Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Colyton WTW [Eastern?] Yellow Wagtail

A couple of photos from Simon Thurgood today, showing long hindclaw.


8 Brambling in garden between recreational playing field and M5 (up from 4 last weekend). Steady movement of Redwing overhead this morning.

[from Martin Elcoate]

Bideford Waxwing

Today i saw the Waxwing in Bideford at 8.30am in a garden ash tree only for 5+ mins. At Eastridge behind Chudliegh Fort area, Bideford East. I only got a few pictures from my pocket camera through my swarovski bins, please find the enclosed photo.

[from Shaun Barnes]


A good day, the highlight being 2 Goosanders (redheads), feeding in Horseley Cove, but later flying off west. This is only the second record for the site. Also present today; Shoveler, 4 Med Gulls, 127 Lapwing, (Golden Plover heard, but none seen), 2 Redshank, 3 Sanderling, 17 Snipe, 2 Woodcock, Green Woodpecker, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Mistle Thrush, 40 Song Thrush, 25 Redwing, 76 Skylark, 2 Grey Wagtail, Water Pipit (still in Horseley Cove), 2 Brambling (in flock of 100+ Chaffinches), Blackcap and 4 Goldcrest.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Curlew Drive - Charleton Marsh, 13:45-16:15, low tide.

26 Brent Geese ( all adults, low count so hopefully a lot more elsewhere on estuary ), 3 Shoveler, 25 Pintail, 12 Tufted Duck ( good record ), 5 Goldeneye, 3 Great Northern Divers ( 2 off Curlew Drive, 1 near Saltstone, the latter slid its way up onto the mudflats a couple times ), 5 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Kingfisher. Good numbers of Dunlin not counted but may have been getting near a thousand.

Torbay Hospital

Four Waxwings in main carpark of Torbay Hospital (Charles Tyler found 3 at the site yesterday)

Thou shalt always Bird - Gyr Crakes

Thou shalt always Bird - Gyr Crakes

River Teign, Passage House

1 Greenshank, 2 dunlin, a few little egrets


A stroll down from the Brixham side this morning threw up at least half a dozen Goldcrests and 3 Firecrests in a small copse which I guess is good news considering the recent cold weather. There are only 3 conifers in the copse as well!! Really nice to know I can watch these beauties 5 mins walk from home!!.The usual suspects were on the marsh but a lot fewer Snipe than last week and no sign of the Jack. Out to sea there were 4 GC Grebes

[from Tim Clyburn]


Waxwing - one seen in trees at east ridge view bideford east.

[from Dave Churchill]

Plym Estuary

Unusual for Plym is Wigeon male, Goldeneye and two Gadwall. Also Red-breasted Merganser male, Greenshank 5 and a Common Sand. Eider still in Cattewater too.

[from Steve Cox]

Exminster Marshes

A walk to the canal revealed that most of the pools remain frozen. The canal and lagoon are partially frozen and most ditches are ice free. On the canal, in a relatively small area free of ice, just south of Topsham Cottage were 89 Gadwell, 3 Pochard and 16 Tufted Duck. An impressive sight. Elsewhere the lack of thrushes was striking, I saw only 30 in total - 10 each of Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbird. About 20 Meadow Pipits and a probable Water Pipit were close to the lane as were over 1000 Wigeon.

PS to the previous posting - A Firecrest was in my garden minutes after posting the earlier message.

Torbay Hospital

4 Waxwings in main carpark. Still present at last light when I managed a few ropey pictures.

Topsham -BGM and Darts Farm

A dull morning at BGM but all the various birds were back now that the frost and ice have gone.
The fields at Darts' Farm had hundreds of Brent geese including two Red-breasted geese, one with a ring.
Photos - Buzzard and Black-tailed Godwit

R. Taw. 09:30 - 12:30

An excellent morning out on the Estuary; not as cold as of late and barely a breath of wind.

Isley Marsh:
Spoonbill 9 as usual
Reed Bunting 7 (2m, 5f)

Great Northern Diver 1 - drifted past on the outgoing tide.
Great Crested Grebe 2
Knot 91
Grey Plover 84
Bar-tailed Godwit 17
Lapwing 126
Dunlin 171
Greenshank 5

Velvet Scoter 1 - eventually flew off towards open sea.
Eider 1 female
Great Crested Grebe 1
Sanderling 8

Exminster village

At 09.45 this morning a Glossy Ibis flew east low over the village heading towards Exminster Marshes. A good garden tick. The number of Bramblings visiting the garden rose to at least 5 a few days ago with a couple present today. Overhead a noticeable movement of Fieldfares and Wood pigeons earlier today.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Bursden Moor

After a run of a few years of very few Hen Harriers at the roost site, it is good to see increased activity there. Today there were 4, possibly 5 ringyails and one male between 3.30 and 4.30pm.

