Saturday, 20 August 2011

Bowling green marsh

Just a bit more detail to my earlier post, I watched the marsh from 08:15 till 13:45 and started with the 3 juv ruff and 14 knot and at least 5 yellow wagtails and 1 avocet. Then just before 11:00 Mark saw a BITTERN flying it disappeared before anyone could see it but a few minutes later it flew again over the reeds on the far bank to the delight of all in the hide before droping down into the reeds. The rain was pouring down but still the good birds came a water rail showed briefly on and off and a sparrowhawk and peregrine both swooped low over the marsh.

The final total of over 40 species for the day also included 2 green sandpiper, 20+ Dunlin, 2 whimbrel, 15 greenshank, 6 bar tailed godwits, 1 adult Mediterranean gull,30 little egrets 1 male gadwall.

On the way home stopped of at my local patch in exeter and watched the Dipper on the weir by the Mill on the exe pub to finish of a good.

Bowling Green Marsh

At least 4 yellow wagtails on marsh.

Thurlestone Bay

waders on the beach this am ( during a period of very heavy rain ):- 80 Ringed Plover, 42 Dunlin, 23 sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 1jv Wheatear, 3 Sandwich Tern.

Tstn Marsh this pm- 1 Yellow wagtail & 1 Swift flew over.

S M Ley- 1 Hobby, 5 Yellow Wagtail

Quieter morn for the ringing team - 27 Sedge, 14 Reed , 8 Willow, 1 Groppa, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff


Orcombe pt - 4 knot, ad med gull, 4 pied wag, 4 tree pipit, 1+ willow warbler, 7+ whitethroat, 2+ blackcap, 1 wheatear, 1 grasshopper warbler and 1 swift.
Mudbank - 6 wigeon, 4 redshank, 5 knot, 1 ad med gull, 5 little tern, c30+ sandwich tern, juv peregrine, 1 dunlin and juv yellow-legged gull. The small group of little terns was attacked by the juv peregrine - not sure of the final outcome but one bird was repeatedly dive-bombed.

Axe Estuary

A two hour tour of duty as the Tower Hide's resident 'expert' this afternoon produced a nice highlight in the shape of this pristine juv Pintail which dropped in with a flight of Mallard...

Other entertainment was provided by a Whimbrel, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, a fleeting Kingfisher, 3 distant Wood Sandpipers in front of the BHM Island Hide and a steady stream of 'Wet & Wild Weekend' punters - a praiseworthy endeavour by the EDDC Countryside team.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay. ( 08:30-09:30, high tide ).

Teal, Turnstone, 4 Whimbrel and 3 adult Med Gulls.

Beer Cemetery fields - This Morning

2 Spotted Flycatchers, 11 Blackcaps, 6 Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Tree Pipits & on the wires & overhead, 46 House Martins, 35 Swallows & a Swift.

Prawle Friday

Quick trip down Pigs Nose valley produced a juv Cuckoo, 6 Swift over, 30 Sand Martin and 2 Yellow Wagtails.

Bowling green marsh

Bittern seen in flight over reeds on far bank from hide
At 11:00 also 3 juv ruff 14+ knot 2 green sandpiper and 1 avocet


First signs of migration: 5 Tree Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail, one Hobby and a Common Sand. Precious little else though with just a few Chiffs and small numbers of Hirundines.

A Jersey Tiger from the garden

Friday, 19 August 2011

Bowlig Green Marsh

A good days birding at bowling green marsh today from 08:45 to 11:45 arrived at the hide and first bird seen were 3 juv Ruff in with several Knots not a bad start  to the day which got even better at 09:40 when 2 AVOCET circled the marsh and settled for a few moments before flying off to the south but  they returned about 15 minutes later giving excellent views.
Other counts today included
15 + Knot 1in full summer plumage
3 Ringed Plover
3 Green Sandpipers
15+ Greenshank
7 Bar tailed godwits
25+ Little egrets
6 Whimbrel
There were large numbers of Black tailed godwits no count done today but 450+  earlier in week

Other highlights this week were Juv Wood sandpiper on Wednesday morning.

