Saturday, 1 January 2011


Just wanted to give news of Waxwings today at Dawlish, 4 in total, very obliging, feeding on fallen apples in a open area off Teignmouth Road just south of Coronation Avenue/ Road?? Light was awful so getting cracking shots was hard. One bird is colour ringed so have sent details off tonite.

[from Lee Collins]

Prawle Area

A good start to the year in dull grey weather.

Seawatching highlights (from 9am to 11am):2750 auks in first hour ; at least 8 x Harbour Porpoises off the point with Gannet flocks. 1 x Black Throated Diver west and 2 x Teal east.
At Langerstone rocks : 4 x Purple Sandpipers, 3 x Knot , single Turnstone and Curlew.
Off the rocks 3 x female Goosander.
Then at 11.45 a Sooty Shearwater flew close east ! (all features seen-bit of a shock as never een one in January before ) 
At Horsley Cove the Water Pipit still present along with 3 x Redshank,12 x Turnstone, pipts, starlings and other common bird species.Here I saw my only Stonechat of the day ! Also, 4 x Med gulls ; 2 x adult ,2nd year and a 1st year.Only 1 x male Cirl Bunting seen along the coast path.
At the airfields 50+ Fieldfares and 30+ Redwings. Totals for Song Thrushes at Prawle c 25. Only 1 x Golden Plover seen, but 251 Lapwing.
[from Tony Marchese] 

Hartland Point

Spotted 100+ Red Throated Divers today at Hartland Point (in Barley Bay), easily visible with binoculars. Plus approx 100 gannets and 2 porpoises.

Many thanks to Mark Darlaston for his earlier post as we wouldn't have visited the area otherwise, and would have missed out on a lifetime tick for the divers!) 
[from Julie and Aaron Rinder]

Laugh or Cry?

Was a bit unsettled reading this in the Exmouth Journal today! Careful what you post!

Exminster and Powderham marshes

A good day on the marshes with Marsh Harrier and Smew showing well, and whilst at turf a flock of 10 White Fronted Geese flew over circled a few time and seemed to land on Powderham Marshes, later whilst calling into Powderham Marsh, i had good views of the W F geese in with the Canda geese from the viewing platform,also seen here were many Brambling and a good selection of tits larks etc, other birds reported on both reserves but not seen by myself were 1/2 Bitterns,Hen Harrier a few Woodlark, Oh and 1 Red Breasted Goose at Turf

North Devon

A male Blackcap in the garden this morning was a treat, later two singing Song Thrushes nearby. At Sherpa Marsh a flock of 100+ Canada Geese, 3 Little Grebes, and then a big flock of Wigeon on the grass - maybe 6/700. Haven't seen this many here in a good few years. Good numbers of Snipe too. In the Velator reserve, very quiet. Wrafton Pond had 3 Pochard and 2 Tufted Duck, and in the field over the Tarka Trail, 7 Shoveler.

Later went out to Baggy Point again. No Dartford Warblers or Lapland Bunting. Off the point 14 Common Scoter, the female Eider, and a Red-throated Diver - 5 more flew south, and a distant Razorbill. In a very calm sea there were good numbers of Porpoises, and attending them were a couple of Kittiwakes. A Fulmar was seen under the cliffs at the point.

A good start to the year with well over 50 species seen.

Happy (and birdy) New Year to you all!

Thurlestone Bay

Late start due to visitors.

Thurlstone marsh - 2 Pochard 4 Shoveler, 50 Wigeon, 35 Teal1 Water Pipit, 2 Water rail 2 Bullfinch in my garden.

South Milton Ley - Only 1 Chiffchaff ,150+ Fieldfare 100 + Redwing

South Huish marsh - 85 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 2 Mute Swan , 185 Fieldfare, 25 Redwing

Good no's of Fieldfare-- almost more than during the cold weather.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Curlew Drive - Charleton Marsh, 09:45-12:15, rising tide.

