Saturday, 13 November 2010

Exminster Marsh

The Glossy Ibis still showing well at 4.45pm on the pool opposite the 'middle' car park viewable fom the bend in the road. The American Robin was last seen mid afternoon flying to the hedge on the opposite side of the field from the canal bank parallel with the last boats moored on the canal.

Thurlestone Bay

Arrived back from viewing American Robin at 3pm to find a m Black Redstart on roof of my house

GND on River Teign

Adult winter Great Northern Diver showing well from Shaldon Bridge, River Teign at 2pm


At least four Brambling and 14 Crossbill around Dartmeet today.

Bramblings on Dartmoor

I've received reports of a pair of Bramblings feeding in a garden in Dousland yesterday and today and we too have had a smart male that appeared in our Yelverton garden yesterday

Turf and Countess Wear

Broke self-imposed twitching ban to see the american robin this morning. Big thank you to mark for making me see sense - a fantastic bird! Also 5+ brambling over and a snow bunting fairly low south calling scarily like lap bunting but thankfully showing off big white wing flashes. A quick whiz around the Old Sludge Beds at Countess Wear produced two grey chiffs one calling like tristis but seen too briefly and another looking perfect on plumage but not heard.

Friday, 12 November 2010


Grey Phalorope today still at Brixham, close in by Oxen cove until 16:00 swimming by large rock and slipway.
Black Redstart at start of the Breakwater, Brixham

[from Roy Williams]

Torbay - Preston Sands

Drake common scoter present at north end from mid morning to at least 3pm occasionally going for a swim but spending much time sitting on rocks, also a black necked grebe.

Start Point

Seawatching: pretty dire and not worth getting drenched for, with just a few Kittiwakes and Gannets passing; 9 Common Scoter on the sea; 5 Turnstones and 2 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks. Also a Black Redstart by the lighthouse.

Shelly Beach, Exmouth

Confirmed that there are two Black Redstarts around Shelly Beach, Exmouth at lunchtime when I had both male and female birds around the Exe Sailing Club. Also, a Greenshank, just off the beach on a shingle spit.
If you are birding in this area, do not park around the new appartment blocks, you WILL get clamped! Best to park in Camperdown or Point Terraces and walk (the few yards) from there.


Broadsands: 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Common Scoter.

Goodrington: 1 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebes.

Paignton/Preston: 1 Long-tailed Duck.

Thurlestone Bay

Fri morn - only one word for it Dire.

Surprise of the day a Swallow flying low over the beach in heavy rain. a Red T Diver east, a 1w Med Gull ,2 Common Gull & 2 Kittiwake all in 3 hrs

Clennon Valley

No sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler this morning. 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest and a Snipe were present around the ponds whilst looking.

Skern, Northam Burrows.

08:30 to 10:00.

4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese including "9H". Thanks for the info Nigel re: ringing history. I submitted sighting to BTO the day I first saw it but haven`t received anything back from them.
219 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.
71 Grey Plover.
c500 Dunlin.
c400 O/catcher.
32 Shelduck.
c120 Wigeon.
4 Knot.
67 Redshank.
1 Common Gull.
c60 Golden Plover in flight towards the Burrows.
Plus usual gulls, Cormorants and Mallards etc.

Glauc - River Axe

This stonking first-winter Glaucous Gull was on the Axe Estuary by the tram sheds this morning at 09:40. However after five minutes it flew south, then continued west along Seaton Beach.

SKERN. Ringed Pale-bellied Brent Goose

Maurice first saw the ringed Pale-bellied Brent Goose on Tuesday & like Malcolm I was at the Skern yesterday when it was still present (H9WW. H right leg, 9 left leg, WW = ring colour white). I reported it via the BTO website and this bird is a female that was ringed at Dundrum South Inner Bay, Co. Down, N. Ireland on 09/01/2008. It is from the East Canadian High Arctic flyway population. There is an embryo website at and there are loads of photos etc. on Facebook; type in "Irish Brent Goose Research Group"


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Thurlestone Bay

With a WSW gale and very frequnt showers seawatching from the car 09.15-12.45 -Little in quantity but great quality.