Thursday morning 1juv ruff  with 17 knot, 3 yellow wagtails, 1 wheatear all from the hide and a Wood Warbler in the trees to the right of the viewing platform.

Peverell, Plymouth

Swift over house for third day today. With seven on Tuesday. Thought they had gone.

Black Hole Marsh / Colyford Common

This evening...

More waders than I've seen of late - at least 29 Dunlin, 2 Ringed plovers, 13 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Green Sandpipers, 3 Wood Sandpipers, 3 Greenshanks, a Knot, and a Common Sand or three.

Bradiford Reserve

A quick look in this afternoon showed a couple of Green Sandpipers.

Thurlestone Bay

Sunshine means disturbance- totally different today

AJL had 36 Sanderling, 29 Dunlin , 7 Ringed Plover, 1 Sandwich Tern on /off the beach.

South H Marsh and field - 7 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Wheatear, 9 Teal, 3 raven, 2 dunlin.

Tstn Marsh - Bob B had a Whinchat, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Green sandpiper, 2 Swift over,.

Ringing team had another successful day - 28 Sedge, 14 Reed, 2 Groppa, 2 Willow, 1 garden, 1 Blackcap

Headon Down, Cornwood

3 wheatears, 2 whinchats, 1 redstart.

Stacks of graylings.

Instow to Isley marsh at high tide (9.45 -11.00)

A single little Owl was showing well in the open barn and there were around 100 Oystercatcher on the black rocks at Instow.  Just a few Dunlin, Knot and Ringed Plovers on the small beach between the Instow Jetty and the old Power station water outlet, what birds there was were put up by a steady stream of dogs, a few owner's were even throwing balls into the water for the dogs to go and retrieve, I guess this was just to make sure that all the birds were disturbed !!!!. I counted just 8 Little Egret roosting on Isley Marsh together with a few Curlew.   I did manage to get a few snaps in between dodging the dogs..

Powderham corner, Exe Estuary

I didn't judge the tides correctly and arrived at 9.00 to find the tide very high and subsequently few waders. Those that did remain included 61 black-tails, 1 curlew and 3 dunlin. However 2 avocets flew north calling with a single shelduck. This is quite an early date.
In the adjacent fields were 2 wheatears, 4 pied wagtails and a yellow wagtail was heard but not located. 6 ravens flew over.
At least 36 little egrets were roosting across the estuary at the end of the garden to the south of the Goat Walk, Topsham.
Also of interest were the number and variety of birds in the large Powderham Oak on the road side just to the east of the church. I counted nuthatches (3+), treecreepers (3+), great tits, long-tailed tits and blue tits.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Lower Tamar Lake

A walk at Lower Tamar Lake today revealed:-
2 Common Sandpipers.
10 Mute Swans
9+Great Crested Grebes plus 4 stripey half grown young
3 Little Grebes
34 Coot    4 Moorhen
1 female Bullfinch, 2 Blackcaps and several Willow/Chiffs calling
20+ Swallows
Of interest:  The contractors have today completed the establishment of a wetland area in front of the hide on the Lower Lake with scrapes and shallow lagoons plus areas of wet mud - hopefully more waders will be attracted this year than the past few rather poor years.
Also, the paths and access on the eastern side have just been upgraded so birders may use this side of the lake without the need to wear total mud protection!
[from Harvey Kendall]


There were no gulls on the sea or beach but there were 16 Ringed plovers and a single sanderling feeding on the shore.

Thurlestone Bay

Quieter this pm - bay covered from 15.30- 18.15. Additional birds logged :-

Sanderling 30, Ringed Plover 21, Dunlin 4 , Yellow Wagtail 5, Wheatear 9. Also 3 Swift, 1 White Wagtail, at least 100 House Martin.

Bob B managed to put one net up at S M Ley 7.30- 9.00 ringed 5 Sedge, 2 Reed, 2Willow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap

With this afternoons birds the Ringed Plover total of 184 is probably an autumn record, the Wheatear total at 40 must be close as well

Exminster Marshes

A visit after the rain and after lunch found most birds on the lagoon including 4 little grebes, 31 teal, c60 coot, 2 wigeon and one common sandpiper. 4 snipe flew over the marshes and 3 waders flew over the lagoon but did not land and continued north; one was a greenshank, another a wood sandpiper and the third was possibly a ruff.
A few chiffchaffs in the canal-side trees were the only warblers seen. A group of reed buntings (c8) suggests a good breeding season. 4 ravens flew over head (10 seen a week ago). A steady flow of sand martins flying over the canal.