10 Greylag Geese ( came in from the east then headed north over Kingsbridge ), 42 Brent Geese, 2 Egyptian Geese ( on pontoon walkway, Lincombe ), 30 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, Gadwall, 18 Tufted Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 38 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Little Grebe, Slavonian / Black-necked Grebe ( distant, entrance to Blanksmill Creek ), 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 29 Knot ( good number for here ), Kingfisher and 4 Chiffchaffs ( sewage works ).
Nice to hear some birds starting to sing and a couple Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming.
Hope everyone has a happy, healthy bird-filled 2011.

Axe Estuary and Seaton Bay

A late night prevented an early start, but late morning 8 Velvet and 43 Common Scoters were showing off Seaton seafront. 2 Brent Geese flew in from the east and joined them, and 3 Red-throated Diver, a few Razorbill and several Great Crested Grebes were scattered about on the sea.

The adult Bewick's Swan is still with us, with Mute Swans between Musbury and Colyford. It is best viewed from the road that goes from the A3052 to Lower Bruckland Ponds (just east of Boshill Cross) then around the back of the ponds to Musbury. Also at Lower Bruckland Ponds at least one Pochard and five Tufted Duck mid afternoon (Phil had more earlier). The adult Greylag Goose is also still with us, opposite Stecombe Vale.

Today's lowlight was missing the patches first confirmed Waxwings. James McCarthy watched 9 for a couple of minutes along Colyford Road, in trees opposite the entrance to Black Hole Marsh. After flitting between trees they flew off north towards Colyford, calling as they went. Gripping!

Babbacombe Bay and Torbay

Babbacombe / Oddicombe: a Red-necked Grebe close in off the northern end of the beach, 49 Red-throated Divers, 186 Great Crested Grebes (with Mike Langman's count off Broadsands, that's a massive total of 255 for the area!)

Off Preston saw similar species and numbers to prevous post.

Brixham Breakwater: 13:55 a call from Mike L to say Sooty Shearwater heading your way!! So Adele, Matt Twiggs and I watched in disbelief as the strange plumaged Sooty Shearwater cruised by and headed out past Berry Hd! Meanwhile the Bonxie was having ago at four Gannets back in the bay. Then a flock of 29 Red-throated Divers flew past out of Torbay and later another Red-necked Grebe flying into the bay. Only 8 Purple Sandpipers seen on the breakwater.

What an amazing 1st Jan! Happy New Year


Broadsands: 1 Sooty Shearwater feeding fairly close in at one stage being harassed by Herring gulls - very odd bird with symmetrical long pale carpal bars on upperwings also darkish underwings not showing the normal silvery underwing coverts it eventually flew past Brixham Breakwater and Mark Darlaston saw it carry on out past Berry Head. 1 Bonxie resting and chasing Gannets, 4 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 66 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Common Scoter, 1 Eider, 2 Red-throated Divers, 110+ Razorbills, 13 Guillemots.

Goodrington: 4 Common Scoter, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 10 Razorbills.

Preston /Paignton: 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Common Scoter, 4 Black-necked Grebes, 3 Great Crested Grebes.


A quick circuit of the marsh at lunchtime produced the expected 20 Teal and 6 Gadwall but more unusually here , a Green Sandpiper. A Water Rail was feeding out on the open mud and single Redshank and Dunlin were present. (waders generally are scarce here except Snipe).
2 Razorbill and a Great Crested Grebe offshore.
At home in Brixham , male and female Blackcap in my hedge.


Only a brief look from the house yesterday produced 16 Brambling and 1 female Marsh Harrier. The harrier was circling high over the Exe reed beds at 2 pm before dropping down to perch in the middle of the reeds.


So far today, just bumbling around Exmouth very leisurely:

Shelly Beach: Slavonian Grebe, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, first-winter male Goldeneye, Greenshank. (+ hundreds of dogs and owners).

Cedar Close: male Blackcap in my back garden, 5 Redwing.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Exminster marshes

Some photos from the canal today. Greenshank at Turf lock midday, smew and bittern at Topsham lock, mid afternoon. The bittern was quite mobile, flying up and moving between reedbeds 4 times.

