Saturday, 20 November 2010


3 Purple Sandpipers alternating between the western end of the 'town beach' and the nearest pile of rocks at high tide, mid afternoon. Mainly being flushed off the beach by dogs.
Kingsbridge Est:
2 G-N Diver juv, adW

Slapton Ley:
adW Little Gull along the surf line Memorial Car Park

Exe Estuary

On the Stuart Lines cruise today the highlights were 4 Scaup, 2 Common Scoter (can't ever remember seeing these in the estuary before), the usual Slavonian and at least 8 Great Crested Grebes, 50+ each of Shag and Common and Great Black-backed Gulls, hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets, only 1 Greenshank and 3 Sanderlings, plus expected numbers of the usual wildlfowl and waders. It's hard to keep count of everything while trying to decide what to say next for the commentary!


There are a a minimum of 70 Cirl Buntings in the area at the moment. The majority can be found in 2 main flocks. 30+ are in the stubble fields east of the car-park, and a similar number are above Horseley Cove. A small group of about 6 favour the barn area above the car-park, and odd birds are scattered elsewhere.

Other birds today; Seawatch, 07.45 - 10.15. Highlight was a Little Auk going east at about 10.00, (Tony Marchese), also Balearic Shearwater, single Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, a distant Skua sp, seen in bright light was either Arctic or Long-tailed, 2 Common Scoters and c.200 Auks (60 % Razorbills)
Only other birds of note were 2 Black Redstarts, a Blackcap and 2 Goldcrests.
(Also still a few Red Admirals on the wing).

Jubilee Gardens, Beer

2 Firecrests present this morning, in the Holm Oaks near the wooden shelter

also a Black Redstart in the main car park behind the Dolphin Hotel.

West Town Farm, IDE.

On hearing of a Hawfinch at Ide this morning, a visit produced two birds at the usual place at 10.00 but no further sign by 11.30.
On Woodbury Common yesterday the Great Grey Shrike was seen again in the "Shrike Valley" just North of Woodbury Castle.

Starcross Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret in flooded field with horses in on North side of Starcross. Present until 10:30am when it flew towards the estuary.

[from Luke Harman]

Golden Plover

c60 flew east at Dittiscombe nr. East Allington this morning.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Shelly Beach, Exmouth

The male Black Redstart was still around the Exe Sailing Club early afternoon. It was on the roof of Estuary Court.

Creating Blog Posts

Since this blog began there have been one or two enquiries about the mechanics of actually creating a blog post, adding photos etc. It can certainly be a challenge initially. So, if anyone is still finding it a bit tricky, click on the 'Posting Guidelines' tab and follow the new link to the relevant page on Blogger Help.

Hope this helps.


Firecrest - at 11.45 fri 19/11 on the northbrook [pannybrook to locals] at the metal footbridge that leads from the chestnut crescent play area in exeter - over into the ludwell valley park , the female firecrest was feeding in alders and hazel.

[from Colin Chivers]

Aylesbeare Common

Lovely, still morning on the common, ideal for Dartford Warblers.

[from Colin Scott]

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Orcombe Point - lapland bunting 2+, skylark c100+, pied wagtail c15+, meadow pipit c20+, linnet c20+
Mudbank - scaup 4, shoveler 12, great crested grebe 10+, goldeneye 3, mediterranean gull ad, blackcap 2, great northern diver 1.


A quick look this morning: 3 Great Northern Divers, 23 Great Crested Grebes & 2 Teal.

On the seed in the back of the second car park: 3 Reed Buntings, 10 Cirl Buntings, 1 Brambling (also seen on16th) and about a dozen Chaffinches. The marsh is surprisingly quiet with just 1 Chiffchaff, a couple of Goldcrest and a 2 Siskin.

clennon valley

2 shoveler(m & f )
4 snipe
2 pochard
8 chiffchaff
5 goldcrest

Lapland Bunting a 'B' rarity for autumn 2010

This article has been recently uploaded on to the DBWPS website. I thought it would be worthwhile copying it here too...

"At the end of August and throughout September 2010, large numbers of Lapland Buntings arrived in the north of the UK, with some sites in the northern isles of Scotland boasting triple figure flocks!

As the autumn progressed these birds flew south, and it wasn’t long before Devon had a ‘slice’ of the action.

Lapland Bunting is a Devon ‘A’ rarity (full description required), except on Lundy where it is a ‘B’ rarity (supporting notes available at recorder’s request).

