Saturday, 14 May 2011


Had a couple of emails full of cracking photos from Shaun Barnes tonight. The top two from today, and the rest from the last five days on the island...

From the top: Trumpeter Finch (x2), Golden Oriole, Dotterel, Cuckoo, Whimbrel and Gannet


Two Cuckoos calling and showing well in larch forest about a mile behind Warren House Inn.

[Jake Wood]

Exmouth and Commons

Orcombe Point - early am - 1 whinchat (top photo), 1 hobby, 1 spotted flycatcher (all scarce on Orcombe) and 1 great northern diver.

Very little on the Commons this afternoon but every stonechat, aparently without exception, showing pretty much wholly white rumps with limited streaking on the uppertail coverts (note the lower bird is ringed). The moth pictured is an (early?) small grass emerald which is a very scarce and localised breeder.

Exminster Marshes

A steady but light passage of swifts over, usually in twos, and a few swallows. One dunlin and one ringed plover were continually being harassed by a lapwing - suggests another was sitting close by. A pair of gadwall (2 pairs yesterday), a pair of shoveller (failed breeders?) and at least 10 male mallards. 5 broods of mallards at different ages are the most I have seen for many years. Otherwise quiet - might be better at high tide this afternoon.

Trumpeter Finch - Lundy

Here's a photo from Shaun Barnes (taken yesterday mid afternoon) of the stunning Trumpeter Finch currently on Lundy, showing well by halfway wall. What a stunning first for the County - Lundy does it again...

photo (c) Shaun Barnes

A Technical Hitch

Apologies for the technical errors on this blog over the past day. encountered a serious problem, and they were forced to delete all posts made since Wednesday to rectify it.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused by this but it was out or our control.

Steve Waite

Friday, 13 May 2011

Grand Western Canal

A walk between Tiverton and Burlescombe produced a few decent birds including eleven Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, three Reed Buntings, a Green Woodpecker, Swallows, House Martins, Swifts, seven Sedge Warblers, a Whitethroat, eight Reed Warblers and one Raven.

Lots of wildlife out at the moment and the odonata highlights were a single Red-eyed Damselfly, a Hairy Dragonfly, a Beautiful Demoiselle and a female Scarce Chaser.

Surprised at no mention of the finch here.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


With the change in wind direction had an away day with Doug Stannard covering the south Datmoor sites

Day started well at Buckfastleigh at 9.00 from the main road bridge Mandarin, & Dipper.

Yarner Wood - Wood Warbler, Pied Fly, Spot Fly, Redstart, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Garden Warbler.

Trendlebeare Down - Siskin, Bullfinch, Tree Pipit.

Challaborough Farm / Soussons--2 garden Warbler, 6 Siskin, 1 SpotFly, 6 Cuckoo, Nutchatch, 4 Whinchat, 4 Redstart, Green Woodpecker, Wheatear, Reed Bunting.

Late news from Tues at 16.30 on Thurlestone marsh a m Little Ringed Plover ( 6th record of the spring)


Mudbank - 0630 - fw bonaparte's gull again this morning (also present yesterday) though distant and probably best viewed from Starcross on a low tide. Also still 3 brent goose and two great crested grebe. Red-throated diver off seafront.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ilsington Wood

Have you ever tried "digibining" a bird in a tree above you using an iPhone at a binocular eyepiece? It is exasperatingly difficult. Fortunately this very recently fledged Tawny Owlet just sat squinting at me from its perch 4m away without moving a feather, probably the kindest subject possible.

Thurlestone Bay.

SW wind = nothing in the bay this am . At 14.00 driving out of Thurlestone a Red Kite flew thru going south .

Ringed/Flagged Sanderlings.

The ringed and flagged Sanderling that I observed at Yelland on 30/04/2011 is part of the International Wader Study Group Project that is monitoring Sanderlings on the Africa - Eurasian Flyway.
This bird was ringed in Portugal in October 2010 and my sighting was the first outside of that country.

Sightings so far:-

Colorcode: B4YYRR Name Ringer: Peter Potts 2nd Ringer: José Alves

Ringnr: D38483 Date Catch: 07/10/2010 Catching Place: Samouco beach, Alcochete

Portugal 38.44.20 N 08.59.59 W

Sightings of this bird:

Date(d/m/y) Place Observer 2nd Observer 3rd Observer

08/10/2010 Samouco beach, Alcochete Peter Potts

Portugal 38.44.20 N 08.59.59 W

31/12/2010 Samouco beach, Alcochete José Alves

Portugal 38.44.20 N 08.59.59 W

15/02/2011 Seca do Bacalhau, Alcochete beach Pedro C. Geraldes

Portugal 38.44.43 N 08.58.59 W

15/02/2011 Samouco beach, Alcochete Pedro C. Geraldes José Alves

Portugal 38.44.20 N 08.59.59 W

30/04/2011 River Taw, Yelland, Devon Maurice Clements

United Kingdom 51.04.11 N 04.10.23 W

Lets hope we see more of them.