Starling Roost

The Starling roost that Mark mentioned in his Hartland posting is in a pine plantation on the Devon/Cornwall border. It can be viewed just off the A39 on the minor road to East Youlstone/Bradworthy at SS272164. In my experience there are no spectacular aerobatics, the birds just fly straight into the roost but still quite a sight none-the-less.

Happy New Year everybody.

Hartland area

Walked Shipload Bay to Hartland Point, good numbers of Red-throated Divers, we had a minimun count of 140, many close in. As usual many of these birds look quite contrasting with some showing white flank patch (but no Black-throats seen)! Obviously a good food source present, as also over 100 Razorbills / Guillemots and at least 20 Harbour Porpoise milling about.

A quick stop at Bursdon Moor saw one 'ringtail' Hen Harrier and a Merlin hunting. Also huge Starling flocks (10000s) heading for what must be a massive roost nearby.


The year ended with three nice birds including a Brambling and a male Blackcap in the garden followed by a drake Goosander on the River Exe just south of town.


10 Purple Sandpipers on the west end of the town beach / nearest rockpile at 1500hrs over high tide.

(Also 2 male Blackcaps in my back garden, Cedar Close, Exmouth at 1300hrs, but again, no sign of the female - hope she didn't perish in the severe weather).

Exminster Marshes

In late afternoon, a ringtail Harrier (dark under-secondaries suggested a juv) flew from marshes west of Topsham Lock bridge over the canal, perhaps to roost in the reeds. A Peregrine chivvied a good-sized Starling roost into spectacular gyrations. Smew and a few Gadwall and Tufted still on the canal, and several Grey Plover pretending to be Goldies on the marshes.

Wembury 31/12

A good bird to finish the year - a Water Pipit at the point (someone else had a probable a few weeks ago). The female Eider was still just west of the point too.
The very pale Great Grey Shrike still at Aylesbeare Common at 14.35 at the hawkerland end of the reserve


2 Black-necked Grebes, 113+ Great Crested Grebes, 1 Eider. 14 Cirl Bunting, 8 Reed Bunting on seed in back of 2nd car park, 1 tristis Chiffchaff, 1 collybita Chiffchaff.

Thousands of Herring Gulls (min 4000) feeding along the beaches and surf at Broadsands and Goodrington I had a good look through but couldn't pick anything else of note except 1 ad w Med Gull.

Exminster Marsh

One last effort for the year produced, the very confiding redhead Smew on the canal by Topsham Lock and 2 Bitterns- 1 flew up the canal and landed in reeds just north of Topsham Lock and another flew across the canal between the viewing platform and Turf Hotel. Also seen Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel ,Buzzard and also the Marsh Harrier was seen by others twice this morning. Several Reed Buntings along the canal.

Woodbury Common

A good few birds on a family dog walk this morning. Notably a single lapland bunting with a mobile skylark flock near the grenade range and 16+ reed bunting . A great grey shrike in the expansive boggy area beneath Woodbury Castle, visible from several points on the footpaths that border the boggy area. No sign of any dartfords on the hour long walk.
A quick return visit late pm produced c30+ reed buntings, great grey shrike approx 800 yds east of the Warren carpark, 1/2 redpoll sp, ringtail hen harrier and 2 raven.

whooper swan

one with 2 mute swans in field near Weare Giffard church beside river torridge seen by Malcombe Shakspeare today

Thursday, 30 December 2010


The strong easterly wind and rough seas made viewing difficult - however in addition to 100+ great crested grebes there were 4 red throated divers, 1 black necked grebe, 1 eider, 30 guillemots, 3 razorbill, 6 fulmars, 1 brent goose and 1 grey plover sat on the rocks.
In the second car park, 11 cirl buntings, 7 reed buntings and 1 chiffchaff.

Topsham, recreation ground to M5 bridge

11am to 1pm. 4 goldeneye, 3 red breasted mergansers on the river, and a few brambling and reed buntings visiting an adjacent garden.

