Saturday, 11 June 2011


Gentle stroll down Torcross line this afternoon. On the sea just off Torcross surprised to see a female Tufted Duck swimming north with a brood of 9 young which included a yellow individual which i guess must have been a wayward mallard duckling. Better start having diving lessons.

Bowcombe Creek

Two 1st summer Mediterranean Gulls (one quite advanced, with brighter bill and more black hood than the other). Also three Egyptian Geese and a Bullfinch feeding young.

Exminster Marshes

After almost a two week break I visited the marshes this morning. Although some of the pools are looking dry there are still areas of open water. Family groups of recently fledged whitethroats, reed and sedge warblers and great and blue tits suggests a good nesting season so far. Several groups of young swallows were mixing with house martins. A singing willow warbler is a little unusual. A single barnacle goose with 12 Canada geese and four greylags completed the exotics.

Friday, 10 June 2011

English Channel 30+nm SSE off Start Point

Good birds around the boat today, which may bode well for the blow arriving on Sunday! Highlight a Sabine's Gull (presumed first summer, lacking full black head and yellow bill tip of adult), an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 50+ European Storm-petrels, 2 Bonxies. Surprisingly the most numerous gulls were 1oo+ Lesser Black-backed (mostly adults - failed or non-breeders?), with a handful of Herring and Great Black-backed .

Warren House Area

Looking for Bumblebees this morning before the rain/hail set in: 3 Bombus monticola, Grasshopper Warbler, Whinchat and 3 Cuckoo. Also a single Cordulegaster boltonii hung up in the cold. Not sure what the injury might have been due to but I can't believe it flew into something.

juv gt spotted woodpecker.

juv gt spotted woodpecker being feed by mum near Hartland forest.
by Nigel Bastin.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Clennon Valley

Drake Gadwall (moulting > eclipse) first June record at site, also 1 Ruddy Shelduck.

Rose-coloured Starling - Colyford

This is a very painful post to be writing, as it would appear the local birders have all missed out on a would be patch lifer!

This morning I got an email saying a bird that looked like a Magpie but with a pale bill was seen in Colyford near the post office on 7th June....

Early this evening, the accompanying photos were then sent to me....


The bird was also seen nearby in Orchard Close yesterday, feeding off a fat ball just outside a kitchen window! And whilst searching for it this evening, a resident came out and kindly informed us that he had also seen it; he watched it walking around his front lawn on Tuesday!

Fingers crossed it's still there...

Thurlestone Bay

late pm went looking for Manx S none seen however time not wasted as a Great Skua flew into the Bay at 17.35 and sat on the sea , on rocks off Warren Pt- a Whimbrel and a Turnstone.

Yeaterday big movement of Gannet- 330 in 3 hrs, plus v good views of a pod of 10 Bottle nosed Dolphins feeding c150 yds offshore


Thought people would be interested in reading this blog post here...

I particularly like the video at the bottom of the page! The birds was only seen on May 27th and not since.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Turf Lock

One female Marsh Harrier seen coming in off the estuary and heading inland over the Turf locks at 11.35

[from Kevin Bainbridge]

Monday, 6 June 2011

Dawlish etc

3 Bottle Nosed Dolphins 500yds off the beach moving west at 11.07 am; also one dark phased Arctic Skua heading east.

One Red Kite over the village of Cheriton Fitzpaine this afternoon 15.32

[from Kevin Bainbridge]

Sydenham Damerel, W Devon - yesterday 5/6

Red Kite at Damerel House West Devon, near Horsebridge at about 12.30.....headed off in a north westerly direction.

[from Will Walker-Smith]

Thurlestone Bay

The 2 m garganey still on the marsh at 18.30 yesterday. No sign this am .A M Shoveler this morning,

High tide waders were 1 Sanderling, 1 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel, in the Bay 1 Sandwich Tern,14 Black H Gull

Haldon Ridge

Superb conditions today for migrant raptors. Coming in from the west were 3 Red Kites at 11:10, 11:35 and 12:10. All headed east in the direction of the Exe Estuary, losing height after crossing the ridge. Best bird was at 13:40 when a Honey-buzzard came in on the same line, climbed high after crossing the Haldon Ridge and continued east over the Exe at some altitude (obviously a migrant on the move).

Devon/Somerset Border

Red Kite over Watchford Farm between Honiton and Taunton at ST230115 at 12.30 p.m. and then drifted into Somerset over Chuchinford and Otterford Lakes.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Landkey, N Devon

Single Red Kite drifting north over Landkey at 18:10h today

[from Andy Lansdell]


A Red Kite flew low slowly over the A30, immediately south of Okehampton at precisely 1617hrs this afternoon, heading towards the town.


Two Mediterranean Gulls 2nd Summer and 1st Summer in evening roost.


Mudbank - 2015 - fs bonapartes gull (also seen 1118 heading upriver) common gull, presumed leucistic black-headed gull, 3+ mediterranean gull (2fs and at least 1 adult), 25+ sandwich tern, 2 great crested grebe and 1 brent goose still.

A Few More Details From Dartmoor..

The second email of the day - I'll let people make their own minds up....

"Hi Steve

Wow I do hope our identification is correct. We saw the bird perching on a rock, the way it held itself it reminded us of a thrush, it was a bluey grey colour with black tail feathers which really stood out from the rest of the birds colouring. We didn't think it was particularly spotty, but were a few feet away from it, the bird flew off at quite low level again as a thrush might. I would say it was the size of a song thrush, but perhaps a bit slimmer. We saw it quite clearly. If it is of any use to you the map reference on OS Explorer OL 28 was 536 853.

After looking at our bird identification books and not finding anything else similar I then researched Blue Rock Thrush on the web I am sending you a link to the bird that looked identical to the one we saw Note the black tail feathers which stood out so clearly on the bird we saw.

Keep me posted will you with your thoughts if it could have been anything else.

Look forward to hearing from you"

Exe Red Kites

A Red Kite flew East over Countess Wear this morning at 0930.

Yesterday a Red Kite flew low over Powderham Marsh and the Swan's Nest at 1230 before drifting over Exminster village and then Exeter.

Trew Wood, Hartland

Male Bullfinch, Grasshopper Warbler heard reeling

Thurlestone Bay

A very nice surprise at 8.30 am 2 m Garganey on Thurlestone marsh- still showing at 11.00. Plumage looked as though they were going into eclipse. Then at 15.00 3 Egyption Goose arrived.

A M Shoveler on South Huish marsh

An Alarming Email!!

I am writing this from my phone, so apologies for any mistakes.

I had this email drop in my inbox this afternoon. I must stress I do not know the observer, so have no idea how reliable this is. Naturally I have asked for more info...

"We were recently visiting Dartmoor, 2nd June 2011, and had climbed the lower slopes of Widgery Tor (Brat Tor on the map) when we spotted the Blue Rock Thrush, no photo I'm afraid, but since being home have researched the bird and can positively say that it was the Blue Rock Thrush. Have there been any other sightings on Dartmoor. If you need any further info please get in touch, I would be keen to know whether this bird is now coming over to England."

I thought I'd post this in case anyone was passing the area...

Exminster Village

Saturday May 4.
1 red kite north over village at 3.50 pm and 2 north together at 4.30.