09.20 a Liitle Auk flew east across the bay got caught by the gale and went straight over South Huish Marsh.(a site 1st)

09.45 a party of 10 Eider flew in from west, landed on the sea c50 yds off ,spent 2hrs in the Bay then flew east.- a site record.(7 female 3 juv male)
single Blk T Diver flew east . Flock of 25 Kittiwake landed on the sea before continuing east. 3 Common Scoter east all female.

Budleigh Salterton

After the rigours of connecting with another Devon tick this morning, and a harrowing visit to the dentist, I took myself off the Otter Estuary area this afternoon. The Glossy Ibis was still present in the field above the cricket pitch, until 1615hrs at least. A couple of Black-tailed Godwits and a male Kingfisher down to 10 feet were the only other birds of note.


A nice male Merlin over the road to the canal carpark mid-afternoon. Also a note: the clampers are (or have recently been) very busy round the canal carpark - don't get caught out!
The posing Yank at Turf Hotel this morning brightened up a damp windy morning. Plus 1 short-eared owl over Exminster Marshes being carried very swiftly out towards the Exe in strong winds and a large falcon in poor light that was probably John W's (not literally!) Saker chasing crows.

AMERICAN ROBIN - Turf, Exe Estuary

Showing very well at times this morning, in the trees and bushes adjacent to the wheelie-bins at the south end of the entrance road to the Hotel. I think there are going to be some frame-filling photos from the fortunate few who had it in a hawthorn at point-blank range just before I arrived! A cracking bird!


Malcolm Shakespeare visited Skern this morning at 8.30 (high tide) and saw

5 pale bellied brent geese 1 with white rings (right leg HH left leg 99)
200 brent geese
3 red brested merganser
5 pintail
1 curlew sandpiper
1 ad med gull

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Report of American Robin on Exe Estuary, at Turf

Just in case any readers of this blog are unaware of the currently breaking story of an American Robin seen at Turf late this afternoon, let me direct you to THIS thread on BirdForum, where the nitty-gritty can be had.

All being well, events will take the most positive turn possible, and we'll all have the opportunity to be entertained by a Devon American Robin in the coming days...


In only 15 minutes (between 6:55 and 7:10am), before I had to leave for work, I had the following over my garden on the West side of Dawlish .....
3 Brambling, 65+ Chaffinch, 4 Fieldfare, 11 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 1 Siskin, 2 Bullfinch. Nearly all the birds were heading North.

[from Luke Harman]

Dawlish Warren

Red-throated Diver just offshore [photos by Colin Scott]

Torbay this afternoon

At Broadsands, 1 red throated diver, 10 great crested grebes, a distant slav or black necked grebe and 9 common scoter. At Paignton sands 5 black necked grebes, and 1 long tailed duck which stayed out of photo range till dusk.

Bolberry- Soar Mill Valley

Superb morning clear blue sky & very little wind . Started at 09.20 to 12.30, I didn't see Perry but I did have a ringtail Hen Harrier flying over the mast Field at Bolberry Down at 12.20 .

Big movement of Wood Pigeon 6250 flying east quite high,once i got into the valley lost sight ,mst have been a lot more moving thru. At least 70 Stock Dove as well.

In the scrub were 1 m Ring Ouzel- same place for the last 3 weeks. 14 Blackbird , 8 Song Thrush 5 Redwing.9 Lapwing flew west.26 Chaffinch, 1 Reed Bunting ,2 Cirl Bunting 1 Bullfionch, 1 Great Sp Woody,300 Skylark

Near South Milton 25 Fieldfare ,10 Stock Dove.

Thurlestone Marsh 2 Lapwing,1 Blk T Godwit, 30 Teal, 75+ Wigeon .

15.45 2 Black Redstart on roof of my house .one a very nice ad male

Bolberry Down

Ringtail Hen Harrier flew east at 10:20 this morning.

Clennon Valley

Yellow-browed Warbler still present in usual willow 10m west of storm drain outflow pipe behind the golf driving range. also two Chiffchaffs in same area.