Exminster Marsh

A couple of hours at Exminster Marsh this afternoon, and it seems full of Birds.All birds mentioned were seen today, but not all, by myself, so during the day there have been 2 Bitterns,1 ringtail Hen Harrier,1 female Marsh Harrier, 3 Water Pipits, Peregrine, 2+ Sparrowhawk, 14+ Grey Plover, 1 female Smew 1 female Scaup on the Exeter canal at Topsham lock, 5 White Fronted Geese flew down towards turf and seemed to come down, hundreds of duck of many type,and various wader speci, but best of all an Otter which was moving through the main waterway by the bends parking area, and showed on and off for 5 mins until it swam out of view.

Prawle area

A quick trespass on Pat M' s turf today! In Horsley Cove the Water Pipit still present. What was amazing was the sheer array of bird species feeding on the invertebrates in the rotting seaweed, which also included: 2 Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones, 4 Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Black-headed Gulls, Rock Pipits, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Stonechat, 4 Chiffchaffs, Dunnocks, Robin and Blackbird!
A party of seven Med Gulls (4 ads, 2w & 2 1w) also flew down the coast.

Out to sea was a feeding frenzy of c50 Gannets, but we could not tell if they were shadowing any cetaceans.

Heading home past Beeson (cross?) c290 Lapwing were in a field by the road.

Yelland Ashbeds and Old Power Station Site

To all you North Devon Birders.

If you haven`t looked at the website for the proposed development on the Yelland Ashbeds then here is the link below.

From within the website you can register to receive all the latest information and also to express your own views and concerns. Needless to say I have already expressed my dissaproval both to the developer and to Tom Evans, the town crier and tourist info officer, who wholeheartedly supports the project.

It`s down to you to tell them what you think of the idea.

R Plym, Plymouth

Some good local counts on the Plym yesterday with three Goldeneye, eight Gadwall, 25 Teal and six Red-breasted Mergansers.

Also counted were 128 Mallards, five Greenshank and three Lapwing.

In flight over Blaxton Meadow were c.60 Linnet and c.40 Skylark. These landed on Blaxton but were impossible to see in the ground cover.

Tuesday the Great Northern Diver and a Goldeneye were seen on the Cattewater from TR2.

(Roy McCarthy)

Thurlestone Bay - South Milton Ley

Thurlestone marsh -am 2 m Pochard ( first since Jan 2009then on South Huish marsh- as far as I am aware they have not previously been on Thurlestone marsh). 80 Teal, 35 Wigeon, 3 Shoveler. 10 Snipe, 25 Fieldfare , 30 Redwing. 1 Curlew flew over.

South Huish marsh- 80 Wigeon , 50 Teal, 6 gadwall, 2 Dunlin 1 Curlew 3 Lapwing. A Yellowhammer flew over( unusual on the site )

Baggy Point

Took a final walk of the year to Baggy today, in bright sunshine!

Small birds were notable only by not being there - no Stonechats, no Meadow Pipits... the only passerine I saw before the point was a flighty Lapland Bunting! never seen one here before!

Off the point a female Eider was also a site first for me, then a Red-throated Diver, and a flock of 20 Common Scoter.

Sadly, no sign of any Dartford Warblers.

Otter and Exmouth

one of two woodlark - Orcombe Point

Surprisingly good birding this morning but had to cut short seawatch because of the cold easterly-biased wind and no gloves!
Otter Ledge - 905-1005 - red-throated diver c15/20+, auk sp c1800+(v rough estimate), gannet c100+, kittiwake c200+, great northern diver 1, pintail 2, great skua 1 tufted duck 1 - all birds east
Also on estuary, black-tailed godwit 8, pintail 2, shoveler 1, gadwall 2, dunlin 9+, mediterranean gull 3ad, turnstone 2.
Orcombe Point - 1120-1300 - lapwing c200+, golden plover 10, grey plover 2(!), snipe c70+, pintail 1fem(!), curlew c30+, starling c30, merlin 1male, woodlark 2 (see photo), chaffinch 6+, mistle thrush 2, redwing c100+, grey wagtail 1, peregrine 1.
It was really odd to see two grey plover and a pintail feeding amongst the lapwing in the top stubble field this morning. No doubt this very unusual record can be explained by the recent exceptionally cold weather. Snipe numbers are also exceptional and the woodlark is a personal first for me for these fields.