R. Caen & Horsey Island 12:30 - 15:30

Shoveler 2
Gadwall 13
Wigeon 78
Teal 88
Curlew 77
Snipe 21
Bar-tailed Godwit 1
Lapwing 93
Golden Plover 26
Greenshank 3
Redshank 34
Dunlin 39
Peregrine 1
Water Rail 1
Moorhen 12
Cetti's Warbler 1
Stonechat 2
and a pair of Moorhen's legs & feet on the footpath with not a single feather in the vicinity.

Thurlestone Bay

Still some ice preventing the duck showing on the marshes- 6 Shoveler, 5 Wigeon,5 Teal., 2 Golden Plover on T'stone Marsh.

In the Bay this am - 7 Gadwall, 5 Teal, on the sea, 9 Dunlin., 11 Ringed Plover,1 Turnstone.A Kingfisher feeding from the rocks, a Chiffchaff feeding on seaweedon the beach..

South Milton Ley- 9 Chiffchaff, 8 Water Rail, 3 Teal, 57 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing 1 Brambling.

Increase in Reed Bunting on my feeders to4 this lunchtime . 1m Blackcap in a local garden

Preston seafront

Quick look revealed Long-tailed Duck still present associating with the Common Scoter

Bowling Green Marsh

Avocets on a grey day

R.Taw. Anchor Wood Bank to Penhill.

14:10 - 15:15.

Plenty of waders and wildfowl about but difficult to count and observe because of disturbance from 3 huge tractors in convoy on the Tarka Trail, flailing hedges and trees. It may be the most economic way to do the job but what a mess it causes. The hedges, bushes and trees look as if they`ve been stripped by a hurricane. Some of the smashed tree branches are 5" dia and split down to the roots. Why do hedges along a beautiful walk have to be trimmed neat and tidy in this manner? Vertical sides and flat topped hedges are not my idea of the natural countryside!

c1000 Dunlin; c400-500 Canada Geese; c120 Brent Geese; C100 Shelduck; c400 Wigeon; c120 Mallard; c90 Curlew; c80 Lapwing and c60 Oystercatcher.
Also 1 Snipe; 2 Grey Plover; 23 Teal; 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Bar-tailed.


A quick look at Chantry Meadow in Alphington Exeter today,and only one Waxwing seen today, up to 11am, and over at Sidmouth 10 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks on a dropping tide.


Broadsands: Car parks 14 Cirl Buntings, 4 Reedbunting, 1 Brambling, 1 tristis chiffchaff, 1 collybita Chiffchaff.

On Sea: 2 Goosander, 33 Red-throated divers (several with white flank patches!), 9 Black-necked Grebes, 18 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Common Scoter, 1 Edier & 1 Red-breasted Merganser .

Thursday, 9 December 2010

English Channel - 20nm SSE of Start Point

Around fishing boat today: 2 Great Skuas, numerous gulls incl. 3 Common Gulls, 20+ Kittiwakes also 10 Fulmars and 2 Common Dolphins.


One of the Alphington Waxwings - from Charlie Fleming

Brixham etc

Today in Brixham Community College playing fields....2 x Golden Plover, 3 x Lapwings, a flock of 12 Fieldfares.
LT Duck almost on the shoreline off Paignton beach at 11.30 AM

[from Trevor Leaman]

Grand Western Canal

The frozen canal between Halberton and Tiverton produced thirteen Bullfinches, at least fifty five Meadow Pipits, three Mistle Thrushes, just two Redwings (no Fieldfares), five Siskins, six Coal Tits, six Marsh Tits (one is a delight on the canal!), four Nuthatches, a Water Rail, just one Woodcock, a Green Woodpecker, two Reed Buntings and the star of the day, a Common Gull!

Another canal birder, Ray Jones, came up with three nice Lapwings, a Siskin, four Bullfinches, a few Meadow Pipits and a couple of Skylarks between Halberton and Sampford Peverell.

Turf, River Exe

Snow Bunting still showing well. Kingfisher by Lock Gates.
numerous Redwings & Fieldfares and 2 Water Rail hunting for Crabs on mudflats.

Thurlestone Bay

Despite the higher temps both marshes both still frozen over. In the Bay this am- 2 Gadwall, 1 Common Scoter east , 2 Brent Goose (db) flew west. 9 Razorbill on the sea.