Thurlestone Bay

Another fantastic morning - one of those days that will never be forgotten , visable wader migration over South Huish Marsh small flocks of waders coming in off the sea and mostly flying straight up the valley. Spent from 09.15-13.00 rooted to the small mound at the side of the cafe- Final totals were :-

163 Ringed Plover ( largest flock 28 ), 16 Dunlin, 3 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 1 Green Sandpiper. At 12.00 a Greenshank & a Ruff arrived together ,landed on the marsh ,at 12.15 flew off up the valley together -first Ruff of the year . Then at 12.25 it just got better -5 Little Tern flew in and again straight up the valley.
During the morning in the field atotal of 31 Wheatear , 6 Yellow Wagtail &20 Meadow Pipit moved thru. 12 Teal on the marsh .1 Teal flew east at sea, finally a jv Med Gull.

At 07.30 a jv Marsh Harrier over Thurlestone Marsh which held 175 Mallard ( abig increase over the last few days ) 4 Teal.

Off back to see if any waders on Yarmer beach will post later

Exmouth and BGM

Orcombe Point -1100 - 45 mins in and around the 'dung' field produced 8+ whitethroat, 2+ phyllosc sp, 3 yellow wagtail, 1+ blackcap, 1 grasshopper warbler, ringed plover, 1 grey wagtail, 1 tree pipit, 3+ swift and 100+ hirundine sp. Would have been on Orcombe earlier were it not for heavy rain which clearly did the trick and grounded migrants.
Mudbank - 1915 - med gull (ad + juv), 2 little tern, c100+ sandwich tern and c10+ common tern.
Earlier, Bowling green Marsh - 0810 - 16 lapwing, 5 wigeon, 2 green sand, 13 dunlin, wheatear, 25+ pied wag, 2 yellow wag, 15 greenshank, 15+ knot, ringed plover, 6+ barwit, 6 whimbrel, 3 sandwich tern and juv ruff amongst good numbers of other stuff.

Velator to Crossbanks, Braunton Marsh and Horsey Island.

07:20 - 09:30

Velator Weir and Quay.
4 Grey Wagtail; 1 Little Egret and 2 Common Sandpiper.

Toll House.
3 Mediterranean Gulls including Polish ringed bird PHJ6. Ringed 20/05/2007 and sighted at Instow on 18/07/2009.
2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Common Gull.

Horsey Island.
12 Greenshank; 1 Little Grebe; 3 Little Egret; 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Water Rail.

R.Caen by the airfield approach lights.
2 Dunlin and 1 Common Sandpiper.

Braunton Marsh.
1 Kestrel; 1 Kingfisher and 1 Wheatear.

Generally, numerous Grey Herons around and telephone lines along the Toll Road dripping with Swallows.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Beer Cemetery fields & Blackhole Marsh this evening.

This evening in the fields behind Beer Cemetery there were - 2 Redstarts, 1 Spotted flycatcher, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats & a Willow Warbler, there was also a Redstart on August 6th & a Whinchat on July 27th.

At Blackhole Marsh this evening there were 3 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Greenshank, 9 Dunlin, 4 Black T Godwits, 5 Common Sandpipers & a Wheatear.

Thurlestone Bay

Another good morning for waders on the beach 09.00-11.00

58 Ringed plover,16 Dunlin, 10 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone, 2 Whimbrel & 4jv Knot- latter is probably a site record usually only singles on a very few days a year.

Thurlestone marsh- 2 Green Sandpiper, 3 Water Rail, 8 Teal

South H Marsh- 5 Wheatear, 40 House martin, 10 Sand martin

The ringing team managed to get a couple of hours in before the rain took over, managed to ring - 27 Sedge, 6 Reed, 20 Willow (inc 1 Grey bird could be one of the sub species ) 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Garden

Dawlish Warren

Some of the birds at the Warren this morning.