Above Yellow-browed Warbler top left, the rest tristis Chiffchaffs
2 tristis Chiffchaffs at top pond(western most) calling and one singing. at least 4 collybita type chiffs also there. 4 Water Rail, and 2 Snipe.

Exminster Marshes

At 9.00 this morning the large falcon was back on the marshes. Mobbed by rooks and crows it finally sat in a field and then made several flights over the pools where teal cowered. It really does look like a juv. Saker Falcon. It has brown wings, tail and back contrasting with a pale head, apart from distinct facial markings, and pale rusty crown. The tail projection is clear and it has a contrasting under-wing. And it is BIG. In flight I could not see any jesses and the legs looked free of rings but it was very difficult to see the legs well. When I left at 10.00 it was still sitting in the field Sw of the canal-side car park to the north of the lagoon.

With all the effort to try to identify the bird I forgot to count the waders and waterfowl. However most were hiding from the falcon apart from one Golden Plover (over head) and one Dunlin feeding in the pool.

Berry Head

Wind too strong for any real over-head movement but did get: 3 Brambling, 2 Redwing, 1 Siskin, 60 Wood pigeon.

Around Headland: 1 Firecrest, 9 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Treecreeper, 31 Long-tailed tits in two flocks, 1 Blackcap 1 Grt Spt Woodpecker, 4 Stonechat.

R. Taw 10th November

Isley Marsh.
Spoonbill 9
Snipe 5
Greenshank 5
Reed Bunting 2

Knot 5
Bar-tailed Godwit 9
Dunlin 143
Grey Plover 36
Snipe 2
Turnstone 46
Greenshank 1
+ Redshank, Lapwing, Curlew & Oystercatcher

Ringed Plover 59
Dunlin 106
Sanderling 3
Reed Bunting 1

Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher still present this morning on flooded field opposite Axmouth FC. The field lies immediately west of the A358, about 200m north of its junction with the A3052. There is room for 4 or 5 tightly parked cars in the pull-in at the entrance to the football club. There is also a lay-by close to the road junction, and from here walk north to view, but take care - this is a fast and busy road, with very little verge.

Wembury 10/11

2 Waxwings circled over my garden this morning in Wembury at about 7.15 and headed north.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Thurlestone Bay

2 short visits today - 09.40 a Great N Diver flew east with 2 Turnstone in the Bay. At 16.00 2 Red B Merganser flew into the Bay and landed on the sea.

Long-billed Dowitcher on Axe

A juvenile moulting to first-winter Long-billed Dowitcher on the pools opposite Axmouth FC at SY261930, just north of Boshill Cross. Presumably the Dorset bird from yesterday? Only seen it in poor light (which is my excuse for the lack of stunning pics!).

Not the longest billed Long-billed Dowi, but we've grilled its tertials and I've heard it call

Here's the pools it is on...

Also today a Grey Phalarope over the sea off Axmouth Yacht Club just after 14:15 for a few minutes before gaining height and flying north up the river valley (that's what I was looking for!!).

Brixham Breakwater

Grey Phalorope next to the breakwater close to the beach, very rough and windy conditions but the bird is very close to the beach. Still present 1215hrs today and again at last light

Exminster Marshes

A brief visit avoiding the showers mid morning found hundreds of Wigeon and Teal sheltering on the pools. With them over 300 Black-tailed Godwits (2 with colour rings) and 200 Lapwing. Two Water Pipits flew up and on towards Topsham.

Skern, Northam Burrows.

Btwn 08:00 and 09:00.

3 pale-bellied Brent Geese inluding 1 ringed bird, with c150 dark-bellies.
Ringed Bird:- White rings on both lower legs with black lettering/numerals. "9" on left leg; "H" on right.
Shelduck 23; Grey Plover 31; Wigeon c120; Teal c25; Dunlin c100; Redshank 43; Turnstone 11;
Oystercatcher c400; Golden Plover 14; Lapwing c20. Also Mallard' Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Little Egret and Curlew.

Monday, 8 November 2010


A male Black Redstart was around the Exe Sailing Club/Shelly Beach area at lunchtime today, mainly perching on the roofs of the appartment blocks. This bird is a different bird to the one I had in the same spot on November 2, that individual being a juv/female on the brief views I had.