Exminster Marshes

The visibility was much improved. Yesterday the fog was thick and lasted most of the day. Today almost the first bird seen was an adult female marsh harrier over Powderham marshes chasing what I suspect was a flock of skylarks. About half an hour later the bird flew onto the marshes, over the lagoon, and north towards Topsham at about 10.00. Almost at the same time a bittern flew low over the fields north of the main track.

Scattered across the marsh several thousand wigeon, a few hundred black-tailed godwits fed on the fields. 20 tufted ducks had returned to the lagoon and 7 pintail flew in from the estuary - the first I have seen for over a month. One kingfisher, 6 long-tailed tits and a wren suggested some small birds had survived.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Princetown Bramblings

Latest news received from Jan and Mike D suggest a flock of circa 70 Bramblings coming to feed in their Princetown Garden.

Tamar Lakes

A quiet and interesting walk yesterday, Tues 28th at Tamar Lakes with hardly a soul about and much warmer than for many a day. Some open water on both lakes but still a great deal of decaying ice.

Lower Lake:

7 male Goosanders

9 female Goosanders

36 Coot

165 Mallard

254 Teal

200+ Wigeon

1 Shoveler

1 Grey Heron

1 Jay

3 Mute Swans

A marked lack of small birds

Upper Lake:

5 male Goosander and 6 females.

(Harvey Kendall)

Wembury 29/12

Normal service resumed unfortunately - the female Eider still present on rocks at the point and 6 Cirl. Not a single Skylark present today!

Thurlestone Marsh

Very limited viewing today because of the fog. Pn the Marsh this am - 30Teal, 25 Wigeon, 4 m Shoveler,75 + Snipe, 25 Redwing.

At 16.00 Starling flock to roost was 10k. This is the first big roost of the winter. Last year the roost moved from Thurlestone on 30 Dec, this year they return on 29 Dec. Does anyone else have roosts that have a common date change ?


Single Hawfinch c100 yards down road from West Town Farm briefly this morning.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Ringed Spoonbills on the Taw.

Ringed Spoonbills on the Taw were subject of an article in the Devon Birds Journal Volume 62 No.2 August 2009, by Tim Jones and Tim Davis.

Bird Ringed "FJ9" was ringed in April 2007 in Spain and has spent several winters on the Taw. See History No.9.
Left leg:- White ring inscribed FJ9.
Right leg:- Metal ring no. ESI 9050263

Flagged bird was ringed in Holland in June 2007 and is also a regular winter stayer on the Taw.
Left leg:- Dark green ring over yellow flag over dark green ring.
Right Leg:- Dark blue ring over metal ring over lime-green ring. Metal ring no.NLA8048768.
See History no.7

A total of at least 6 ringed Spoonbill have been recorded on the Taw since 2006.

Exminster Marshes

A quick trip around the marshes, the highlights being ringtail Hen Harrier & Bittern plus good numbers of Black Tailed Godwit, wigeon and teal, also a Barnacle goose (wild?) with the Canada's. Plenty of Redwing feeding around the fields.

Stubble fields at Powderham - Linnet 750

Taw Estuary - Isley Marsh/Yelland Quay

This morning along the shoreline with tide high and still coming in (09:15 - 10:30). Poor light, turning to light drizzle. Wader numbers estimated as some movement of groups along the shore during the walk.

Spoonbill 7
1 with yellow band on left leg, either FJ9 or EJ9
1 with colour bands which appeared to be: blue over yellow flag over blue on left leg, blue over pink over white on right leg - colours hard to make out properly

Barwit 27

Oystercatcher 60
Dunlin 50
Turnstone 30
Redshank 30
Grey Plover 20
Curlew 20

25 Brents over heading E

Plenty of Teal and Wigeon along shore, plus 4 GC Grebes and 3 Little Grebes on water.