In the cafe field- 12 Golden Plover, 7 Lapwing, Mistle Thrush

Starling roost at T'Stone Marsh at 16.15 -6000+

Alphington - Exeter

Six Waxwings today

Late news from Bursdon Moor

Late news received via Harvey Kendall:

Tuesday 7th - Four Hen Harriers including one male and a Merlin on Bursdon Moor.
Great Grey Shrike near Clovelly Country Club - Trew Woods area. This bird has been around the area for about a month.

Wednesday 8th - one very dark ringtail Hen Harrier on Bursdon Moor plus one female Merlin seen at 3:40pm.

Waxwings - Alphington

Today, there were 6 Waxwings in Chantry Meadow, Alphington feeding on Rowan berries - the same tree Waxwings fed during the Waxwing invasion of 2005.

Mansands Thurs pm

Much of marsh still frozen this afternoon despite rising air temperatures. 7 Gadwall on the sea, c.27 Teal on the marsh, 1 Water Rail feeding in the open on mud. No other duck present. At Woodhuish Farm nearby, still 8 Golden Plover and 9 Lapwing feeding in fields with Starlings, also 5-6 Stock Doves.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Today I saw a Red Kite on the Torbay ring road, at Marldon, right on the junction of Preston Down Road.

Long-tailed Duck was close in to Paignton pier at 8.30 AM

[from Trevor Leaman]


One Hawfinch at West Town Farm today.

[from Roy Adams]

Thurlestone Bay

Only time for a quick walk round the Bay this am before Santa shopping took over.- 29 Lapwing in off sea, 2 Shelduck & 5 Pintail (3f 2 m ) flew east . 3 Turnstone on the rocks .

Update on the Bittern - arrived on a garden pond in South Milton at 11am , still present at 4pm - now thats what you call a garden tick !

River Taw Barnstaple

Anchor Wood Bank and Penhill Marsh 11:30 – 13:00

Very cold but lovely sunny morning.Lots of birds around feeding in close to the Tarka trail on the Anchor wood side of the estuary including 500+ Dunlin, 20 Teal, and 12 Sanderling as well as the usual Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Shelduck.

On Penhill Marsh was 12 Brent mixed in with the Canada flock also a very large flock of Wigeon c600 +.

On the non river side of the trail there were lots of Fieldfare and Redwing feeding in the berry bushes.

Croyde & Baggy Point

Croyde 11:40
Eider 2 females
Common Scoter 5

Baggy Point 12:10-14:40
Common Scoter 14
Lapwing 36
Golden Plover 4
Stonechat 2
+ Rock & Meadow Pipits, Song & Mistle Thrush

Colyton WTW Wagtail

Still present this morning, still refusing to call. So, although it apparently looks good for Eastern Yellow Wagtail, it hasn't dotted the i's and crossed the t's.

You can clearly see the scalp showing where there are some missing feathers on the head. Close brush with a Sparrowhawk or something?

Alphington, Exeter

The two Waxwings were showing very well along Chantry Meadow early this afternoon.

(The presumed escaped Red-breasted Goose was still present with the large Brent Goose flock in the field adjacent to Fishers Bridge Mills at Topsham at 1300hrs)

Broadsands & Clennon Valley

Broadsands: 2 Black-necked Grebes close to shore in very choppy sea. At back of 2nd car park 25 Cirl Buntings together on the tarmac feeding immediately I put budgie seed down this morning. also 2 Reed Buntings and 17 Chaffinch.

Clennon Valley: 1 tristis Chiffchaff, 4 collybita Chiffchaffs, 14 Shoveler (best count I have for site), 1 male Pintail, 7 Teal, 3 Pochard, 8 Tufted Duck, 2 Water Rail, 6 Snipe and 1 Little Egret.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Bursdon Moor etc

There were four Hen Harriers - three ringtails and a male - and a female Merlin at Bursdon Moor this afternoon. Earlier on a Great Grey Shrike was nearby briefly at SS285193, presumably the bird seen around Hartland Forest golf club last month.

[from Will Salmon]


No sign of any Waxwings this morning at Buckfastleigh but 3 Goosanders (2 males) plus a Kingfisher on the river. Early afternoon there were two Waxwings in Exeter along Chantry Meadow, Alphington feeding in a rowan tree although these birds were often at the top of trees in Canon Way. Roger Treeby

The Colyton WTW Wagtail

Some more photos today, and a short video clip can be viewed HERE. Unfortunately the bird didn't call, but is interesting nonetheless. Also present were a Water Pipit and at least 8 Chiffchaffs and, in the field across the road, a flock of 11 Woodlarks.