R.Taw at Barnstaple.


Between the Tarka Trail swing bridge and the Taw Bridge.

From c50 a few days ago to c500 Honkers (Canada Geese) in last a few days!

Where have they all come from?

Exminster Aquatic

No further sign up to 11:45 this morning.

Yellow Wags = Autumn Proper

Nine Yellow Wags on the Tesco building site behind Riverside Workshops, Seaton. They circled over town and then dropped back down on to the fields south of Seaton Marshes.

Exminster Marshes

Little excitement until an immature Aquatic Warbler appeared at 9.15. South of the canal side car park to the west of the cycle track almost opposite the fourth speed bump. The bird sat on top of a few reed stems before vanishing into the undergrowth.
Whilst waiting for it to reappear one wood sandpiper flew over and landed on the edge of the lagoon. A single snipe flew towards the estuary. On the lagoon the number of coots had risen to 60.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Skern, Northam Burrows.

07:00 - 08:20

Although it was dull, drab and drizzling at high tide, there was no wind and the water was like a millpond.

15 Great-black-backed Gulls; c50 Curlew; c20 Oystercatcher; c50 Black-headed Gulls and not one Med among them.
The Dark-bellied Brent Goose was still there and only small nos of waders.

2 Redshank (one was very light in colour); 2 Knot; 1 Dunlin; 1 Turnstone and a single Little Egret.

At 07:50 5 Sandwich Terns paid a fleeting visit in the bay off the Skern but were soon off over the Burrows.

Thurlestone Bay

Poor viz this morning esp during the periods of drizzle- Spent the first hour going thru the waders on Yarmer beach =-58 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin, 1 jv Knot ( first returning bird ) & 1 Little Stint (first of the year )

Only a light sea movement up to 12.30 - 44 gannet, 8 Manx S'water, 2 Kittiwake (1 jv ) 3 Sandwich Tern, 5 Fulmar, 1 Bonxie

Berry Hd

Seawatching 0600-1300hrs:
53 Pomarine Skuas of mixed ages most with short spooned tailed but several with full spoons, largest single group 8 (remarkable passage for Aug), 31 Arctic Skua, 21 Bonxie, 66 Balearic Shearwaters (including a very white undersided bird, structurally spot on for Balearic but white even extended thinly between the legs), 402 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Little Gull, 721 Kittiwake (inc 61 juvs), 39 Common Tern, 5 Sandwich Tern, 748 Gannets, 24 Fulmar. 22 Common Scoter and Harbour Porpoise. ML, MD & DMN
Immature (not always easy to age but 1st summer left, and a trickier 2nd perhaps 3rd summer on right - difficult to work out what is going on in the underwing coverts! ML) Pomarine Skuas. MD

Marsh Harrier (while driving home) being mobbed by gulls heading west low over Tweenaways at 14:45, could not refind it for a photo! MD

Monday, 15 August 2011

Bits and Bobs

Bit of late news from last Saturday 13/8 - 100+ Wheatears on the W coast of Lundy [from Tim Clyburn]

And from yesterday...

A lovely single Grey Plover in breeding plumage on the river side of Isley Marsh this afternoon. Loads of Curlew, Oyster Catcher, Little Egret a single Common Sand & Bar Tailed Godwit. [from John Towers]

East Soar, Sunday am, 2 Tree Pipit, Wheatear, Sand Martin, Willow Warblers.  Called in at Thurlestone/S milton on return, the attached photo shows very juv Wheatear feeding behind beach cafe [from Dave Norman]

And today...

Two redhead goosander at north end of Avon Dam Reservoir, late morning. [from Rob Macklin]

Thurlestone Bay

Waders in the Bay at high tide-07.50 70 Ringed Plover ( highest count this year ), 8 Dunlin, 2 Turnstone, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel.

A TreePipit by the coast path - Bob B had 2 fly over.
Thurlestone marsh - Bob B ringed 29 Sedge. Also this morning 4 Teal & 3 Gadwall were new arrivals. A Swift flew thru.

