Saturday, 5 March 2011

Lyme Bay - 20nm ESE of Berry Head

Out on a fishing boat today in Lyme Bay. Fairly run of the mill seabirds, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Gannets etc, but at last...............
My first offshore encounter with a pod of White-beaked Dolphins!
Amazing animals.

Leucistic B.H.Gull

This bird was on the River Plym on 29/1/11.
It looks very much like the bird that Matt has posted from The Otter.

I was in the Burrator area today, hoping for Crossbills in the usual plantation. Not only were there no Crossbills, there was no plantation!! It's been cleared.

Half a dozen Brambling were seen though including a summer plumaged male.
Other birds seen inclulded six Siskins, twenty odd Fieldfare and a Woodcock.

Otter and Mudbank

Above two photos adult yellow-legged gull - Otter est, mid pm.

Above photo colour-ringed lesser black-backed gull - large blue ring left tarsus F8J (yellow lettering), right tarsus small silver ring - Mudbank Lane. Also colour-ringed spoonbill present late pm.

leucistic black-headed gull Otter est mid pm

ad mediterranean gull Otter est.

Exe estuary

Red Breasted Goose on Exe this morning with the Brents. Also there this afternoon feeding in field south of Turf.

Seaton area

Still at least 8 Velvet Scoters off Seaton Hole. Depressingly few gulls and 2 canoes on the estuary late afternoon - just an adult Med Gull of interest. Firecrest reported from Branscombe WTW this morning.

Thurlestone Marsh

Bitterly cold with 100% cloud. Interesting afternoon fom the house.
7 Wigeon, 16 Teal 2 Shoveler,1 m Gadwall, 6 Snipe, 1 Water Pipit. At 16.00 the Bittern flew across the marsh landing close to a bull.


Firecrest still present in marshy ditch between the two car parks. 8 Cirl Buntings and 3 Reed Bunting on seed in back of the 2nd car park. The sea was again too rough to check properly today for grebes or divers.


1 Slav Grebe, 1 GN Diver, 1 Shelduck and not much else. GN Diver was a patch tick though.

R.Taw. Pottington to Ashford Strand.

07:45 - 09:30

Sanderling 27
Black-tailed Godwit 8
Dunlin 15.
Plenty of Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew etc.

Bradiford Reserve.
About 20-30 Teal and just a few Wigeon. c 22 Canada Geese.

Observed the Barn Owl again in the general area. It moved from post to post about 60 yards from Tarka Trail and was observed continually for 50 minutes from 08:40 to 09:30.

Friday, 4 March 2011

East Devon Commons

The adult Great Grey Shrike still on Woodbury Common this morning, in the usual valley just East of Woodbury Castle.
Nearby no sign of any Snipe or Jack Snipe on Bicton Common, but a Woodcock there was a surprise.
And little else............Dartford Warbler 1983-2010 RIP.......unless you know better..???

New Bridge & Pottington

New Bridge 13.30-14.20.
No sign of Pink-feet or Cattle Egret or any Goosanders!

Pottington 14.30-15.40
Redhead Smew and Green Sandpiper still present. 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 132 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Excellent weather for the penultimate RSPB Avocet cruise on the Exe Estuary. A great variety of birds were seen including Slavonian, Little and Great-crested grebes, Scaup, Red-breasted Goose with the Brent Geese,miscellaneous Waders and the Avocet.

Exminster marshes

The 8 white-fronted geese were to the west of the lagoon. At 16.45 a bittern flew from the centre of the marsh towards Powderham marshes. I didn't see it land so don't know if it crossed the railway. A dozen lapwings included two displaying (half heartedly).

Colyford Common

At Colyford Common this morning there were two Water Pipit and eight 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipits some of which had begun to change into summer plumage.
The Bewick's Swan was distantly viewable in the field to the west of Stedcombe Manor. Yesterday there were nine Velvet Scoter showing well from Seaton Hole.

Cirl Bunting in Cornworthy

A first for me in the garden, 11:08 this morning. Apologies for photo quality.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Roy, no sign of the Pinkfeet yesterday, just the Cattle Egret, think they went about a week ago!

Double Locks Wetland

Bittern present 13.22-13.46, pool nearest pub.


Late pm visit - 3w-s yellow-legged gull (see above), 5 goosander, 21 brent goose, 24+ pied wag, 1w mediterranean gull, 6 dunlin.

Thurlestone Bay Birds

After 4 months the coast path has been reopened which means I now have access to my Beacon Point Seawatching seat. With superb light and a flat calm sea there were significant birds on the sea :-

50+ Razorbill, 25 Guillemot, 1 Black T Diver, Both aRed T Diver and a Red necked Grebe showed signs of red on their throats. 2 Shelduck flew west.

On South Huish marsh 13 Wigeon & 3 Shelduck.

Thurlstone Marsh - Marsh Harrier still present but elusive. 35 Teal, 7 Wigeon, 1m gadwall. 30 Snipe , 2 Water Rail

Only waders were 4 Turnstone with 2 Curlew over

Clennon Valley

The female black redstart was back in my garden and on the roof tops today. Also 10+ Buzzards together in thermals over the back of the valley.

Exminster marshes

Between 9.00 and 10.00 this morning the spoonbill and 8 white-fronted geese still present. On the lagoon there were 4 pochard, 6 tufted ducks and 57 shoveller - often feeding together as a group in the middle of the water. Also 5 greylags and singing skylarks.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

North Devon

The Cattle Egret still near Bishop's Tawton this morning, along with seven Goosanders on the river.