PS - it is important that any birders looking for the Woodlarks do so ONLY from the footpath.

[Just so there is no confusion, this footpath heads SSE across the field from the entrance stile on Cownhayne Lane, and finishes at the field's southernmost corner. The birds were seen from here this afternoon, so this is not presenting birders with an impossible situation - far from it. This is actually a request from the farmer, so please observe it. Thanks.]

Thurlestone Bay - South Milton Ley

No fog this am but viz not too good- Bitterly cold wind.Both marshes almost 100% frozen.

On sea -4 m Gadwall, 2 Teal 1 Red T Diver =- 2 Red B Merganse flew west whilst 7 Shelduck went east. 10 Golden Plover in the cafe field with 11 Lapwing in off sea.

Arrived home to a message from Arthur Livett that he had close views of a Bittern at South Milton Ley. Bob Burridge , Alan Doidge and myself all arrived together to find the bird in atree on the east side of the Ley. Attacked by Rooks it flew into the reeds and could not be relocated. A site tick for 3 of us -Bob B has 2 in the last 40 years !

A Jack Snipe flew over

Axe Estuary

What should have been a stonking day was hampered by freezing fog that lingered all day. Sea watching remained impossible from all parts of our patch - I even tried looking from Branscombe.

Two each of Goosander and Tufted Duck, along with three Med Gulls were the highlights on the Estuary.

Also the Bewick's Swan is still present, with three Mute Swans in fields between the A3052 and Musbury.

Berry Head

Frost and fog this morning.
Lapland Bunting not showing but the Cirl Buntings added brightness to the gloom.
Otter Estuary
As the big freeze continues (-6 this morning!) some good wildfowl interest for the Otter this morning.
11 Brent Geese, 11 Gadwall, 2 Pochard, 2 Shoveler, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Pintail, 2 Eider (on the sea), 3 Common Scoter (on the sea). Also 1 Knot and (both Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover yesterday) No sign of the Waxwing this morning.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Turf - late afternoon

A couple more pics of this delightful bird ...........

........ and some common waders enjoying the late afternoon sun.

Turf - Curlew Sandpiper

Record shot of Curlew Sand at Turf this morning
Snow Bunting
Redwing 700+ North
and a locally good count of 56 Gadwall on a small area of unfrozen canal north of the car park.

Thurlestone Bay

Not very much moving this morning- 32 Wigeon , 2 Gadwall, 5 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 10 Razorbill, 5 Kittiwake

On Thurlestone Marsh at 13.00 -70+ Wigeon, 15 Teal.

Late afternoon visit to South Milton Ley made the day - Merlin flew over, 1 Woodcock ,4 Water Rail, 17 Fieldfare, 2 Tawny Owl calling


Another photograph of a fantastic bird.

Newton Abbot- Waxwing

At last, One very confiding Waxwing in Newton Abbot town centre this afternoon feeding in a small rowan tree in front of Albany Road Medical Centre and also seen in the small park behind the medical centre by the River Lemon. (Coincidentally, the same tree where the first Waxwing in Newton Abbot were seen in 2005).

Smeatharpe Aerodrome

2 very hardy (or foolish) Golden Plovers braving the -4C along with, surprisingly, at least 30 skylarks still, despite the frozen ground. Over 1000 large gulls, mainly Herring but too cold/gloomy to scope. Also hundreds of more gulls heading towards the coast to roost around 4 p.m.

Labrador Bay

Sorry about the previous post; I used an old blog name. The Cirl Buntings are from Don Pepperell

Labrador Bay

Thought you might like to see a couple of Cirl Buntings at Labrador Bay this lunchtime

Wistlandpound Reservoir 12:00-14:00

Goosander 2 (m & f)
Gadwall 1
Tufted Duck 9
Wigeon 16
Teal 2
Grey Wagtail 1

Buckfastleigh - Waxwings

2 Waxwings still feeding opposite the Co-op.

Waxwing River Otter

'Old man' Waite has got a Waxwing on the River Otter, feeding in a bush next to White Bridge and showing well.

On Axe Estuary today; 2 Ruff and 1 Golden Plover on Seaton Marshes, 6 adult Med Gulls on the Estuary, 1 red head Goosander flew west along the sea front, 1 Jack Snipe with 130 Common Snipe in Kilmington and 2 Water Pipits on the filter beds at Kilmington WTW.


Some one has left a pair of Binoculars at the site after watching the Waxwings, contact to reclaim them!

Thanks Mike we know who lost them back with the owner now [MD]

Colyton WTW

A couple of pics from Sunday a.m.