[from Mark Skevington]


Broadsands: 163 Great Crested Grebes, just 3 Red-throated Divers the big numbers seemed to have moved on again (2 of the 3 with white flank patches), 3 Black-necked Grebes, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Eider, 1 Curlew and 1 Grey Plover (both unusaul here). 18 Cirl Buntings and 9 Reed Buntings on seed in 2nd car park, 1 tristis and 2 collybita Chiffchaffs in marsh.

Preston/Paignton: 1 Long-tailed duck, 1 Common Scoter, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Purple Sandpiper on rocks with Turnstones.

Velator reserve/Wrafton Pond

With all the snow gone, the Thrush population has nearly all headed off to forage in the fields. Only 3/4 Song Thrushes in and around the reserve. 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers seen calling. A Great Tit singing - lovely sign of spring to come! One Woodcock seen under the trees.

Wrafton Pond is still mostly iced over, but a pair of Swans has arrived (to reclaim their territory?) 80+ Black-headed Gulls, including one or two showing quite a lot of black on their heads. 2 Common Gulls.


3 Waxwings in trees alongside the railway station at 1230hrs. The male Blackcap remains around my back garden in Cedar Close.
The male Black Redstart was still present at 1615hrs on the roof of Pennant House, between Shelly Beach and the marina basin.
Mist, then later fog, hampered viewing at Mudbank Lane this afternoon, but the usual good numbers of common wildfowl and waders were present.

Exminster Marshes

At 8.30 thick mist or fog covered the fields but the snow had gone. The canal and smaller ditches remain iced over but it won't be long before they become open water once again. Possibly due to the poor visibility the amount of bird noise was incredible. Wigeon, redshanks and black-tailed godwits called incessantly. Blue tits and reed buntings called from the reeds and even two water rails sang. Maybe they were all celebrating the warmer weather and that they had survived. As the mist rolled back and forth I glimpsed a probable female marsh harrier flying towards Topsham at 9.45. ( Martin Elcoate's posting was most welcome and confirmed my suspicions).

A fisherman was fishing in one of the ice free pools on the canal. Probably because of this only a few (12) coot remained. The other pool only held 8 coot and no ducks.

Near the bend in the lane 3 water pipits were back on their favoured scrapes. Lots of skylarks flying overhead in the fog which finally dispersed about 10.00 revealing hundreds of wigeon and waders on the fields including one grey plover, 3 redshank and 21 dunlin.


1 female Marsh harrier hunting over Exe Reed bed (10:30 to at least 11:00). Having seen a Hen harrier at the same time yesterday over the reed bed, I was surprised when this harrier turned out to be Marsh. 16 Brambling in garden - numbers falling fast now the thaw has set in. Also 5 Goldeneye on the river.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay, 08:00-10:00, high tide.
On the marsh 30 Teal, 4 Pintail, 3 Gadwall, Shoveler and Black-tailed Godwit. In the bay Tufted Duck, Coot and 14 Bar-tailed Godwits. 3 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap in the sewage works, 100 Redwing and 60 Fieldfare around Marsh Lane.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Broadsands etc

Broadsands - Goosander and Black-throated Diver
Slapton - Great Skua harrassing Gannets

[from Tim Clyburn]

Cold weather and shooting restrictions

I've noted a couple of comment re shooting during this cold weather. The BTO have a section on the website regarding cold weather shooting restrictions. This link should take you there.

A bit of news as on Christmas day a Waxwing flew over Plymstock calling heading west.

Prawle area

A juvenile Glaucous Gull in Horseley Cove was the pick of today's birds.
Otherwise it's pretty much as-you-were, with a few additions. Waders were represented by 64 Oystercatcher, Curlew, 5 Redshank, 83 Lapwing, 12 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling, 3 Knot, Ringed Plover, 13 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Snipe and a Woodcock.
Earlier, a seawatch threw up 2 Red-throated and 1 Black-throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater, (flying east, and possibly the same bird as seen over the last couple of weeks?), 417 Gannets, 6 Eider, Red-breasted Merganser and 51 Kittiwake.
Other highlights were 3 Goosander that flew in from the east, circled a couple of times then flew off west, 5 Mediterranean Gulls, Teal, Shoveler, Water Rail, 300+ Skylark, Water Pipit, 65 Song Thrush, 47 Redwing, 30 Fieldfare, 5 Mistle Thrush and a Chiffchaff.
Woodcock 2, Hen Harrier male, low over 11:10 then 1/4'ing NW. Merlin, Comm Buzzard 3. Skylark 4000? in 2 groups but kept busy by the above! Chaffinch 60+, Lapwing 11

