Saturday, 30 October 2010

Yelverton - First Blackcap of the winter

Our first Blackcap of the winter (female) arrived this morning c09:30 and settled down to feed as if she'd never been away!
I see on Charlie Fleming's Blog that his first winter Blackcap (female) was seen around midday today.

Start Point

Seawatching 10:30-13:30: pretty quiet, a few feeding Kittiwakes and Gannets and a single Arctic Skua (pale phase). Also a late Wheatear on the wall.

Clennon Valley etc

The Yellow-browed Warbler was still at Clennon Valley Lakes this morning at 09.15, in willows and trees about 150 yards west of the YMCA building.

No sign of the 1w Glaucous Gull at Slapton Ley between 11.00 and 13.00.

[from Will Salmon]

Yelland Jetty Roost and Isley Marsh RSPB Reserve

10:40 Jetty Roost.
A bright sunny morning with a rising tide.
Grey Plover c50
Dunlin c100
Lapwing c160 with another c60 overhead.
Redshank c35
Oystercatcher c40. Not the usual 200-300 normally here at high tide.
Little Egret 3
Knot c10
Turnstone 9
Curlew 53
Cormorant 4
Teal 6
A single Kingfisher flew along the shoreline from the main jetty, over the bank and into the overflow pond where there were 4 Little Grebe, a few Teal and Mallard, 3 Moorhen and calls of a Water Rail.

11:50 Isley Marsh
Spoonbill 8
Greenshank 8
Great Crested Grebe 2 in the channel just off the reserve.
Plenty of O/Catcher, Wigeon, Teal, Redshank, Curlew, Lapwing and 2 Little Egret.

Severn Sands.
It is now beginning to look like a load of holes held together with rusty metal.

Beer Head

1+ Ring Ouzel first thing this morning, in the sheepwalk. 6 Siskin over. Little else moving, though 1 Reed Bunting heard

Berry Hd & Torbay

A serious shower got me to divert to Paignton at first light where I could sit in the car and look out to sea: 1 Long-tailed Duck with an ad male Common Scoter also 1 Great Crested Grebe.
Below: left - wood pigeons and Jackdaws Right -there must be a golden 'mega' in that bush!

Berry Head had a bit going overhead: 200+ Wood Pigeons and 115 Jackdaws >W, the highlight was a Yellow Wagtail that nearly landed at the head - very late bird. Around the headland: 2 Firecrest (usual place nr Berry Hd Hotel) 2 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 36 Long tailed Tits in 3 groups.
Broadsands: 8 Cirl Buntings on seed in back of 2nd car park, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Black Redstart and 6-7 Bottle-nosed Dolphins leaping around off Elberry Headland then moved of N.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Berry Head again!

Same Glaucous Gull. Another juv Pom later in the day. Also an Arctic Tern, presumed adult moulting into winter plumage (hence black bill and white forehead).

Berry Head

Seawatching today was interesting but it was birding by attrition that got the birds!
07.45-17:30hrs: 1 Short-eared owl, 1 Glaucous Gull, 16 Pomarine Skuas (all juvs), 8 Arctic Skuas (mostly ads or imms only 2 juvs), 6 Great Skuas, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Brent Geese, 3 Mute Swans, 2 Grey Plover, 893 Kittiwakes (incl. 146 juvs), 957 Gannets, c200 Auks (mostly Razorbills), Arctic Tern (ad moulting into winter plumage) and Little Egret. Also a Grey Seal and 6 Harbour Porpoise (incl. 4 youngsters).

Above : Left juv Glaucous gull and right juv Pomarine Skua
Below: Left Mute Swans patch Tick! Trawler 'draging' in Gulls and Gannets

Axe Estuary

I was expecting more from a whistle stop tour of the Estuary and marshes early afternoon today. Three adult Med Gulls and the Whooper Swan were the best I could come up with. Hope for better tomorrow...

Exmouth this morning

Seawatch 820-1010am from seafront
great northern diver 2, kittiwake 19+, common scoter 1, wader sp 1, juv pomarine skua 1, auk sp 5, great skua 1, great crested grebe 1, db brent goose 6, gannet c2/300+
scaup 3
(see lower photo), long-tailed duck (fem type), mute swan 10, [black swan 1], goldeneye 1, grt crstd grebe 3+, pale-bellied brent goose 1.
Seawatch disappointing in strong S wind. Good numbers of pintail, wigeon and dark-bellied brent still off Mudbank. The numbers will drop as many of the birds move to wet fields at the north end of the estuary in the next month.


