 Ring Ouzel west over Froward Cove at 08.20, with 1 Reed Bunting over and a Treecreeper through with a mixed Tit flock. Otherwise, 136 Goldfinch and 21 Siskin over west.

Great Grey Shrike

seen by Malcolm Shakespeare at Trew wood plantation nr Hartland from the road opposite Clovelly Country Club at 12.00

also seen
Red -throated diver seen off Hartland point
3 Back Cap , 3 Yellow Hammers and a Barn Owl nr Blagdon farm valley 8.30 am


Malcolm Shakespeare saw a Black redstart 1st winter male at Instow cricket pavilion at 15:00 today


Afew wildfowl on the marsh, with 12 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 2 male Shovelers and 8 Mallards. Also a Water Rail, 11 Snipe that are visible, 2 Coots and 6 Moorhens. In the reeds by the beach the Cetti's could be heard calling. Just off shore with afew Herring Gulls and Great Black-backs, 9 Lesser Black-back Gulls.

On the gorse slope between Ivy Cove and Coleton Fishacre were two male Ring Ouzels.

Exe estuary

From 10:30 am until 12 noon at least, a juv American Golden Plover off Turf. Flew in from downriver, watched on the mudflat for 90 minutes. Opposite the gate across the seawall footpath, just south of Turf. Some really awful photos taken, but they'll probably not be worth much.

2 adult Med Gulls at Topsham rec. ground, one colour-ringed red on the right leg, inscribed FAJ7, the other unringed.

Great Grey Shrikes

The Great Grey Shrike, presumed pale first winter, still showing very well on Aylesbere Common mid morning in the main valley left of the tarmac track, just left of the pond. Nearby, a second Great Grey Shrike, an adult, on Woodbury Common, found by BH, is presumably the bird seen at Hawkerland earlier this week, looking very settled but always distant in the valley below the road north of Woodbury Castle. Also 9 Fieldfare, a Green Woodpecker and several Dartford Warblers (inc. 2 singing males) at Aylesbere. Interestingly, further Shrikes reported from Bellever and Trew Plantation, makes a record(?) 4 present in the county at the moment.

Start Point

Some overnight rain, 60% cloud cover. Light Westerly wind soon strengthening after daybreak.

07:15-12:00. Car Park ( vis mig ), Light / Farm / Mattiscombe Valley.

Vis mig never really got going before rain came and stopped it. All headed south.
Swallow, 20 alba Wagtail, 60 Meadow Pipit, 5 Brambling, 70 Goldfinch, 10 Chaffinch, 50 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 8 Siskin.
Elsewhere just 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest and a Reed Bunting.

Berry Hd

Above: left Black Redsart; right Ring Ouzel
Overhead quiet again highlights among commoner finches etc:
1 Merlin, 1 Brambling, 1 Swallow, 7 Siskin, 1 Yellowhammer, 10 Song Thrush, 1 Grt Spt Woodpecker & 5 Bullfinch.
Around Headland:
1 cracking Male Black Redstart, 2 Ring Ouzel (in Quarry), just 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest & 2 Stonechat but 30+ Long-tailed Tits again in one flock.
In Torbay:
1 ad male Common Scoter at Preston, 1 Red-throated Diver at Broadsands.

Vis Mig - Beer

The highlight of a 'vis mig' watch from Beer Stables 08:15 - 09:30 was easily the two Woodlark west at 09:00. They passed low and just to the north of me offering excellent views in perfect light. Very chuffed indeed - the first (and very long over due!) 'vis mig' record of this species for the patch!

Other totals include: 7 Wood Pigeon, 144 Jackdaw, 2 Redwing, 5 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 24 alba Wagtail, 27 Meadow Pipit, 8 Starling, 1 House Sparrow, 207 Chaffinch, 5 Greenfinch, 21 Goldfinch, 5 Linnet, 19 Siskin and 1 Lesser Redpoll.

Looking east towards Seaton, Axe Cliff and the Axe Estuary

A small part of a flock of 105 Jackdaws

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Otter est. and Aylesbeare Common

The Glossy Ibis remains near the cricket pitch beside the Otter, a 2nd winter Med Gull on the river, and two Kingfishers showing well near White Bridge.

Aylesbeare Common

A Great Grey Shrike is still present at Aylesbeare Common today

[from Dick Andrews]
Fantastic day to be out &about.
09.30-12.30 Bolberry to Soar Mill Valley. Considerable number of birds at the top of the valley,highlight were 4 Woodlark feeding together viewed down to 20 yds.,also 160+ Meadow Pipit,125+ Skylark, 200+ Linnet, 37 Goldfinch, 50+ Chaffinch, 16 Robin, 5 Redwing, 8 Song Thrush, 8 Blackbird,5 Stonechat ,7 Cirl Bunt., 1 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear, 1m Whinchat., 1 Chiffchaff.