Monday, 9 May 2011


I had this email in the DBN inbox on my return home from work tonight...

"For what it is worth I saw a Purple Heron (flying) approx a foot above the river, whilst on the South Devon Railway 2 miles out from Buckfastleigh.

This was on 3/5/11 approx 1650hrs

Steve Harvey"

Thurlestone Bay.

Bay watched from 07.00-12.00, a brisk F5 southerly produced

21 Whimbrel, 25 Kittiwake, 37 Razormotts ,3 Manx Shearwater, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Great Skua (07.15) 1 dp Arctic Skua (09.45 ) 1 1st w Little Gull all east. on the sea 2 Black T Diver ( partial sp )

Exminster marshes and Dawlish warren

To add to John's post, the Black tailed Godwits increased to 80 with one sporting colour rings, presumably from the Iceland ringing project. A flock of 16 Whimbrel came in from the estuary and two summer plumaged Dunlin present. They were all put up by the Short eared Owl at 10.50 a.m. and re-settled on the far pool seen from the canal bank. A male Gadwall, a male Shoveler, a handful of house martins and a single sand martin were by the middle car park.
The Lesser Whitethroat was singing well from the same place i.e. the first set of gates along the path by the railway but it only showed itself very, very briefly.
Earlier, seawatching at Dawlish Warren had been all but hopeless with just a passing Red throated diver, 3 eiders on the sea and a flock of around 50 Kittiwakes feeding offshore the only things of note.

Birding from a train!

From the Buckfastleigh to Totnes train on Saturday 7th, Trevor Leaman saw a female Goosander with 6-8 chicks, a male Mandarin and 3 Snipe.

Bowling Green Marsh

Bonaparte's Gull still present at 11.40. Also 30 Barwits, 104 Blackwits, two 1st wint Med Gulls.

Exminster Marshes

Brief visit between 9.00 and 10.00 this morning. Lots of swifts - calling and flying low over the fields. Probably about 40 with a few swallows, sand martins and house martins.

On the pools 2 whimbrel, 1 or 2 ringed plovers and 3 lapwing until about 60 black-tailed godwits flew in from the north. The combination of no scope, strong wind and a shower meant I was unable to identify a small to medium sized wader (very pale) far out in the centre of the marsh, seen from the canal bank. Still about 30 shelduck roosting.

Bowling Green Marsh

Bonaparte's Gull 1st wint at Bowling Green from 10.00 until at least 10.30.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


The reported Black Tern was still over the lagoon at Bowling Green Marsh this afternoon at about half one or two. Also present were a Mediterranean Gull and a few Whimbrel.


Nothing much to report, but an adult Harris Hawk over the garden had the heart pumping into overdrive for a minute or two!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Burgh Island

Shaun Robson spent the weekend at Burgh Island and managed to fit in some seawatching, with the following results:

Friday 6th evening

Single flock of 100 Bar-tailed Godwit east at c5:30pm
Whimbrel 6e

Saturday 7th 06:30 - 08:00, 11:00 - 13:00, 16:40 - 17:30

Balearic Shearwater 1e
Manx Shearwater 45e 1w
Arctic Skua 1e (pale phased)
Bonxie 1e
Common Scoter 11e
Whimbrel 16e
Bar-tailed Godwit 16e
Marsh Harrier male in off at 12:25
Kittiwake 2e

Sunday 8th 07:15 - 08:30

Manx 16e
Kittiwake 10e
Auk sp 274e
Razorbill 12e
Guillemot 2e

Exminster Marshes

A Short-eared Owl at 11am sat on post by the lagoon (viewed from viewing platform). Also Hobby briefly before chased off by Crows and numerous Sedge Warblers, Blackcap, Reed Warblers, Cetti's Warblers, Reed Buntings, Whimbrel and Lapwing.

[Barry Rankine]

Simon Thurgood also went here a little later today, and saw three Hobbies.

East Devon Commons - Black Hill Quarry area

1800-1830 this evening, Sunday, a Cuckoo calling for over 20 minutes in the area of Fryingpans and to the east of the quarry lake- grid square SY0385 First heard it very briefly a week ago in same area - again in the early evening.
Mallard with fledglings, Little Grebe, and 3 Tufted Duck on the lake.

Berry Head

Relatively quiet this morning with clearing weather but a steady trickle of Manx moving south.Bill Macdonald watched from 5.15 am, myself and Jacob Woods from 7.00-9.00. Total 175 Manx, 1 Scoter, 1 diver sp.


Mudbank - early morning - fw bonaparte's gull until 0830 at least, 1 little tern, 1 slavonian grebe, 2fs mediterranean gull, 2 great crested grebe, 12 turnstone, 3 ringed plover, 3 dunlin, 2+fs common gull, c15+ sandwich tern, 1 'commic' tern, 5 brent goose, 1+ bar-tailed godwit and several whimbrel.

The lower (awful) photo is of a bird that initially looked for all the world like an adult-type glauc as it flew downriver apparently dwarfing adjacent herrings. I got a better look of it off Shelly Beach where it looked far more like a white-winged herring gull!