Preston Seafront - 87 Oystercatchers, 18 Turnstones

Broadsands - 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 8 Long-tailed-tit, 22 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 4 Skylark, 3 Goldcrest. 1 Chiffchaff (seen very briefly and not re-located)

Nothing of note seen in the bay due to rough conditions

Slapton Ley

Lots of gulls sheltering from the strong winds on the ley including a first winter Glaucous Gull opposite the toilet block in the central car park. Presumably the bird found by Eric yesterday.

Start Point

Did a seawatch from 08:00-10:00 in the strong Southerly wind. Very dissapointing, Gannets and Kittiwakes south @ c400 and 90 per hour respectivly. Nothing at all out of the ordinary.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Bolberry- Soar Mill Cove.- Thurs am

100% cloud cover & brisk wind resulted in no viz mig. Bushes did produce reasonable numbers.

1 Firecrest, 5 Goldcrest, 21 L T Tit, 25+ Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit. 5 Chaffinch ,8 Blackbird , 4 Song Thrush. 2m Ring Ouzel, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap ,1 m Bullfinch and a single flock of 12 Cirl Bunting.

This eve Thurlestone Marsh-90 + TEal, 90 Wigeon . 2 Lapwing ,1 Blk T Godwit.

Berry Hd

Winds too strong from the SW for any real overhead movement today but among commoner finches: 3 Brambling, 1 Yellowhammer, 4 Bullfinch and 4 Siskin.

Around Headland: 2 Firecrest (in lane from Wardens Bungalow to Berry Hd Hotel) 9 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 3 Stonechat and a total 25 Long-tailed Tits in two flocks.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Skern, Northam Burrows.

Between 07:55 and 09:15.

c140 Dark-bellied Brent. No sign of any Pale-bellied.
c150 Wigeon.
2 Bar-tailed Godwit.
6 Pintail.
2 Knot.
1 and only 1 Dunlin.
1 Turnstone.
4 Grey Plover.
1 Common Gull.
c270 O/Catcher
plus the usual Curlew, Redshank, Little Egret, Black-headed,Herring and Black-backed Gulls.
No. of dogs and dog walkers - Too many. Unbelievable nos.!

Glossy Ibis - Exminster Marshes

Showing well between 1300hrs and 1400hrs along ditch about 70 yards from gate at parking area by the bends, also 2 Golden Plover with 28 Lapwing on pools.

[from Andy Bond]

Budleigh Salterton

A brief visit to the lower Otter reaches, to cheer myself up after a gruelling trip to the dentist, revealed the Glossy Ibis still present mid afternoon, frequenting the field next to the cricket pitch. It flew from the west side over to the scrape behind the 'new' hide. Also a Black-tailed Godwit in the same field and a Kingfisher showing very well by the ditch.

Thurlestone Bay

Wed 9.30-13.00- Another cracking day for the Bay . Good visability 20% cloud cover wind west f3.

Some o/head mig- 100+ Meadow Pipit, 15 Skylark , 30 Siskin,6 Greenfinch.

Seawatching - 1 G.C.Grebe 1 Gannet, then at 11.05a jv Sabines Gull flew east c 300 yds off Beacon point good views thru scope, 1 ad Little Gull also flew east

At 12.30 on sea off the cafe 2 Grey Phalarope feeding on floating seaweed only 30 yards offshore.

Later learnt these had been seen by Eric at 11am.

R. Taw 27th October

Isley Marsh 0845.
An immature Gannet out in mid-channel. Spoonbill 8 as usual, Greenshank 2, Reed Bunting 2.

Yelland 0930.
Bar-tailed Godwit 11, Black-tailed Godwit 1, Knot 5, Dunlin 51, Turnstone 28, Grey Plover 42, Sanderling 1, Lapwing 176 plus the usual Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatcher.

Yelland Pond.
Water Rail & Cetti's Warbler calling

Instow Barton Marsh
Reed Bunting 2

Instow 1020.
Ringed Plover 46, Sanderling 2, Common Gull 19.

Clennon Valley

A bright sunny morning with little wind= perfect for the ponds and Warblers. No sign of the tristis or the strange chiffchaff I posted a couple of days ago but 4 collybita 'normal' Chiffchaffs in the same corner.
I tried further down toward the YMCA another sunny sheltered spot with a bit of 'pishing' and almost immediately found a warbler with a huge supercilium skulking in the undergrowth! It gave itself up pretty quickly as a bright Yellow-browed Warbler see below....
Other Birds around ponds: 4 Water Rail, 4 Little Grebes, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Teal, 2 Goldcrest and another Chiffchaff.