Grt Northern Diver 2 'Saltstone/Frogmore Cr.
Med Gull 7
Redshank 24


On the southern edge of Dartmoor a flock of c200 Fieldfares around the top of the hill coming out of Holne towards Venford Resevoir.

Exeter Canal - Scaup

Photos taken today by Charlie Fleming. The bird is on the new fishing ponds viewable from the canal towpath just N of the Double Locks Hotel. Please note the following request from Charlie, who is volunteer Biodiversity recorder for the EA, and has permission to be on the land there:

'At the moment it is not open to the public and is Private. Could you please make that clear when you post it by saying something like.. "view from the canal towpath just before Double Locks, do not enter the pond site. " If we don't adhere to this we will start off with a bad reputation which will be bad for us in the future. The ponds have been designed to be viewed from the canal bank anyway.
The bird left the ponds and went either on to the canal or perhaps the river, it was not there at 1530. It was very "skittish" and easily disturbed.'

Brixham Breakwater

This afternoon from 12.20. No sign of yesterdays phalarope but a purple sandpiper feeding on the seaward face of the breakwater with turnstones. Offshore 3 common scoter (2 male, 1 female).

Thurlestone Bay.

Morning started well and then just got better- one of the days in the Bay.

07.45- 900+ Wood Pigeons and 8 Stock Dove flew south. 4 Little Egret on the Marsh with 16 Lapwing ,1 Snipe , 1 Blk T Godwit.

09.30- 12.45 seawatching from the canopy of the Cafe.

1 Short Eared Owl flew north across the Bay at 10.35. a ringtail Hen Harrier flew north at 10.50. closely followed by a Swallow. 14 Common Scoter,1 Black Throated Diver , 1 Great Northern Diver ,2 Great Skua all flew east

Eastcliff Country Park - Yesterday

I Firecrest moving through line of small elms in the middle of the park.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Topsham Recreational Playing Fields

One water pipit on the shoreline this afternoon. Also 2 Common Sandpipers.

[from Martin Elcoate]

Baggy Point, Croyde

Dartford warbler 100 meters before point on northern side with stonechat.

[from Antony Bellamy]

Torbay this afternoon

Grey phalarope still at breakwater beach at when we left at 3.15pm, very close to the beach on the left side. Yesterday at Livermead, 2 little egrets and a great crested grebe, also 2 grey wagtails on the sea wall.

Firecrest - Torquay

Dave Jenks ringed a Firecrest in his Torquay garden this morning.


Seen from my house between 1015 and 1145 today:

5430 Wood Pigeon - heading north-westwards.

Also associated with this movement 150 Redwing and a Common Buzzard, the latter heading strongly in the same direction at the same height!
Anyone else witness a large north-westerly movement of Wood Pigeons?

Brixham Breakwater

A Grey Phalarope this afternoon just a few yards offshore from the corner of beach on the seaward side of the Breakwater.

Barnstaple 14:45 7th Nov.

Just had a Brambling in my back garden; first ever record.

Arctic Skua - Lyme Bay 06/11/10

06/11/10. Amazing close views of an Arctic Skua chasing Kittiwakes around the boat, at times only a few metres away and too close to photograph! Normally we only witness this in the distance!

After it singled out a Kit, the Skua kept chasing until the Kit finally regurgitated right by our boat.

The Skua pouncing on the prize.

This bird appears to be a third-summer, pale morph. Not a full adult as there is a pale panel mid-wing created by pale barring on coverts and also some pale barring on the tail coverts. Quite a late bird as most Arctic Skuas have now moved through.

Start Point

Fairly bright but Start Point exposed to a raw moderate to fresh north-northwest wind this morning. Found a bit of shelter below the car park at the top of Mattiscombe Valley and did a vis mig watch from 07:00-09:00, all birds going north up the valley.
Golden Plover, Collared Dove, 13 Stock Dove, 26 Skylark, 15 Meadow Pipit, 8 Pied Wagtail, 164 Goldfinch, 30 Linnet, 409 Chaffinch, 14 Brambling, 6 Starling and 3 Reed Bunting.
Quck look at Start Farm revaled just a handful of Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Redwings.