Saturday, 27 August 2011

Exe Estuary

An Osprey over the Exe Estuary viewable from Powderham Corner between 4.20 and 4.40 and last seen heading towards Starcross. Also a large flock of Ringed Plover and Dunlin with 2 Sanderling on the incoming tide.

Cory's shearwater

Crossing by ferry from Brittany to Plymouth, about a mile of Plymouth there was a single Cory's shearwater flew past the boat. There was also a bonxie, balearic shearwater and about 15+ manxie's.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay ( 08:30-10;00, falling tide ).

221 Canada Geese, 3 Teal, 5 Whimbrel, 63 Dunlin, 19 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, Greenshank, Knot, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Mediterranean Gull ( 6 adult, 2 juvs/fw, sw ), Arctic Tern ( adult ), Kingfisher.

Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham

4 curlew sands, 7 ruff, 13 greenshank, 8 ringed plover, 10 knot, 1 whimbrel, 1 common sand, 1 green sand, 3 avocets, 1 poss 2 spotted redshank (1 on marsh then 1 later from viewing platform flew in with redshanks), 14 shoveler.
From the viewing platform,1 summer plumage barwit, osprey and kingfisher. Plenty of black wit, curlew and sand martins.
Little stint reported before 7.15 a.m. by visiting birder but no further sign by 11.15.

(with thanks to Keith).

Great Shearwater photos off S Devon

Some photos of Great Shearwater. Yesterday I saw two different birds from a fishing boat and managed to pull one in close by quickly throwing over some chum, giving views down to 10ft! First bird was 20nm south of Start Point, second bird was 13nm south of Start.

Great Shearwater ©Mark Darlaston

Bradiford Reserve

up to 09:15; even with 4 pairs of eyes looking; no sign of the Bittern reported y/day on Birdguides.

6 Teal present and a few Moorhen and young.

08:50. 1 Curlew Sandpiper on the foreshore by the "wheelbarrow" plus 9 Bar-tailed Godwits.


A quick scoot around this morning before taking eight 6-8 yr olds to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 - wish me luck!
Mudbank - 0800 - 8 'commic' tern, juv/fw yellow-legged gull, 38+ wigeon, pintail (present since 25/8), 8+ teal, 24+ little egret, black tern, 1 black-tailed godwit, 3 turnstone, 2 sanderling and 1 grey wagtail.
Maer Rocks - 2 juv ruff, 26 knot (photo), ad mediterranean gull (5 ad present on 25/8).
Orcombe point ('dung' field) - grasshopper warbler - this tiny field is very good for this species with several records in the last few years. This is probably the third in just over a week although I can't prove it's not all the same bird.

pm update - Orcombe Point again this afternoon produced yellow wagtail, 4 wheatear and an osprey (photo) at 1440 following the coast west out into Dawlish Bay before swinging around north towards the Exe estuary, presumably straight over the Warren.

Another Day, Another Year

Exactly one year since the first post on this blog. Many thanks to all contributors for helping to make Devon Bird News a site worth dropping in.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Black Hole Marsh

Late this evening: 2 Ruff, 3 Greenshanks, 2 Knot, 6 Ringed Plover, 8 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2+ Common Sandpipers, 1 Pintail, 1+ Kingfisher.

Great Shearwater - English Channel S off Start Point

From a fishing today: 2 Great Shearwaters (will post some pics tomorrow!), Sooty Shearwater, 3 Black Terns, 5 Common terns, Yellow-legged Gull juv/1w, 10+ European Storm-petrels, 3 Bonxies. Two groups of Common Dolphins.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

In very poor weather tonight, still 13 wheatear, 2 whinchat plus 2 yellow wagtails with the 50+ pied.

Bowling green marsh

Watched just from the hide today 12:15 till 17:45

A miserable day weather wise but a cracking days birding.

4 juv Curlew sandpiper showed well all afternoon and there were still 7 juv ruff including one male, a good count of 45+ knot, 2 water rail and 2 spotted redshanks.There were 3 green sandpipers around the marsh, 8+ ringed plover, 1 turnstone, 16+ greenshank, 15+ Dunlin, 3+ yellow wagtails, 30+ pied wagtails, 25+ sand Martin, 3 whimbrel, 1 sparrowhawk, 2 raven, 3 shoveler, 20+ teal, 3+ bar tailed godwit, no count done on the black tailed godwit or curlew but there was good numbers of both.

