Saturday, 2 April 2011

Prawle 2/4

Things picked up a bit on the sea today, with a watch from 7.00 - 10.30 returning the following totals; 1 Great Northern, 3 Black-throated and 6 Red-throated Divers, 224 Gannets, 70 Manx Shearwaters, 57 Fulmars, 64 Common Scoters, 1 Teal, 397 Guillemot/Razorbills and 12 Puffins. On the land, highlights included a Merlin, 9 Swallows, 12 Sand Martins, White Wagtail, 7 Wheatears, Brambling, 4 Blackcaps, 13 Willow Warblers, 29 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests. Also of interest, a group of 9 Carrion Crows flew in off the sea. Not normally noted as being a migrant, this is a fairly typical event in early spring - last year one such flock had a Jay tagging along! Below are a couple of shots of Friday's Hoopoe - unfortunately not seen today.

(Finally, just to correct my 'deliberate mistake' from last week, the blue butterfly on 27/3 was of course a Holly, not a Common Blue)!

Yarner Wood

Very smart Pied Fly at box 24 today and two near misses – a cuckoo I could hear in the distance towards Trendlebeare (wonder if its on its way to Challacombe  , they do seem to like it there!) and a wood warbler sung very briefly out near the butterfly glade although again I never saw it. A Lesser Spot was still about above the hide around box 41. Spring definitely seems to be on the way

[from Tim Clyburn]

Exminster Marshes etc...

Drake Garganey still on Powderham Marshes this morning. Also the ringtail Hen Harrier circling over the Swan's Nest car park at 11:15.

Three Willow Warblers, two Swallows, a Sedge Warbler and a Wheatear on Exminster Marshes.

[from Will Salmon]

Teignmouth 31/3

Belated news (my fault). Ten Bramblings (2 males) coming to feeders in a Teignmouth garden. The flock has been around since the cold snap in mid/late December 2010.

[from Simon Bates]

Ide etc...

Ring tail Hen Harrier flying north over Ide this afternoon at 3pm. At Underdown, Haldon Forrest we still have about 20 Brambling frequenting the bird feeders. Flock of 12 Common Crossbills flew over Underdown 29th March.

[from John Gale]


Orcombe Point - Disappointing number of migrants in promising conditions this morning. 1 brambling, 1 willow warbler, 8+ chiffchaff, 2 swallow, 1 wheatear, 113+ kittiwake on nest ledges - off Sandy Bay.

Mudbank Lane - 8 pale-bellied brent goose, 79+ red-breasted merganser (single flock comprising several displaying males), ad sum mediterranean gull + prob fs/hybrid?, 9 common gull, 11 turnstone, c20+ sandwich tern


The Hoopoe was finally pinned down today ("record" shot below) and showed well but distantly around the cottages at West Hill. It had been in the gardens all morning eating snails according to the resident. A few bits and bobs around as well - a smatter of Blackcaps and Willow Warblers, my first SandwichTern of the year and a female Black Red.

Gribbleford, nr Hatherleigh

Four House Martins reported by Sue Clark over Gribbleford at 10.00am this morning.

Friday, 1 April 2011


A record shot of some of the birds in the poor weather yesterday. Jan & Mike Daniels have fed the birds all winter as usual, but this winter have been rewarded with c70 Bramblings regularly. When the warm sunny weather arrived this week numbers dropped dramatically but when the rain came in yesterday so did the Bramblings and they were up to an all time high of c130 birds- which were back again today!

Thurlestone Bay.

Another cloudy morning with a ssw wind -f3- very poor visability. Bird wise a red letter day my first Iceland Gull -1w-( for the Bay ), landed on the sea 50yds off the car park, very obligingly next to 2 Herring Gull , only stayed for a few minutes before flying off east at 10.25 5 Sandwich Tern in the bay 20 Common Scoter few east. Bob Burridge had a futher 12 on the sea with 6 Shoveler, he also had a Little Ringed Plover over South Huish Marsh. 5 Sand martin & 3 Swaloow flew north , 1 Wheatear this pm Thurlestone marsh still has 20 Teal & a singing Willow Warbler

Bolt Head

Male Black Redstart near Bolt Head and two Swallows over.

(Roger White)

Exminster marsh

Two summer plumage Water Pipits this morning showed well perched high in an oak tree near the middle car park, and about 80 Sand Martins nearby. Also a couple of superb Grass Snakes in the area recently.

Cornborough Cliffs, Westward Ho!

08:50 - 10:00

Stonechat 3 ( 2 males, 1 female)
Green Woodpecker 1.

Thursday, 31 March 2011


Flock of 16 Sandwich Terns in plymouth sound around Drake Island.

[from Tom Forster]

nr Diptford

2 Fieldfares at Larcombe nr. Diptford ( South Hams ) this morning.

Thurlestone Bay.

Brisk sw wind this am but still poor visability. A 2hr seawatch produced a large passage of Terns - 50+ Sandwich and the first flock of 12 Common. Only23 Gannet. 3 Fulmar & 1 Red T Diver east. On the sea 4 Razorbill ,1 Guillemot + 10 Auks. 3 Wheatear in the cafe field


Great Skua west past Orcombe Point then towards the Warren 5.25pm. Also c30+ sandwich tern and c10+ gannet with c50/60+ sandwich tern roosting on sandbar off Mudbank late yesterday evening.

The above photos from Orcombe point Sunday morning. The black redstart was feeding in gardens around Foxholes estate.