4 flocks of Jackdaw flew east -total 160

This aft walked the Erme Est 180 Wigeon , 8 Little Grebe ,58 Curlew.

18.00 Thurlestone Marsh - 35 Teal , 50 Wigeon , 3 Water Rail , ,Cettis Wblr. Starling roost 7500+( Big increase on recent nights)

Berry Head, Brixham

0730 -1000 hrs, clear skies, light Westerly and morning frost (ice on the screen of the car!).

Mistle Thrush, Ring Ouzel and flock of 28 Long Tailed Tits in the scrub near the light house at first light but little overhead, Alba Wagtail 7, Goldfinch 20, House Sparrow 5, Chaffinch 4, Bullfinch 6, Skylark 3 with Meadow Pipit 20+, Song Thrush 6 and Goldcrest 3.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

WED- 20 Oct

Walked roud East Soar this am -

Lapland Bunting in field opp car park then flew into airfield. Golden Plover flew east . 2 Goldcrest ,4 Cirl Bunting,17 Swallow flew east.

Staehole Valley - 1 Ring Ouzel, firecrest, Blackcap

Thurlestine Marsh / Bay this late aft.

13 Common Scoter, 28 Wigeon, 3 Dunlin ,11 Ringed Plover, 1 Black T Godwit. Kingfisher on rocks off Warren Pt ( first this year )

Haldon (yesterday 19th Oct)

Merlin flew past Underdown, Haldon forest 19/10/10

[from John Gale]

Devils Point, Plymouth

Three adult Med. Gulls here this evening; two on rocks and one in flight. This place dosn't hold the Meds like it used to!
The Ring Ouzel was still in Radford quarry this afternoon. (Graham Bools).

Merlin near Warren House

To add to Maureen and Rob's sightings saw a female Merlin just up the road from The Warren House Inn this morning. For a few minutes she perched on top of Bennett's Cross itself. Heard
and saw plenty of Crossbills today near Bellever hamlet and conifers along road from Runnage Farm

Dartmoor Princetown & Warren House Area

Two Bramblings feeding in Princetown garden Jan & Mike Daniels.

Two Black Redstarts, Wheatear, Hen Harrier (Ringtail), 14 Lapwing Princetown.

c7 Ring Ouzel mixed in with Blackbirds feeding on Hawthorn berries, 3 Redwing in same trees, Peregrine Warren House.

(Maureen & Rob Harrison)

Froward Point

07.50 - 12.40. Cloud 3/8. Light northerly. Good visibility.

5 Golden Plover north first thing. Ringtail Hen Harrier west past the point about 200m offshore, being mobbed by Carrion Crow between 09.38 and 09.45. Came ashore the other side of the Dart at Combe Point when lost to view.

Berry Hd

Not much flying over today only highlights:
1 Yellowhammer, 7 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 15 Skylark, 7 Siskin, 3 Grey Wagtails, 4 House Sparrows.

Around Headland:
1 Ring Ouzel, 2 Firecrests, 8 Chiffchaff, 9 Goldcrests, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Blackcap, 1 Stonechat at least 11 Cirl Buntings feeding on cattle grain in field just up from wardens bungalow.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Aylesbeare Common - yesterday 18th Oct

Spent several hours following a very mobile Great Grey Shrike on Aylesbeare Common this morning (Mon 18 Oct) that was reported over the weekend...but imagine my surprise when it settled on top of a tree next to a SECOND! As I watched them with Ian Pullan and Stan Davies my attention was diverted to two crows mobbing a raptor high up on the sky and we picked out the long tail, wings and white rump of a Hen Harrier! The Harrier flew off towards the west at height. Happy days!
(The pics I have taken were with a 10x compact and have been enhanced in size, so sorry about the poor quality! )

[from Jonathan Ruscoe]

Soar - Red-breasted Flycatcher update (yesterday 18th Oct)

The bird popped out again after a fairly long wait well into the evening for about 15 secs. onto a branch on the garden wall .Everyone had gone home by this time. Sorry not much more than that .

Also there was a Yellow-browed Warbler in Starehole in the bushes half way up the left hand side as you look out to sea - much more visible than last week at Start. Ring Ouzels were in the same place.