Thurlestone Bay

A very interesting day- First late news from Thurs - John King had a Marsh Tit on his feeders at 13.00- lives in Mallard Lane T'stone (first on this patch for many years.) The ringing team caught another Sanderling-weight 49g ,making 5 in 2 days . They are going to do an early morning wader catch on sat .

Because of visitors couldn't do a full wader count - Wood sandpiper still on T 'stone Marsh. At 18.00 S>H> Marsh had a jv Ruff & a Curlew S'piper ( 174 for the year )..

Ringing team - 1 jv Pied Flycatcher, 1 1st w Redstart, 8 Sedge, 4 Reed, 13 Blackcap, 1 Garden, 4 Whitethroat, 5 Willow , 1 Chiffchaff. The Pied Fly is the first ringed for 10 years.

Observed at S M Ley - 1m & 1f Redstart, 1 Spot Fly, 1 Groppa

2 Grey Wags and at least 6 Yellow wags

Exminster Marshes

A walk in the rain mid afternoon. Lots of birds about but most only offering a fleeting glimpse. Along the railway path - c12 chiffchaffs, 2+ whitethroats, 1+ blackcap, a couple of reed warblers and a redstart.
At Turf a juv. osprey flew very close giving excellent views at 4.05 pm. Also in that vicinity were 1 greenshank, 2 redshanks, 1 turnstone, 1 sedge warbler, 1 kingfisher and 3 black-tailed godwits. Two flocks of dunlin and ringed plovers flew south (total birds c50).
Not much else on the canal apart from another blackcap, 1 sedge warbler and a few chiffchaffs.
Its encouraging to see the shallow pools beginning to hold water.

Bowling green marsh

4 juv curlew sandpiper 7 juv ruff and 2 water rail

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Black Hole Marsh

Some photos taken today by Alick Simmons...

 Wood Sandpiper - one of three


Little Stint


Prawle Point 0800-1400 25/08/11
Melodious Warbler, 1 still in the same place in Pig's Nose Valley.
Reed warbler, 1 in the Melodious' hedge!
Whinchat, 1
Redstart, 1
Wheatear, 6
Spotted Flycatcher, 3
Yellow Wagtail, 2+
Fewer common migrants than of late.

[from Paul Holmes]

Kingsbridge Estuary

The best of on the falling tide this evening, Med Gull 2 (adW 1W) Arctic Tern 5(adS, 4x1S) up from 2 last night, Turnstone 6, On the shingle beach Charleton Bay were Ringed Plover C.30, Dunlin C.50 but v distant!

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

A remarkable 25 wheatears this evening along with 4 whinchats and a hobby.

Thurlestone Bay

Big reduction in the number of waders today - there were less people on the beaches so I don't think it was disterbance. - On the beaches at high tide 22 Ringed Plover, 1 dunlin, 16 Sanderling.

Did 3hr sea watch from 13.30 -disappointing results - 75 Gannet, 5 manx S'water ( all singles ) 1 Bonxie , 1 Common Tern all east.

More interesting records were from my garden this morning - 4 blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, ,1 jv Lesser Whitethroat , 1 jv Redstart ( both are garden ticks ) 4 Willow , 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 8 Sand Martin, 1 Wood & 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Snipe & 1 Black T Godwit

Ringing team- 16 Sedge, 12 Willow, 9 Reed , 4 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Groppa , 1 Whinchat. 1 Redstart on S M ley.

They also ringed 2 Sanderling on Leasfoot beach- these 2 weighed 43g & 48g.After 7 in 40 years we now have 4 in 2 days

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 10:45 till 16:20 spent the day between the hide and the viewing platform. The highlight being the arrival of 5 more juv ruff over night.

From hide
8 juv ruff, 2 ringed plover, 25 greenshank, 1 avocet, 3 yellow wagtails,
15+ Dunlin, 31 knot, 1 green sandpiper

From viewing platform
47+ knot, 1 common sandpiper, 1 sanderling, 1 sparrowhawk, 100+ redshank, 6+ greenshank

Fremington Quay 12:00

Only birds of note were three Bar-tailed Godwits plus a Curlew that was so tired it was yawning !!!!!
Counted 60 Redshank in the Pill.


Tarka Trail Swing Bridge, Barnstaple.


Flight of 12 Common Sandpipers swirling around by the bridge, disappearing down river.

Also 8 Bar-tailed Godwit off Pottington Ind Est.

