Saturday, 5 February 2011

Bowling Green Marsh

Bowling Green Marsh Topsham
I watched the female smew from the hide between 16.45 and 17.15 this afternoon. At first it was on the lagoon, diving for long periods often coming up a long way from where it had gone down.  Then it obligingly came to land right in front of the hide and spent much time fiddling about, wing-flicking, preening, chasing lapwings, pecking at reeds etc.  It was still not really settled when I had to leave.  There was plenty of other activity on the marsh - 70-80 lapwings, around 40 Black-Tailed godwit and other duck - Shoveler (c30), Pintail (16) Tufted Duck (6) Pochard (8) Gadwall (2) Teal (50+) Wigeon (120+).  Plus 3 brent geese and a little grebe.

[from Steve Oliver]


Long seawatch (08.00 - 14.00) produced a lot of birds but not much variety. Bulk of the birds were made up of 367 Gannets, 37 Fulmars, 132 Kittiwakes and 2406 Auks, of which approx 65-70% were Guillemots. Also a lot of Gulls moving through, with counts of 520+ Herring, 190+ Great Black-backed, 19 Lesser Black-backed and 7 Common. The little variety was provided by lone Manx Shearwater and Common Scoter, and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

A quick walk along the front saw all the regular waders still present, while Horseley Cove held a Chiffchaff (different to the 'siberian' looking bird of a couple of weeks ago), and just one Pipit - which happened to be of the Water variety!

Topsham - Bowling Green Marsh

Notice from RSPB

Please note that the hide at Bowling Green Marsh will be closed from 09.00 on Monday 7 February until Wednesday afternoon to enable contractors to improve the disabled access. The RSPB apologises for any inconvenience.

Friday, 4 February 2011


Great Northern Diver off Breakwater beach this morning

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Aylesbeare & Seaton Environs.

A ringtail Hen Harrier was quartering over Aylesbeare Common this morning.

The Bewick's Swan was still present with twenty one Mute Swans and a Greylag Goose in the field opposite the entrance to Stedcombe Vale/House near Seaton.

Blackhole Marsh during low tide had just six Shelducks whilst a female Sparrowhawk overhead flushed some Redwings and Fieldfares. No sandpipers as I had hoped for.

Eight Velvet Scoters were still on the sea off Seaton Hole but promptly dropped to just six birds whilst I looked elsewhere. Maybe two of them flew off or separated.

A Black Redstart was on the beach at Beer.

Thurlestone Bay

Only 2 birds of note in the bay today - 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 -1st w Black Redstart.

Starling roost tonight down to 75 k

Exe estuary

At low water, 13.30, there were 7 scaup, one goldeneye (male) and c15 red-breasted mergansers in the estuary close to where the River Clyst joins the Exe south of the Turf. Two groups of knot totallying c40 birds were between the Turf and Topsham. Nearer Topsham I counted over 500 avocets and 300 black-tailed godwits. A single moorhen feeding out on the mud was unusual.

On the Exminster marshes earlier in the day there were plenty of wigeon, teal and lapwings. Short bursts of song were heard from a skylark, dunnock and at least two water rails. Three long-tailed tits "fly catching" midges in the lee of a bush was fascinating and hinted at warmer times to come.

Lapland Bunting Back As An 'A'

Berry Head - 26/11/10

At a recent meeting the DBRC opted to reinstate Lapland Bunting as a Devon 'A' rarity from Jan 1st 2011. Due to the unprecendented influx last autumn 'Lap Bunt' was downgraded to a Devon 'B' rare, but it appears the species has become scarce again - with only two records in the County so far this year.

Goshawk has now been made a 'B' rarity, though full descriptions will still be required for any birds seen away from known breeding areas.

Steve Waite
County Recorder

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Thurlestone Bay

Poor vis this am with drizzle- Thru the bay- 1 Great N Diver -east at 09.40, 1 Red T Diver thru at 11.10. 4 Fulmar , 3 kiitiwake, 1 Slavonian Grebe .

Taw/Torridge Estuary

A Lapland Bunting on the salting by the R.Caen at 12.30 today.

(Rob Jutsum)

Exe Estuary

Another good Stuart Lines cruise this afternoon: Long-tailed Duck (imm drake between Exmouth and Starcross), Slavonian Grebe (off Lympstone Camp), 6 Scaup (2 imm drakes; SE of Turf), redhead Smew (Topsham), plus 2 Great Crested Grebes, c20 Shag, c500 Brents, c100 Mergansers, c500 Avocets, dozens of Grey Plover, hundreds of both godwits, 2 Greenshank, c30+ Knot, c10 Sanderling, c150 Common Gulls, 2 Lesser and c30 Great Black-backed Gulls.

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est.

At 14:15 and just a short distance downstream of the Taw Bridge was an unusual bird for the estuary, a grey and white Muscovey Duck. I don`t think I`ve ever seen a free flying one of these on the river before?
Also just 1 redhead Goosander.

Barnstaple Taw est

2 redhead smew, 1 female goldeneye, on river near the new bridge at 1200 hrs


on Sea: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 14 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Eider.

In Marsh: 1 tristis Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Water Rail.