Berry Hd

Above Left: Cirl at Dawn (beats those towers at Start Point!) Right: Flock of moving Jackdaws
Some over-head movement today highlights 07.45-09.00hrs: 360 Jackdaws (revised my counts I estimated the flock above at the time being about 200 - I have just counted them and there is 308 and that wasn't the whole flock in the picture - so totals moving would be over 470), 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Siskin.
Around Headland very quiet: 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests 2 Blackcap.

Axe Estuary

Two Hawfinch (a patch biggy!) flew south, then u-turned back north before gaining height, from the second gate way north of Axmouth this morning at 09:10. Also 25+ Redwing in area.

The Whooper Swan still present a little further up the road...

Also female-type Black Redstart at Axmouth Yacht Club mid afternoon.

Exminster Marshes

At 9.00 the Glossy Ibis showed briefly near the canal side car park. On the pool 1Ruff and 50 Lapwings, including at least 10 first winters. The American Golden Plover was reported to be roosting at the Turf at high tide but flushed and flew across the estuary towards BGM.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Berry Head

Seawatch: 14:30-16:30. Pretty quiet, 100+ Gannets and 70+ Kittiwakes feeding with lots of gulls (probably on sprats). 2 Great Skuas and 4 Arctic Skuas passed through. Also 2 Harbour Porpoise

Thurlestone Bay

(.30-12.30 sheltered under the cafe canopy at S. Milton Sands. Visablilty 800yds improved slightly around 11.15 .Consistant rain wind ssw later sw f7.

Not much quantity but certainly quality.

2 Little Gulls -east (1ad ,1 jv) Eric had a single group of 10

! Great Skua east , 1 Sheilduck -east , 1 m Red B Merganser flew round the bay then west ( first this year here.) 3 db Brent Goose flew round the bay 4 times over a period of 1hour finally making rond Bolt Tail. 1 Sandwich Tern east.

Axe Estuary

Good numbers of large Gulls on the Estuary early this afternoon included a fine adult Yellow-legged Gull, 385 Great Black-backed Gulls and 28 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Also the adult Whooper Swan still with Mutes - maybe it's a returning individual?

1W Little Gull Saltstone/Charleton Bay area 14:00 plus

Fernworthy Res - Sunday 24/10

1 Merlin, 30+ siskins, 30+ goldfinches, 4 crossbills, 20+fieldfares, 4 coal tits, 1 brambling, 5 jays

[from Martin Cox]

Monday, 25 October 2010

Exminster Marshes etc

Late Morning American Golden Plover on estuary at Turf in normal area, also Peregrine over. At 1400 hrs on Exminster Marsh Short-eared Owl flew around marsh then across canal and river, over Topsham, over Dave Stones house (probably asleep) then down towards Turf and lost to view. Also 1 Peregrine and Merlin together above Marsh. Merlin then landed in tree towards Dawlish road side of marsh, and 1 Kingfisher.

[from Andy Bond]

Unfortunate Barn Owl - 24/10

Came across this poor bird whilst out walking on clifftop between Budleigh & Ladram bay. In a field just a few metres along the permitted path to Otterton (towards treatment works) . I think it may be a Barn owl? But head was missing....

[from Andy Moore]

Clennon Valley - Chiffchaffs today

Just when you think they can be identified.....

Above; tristis 'Siberian' Chiffchaff a calling individual with typical sad, flat 'piii' call. I watched as it fed confirming pretty much all of the pro tristis features, brownish grey upperparts with no olive except slightly on edges of secondaries, primaries and tail, slightly rusty cheeks black legs only slight pale base to bill, brownish grey shoulders and flanks and buffy tone to big supercilium and throat. It responding brilliantly to tristis song playback with wing quivering and fluffed cloaca feathers and calling (as one did last year with a chit- chit call) so presumably a female.

Then... A second bird appeared high in the same willow also wing quivering but his time to the other bird rather than the song, it attempted to mount the tristis, so I assumed another tristis but no... It moved down lower to show a dirty brownish olive upperparts and the same colour but almost streaky sides of chest contrasting with an almost grey/white belly and pale yellow undertail coverts. The legs were browner and more pale at the base of the bill. Supercilium not nearly so strong and showing a good eye ring. 10 minutes later when the trisits had moved on it began to sing, to start with just like a normal chiffchaff then it broke into tristis song to finish off - it did this three times! I played the tristis song back to it and it came over to investigate but not wing quivering, it called regularly - an abietinus type call short sharp almost monosyllabic 'seu'. If I had to put a bet on it it would be for an abietinus 'Scandinavian' Chiffchaff. But a mixed singer complicates things!?