Berry Head

Seawatch 10:30-13:00, a bit too sunny but at least a brisk S/SW wind: huge number of gulls feeding out in Lyme Bay with the odd Bonxie and Arctic Skua harassing them, otherwise a few Manx a distant Sooty, a closer Black Tern and several distant 'commic' terns. Strange to get no Balearic shearwaters on this ideal wind in what is proving to be a very poor summer for them so far.

Ringing at Velator

In the past few days I've ringed 128 Swallows at the reserve. Nearly all juveniles, but two of the adult females had brood patches!

Bowling green marsh

8 juv ruff in front of hide 7 fem and 1 male

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Dawlish Warren

An Arctic Skua in the estuary early evening. Also present: 2 wheatear, at least 4 Whimbrel and a little stint.

[from Steve Thorpe]

Start Point

Seawatch 12:30-16:30: 4 Balearic , 3 Sooty and 113 Manx Shearwaters, and 20 Common Terns. Also in the field with cattle opposite Start Farm 22 Yellow Wagtails.

Thurlestone Bay

Another memorable wader day- totals on the beaches & the marshes were:- 85 Ringed Plover, 33 Sanderling, 45 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 1 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 1 Little Stint, 1 Wood sandpiper , 1 Snipe, 3 Black T Godwit ( first record of more than 1 this year ) -This makes 15 species inthe last 2 days.

Roger Short has been extending his ringing activities to try for waders- 2hrs this aft resulted in 2 Sanderling caught on Leasfoot beach- one weighed 77 g the other only 40g - looking thru Devon bird reports 2004 states only 7 had been ringed since 1971( none listed since ) They were also a new species for him - well done Roger.

Early this am Bob B had a flock oe 40 Yellow Wags with cattle in a field adjacent to S M Ley., with 2 Whinchat . The ringing team had 30 Sedge, 7 Reed., 6 Willow, 10 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 garden , 1 Groppa.

High land of Orcombe, Exmouth

A mid morning walk around the fields produced 1 Hobby, 1 Sparrow Hawk, 1 Buzzard, 4 Wheatear and 23 Yellow Wagtail (the latter feeding under feet of cattle but flew off west after disturbance by Sparrow Hawk,
also 2 Whimbrel on mud flats off Mudbank Lane.

Charleton Marsh, Kingsbridge Estuary

Late afternoon 33 little egrets at high tide.

Soar Valley

Very quiet, just hobby and two wheatears.

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide and viewing platform between 10:45 and 15:15

From the hide
1 spotted redshank in full winter plumage
1 water rail, 30+ ringed plover, 70+ Dunlin 17+ greenshank,3 juv ruff,8 yellow wagtails and 1 wheatear, 2 green sandpipers, 1 common sandpiper, 1 little grebe, 25+ pied wagtails

From viewing platform
1 avocet, 36+ knot at 13:30 the juv OSPREY flew across the river towards starcross then up river towards turf so went around to goat walk and got great views as it attempted at least 7 times to catch a fish then success and with it's catch it headed off over towards turf.

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est and Bradiford Reserve

08:00 - 09:30

1 Black-tailed Godwit; 10 Bar-tailed Godwit; 1 Kingfisher; 1 Gadwall and
1 stripey head, juvenile Great Crested Grebe.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Early morning dog walk produced 7 wheatears, 3 whinchat (patch tick), 2 whitethroat, 4 stock doves, 2 ravens and an increase in meadow pipits to 12. Plenty of pied wags on the dung heap but no yellows.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay ( 18:15-20:30 )
16 Teal, 3 Gadwall, Greenshank, 3 Turnstone, 80 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin.


Prawle area 12:30 – 17:00 23.8.11

Pig’s Nose Valley

Melodious Warbler showed between 1:20pm and 1:45pm in afternoon sunshine in sallows at the back of the field at the top of Pig’s Nose Valley. Viewed from gate with "Caution stallions bite" sign on it. It then disappeared and was not seen again by 5:00pm at least.

Also in valley …..

1 Pied Flycatcher, 4+ Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Wheatear, 2 Sedge Warbler,4 Blackcap, 30+ Willow Warbler, 15+ Chiffchaff, 1 Hobby over chasing Swallow

Prawle Point

1 Whinchat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Yellow Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail, 15+ Whitethroat

[from Luke Harman]

Bideford & Barnstaple Bay

Osprey flying south this morning across Bideford & Barnstaple Bay.
(Rob Jutsum)

Thurlestone Bay

Waders to the fore today - totals on the beaches and the 2 marshes ( AJL did the Yarmer Beach count )

Ringed Plover - 125, Oystercatcher 39, Knot 2jv, Redshank 1, Green Sandpiper 6 , Wood Sandpiper 1, Curlew 2 ., Whimbrel 2 , Greenshank 1 , Snipe 1, Sanderling 12 , Dunlin 17, Turnstone 1 . A long time since we had 13 species in a day.