Blackhole Marsh - Seaton

Good views of Wood Sandpipers and a Little Stint

14/08/11 - English Channel

Yesterday from a fishing boat.
About 11nm off Start Point one Sooty Shearwater and 3 European Storm-petrels otherwise pretty quiet.

Heading back, about 1nm off Dartmouth large feeding frenzy of Gannets with c1000 Manx Shearwaters (no Balearics seen) and a couple of Bonxies.

Instow. The Black Ground.

07:05 - 08:30

17 Mediterranean Gulls; 16 Turnstone; 107 Ringed Plover; 33 Dunlin and
5 Common Gulls.

All the waders were on the foreshore between the Cricket Ground and Fuel Jetty.

Polish Med Gull PAH4 back from trip up river to Barnstaple.

Clennon Valley

A new brood of Tufted Ducks on middle pond and several of Jersey Tigers including these two in the garden (one rescued from a spiders web but not looking good!)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Colyford Common / Blackhole Marsh, Seaton, 17.30 - 19.00

5 Wood Sandpipers, 1 Little Stint, 2 Greenshank, 8 Green Sandpipers, 6 Common Sandpipers, 10 Dunlin, 6 Ringed plover, 2 Whimbrel on the scrapes & Lagoon, & 2 swifts overhead.

N.W Dartmoor - Upper Lyd and Doe Tor Farm

An early evening visit in pleasant, sunny conditions with some cloud and a NW breeze; good to find that Stonechats have had an excellent breeding season at this location - minimum 5 family groups, and we saw at least 25 birds; Whinchat family, Hobby, male Redstart & 7 Ravens (or more). No sign of Wheatear.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Geese Quarries - Charleton Marsh, 13:00-16:45, rising tide.
Nice bit of sunshine but the bright conditions and a strong wind made viewing difficult. 3 Little Grebes in Frogmore Creek were a bit early, bit of a mystery where the wintering birds on the local estuaries come from, perhaps these from not far away. Also in Frogmore Creek about a hundred Herring Gulls plus one that was looking a good candidate for a juv Yellow-legged. At this point the Lord said 'Perry, stop trying to make out like you're a Larophile', and sent a female Marsh Harrier overhead scattering them all ways. At least 6 Med Gulls ( 5 adults and a third calender year bird ) were around. Out on the mudflats in Charleton Bay were 150 Curlew, at least 3 Whimbrel, 10 Dunlin, 65 Ringed Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Also 6 Sandwich Terns and a Peregrine here. The marsh itself was quiet except for 2 Green Sandpipers.

Thurlestone Bay

Waders on the beach / marsh this am - 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Wheatear in the field behind the cafe

The ringing team really took the accolades today, after a night with some moon the warblers made for T Marsh & S M Ley totals were:-

Sedge 142 ( + 2 Controls - one English & 1 French ) , Reed 20, Whitethroat 7, Willow 25, Chiffchaff 11, Groppa 1., Blackcap 1 And a first for the year a Lesser Whitethroat. The Sedge total is a new site daily record.

Just shows the value of having a ringing team , if I had walked both sites this am my total of Sedge would have been less than 10 and I would have come away well pleased !

Prawle this weekend

This Sanderling was the only wader of note from this morning's WeBS count.

Other birds today included a Snipe flying west (first of the autumn), 3 Swifts and 2 Sand Martins with an ever increasing gathering of House Martins and Swallows, numbering several hundred of each by early afternoon, a Wheatear, 2 Meadow Pipits (also the first of the autumn), 30 Whitethroats, 8 Blackcaps, 2 Sedge Warblers, 16 Willow Warblers, but just 6 Chiffchaffs today.

Saturday 13/8; Seawatching from 06.00 - 10.00 produced c750 Gannets, 110 Manx and 8 Balearic Shearwaters, 28 Common Scoters, Curlew, 2 Whimbrel, 4 each of Great and Arctic Skuas, 78 Kittiwakes and 2 Puffins. Elsewhere, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the airfields, and other other birds today included a Hobby, 11 Swifts, 3 Wheatears, Redstart, 2 Sedge Warblers, 30 Whitethroats, 8 Blackcaps, 6 Willow Warblers and 24 Chiffchaffs.