(there were at least 5 collybita 'normal' Chiffchaffs also in same area none of these were at all interested in the tristis song playback or the wing quivering birds. They did respond and wing quiver when I played collybita song playback. The tristis or other bird ignored the collybita song playback completely)

Bolberry-Soar Mill Valley 08.30-12.30.

Having scaped ice off my car(unusal in Thurlestone in Oct.) a really good morning-lots of birds moving thru the valley.

2m Ring Ouzel, 1 Black Redstart, 14 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 7 Cirl Bunting,4 Brambling, 2 Lesser Redp[oll, 15 Chaffinch, 1 Bullfinch,20 Goldfinch, 130+ Linnet, 1 Dartford Warbler ,1 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 7 Goldcrest, 20 Yellowhammer, 22 Robin, 11 Stock Dove, 1250 Wood Pigeon.

Thurlestone Marsh -pm- 45 Wigeon, 35 Teal 1 Black T Godwit.

17.30 South Milton Ley -5 Reed Bunting, 130+ Alba Wagtail (roost ) , 3 Water Rail , 2 Cettis Warbler.

Bob Burridge at East Soar this am- 1 Common Redstart, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Fieldfare.

Last week I reported 4 Woodlark at Bolberry ,on Sat Colin at Southdown Farm had 7 at the same spot (his first for the site )

Exe Estuary and Exminster marshes

At 9.00 this morning a Short-eared Owl flew along the canal and this evening was quartering fields between the lagoon and canal. The American Golden Plover was on the closest end of Greenland Bank south of Turf feeding with 20 Black-tailed godwits and one Grey Plover (useful comparison). Elsewhere on the marshes the Glossy Ibis was glimpsed but not by me.

Thrushes arrive on Dartmoor

Friday morning I had a call to say 10 Fieldfare had just been spotted on Plaster Down (D Thomas).
Today Jan & Mike Daniels think that winter has arrived, they saw 300 Redwing this morning near Princetown, (a week later than last year), along with a flock of 100 Fieldfare with possibly a further 200 Fieldfare this afternoon. However at lunchtime they spotted a Swallow flying around their house in the village.

Start Point

Clear night, cold enough at dawn for windscreen frost, light northeast wind. Beautiful day.

07:30-15:15, Car Park / Farm / Mattiscombe Valley / Down Valley / Light.
Light passage northwest till 09:00, best being 110+ Goldfinch, 70+ Chaffinch, 8 Brambling and 2 Lesser Redpoll. This autumns first wave of Woodpigeons through during morning, c1100 east, also c 87 Stock Dove plus a couple feral/racing pigeons mixed in.
Elsewhere 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Swallows, 100 Skylarks, 100+ Meadow Pipits, 4 Fieldfares, 10 Redwings, 25+ Song Thrushes, 15 Blackbirds, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 11 Goldcrests, 40 Starlings, 9 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Siskins and 3 Reed Buntings.


Orcombe Point 750-1020am
jackdaw 56+, pied wagtail 27+, linnet 11+, goldfinch 17+, meadow pipit 17+, brambling 1, woodpigeon 49+, reed bunting 1+, mute swan 2, chaffinch 14+, lapland bunting 2 (both west, 8am + 822am), swallow 1, skylark c50+, stonechat 1, goldcrest 1, song thrush 4, jay 1, grt spt woodpecker 2, starling 30+, blackbird 10+, grey wagtail 3, coal tit 1+, aythya duck sp in off (prob tufted duck).
Squabmoor Reservoir 1130-12pm
dartford warbler 3+, redpoll 1+, woodlark 2 (south at 12pm)

Very little grounded this morning and only a relatively light passage of passerines overhead which had pretty much dried up after the first hour of daylight.

Beer Head

One, perhaps two Lapland Buntings dropped into the kale field next to the main track out to the old look-out first thing this morning. Although mostly grazed out now, this field is extremely busy - lots of Pied Wags, several Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Chaffinches, Linnets etc, plus 2 Reed Buntings and a Brambling. Also 1+ Redpoll, a Fieldfare and 2+ Siskin over.