Due to the unprecedented numbers recorded this year, the decision has been made to downgrade Lapland Bunting to a ‘B’ rarity for the entire County this autumn. This will be reviewed at the end of 2010 and again after the spring of 2011.

Steve Waite - County Recorder"

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Exminster Marsh

A quick look at Exminster Marsh late afternoon got me a Short Eared Owl north of the reserve behind Lions rest, also 3+ Water Pipits around pools just north of canal side car park nearest canal bank, also American Robin still showing on and off late afternoon.

Andy Bond


Finally ----

3 Purple Sandpipers back at Langerstone Point.

---- Sadly, no Swifts !!

Berry Head

Seawatch 08:00-13:20: highlight a probable Cory's Shearwater at 11:49, unfortunately I only got bin views when I first picked it up, but Dave Smallshire managed to get a scope view before it was gone. Otherwise: Pomarine Skua (ad), 2 Arctic Skuas, 7 Bonxies, 4 Little Gulls ( 2 ads, 2 1w), 3 or 4 Med Gulls, 7 Great Northern Divers, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, 625 Kittiwakes, 76 Gannets, 160 Auk sp (mostly Razorbills), 45+ Fulmars, 6 Common Scoter. No sign of the Pallid Swift on our side of the bay - Hope's Nose wins today!

Passage House

13:00-13:45 - Along with the usual Curlew, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Lapwing were singles of Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and Common Sandpiper. The dodgy geese were back with 1 Greylag, 2 grey Chinese Goose type things and 4 mostly white Chinese Goose type things. There was also 2 Snipe, a Water Rail, 1+ Kingfisher and 3 Little Grebe.


Although not producing any swifts, Exmouth was still quite interesting at lunchtime with the following being seen:

Mudbank Lane - Great Northern Diver, Black-necked Grebe, 12 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Scaup, 3 Goldeneye, Black-tailed Godwit.
Shelly Beach - male Black Redstart, Razorbill.

Hope's Nose**

A howling SE gale made Hope's Nose seem like a good idea: 1 Black-throated Diver, 6 Great Norther Divers, 6 Red-throated Divers, 1 Bonxie, 167 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Wigeon, 4 Great Crested Grebes.

I had just finished a telephone conversation with Mark Darlaston (at Berry Head) who reeled off a list of Skuas and Little Gulls that me and Robin Shute had not seen at the Nose and told him 'I won't come back to Hope's Nose again' turned around and told Robin I was off and then noticed a Swift (without looking through my bins) in the sky above the bay behind us - blurted to Robin 'Swift' then thought how silly that would be and thought it must be a high flying dunlin. But as I raised my bins sure enough it was a small swift with greyish under secondaries. I tried to get Robin on it just as the bird dived below the wooded background showing immediately umber brown secondaries and dark saddle and primaries and fore wing - PALLID SWIFT!!! I did not get every last detail - which would have been great, but against the dark background the exact wing tip shape was impossible to work out and it kept its tail closed all the time and at 100m or less it was still impossible to pick out any body barring - but if it had stayed high in the sky I would not have got the colour shades and white throat or obvious dark eye patches.

Field notes made on site, with watercolour added immediately on my return home.

Exe estuary 16th Nov

During a training exercise for colleagues about waterbird ID & ecology we managed to note the following as well as the expected waterfowl & waders:

1 Brambling at Turf, calling frequently then heading north.
500+ Woodpigeon in the small copse next to the railway crossing overlooking Shutterton Creek
a colour-marked Redshank around Turf (a Dutch-ringed bird I last saw at the same spot in Nov 2005)

Probably also the first time I've walked past a major rarity and not stopped to look - weird feeling!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Torbay this afternoon

Clennon valley - pair of shoveler on the bottom pond, a little egret and a teal on the 3rd pond up. Also 8 chiffchaffs and 3 goldcrest.
Preston Sands - the drake common scoter back on the rocks, also 1 raven.

Grand Western Canal

A morning walk from Halberton to Tiverton produced a few nice birds including six Kingfishers, three Snipe, three Blackcaps, over a thousand Fieldfare, eighty seven Redwings, two Reed Buntings, seven Siskins and two Bullfinches.
Otter Estuary
The ever faithful Glossy Ibis still present this afternoon in the fields north of the cricket pitch, plus 2 adult Med Gulls on the estuary. Nearby, 2 Lapland Buntings and a Brambling nr Otter Head.