KINGSBRIDGE Est. Lincombe Bay
Goosander 4 fem. Med Gull 2W. Scaup 1Wmale. Brent Goose 83 (1pale bellied)

Plym Estuary

6 Gadwall and 1 Shoveler (drake) - both scarce here. Also flock of c30 Skylarks on Blaxton Pool - again unusual. Very few small birds in Efford Marsh - no Chiffchaffs and just one Goldcrest; obviously the cold weather taking its toll.

Dartmoor - Brambling flock

Almost daily I am getting updates from Mike & Jan Daniels on the increasing number of Bramblings coming to feed - currently the numbers are around 45.
Exceptional for a high moorland garden.

Thurlestone Marsh

About 70 % still frozen . What looked a promising am disturbed due to a shooting party of 4 Guns.
Whist there was no direct shooting at the Duck /Snipe they caused everything to flight . Is there supposed to be a restriction on this activity during the cold weather ?

Before the sooting started--135 Wigeon. 5 Shoveler, 40 Teal ,5 Coot. 100+ Snipe , 2 Woodcock, 2 Lapwing, 1 Black T Godwit 30 Redwing .

Snipe were interesting to watch- they were feeding on the ground and then flying up the valley in groups of up to 30

Exminster Marshes and Turf

The Canal was still frozen over in part, and the Smew was still there just North of the Fishermen's Car Park.

At the entrance to Turf Locks a Bittern flew North along the Canal.

In the bushes by the Locks, Fieldfares, Redwings, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds were feeding on the berries.

Hawfinches and a Waxwing

Three Hawfinches perched in Ash trees behind the church at Holcombe Burnell (SX858917) at midday today.

[from Phillip and Lucy Delve]

Yesterday a single Waxwing in Axminster opposite the Fire Station feeding on crab apples

[from Joan Le Goode]

Exminster Marshes

A brisk walk around the marsh before the rain arrived. Most water is still frozen but many of the fields had lost their covering of snow. On the fields groups of wigeon, totalling over a thousand, were busily feeding along with black tailed godwits (c200), 12 lapwing, 1 redshank and 8 grey plovers. I had never before seen grey plovers feeding in these fields.

At Turf a small flock of 6 greenfinches reminded me how scarce they have become. A bittern flew north over the marshes towards the canal but was lost to view behind trees so I am not sure where it landed and I failed to see it again.

The rain arrived at 3.00 pm and I hurried home.

The garden is still attracting fieldfares, redwings and reed buntings. Single blackcap (male), coal tit and goldcrest have all been seen over Christmas somewhere in the garden.


Ley still c80% frozen over so low numbers of wildfowl eg 2 Shoveler, 11 Gadwall, 15 Pochard and 4 Tufted Duck.
Quite a few birds in the first field on the left from the path towards the hide, best was a Ruff, also 8 Lapwings, 3 Snipe, plenty of Redwings and a Mistle Thrush.
A quick look at the sea ( no scope ) produced a couple of Red-throated Divers and a Slavonian Grebe.

Clyst St. Mary

Short-Eared Owl this morning around 10.30: the Clyst St Mary - Clyst St George bypass

[from Dave Stone]


Ring-tailed Hen harrier hunting over Exe reed beds at 10:30. 32 Brambling & 1 Blackcap in the garden.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Broadsands this afternoon

Little auk well offshore and drifting towards Hopes Nose. Also 10 wigeon, 3 eider, 5 goosander, 9 common scoter, 2 black necked grebe and numerous gt crested grebes on sea. Goosander were flushed by a boat and flew off south, as did the eider.