In the bushes, a Dartford Warbler and a tail-less Black Redstart.

Berry Hd

Above:left Brambling and right Ring Ouzel and Blackbird
Below: Left female Cirl Bunting (about 10 today around the meadow) and right Grt Spt Woodpecker landed briefly on Coast Guards communication tower - its the only thing that looks like a tree at the end of the headland!

Some overhead movement today:among commoner birds; 4 Brambling, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Yellowhammer, 3 Siskin, 3 Redwing, 1 Grt Spt Woodpecker, 3 House Sparrows 6 Bullfinch, 13 Skylarks and first of Woodpigeon movements- although only in small numbers 53 in two flocks.
Fairly Quiet around head; 1 Ring Ouzel, 3 Chiffchaff, 10 Goldcrest, 3 Blackcap, 4 Stonechat and fair numbers of Song Thrush.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Seaton Area

A couple of pics from this afternoon...

Lapland Bunting in Axe Cliff stubble

Adult Whooper Swan in with the Mutes opposite Stedcombe Vale (just N of Axmouth)

Exminster marsh

After playing hide and seek this morning and this afternoon, the Glossy Ibis came out of its' ditch at about 1730 but soon flew off , leaving just a bad photo in its' wake. But all was not lost, as it disappeared a Short-eared Owl was seen in the sky with attendant crow. Nice to see one back here!

Burrator Reservoir.

Two redhead Goosander, five Teal and four Little Grebe.
Also in the area; three Treecreeper, two Raven, sixty odd Fieldfare and a few Siskin.

Axe Estuary

Adult Whooper Swan with Mutes opposite the entrance to Stedcombe House today - the usual spot! Also two Lapland Buntings at Axe Cliff early morning.

[from James McCarthy]

Torbay this afternoon

At Three beaches, a little egret feeding in rockpools. At Broadsands, 1 red throated diver, 1 curlew, 1 razorbill.

Prawle area

Water Pipit, just east of Langerstone Point, 22-24/10

Juvenile Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Horseley Cove, 23-24/10

24/10; Merlin, 32 Golden Plover, 23 Swallow, House Martin, Fieldfare, Brambling, 13 Siskin, Reed Bunting, Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest.

23/10; Seawatch, 07.45 -10.00; Balearic Shearwater, 310 Gannet, 190+ Kittiwake.

Also; 6 Mediterranean Gull, Horseley Cove.

22/10; 9 Mediterranean Gulls, Horseley Cove (Site record - 2 ads, 5 2nd winter, 2 1st winter).

Footnote; It seems my report of the departure/demise of the House Finch were grossly exagerated - it being seen again on 22nd! (although I seem incapable of finding it myself at the moment!)

american golden plover river exe turf

Exmouth this morning

Orcombe Point 745-910am - wheatear 1, goldfinch 10+, chaffinch 9+, meadow pipit 10+, reed bunting 2, jack snipe 1, brambling 5, alba wag 7+, linnet 18+, stonechat 2+, woodpigeon 42+, skylark c40+, grt spt woodpecker 1, ring ouzel 1, snipe 1, curlew 23, grey wagtail 1, long-tailed tit c10+, song thrush 2, starling 2.
Light passage of finches and the odd mipit overhead. Notable lack of crests and chiffies. Highlight was the jack snipe flushed from the top stubble field - the first I've had on Orcombe Point.

Leisure Centre - 915am - scaup 2 (drake now joined long-staying female), teal x wigeon hybrid still present, shoveler, [black swan].

Berry Hd

Although I was busy taking a course all weekend, today there was a Ring Ouzel in the quarry, 5 Goldcrests, just 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Stonechats and overhead 1 Reed Bunting and 2 Siskin - but I wasn't out early for any other vis mig - if there was any in the blowy N wind and clear skies.

Exe Estuary, Exminster marshes

This morning at high tide one Glossy Ibis with 5 Little Egrets near lagoon. Adult female Peregrine flew close to the pool, landed and drank without causing confusion. One Ruff with 41 Lapwings and 10 Curlew.

Start Point

Migrants Moon

30% cloud cover, moderate to fresh northeast wind.
07:15-10:30, Car Park / Farm / Top Fields. No shelter except part of farm garden.
Just 3 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff in the farm. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Fieldfare present. Best of the small number of finches heading northwest early on were 4 Siskins, 5 Brambling and 2 Lesser Redpolls. In the top fields were c100 each of Skylark and Pied Wagtail plus a Reed Bunting.