English Channel 30nm SSE of Start Point

Yesterday 15/11/10. Out in a boat 30 nm SSE off Start Pt -very cold but still quality birds out there. Highlights around boat: Pomarine Skua juv/1w, 15-20 Bonxies, 5 Little Gulls (4 ad & a 1w), Mediterranean Gull ( ad - first one I've seen this far out). Otherwise plenty of large gulls, Kittiwakes and a few Gannets and Fulmars and a diver sp. flying past.
Photos top to bottom, left to right: Ad Little Gull, Ad and 1w Kitts, juv/1w and imm Bonxie (another dark bird!!), ad Med Gull, juv/1w Pom Skua (interesting how long the central tail projections appear - even juv long-tail like!), same 1w Pom with a Bonxie and a few more shots of it!


Two female-type Scaup off Mudbank Lane, Exmouth mid-afternoon still, but distant against the light. Also visible from Shelly Beach. 4+ Goldeneye in the area. The male Black Redstart was showing well near the Exe Sailing Club at Shelly Beach, 1520hrs.

Long-tailed Duck reported again on Birdguides today - anyone know from where it was seen?


From Teignmouth this afternoon I had singles of Red-throated Diver & Great-northern Diver, along with 9 Razorbill, 3 Great-crested Grebe and 3 Common Scoter.

Yesterday, waterfowl numbers on the Teign were as follows:

Passage House - 63 Redshank, 37 Curlew, 9 Greenshank, 11 Oystercatcher, 9 Lapwing, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Shelduck & 9 Little Grebe.

Flow Point - 66 Curlew, 28 Oystercatcher, 15 Redshank, 9 Ringed Plover, 8 Dunlin, 4 Turnstone, 5 Red-breasted Merganser and a Shelduck.

The Salty - 320 Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew.


Two Firecrests at Paignton Zoo, by Snowy Owl aviary.

[from Dave Smallshire]

Edit. Oops. Should have read the last post before adding this one. Never mind...


Around the Bay (thanks to Bob Bailey and Terry Edworthy) 10 Black-necked Grebes (6 Paignton and 4 Broadsdands), 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Divers 12+Great Crested Grebes.

Clennon Valley: 10 collybita Chiffchaffs 1 tristis Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrests 3 Snipe, 3 Water Rail, 1 Pochard, 3 Shoveler. Couldn't find the Yellow-browed Warbler today.

Paignton Zoo: 2 Firecrests by the Snowy Owl enclosure (Thanks Dave Smallshire)

Exminster Marshes

I suspected the furor caused by the visiting American Robin would have died down so it was safe to resume my morning walks and the weather was fantastic. A quick scan of the pools close to the road revealed the Glossy Ibis and one Water Pipit. On the canal bank a female Blackcap was a surprise. In the bushes a single Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrests and a good variety of thrushes, including Fieldfares (c20), Song Thrushes, Redwings and Blackbirds. Squeezing past the 30 or so bird-watchers staring into the bushes I continued to the Turf where a fine male Yellowhammer flew over. An unusual bird for the marshes. On my return I did see, briefly, the American Robin flying back into berry covered bushes further along the canal followed by an amazing array of lenses, cameras and scopes.

Monday, 15 November 2010


Broadsands/Elberry Cove - 5+ great crested grebes, 2 black necked grebe, 1 red throated diver, 1 heron.
Preston Sands N end - 45 oystercatcher, 17 turnstone, 1 redshank (patch tick!), 1 raven.
Paignton Sands & Pier - 1 common scoter, 1 long tailed duck.

Hamel Down, Dartmoor

1000+ Golden plover, on pre-roost flight

[from John Lusher]

Hartland Forest 15th November

Great Grey Shrike still at Trew Wood Plantation (SS297198) opposite the Hartland Forest Golf Club at 15:20 this afternoon.
Slapton Ley

late afternoon: RT Diver, 2 Swallow (Higher ley) 2 Firecrest (Slapton Bridge)

Axe Valley

This morning (Monday 15th) there were 12 DB Brent Geese in a grass field N of Whitford, between the railway and the River Axe, just below Woodhayne Farm.

[from Mike Lock]

Orcombe Point late

345-430pm - No sign of corn bunting this afternoon but 1 lapland bunting, c100+ skylark, 3 snipe, c20+ meadow pipit and two mistle thrush.