At Weare Gifford the Whooper Swan showed extremely well by the old mill in gorgeous sunshine.

A visit to Lower Tamar Lake came up with a Willow Tit, but not easy this year as the nut-feeders were nut-less! A cracking raft of 52 Goosanders was superb, though, and included 8 drakes.

Also in N Devon, a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Merlin to finish the day, all in fine weather.

teal x wigeon?

Above an ordinary eurasion teal. Below presumed wigeon x teal hybrid with drake wigeon.

This bird originally turned up off Mudbank in Exmouth in October 2010. It has been frequenting the Otter recently and was tonight just inside the estuary mouth. This is the first time I've managed half decent photos.

Broadsands and Clennon Valley

The sea was very choppy off Broadsands (and it was very cold NE wind!) so I only had a brief look: 4 Common Scoter, 3 Great Crested Grebes 1 Black-necked Grebe.

On the seed in the back of the 2nd Car park: 13 Cirl Buntings, 7 Reed Bunting

Clennon Valley: 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 4 Snipe, 3 Water Rail, 15 Tufted Ducks.

N. Devon

R. Caen/Horsey Island.
5 Greenshank

Off Saunton Down
Male Common Scoter and female Eider

Baggy Point
4 Red-throated Divers, one pair Stonechat (male singing)

Torquay yesterday

Two of the black necked grebes off Princess Pier yesterday.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Broadsands & Stover

Early afternoon at Broadsands today found just a single Black-necked Grebe of note.

Near dusk at Stover saw two female Goosanders fly in to roost presumably. A flock of seven Snipe flew around randomly to find individual roosting spots in the margins.

Torquay - Princess Pier this afternoon

4 black necked grebes in varying states of moult into summer plumage, some quite well advanced. Also 2 great crested grebes, 2-3 razorbill, 1 guillemot, 1 adult sinensis type cormorant.

Thurlestone Bay

A new month - 68 species recorded on the patch today

At 17.00 a Bittern flew in to the reeds at the back of Thurlestone Marsh. Adult Marsh Harrier
still on the marsh.

In the bay this am - 9 Razorbill, 1 m Common scoter, 30 Gannet.

Yarmer Beach this pm (high tide)-2 Sanderling,2 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin., 1 Ringed Plover.

South Milton Ley- 110 Redwing, 8 Chiffchaff, 1 Grey Wag.

Upton X ( nr South Milton ) 14 Stock Dove

Yarner Wood

A female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showing well in trees behind the hide for about half an hour early afternoon yesterday.

[from Ian Waite]

Monday, 28 February 2011

Red Kite

A red kite was feeding on a road kill south-east of Whiddon Down on the road (A382) to Moretonhampstead at 16.45. Flew onto a telegraph pole but moved away when more cars approached. (SX692923).

Aylesbeare Shrike

The Great Grey Shrike livened up a dull afternoon, initially performing very well just to the left of the entrance track, before later moving down over the slope and crossing the track. This bird loves to hover!

Thurlestone Bay

This am - 30 Common Scoter & 1 Red T Diver flew east. 37 Auks also east -only 7 close inshore were Razorbill. 100+ Gannet feeding offshore.

A female Black Redstart on the rocks by the flats

On Thurlestone Marsh no sign of the Marsh Harrier but 2 Water Rail 7 Wigeon, 20 Teal.

Dawlish Warren

A raft of 200+ common scoters were very active today flying back and forth.
Meanwhile the surf scoter remained off groyne 7, frequently diving.
2 slavonian grebes and 1 black necked grebe showed well in the sunshine.
Great crested grebes showed well all along the front and a pair were seen courting!
Likewise a pair of very noisy little grebes showed well on Greenland Lake.
A seal (common?) was hauled out on a sandbank.

Exminster marshes

Not much time and a cold wind resulted in a brief visit between 9.00 and 10.00. A fox conveniently crossed the reserve causing some birds to fly up and then settle , sometimes closer to the fox! This is what the spoonbill did, providing the best views I have had. The adult bird has a white or pale yellow ring on the upper part of its left leg. Also briefly in the air where the 8 white-fronts. Duck numbers seemed to have dropped although 9 pintail and 20 plus shoveller are similar to previous counts. A group of 78 coot was feeding on the fields and a single water rail was in the ditch next to the canal-side car park.

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Early am before the weather deteriorated, 7 Gadwall and 16 Teal showing on the marsh, but the dozens of Snipe present earlier this month were not visible. A Chiffchaff in the hedge and 4 Great Crested Grebes offshore.

Double Lock Wetlands

Bittern showing well this afternoon, preening in the sun. Also 1 Green sandpiper and 11 Teal.

Double Locks Wetlands

The Bittern showed well again today between 11.30 am and midday on the pool nearest to the Double Locks Hotel.

Taw Pink-footed Geese

From Nigel Bastin:

'...they are still in the same area as before,but are now flying with canada geese between the field left of the newbridge facing barnstaple and the field where the cattle egret is or two fields downstream from the bridge...'

R.Taw. Barnstaple to Fremington Pill.

07:40 - 09:40.

1 Redhead Smew just downstream of Taw Bridge.
2 Whimbrel just off Anchorwood Bank. First two I`ve seen this year.
1 Spoonbill at eastern end of Penhill Marsh.
97 Shelduck and 7 Dark-bellied Brent just off Ashford sewage works.
1 Greenshank at mouth of Fremington Pill.