Mallard on the marshes 250 + & 24 Teal. 19 Wheatear , 15 Yellow Wagtail , 2 Whinchat

Ringing only late pm still produced - 8 Sedge, 6 Reed , 3 Willow

Bowling green marsh

A very quiet day from the hide 09:45 till 10:50 the 3 juv ruff showed well again with 3 green sandpipers, 9 ringed plover, 5 yellow wagtails so decided to take a look from the viewing platform for an hour 110 ringed plover 10 sanderling, 15+ greenshank, 1 common sandpiper and 120+ redshank.

Walked back to the hide for the high tide 2 ravens came in and harassed the buzzard which was feeding on a rabbit and yellow wagtail count was upto 7.

On the droping tide from the viewing platform from 14:00 till 16:00
3 grey plover and 21 knot and the ringed plover still. Then at 14:50 16+ little egrets flew into view to the right of the platform and there it was a juv OSPPREY flying it attempted to fish a couple of times but failed and was seen heading towards goat walk. Finally a juv mediterranean gull.

Bowling Green Marsh

Highlights today from the hide - Three Ruff, juvenile Yellow Wagtails and a brief showing of an Osprey from the platform.


14:50 osprey from viewing platform at bowling green marsh seen flying towards goat walk


Orcombe Point - 0645 - 10 knot, 2 turnstone, 1 grey wag, 6+ wheatear, 1+ tree pipit, 4+blackcap, c5+ whitethroat and 60+ yellow wagtail in with the cattle.
Mudbank - good wader numbers with c100+ ringed plover, 18+ sanderling, 1 grey plover, 1 greenshank, 5+ turnstone, 8 bar-tailed godwit, 13+ knot, c30+ dunlin. Also 15 wigeon, 4+teal, 1 tree pipit and 1+ yellow wagtail.
Woodbury Common - 10+ crossbill.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Prawle Melodious Warbler

Record shot of the Melodious Warbler in Pig's Nose Valley. Extremely elusive - much patience is required!

Dartmoor - yesterday 21/8

West Dart River Near Huccaby Tor: 1 Redstart (male)

From B3212 near Sharpitor just after dusk: 1 Nightjar hawking for insects over road, seen in car headlights.

[from Tom Forster]


Pig's Nose Valley, Prawle Point 0800-1700 22/08/11
Melodious Warbler, 1 in same place as yesterday off and on but mainly off!
Willow Warbler, Ca 50
Chiffchaff, Ca 15
Sedge Warbler, 1
Whitethroat, Ca 40
Blackcap, Ca 12
Common Redstart, 2
Wheatear, 4
Spotted Flycatcher, 6
[from Paul Holmes]

Thurlestone Bay

Waders on the beach this am - 76 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 18 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone 1 Redshank ( only3rd record this year )2 Wheatear.

At 10.45 gulls announced an intruder- An Osprey flew over the Golfcourse and then car park & up S M Ley valley

South Huish marsh -20 Teal, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 jv Whinchat.

Thurlestone Marsh - 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Swlit , , this eve at least 15 Willow Warbler moving thru.

Ringing team- late news from Sunday - 22 Reed Wblr, 96 Swallow, 1 Sand Martin

Today- 42 Sedge, 8 Reed , 8 Willow., 2 Groppa, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff


Orcombe Point - 0600 - good this morning (for Orcombe) - 3 tree pipit, c20+ yellow wagtail, 2 sedge warbler, 10+ whitethroat, 5+ blackcap, green sandpiper, 11+ willow warbler, 7 swift, 2 wheatear, 2 grey wagtail. Also of note, yesterday a barn owl found dead on private land next to the sewage works.

Slade, Cornwood

2 spotted flycatchers late afternoon - migrants.

Dawlish Warren

High tide at the point:

c.1100 Oystercatcher; 190 ringed plover; 128 dunlin; 20 sanderling; 3 golden plover;
108 great black-backed gull.

Exminster Marshes

Very dry apart from the main pool but still 3 greenshanks and a whimbrel.
72 coot on main pool plus a wigeon.