2nd Car park: (just a brief look when I dropped some seed) 8 Cirl Buntings, 2 Reed Buntings.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Vellator Pond

Still a dozen Shoveler on the pond. With the pond iced over except for a section in the centre the Shoveler have come much closer than normal as all the birds are congregating in the middle.

Thurlestone Bay

On the sea this am- very poor visability until noon, 1 Slavonian Grebe , 1 Great C Grebe, 2 F Goosander ( another 2 flew in from east before departing up the valley towards Kingsbridge est.)

The Pink F Goose still feeding in the field at South Huish Marsh. Big reduction of Duck on the Marsh .

Thurlestone marsh still held a Water Pipit and a Cettis Warbler


Preston/Paignton: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Black-necked Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes.

Goodrington: 1 Red-necked Grebe (moving > Broadsands), 2 Black-necked Grebes, 12 Great Crested Grebes.

Broadsands: 3 Black-necked Grebes, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Eider, 39 Great Crested Grebes (and one Red-necked Grebe Probably the same bird I saw at Goodrington).

In Marsh: 1 Firecrest and 2 Goldcrests. at back of 2nd car park 9 Cirl Buntings, 7 Reed Bunting on seed.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Thurlestone Marsh

Whist waiting for the Reed Buntings to fly into the net ( 5 ringed ) had a 1st w Black Restart and a m Blackcap. Both Cettis Wblr & Water Rail on the Marsh.

This pm 2 Firecrest at South Milton Ley & 1 Goldcrest.

In the Bay 2 Slavonian Grebe . Pink F Goose still on S H Marsh

Otter Estuary - Otterton Sewage Outlet

A morning spent on the Otter Estuary found the following ...Sparrow Hawk, 10 Reed Bunting, 5 Red Breasted Merganser came in from the sea (four females, 1 male) and another male at Whitebridge, 3 Common Gull, 3 Med Gull. 3 Little Grebe. 1, Black Tailed Godwit, 30 Curlew. Out to sea a raft of c30 C.Scoter.

In the afternoon...good numbers of Divers off the coast from the Otterton sewage outlet including 3 Black Throated Diver, 10+ Red Throated and 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Fulmar, 1 Razorbill, 2 Raven (one carrying nest material to cliffs).


A nicely flat sea this afternoon, revealing 11 Velvet Scoters and 21 Commons, plus an Eider, 2 Red-throated Divers and a Slavonian Grebe (scarce here).

Also at least 5 adult Med Gulls in the Seaton Hole roost.

Dawlish Warren

Male and Female Black Redstart still showing well this afternoon.


sea much calmer today: 4 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Red-throated Diver, 73 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Common Scoter.

12 Cirl Buntings, 9 Reed Buntings at back of 2nd car park

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est and Bradiford Reserve

14:14 - 15:15

Bradiford Reserve
1 Pink-footed Goose with 7 Canada Geese and 6 Gadwall with c40 Wigeon in the field adjacent to the reserve.

Off Pottington Ind Est.
Still the single redhead Smew which flew off up river at 14:20.
Black-tailed Godwit 5
Ringed Plover 24
Dunlin c400
Bar-tailed Godwit 4.
Sanderling 20
Dark-bellied Brent 14 off Penhill Marsh.
Little Grebe 2.
Goosander 3 redheads.

Baggy Point

One female Eider off Saunton Down this morning.
Six Red-throated Divers and four Razorbills at Baggy Point but no sign of any Dartford Warblers.

Axe Estuary

The Bewick's Swan was back this morning, with the Swan flock opposite the entrance to Stedcombe House.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Thurlestone Bay

Beautiful sunny day with a flat sea . This has certainly been the Diver & Grebe month in the Bay.

2 Slavonian Grebe were joined by A Red-necked Grebe ( a site tick for me ) 2 Red T Diver on the sea , a db Brent Goose in the Bay then flew west. Only the second record of Common Scoter this month - a male flew east.

Starling roost just gets better , at least 200k tonight plus more than 20 observers

Exe Estuary

Had a great Stuart Lines Exe Estuary cruise this morning in beautiful sunlight, with 2 Slavonian Grebes, c30 Shags, at least 6 Scaup (2 separate females, then 6 together - 2 drakes - off Lympstone), Long-tailed Duck (Cockwood, with the Slavs), Smew (redhead at Topsham), c100 Mergansers, lots (500+) Avocets, Grey Plovers and hundreds of both godwits, 2 Greenshank, only a few Knot and Sanderling, and a Razorbill off Exmouth. Also single Grey Seal (off Exmouth) and Common Seal (the usual half-blind female hauled out on Bull Hill).

Later, 5 Gadwall and 2 Snipe at Bowling Green Marsh, and 2 Black Swans on the Clyst near Dart's Farm.

Dawlish Warren

Sunshine brought out the male Black Redstart today. Thought you might like these


One Water Pipit still at the point, also Chiffchaff and Redwing on the Kelp


The bay was too choppy to check for seabirds this morning but: 21 Cirl Buntings, 12 Reed Buntings and 11 Dunnocks with good numbers of Chaffinch on seed at back of 2nd car park. An unknown photographer was almost in the feeding area - please give the birds a bit of space they are very tolerant of people but in freezing conditions feeding is more important than a photo and you really don't have to get so close to them. Brambling heard in 1st car park but didn't see it. 1 Water Rail and 1 collybita Chiffchaff in Marsh.