[from Tim Clyburn]

Bowling Green Marsh

Three Spotted Redshank visible from the hide at 1400hrs

[from Phil Holyday]
E SOAR: 09:00 - 13:00
Hen Harrier 'ringtail' flew NW past van within 5 mins of arrival! 8 mtrs away! Lapland Bunting in Car Park field (double metal gates) with 5 Skylark, 2 Firecrest in Starehole Valley also 5 Ring Ouzel,
RB Flycatcher still in willows near Farm


2 Med Gulls (adW, 2W) high water late afternoon

happy(er) days

Monday, 18 October 2010

Whooper Swans over R.Taw. 17/10/2010

2 Whooper Swans observed flying up the River Taw off Pottington Ind Est at about 09:00 17/10/2010. Flew towards Barnstaple Taw Bridge, finally dissappearing from view heading on towards Bishops Tawton. According to there have been a number of Whooper Swans seen in the country since 1st October.

Radford Quarry, Plymstock.

Not much to report from Plymouth of late, but a male Ring Ouzel was found in Radford Quarry yesterday (Russel Eynon). Dashed out there after work today to find it's still there.
If anyone is thinking of going out for a look, please be aware that the quarry, though disused, is private.


V. G .views of the Red B Fly 10.45 -11.30 at E Soar farm. In Starehole Valley 3 Ring Ouzel, brief views of a Firecrest.

Thurlestone Marsh -14.00 - 90+ teal, 6 Wigeon ,1 Water Rail.

17.00 Thurlestone bay- 6 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin

Torcross to Start Point

No transport today so caught the first bus out to Torcross arriving at 08:15 and walked the coastpath to Start Point. Very quiet it was as well, apart from 6 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff around Beesands Cellars precious few migrants between here and South Hallsands. A quick check of Beesands Ley showed nothing unusual , just a high count of 140+ Coot and a couple Teal ( latter normally absent here ). A single Brambling called overhead here. Plenty of Robins on the coastal path between Beesands and South Hallsands, but not many Stonechats and no Thrushes seen. 21 Siskins passed over.
A bit more life around the overgrown pond at North Hallsands with Blackcap, 4 Chiffs and an obvious migrant Water Rail calling.
Reached the car park at Start at 11:15 and did the Light , Mattiscombe Valley, Farm and Top Fields before getting a lift home at 16:30. Saw Merlin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 27 Swallows, Golden Plover, 3 Black Redstarts ( rocks near Lighthouse compound ), 3 Chiffchaffs and 3 Goldcrests. No sign of yesterdays Yellow-browed Warbler.

Berry Hd & Clennon Valley

Quick Visit to Berry Hd 7.45-9.00am:
Overhead among commoner finches: 2 Yellowhammer, 5 Siskin, 2 Bullfinch, 4 House Sparrows, 12 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 7 Swallows. Around Headland: 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Coal Tit, large group of 33 Long-tailed Tits and 6 in another group.

Clennon Valley pm:
1 Firecrest, 2 Goldcrest, 9 Chiffchaff, 3 Waterail 1 Gadwall, 1 Pintail (eclipse male) returned after absence of over a week.

Orcombe Point & Mudbank Lane, Exmouth

The Lapland Bunting was in the stubble field again today at the top of Gore Lane at 1300hrs. At least 43 Skylarks (I lost count after seeing the Lap!) and several Linnets were in the same area.

Late afternoon at Mudbank Lane produced the female Scaup, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, a male Gadwall and a Black Swan!

Grand Western Canal

Just one Blackcap and four Kingfishers to mention from a walk between Halberton and Tiverton but quite a few flocks of Song Thrushes reflecting the movements reported from the coasts.

Sharkham Point


1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Wheatear, 100+ Mixed flock of House Martin and Swallow, 14 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, 8 Redwing, 1 Siskin, 33 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, 4 Bullfinch, 3 House Sparrow (uncommon at SP), 2 Coal Tit, and lots of Song Thrush about too.

Sunday Dartmoor - Ring Ouzels

Nine Ring Ouzels seen this afternoon below Leather Tor including four males. Fed briefly and then flew on towards Deancombe.
(H Wilson)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

English Channel - 40 nm SSE of Start Point

From a boat today: 16 Great Skuas, Arctic Skua, 3 Little Gulls (2 ads & a 2W) and a European Storm-petrel.
Little Gull - ad & 2W


Small arrival of thrushes: 20+ Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 50+ Blackbirds, 30+ Song Thrush and 5 Blackcap, 20+ Chiff -Chaff, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Bullfinch (migrants?), 3 GS Woodpeckers. Steady overhead movement of Pipits and Finches.

Also female Marsh Harrier at Slapton Ley near Torcross 07.45 am.

Prawle - today and the past week

Prawle remains the only place in Devon without at least a Yellow-browed Warbler! It also appears now not to have a House Finch either. Last reported on Saturday 9th October, it was looked for several times this week in all it's favoured haunts, but not found. Given it's facial skin problem, it's possible it may have succumbed, but I prefer to believe, given it's status as a truly wild bird, it decided that early October would be a good time to move off to it's winter quarters!