Velator reserve

A morning ringing at the reserve:
Migrants included: 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler (first this year) and 2 Kingfishers.

Bowling green marsh

09:45 till 12:45 from hide very quiet morning 3 juv ruff still showing well along with 15+ yellow wagtails and 3 green sandpipers and the water rail at 12:25 on far bank left hand side in and out of the reeds

Viewing platform 12:50 till 14:00
1 kingfisher, common sandpiper and 5 summer plumage grey plover

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Thurlestone Bay

Graham Daw did the wader count this am -108 Ringed Plover, 35 Dunlim , 25 Sanderling.

S H Marsh held 7 Yellow Wags, 1 Dunlin, 4 Wheatear.

Ringing Team- 20 Sedge , 2 Groppa.

Bob & I totalled the Sedge they had ringed since 1/6--697!-- With the early spring migrants we are now well over 700- target for the year has been increased to 1000 ( what is the Devon record ? ) We also could have a record for Groppas as well !

Instow Jetty Beach

Quite pleased to get this shot of a Little Stint in-flight at Instow yesterday (or at least I think it is a Little Stint).

Nr. Hamel Down

This morning whilst ringing a single Whimbrel overhead near Hamel Down, calling constantly - perhaps bemused by the sounds of the rave over near Fernworthy...

Bowling Green Marsh Bittern

The Bittern reported yesterday was also seen briefly on Thursday 18th August, skulking in the reeds opposite the hide.

[from Ken Flaxman]


Prawle Point 0900-1600 Hrs on 21/08/11 (today)
Melodious Warbler, 1 at top of Pig's Nose Valley in hedge behind paddock from gate with "Caution stallions bite" sign on it.  Seen at 11.50 with warbler flock, mainly whitethroats, but soon moved on.
Lesser Whitethroat, 1, same in same spot.
Whitethroat, Ca 60
Blackcap, 10
Sedge Warbler, 3
Willow Warbler, Ca 20
Chiffchaff, ca 20
Yellow Wagtail, 1 south
Sand Martin, 5 west
[from Paul Holmes]


Emsworthy Bog - mid-morning: ( new DWT reserve )

5 common redstarts; 3 wheatear.

Pudsham Down: 2 whinchat; 45 linnet

Bowling green marsh

Watched between 09:00 and 14:45
The 3 juv ruff still showing well along with 17 knot, 2 green sandpipers, 2 bearded tit put a brief appearance on far bank left hand side in the reeds. The number of yellow wagtails built up over the morning with best count of 25+ mostly juv right in front of the hide around the cows. A sparrowhawk put in 2 brief appearances not a bad morning.

Isley Marsh to the Jetty Roost.

07:30 - 09:30

Isley Marsh Reserve.

3 Redshank; 31 Ringed Plover; 39 Dunlin; 5 Knot; 36 Curlew and just 1 Little Egret.

Foreshore from Isley to the Main Jetty.

17 Oystercatcher; 6 Turnstone; 8 Curlew and 9 Redshank.

Beneath the jetty, where they broke up the Severn Stars, was a single flock of 23 Common Sandpipers. 18 was my previous best and that was along the foreshore off Pottongton Ind Est a few year ago.

On the ashbeds and the site of the old power station were just 1 Whitethroat; 1 Raven and c25 Sand Martin feeding over the generator pit pond. There were still quite a few Swallows feeding as well.

Jetty Roost 08:35

6 Curlew; 2 Bar-tailed Godwit; c150 Ringed Plover; c 100 Dunlin; 12 Turnstone; 1 Whimbrel and just 1 Little Egret. The Ringed Plover and Dunlin were on the mud between the Overflow Pond and the main roosting area.

Overflow Pond.

1 Little Grebe; 1 Kingfisher; 8 Sedge Warbler flitting around as a family flock; 5 Reed Warbler; 1 Mute Swan and 5 Mallard.

Powderham Corner, Exe Estuary

During the WeBS count this morning there were few waders, only 39 black-tails, and no waterfowl on the stretch between Turf and Powderham. There were four little terns including two juvs and one sandwich tern. A single ruff flew over and at 10.50 an osprey caught a fish (probably a mullet) off Lympstone and flew north past the Turf.

There was one wheatear on the sea-wall.

Start Point

07:00-08:30, light/farm.
Ringed Plover, 19 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Whitethroat, Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 3 Pied Flycatcher and 2 Spotted Flycatcher.