Rosemoor Gardens

Pleased to see at least twenty House Martins whilst looking towards Torrington Church from The gardens gazebo!


3 sum plum Black-necked Grebes in Broadsands bay and at least 12 Gannets feeding out in Torbay.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Buckfast Abbey

Eleven Swallows over this afternoon.

(Brother Nicholas)

Velator reserve

Heard one, or possibly two Sedge Warblers singing this afternoon.

Exminster marshes

Nothing like a bit of rain to bring the migrants closer. In the rain this morning there were at least 130 sand martins over the lagoon. With birds continuously arriving from the south and leaving to the north this number was just a snap shot. A few swallows with them and two over the canal included a male in song for over 5 minutes. Elsewhere chiffchaffs singing.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sand Martin

Large flock of Sand Martins this evening over the river at Countess Wear, minimum of 100 birds.
Only a single Swallow though.


While checking the evening Gull roost (which was very quiet) they all got up in a panic, a quick scan found a Bonxie(very pale bird) moving north through the bay and then lost in the mist. Also: 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Canada Goose, 1 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Common Scoter.


Still oner Black-necked Grebe in summer plumage in the bay this pm, also 2 Wigeon which flew around in circles appearing disorientated in mist.

Thurlestone Bay.

A murky day with coastal fog this pm. A flock of 60 Black H Gull included 2 2cy Med Gull.,on the sea before flying up the valley. 7 Sandwich Tern offshore,a Ringed Plover few thru. 2 Wheatear by the cafe field. First big movement of Hirundines - most flew over Thurlestone Marsh between 12.30- 15.30 85 Sand Martin, 20 Swallow &3 House martin ( first of the year) with aWillow warbler singing. After many fruitless visits to local farms a singing male Yellowhammer found at Upton X ( nr South Milton )

Cornborough Cliff

Nice to see this Yellowhammer singing to its partner. They look stunning this time of the year,.

Iceland Gull Axe Estuary

This first winter Iceland Gull (a well marked individual) was off Coronation Corner 09:10 - 09:40 today, before flying off north. Also six Med Gulls.


Misty damp morning. 8+ Chiffchaffs, 2 singing Cirl Buntings, Stonechat nesting. Single Great Crested Grebe still on sea.On the marsh 4 Gadwall (2 pairs) and 2 Shelduck. The surprise however was a mechanical digger on the rear of marsh, appears NT are excavating a pool at the side where the stream enters.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Seaton Area

Yet another Red Kite over the patch today - at least the fifth in as many days. This one came from the north then flew west over my house (on the west side of Seaton) at 14:00...

There was a single Swallow with a few Sand Martins at Colyford Marsh tonight, also two Wheatears and a Ruff still. On the Estuary two Med Gulls (adult summer and first-winter).

Clennon Valley

3 Blackcap, 4 Willow Warblers, 8 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 4 Little Grebes, 2 Water Rail, 1 Shoveler.

Thurlestone Bay.

Gannet moving through this morning 50+ in 2.5hrs., 3 Fulmer 1 Sandwich Tern.3 Wheatear in the field with 3 Swallow & 3 Sand Martin over. A few Black H Gull through including a nice adult &1 2cy Med .Gull

Velator reserve

Ringing today produced 2 male Blackcaps, 8 Chiffchaffs and 13 Willow Warblers. Sand Martins were present occasionally, but feeding high.

Stover Park Lake

I was hoping to get the Grebes dancing but instead got this

Exminster marshes

Brief visit this morning. One water pipit near path to Topsham Lock and a male merlin on fence next to the lagoon. About 20 teal, 5 pintail (included 4 males) and about 12 shoveller on various pools. Lots of chiffchaffs singing and calling.

Sunday, 27 March 2011


No surprises, but a decent enough day all the same. Totals as follows; 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Puffins, 22 Wheatears, 4 Black Redstarts, 3 Swallows, 4 Blackcaps, 36 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers. (Also 30+ Peacock, and my first Common Blue and Speckled Wood of the year).

Seaton Area

Female Black Redstart on Beer Head first thing.

Hoopoe still at Axmouth this morning

This evening at Black Hole Marsh/Colyford Common: 1 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffs, 1 Blackcap, 1 Ruff, 1 Green Sandpiper, 96 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 24 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Swallow and 3 Sand Martins.


Looking down for Oil Beetles rather than up for birds today and managed to find Common Lizards right by the beach. One Oil Beetle (Meloe proscarabeus) and a shot of one of the Black Reds from this morning.

Yarner Wood

Two male Pied Flycatchers in Yarner Wood, one near Box 46, the other a little further on.

[from George Wilkinson]

Thurlestone Bay.

Bob Burridge had a Red Kite flying east at 12.45 over the car park. Willow Warbler & several Chiffchaffs singing on Thurlestone marsh. Just 2 Sandwich Tern in the Bay at 17.00

Berry Head

Berry Head this morning, Stoat being mobbed by Jackdaws and Magpies.

Powderham Marshes

The drake Garganey was showing very well mid afternoon, in the channel nearest the viewing platform. Also in the area a Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaffs and several Peacock and Small Tortoishell butterflies.

Berry Head

3 Black Redstarts (2 females in S Fort and male in N fort), 3 Wheatear, 2 Stonechat ( the first I've seen here since last autumn), 6 Chiffchaffs, 2 Siskin >N.


Sandwich Tern and four Wheaters this morning.


2 Male Black Reds again at the point by space-age house and a Willow Warbler - no sign of the Hoopoe or the female Black Red at the Church


Hoopoe still around Axmouth campsite area