Today's birds; Merlin, 70 Stock Doves, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 12 Swallows, Wheatear, 14 Siskins, 12 Blackcaps, 24 Chiffchaffs, 8 Goldcrests, 2 Firecrests.

Sat 16/10; 2 Merlins, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 60 Swallows, 12 House Martins, 3 Wheatears, 2 Redwings, 4 Siskins, 14 Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Dartford Warblers, 16 Chiffchaffs, 8 Goldcrests, 4 Firecrests.

Fri 15/10; 20 Golden Plovers, 40 Swallows, 120+ Skylarks, 3 Grey Wagtails, 2 Wheatears, Whinchat, 3 Ring Ouzels, 17 Blackcaps, 27 Chiffchaffs, 20 Goldcrests, 3 Firecrests.

Thurs 14/10; Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Swallows, 90+ House Martins, 17 Song Thrushes, Redwing, 7 Ring Ouzels, Brambling, 12 Blackcaps, 46 Chiffchaffs, 34 Goldcrests, 2 Firecrests.

Weds 13/10; Short-eared Owl, 50 Stock Doves, 65 Swallows, 8 Wheatears, 37 Stonechats, 32 Song Thrushes, 5 Redwings, 6 Ring Ouzels, 9 Siskins, 51 Blackcaps, 74 Chiffchaffs, 16 Goldcrests, 2 Firecrests.

Tues 12/10; 290 Gannets, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 5 Brent Geese, 3 Wigeon, 13 Common Scoters, Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Arctic Skuas, 12 Common Gulls, Med. Gull, Hobby, 21 Golden Plovers, Snipe in off sea, Short-eared Owl, 60 Swallows, 12 House Martins, 10 Wheatears, Redwing, 2 Ring Ouzels, Spotted Flycatcher, 7 Siskins, 2 Lapland Buntings, in stubble field north of village, 8 Blackcaps, 32 Chiffchaffs, 8 Goldcrests, 2 Firecrests.

Slapton Ley 16th & 17th Oct

A Yellow-browed Warbler hanging round the nature trail at the quarry on the evening of 16th, there again this evening. 2 Firecrests along nature trail this afternoon too. Light vis mig this morning, with around 30 Swallows and a single House Martin N, about 70 Meadow Pipit, 20 Siskin and 40 Skylark, all heading N.

Start Point

Beautiful afternoon, light north wind.

14:00-17:00 ( Farm / Down Valley / Mattiscombe Valley )

Merlin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Stock Dove, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler ( Start Farm, found by Paul Boulden this morning but only heard calling this afternoon ), Firecrest, 7 Goldcrest.


07:00 - 11:45 with Will Salmon

Red-breasted Flycatcher at top end of willows just below farm above Starehole Valley, first seen 09:20 and still showing on and off when we left.

Also: 5 Ring Ouzels (Starehole), 6 Goldcrests, 10 Chiffchaffs, Blackcap, 15 Song Thrushes, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 92 Redwings, 5 Swallows, Fieldfare, Snipe, Reed Bunting, 3 Kestrels and a Merlin.

Orcombe Point

Orcombe Point - alba wagtail 13+, lapland bunting 1, skylark c40+, reed bunting 2, stock dove juv (see photo), curlew 1, snipe 1, goldcrest 2+, chiffchaff 4+, song thrush 5+, siskin 1+
-a quick scoot round the top fields pre-breakfast for just over an hour produced 4th lap of the autumn. These fields really are good for this species and unlike the others this one hung around and is presumably still there tho impossible to photograph in thick stubble and weeds.


A Merlin and a Spotted Flycatcher was the best of it.

Red Breasted Flycatcher at Soar


Flock of about a dozen Redwings seen this morning.
(Ann Wells)

Princetown - Dartmoor

At least three Black Redstarts (2 f/imm and a male) plus a Wheatear this morning.

R B Fly

The RB Fly (found by Joe and Will early this morning) still at East Soar willows at midday at least, favouring the top end of the willows just below the farmhouse and showing well at times though never staying still for long. Also several Ring Ouzels still in Starehole Valley early afternoon.

Great Grey Shrike Aylesbeare

Present today for its second day.

From car park cross road on to Aylesbeare Common and walk down tarmac road. Take first main track off to the left and the Great Grey Shrike is in an area with some ponies.

[from Doug Cullum]

Black Hole Marsh Yesterday

No sign of the Solitary Sandpiper yesterday, but two Curlew Sands, a Green Sand and a Water Rail

[from Ryan Knight]