Highlights from Exe Est from recreational playing fields to Countess Wear bridge: 55 Brambling & 28 Chaffinch in my garden are both record highs, where Reed bunting numbers have fallen to 6 (from recent high of 16). A single Gadwall on the river is my first since moving here in 2002. Also 1 adult Yellow-legged gull, 28 Coot, 4 Little grebes, 2 Pochard, 6 Tufted duck, 1 Goldeneye. Starling roost has moved out of the reedbed further down river.

Babbacombe Bay and Torbay

Off Babbacombe out to sea were: 32 Red-throated Divers and 34 Great Crested Grebes.
Off Preston: Red-necked Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 17 Great Crested Grebes and 30 Red-throated Divers (so at least 60 in total!). However most were spooked by the Lifeboat an dispersed.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Geese Quarries-Curlew Drive, 11:15-14:30, falling/low tide.

78 Brent Geese ( 8 first winters ), 8 Pintail, 22 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 27 Tufted Duck, 3 Scaup ( ad male, ad female, first winter male ), 9 Goldeneye, 37 Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Little Grebe, 9 Coot, Snipe ( on rocks ), 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, 5 Knot, Rock Pipit, 120 Fieldfare, 60 Redwing.


Around the Shelly beach area this afternoon were an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Avocet (unusual here), a Greenshank and a Black-tailed Godwit flew along Camperdown Terrace!

Around my house today were 100+ Redwings (20 of which were still coming to cut-up apples I'd put out just a couple of minutes ago) and the male Blackcap.

Ringed & deformed Skylark - Exmouth

Any of our Ringers recognise this Skylark? It's been hanging around my garden since the snow fell, taking advantage of porridge oats on the patio (with the Song Thrushes). It has a dull grey metal ring on its left leg, a broken lower mandible and what appears to be an extended upper. In pretty good condition and eating OK.

Exmouth LNR - Boxing Day morning

Very large numbers of wildfowl and waders along whole of the Local Nature Reserve area this morning, feeding as the tide dropped. Visibility restricted by mist on the river. Highlight was a count of 264 Pintail - highest number that I've ever recorded here - with c1000 Wigeon, c300 Mallard, Teal, 500+ Brent Geese etc. Pair of Gadwall, and 2 Greenshanks. Anyone wanting to study Dunlin and Redshank at close quarters could have them almost at their feet on the water's edge! Imperial Road car parks still very dodgy

Hillhead, Brixham

Up to 13 Brambling (5 males) in the garden, typically coming to black sunflower seed but I could only manage 8 in the same frame. Also, a ringtail Hen Harrier came south over Southdown towards Mansands at 11.47am before dropping into the valley below the house when it was lost to view. It reappeared at 12.08pm but managed to avoid having its picture taken for a second time by dropping back down into the valley almost immediately. Lots of Snipe and the odd Curlew flying around later so the harrier may have ended up at Mansands (?)


At least 12 Woodlarks in the fields just east of the point. Also 35 Golden Plovers (mainly on the beach), Grey Plover and 6+ Cirls.


1 Little Auk at Broadsands at midday, relocated close into north side of bay between the 2 fallen rock areas viewed from edge of golf course, then flew into bay but couldn't be relocated again. (It had been seen by others briefly mid morning on south side of bay by bench). Also 2 Black Necked Grebe offshore, a Ringed Plover on a rock off the headland and flocks of Wigeon and Teal in Broadsands Bay. On way home, a Lapwing flew south over Chelston


Bittern still showing at 9am flew off from pond 1 towards the zoo.
3 snipe
14 shoveler
11 teal
5 gadwel
1 woodcock. flushed between ponds 2 & 3
1 lapwing

Exminster Marshes 25th

Highlight for me were the 2 Bitterns at Turf, couldnt get both together, but the more dominant one forced the lesser one out in the open for most of the time I was there. Also a Water Rail showing very well off & on. But no Smew. A hawk of somekind also showed briefly, sadly not well enough to tell, only that it was not a Buzzard.
Rest of the single sightings more usual, Common Sand, Grey Plover, Kingfisher.