Fremington Pill

10:30 - 11:00
1 Green Sandpiper,1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank plus the usual gang of Redshank and a few Curlew and Little Egret.
Black-tailed Godwit

Green Sandpiper

Mudbank Lane & Shelly Beach, Exmouth

The 4 Scaup were still off Mudbank Lane at lunchtime today, showing reasonably well. Also there 4+ Goldeneye and 15+ Great Crested Grebe (also the Black Swan towards West Lodge).

Later on, a female Black Redstart was seen near the Exe Sailing Club, Shelly Beach at 1600hrs.

Clennon Valley

1000 - 1120hrs
Great still sunny conditions.
Yellow-browed Warbler re-located at 1020hrs on path just past bottom pond in small Sycamore away from its favoured spot. It was calling frequently and very mobile, although gave good views whilst in Sycamore. Due to childcare commitments I was unable to stay unfortunately and the bird moved high up in trees on the football pitch side could only be heard calling.
Also present were 10 Goldcrest(1 group of 8).
At least 8 Chiffchaff were present and probably more but didnt have the time to check, they seemed to be popping up everywhere.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Start Bay

Best here today: male velvet Scoter on the sea Torcross to beesands. . Starling Roost Strete Gate, Slapton 2-4K 16:15. fem.Common Scoter Beesands.

Preston Sands - Paignton, Torbay

Drake common scoter still on rocks at north end with 29 oystercatchers, 17 turnstone and 2 little egrets. Towards the Pier, 1 black necked grebe, 1 long tailed duck.


One Spotted redshank off the Goatwalk this afternoon.

[from Martin Elcoate]


A thoroughly wet and miserable day - with only a few minor highlights to show for the efforts. 2 hour seawatch produced single Great Northern and Black-throated Divers, along with 130 Auks, (mainly Razorbills). WeBs count totals too embarrasing to mention, save to say that Purple Sandpipers, present in worryingly low numbers last winter, have failed to show up at all so far this autumn. Other birds of note included Black Redstart, Brambling, Blackcap and 2 Goldcrests.

Exminster Marsh

The American Robin still showing this afternoon, 50 yards along its favoured hedge, 200 yards north of Turf and showing on and off but never as well as it did on Thursday. At 3pm it flew out of the hedge and into a bush on the canal bank. A visiting birder reported 4-6 Water Pipits just north of the fisherman's car park from the canal path. Also the clampers were out in force this afternoon with at least 3 birders cars clamped that were parked in the disabled bays in the fisherman's car park.

The Long-billed Dowitcher returns

The juv Long-billed Dowitcher was present again this afternoon in the flooded field opposite Axmouth FC, on the A358 just north of its junction with the A3052 at Boshill Cross. Earlier today there were 4 Whooper Swans - presumably a family party - in the same field.

With apologies for ropey pic

Fremington Pill 14th November (WeBS)

Single Green Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit this morning along with a Greenshank, 142 Redshank and two Rock Pipits.

Isley Marsh and Taw foreshore to Fuel Jetty.

08:50 to 11:00.

8 Spoonbill including Dutch flagged bird but no sign of "FJ9".
10 Bar-tailed Godwits.
12 Pintail.
10 Grey Plover.
1 Great Crested Grebe.
19 Shelduck.
3 Knot.
12 Snipe.
1 1stW male Red-breasted Merganser off Isley and again between the jetties.
15 Turnstone.
c70 Redshank.
c220 Lapwing.
c50 Curlew.
c280 Teal.
c150 Wigeon.
c150 Dunlin.
2 Ringed Black-headed Gulls. 1 with just metal ring, t`other with coloured rings on right tibia. Unable to i/d colours due to distance.

Orcombe Point

An hour 'escaping' my daughter's eighth birthday party for some peace and quiet - shameful!
Orcombe Point - heavy rain, no wind - 1020-1120am - snipe 2, chaffinch c40+, meadow pipit c40+, skylark c50+ starling c30+, pied wagtail c20+ corn bunting 1 (mobile and elusive around top stubble field - interestingly the previous record for these fields was 17th November 2007 - almost exactly three years ago).

Mudbank - scaup 4 - flock size very slowly increasing!

Torbay - 13/11/10

13/11/10. A quick wander around the bay: 4 Black-necked Grebes (3 off Goodrington), 4 Red-throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Common Scoter. 25 Purple Sandpipers on Brixham breakwater and a Grey Seal in the harbour.