Saturday, 17 September 2011


Seawatch 06.45 - 10.15 (with John Lambert). 700+ Gannets, 61 Balearic and single Manx Shearwaters, 3 Storm Petrels, 4 Arctic Skuas, 50+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Common Tern, 9 Common Scoters and a Shoveler. (All west).

On the land, 4 Sand Martins, along with a few Swallows heading out to sea, Wheatear, Whinchat, 15+ Yellow Wagtails, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat.

(Yesterday, 16/9, Hobby).


Orcombe Point/Maer Rocks - 0640 and 1620 - 21+ yellow wagtail, 3+ wheatear, 1+ whitethroat, 5+ sand martin, 6+ arctic skua, 14+ balearic shearwater and most unusually a flock of 20 raven. Also 2 ad mediterranean gull, 28+ knot, 6 turnstone and 2s glaucous gull (1800 - Maer rocks) - see photo.

Mudbank - 7 pintail, 79 wigeon, 7 great crested grebe and 2 teal.

Yesterday - Orc pt - 11+ wheatear and 9+ skylark back in the stubble fields.

Thursday - Orc Pt - c25+ yellow wagtail, 1 stonechat, 1 wheatear and osprey high west (1855).


Report of a Grey Phalarope at Yelland roost this morning [from Andy Leat]

Kingsbridge Estuary

Curlew Drive - Charleton Marsh ( 14:00-16:40; low tide )

Spoonbill ( unringed adult, Rowden Pt., ) Marsh Harrier ( fem. marsh ), 61 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin.

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 07:00 till 09:00 from the hide

1 juv little stint , 3 juv curlew sandpiper, 250+ teal , 500+ black tailed godwit, 6 bar tailed  godwit, 45+ dunlin , 2 green sandpiper, 3 shoveler and 3 yellow wagtails early with the cattle.

Headland Warren, Dartmoor

Ad. female Ring Ouzel in berry laden hawthorn on NE slope of Challacombe Down around midday. Also 1 Wheatear and 1 Chiffchaff

No sign of Thursday's Grey Phalarope at Venford Reservoir early afternoon.

Upper Tamar Lake

Still 1 Grey Phalarope and 1 Black Tern late morning viewed from the dam. The sailing club members were active and the Phalarope did not settle for long on the water and was frequently flying around.

Edit (GH) - two Grey Phalaropes on view for at least some of this morning - very active in front of boat house. [from Neal Moss]

Plymouth Hoe

Off Plymouth Hoe yesterday, 7 Sandwich Terns (2 juvs), 2 Common Tern, 1 Arctic Tern and 1 Med Gull.

[Stephen J Turner]

Exmouth - off Shelley Beach

0800 this morning, one dark-bellied Brent Goose was amongst the Curlew flock on the midstream large sand bank. This is the first arrival of the season that I've seen, but very much on time cf the last three years.

Berry Head

Seawatch 0830-0930, relatively quiet except for 10 Balearic Shearwaters moving south out of the bay, some close range. One drifted back north, as did a juv Arctic Skua. A few wagtails ands hirundines moving south overhead and across the sea.

Budleigh Seafront

Still plenty of Balearic Shearwaters hanging around with up to 60+ in the last few days. Many very close, just 100M off-shore and birds seem to be loosely associating with the Kittiwakes of which around 150 are still present. A quick look on the sea this morning revealed at least 30+ Balearic Shearwaters and the above Kittiwake group.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Berry Head

A quick seawatch 16:30-18:30 was pretty good. Behind the first trawler coming in were 63 Balearic Shearwaters! Which sat down on the sea close off the headland, while out to sea many others were heading north. I've never seen anything like this number behind a trawler before! Mike L arrived at the top of the headland and managed to spot a fs Sabine's Gull behind another trawler which was joined by 54 Balearic Shearwaters, which went into Torbay! Also seen behind arriving trawlers c30 European Storm-petrels, ad Pomarine Skua, 6+ Arctic Skuas, 3 Bonxies, 20+ 'commic' Terns, 3 Arctic Terns, Black Tern, 10+ Common Terns.


Migrants in the Soar area this morning: lots of Wheatears - 70+ in the fields, a single Ring Ouzel in Starehole Valley plus 7 Ringed Plover, 15 Blackcap, 70+ Chiff-Chaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 11 Whitethroat, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and a Whinchat

Bowling green marsh

Early start this morning out for first light i watched from 06:45 till 09:30 from the hide first bird was a juv little stint not a bad start to the day quickly followed by a rather noisy juv spotted redshank which didn't stay around to long. As the waders came in 20+ knot and 25+ Dunlin in with them were 5 curlew sandpipers showing well before 500+ black tailed godwits came in. Other birds included 6+ bar tailed godwits, 3 whimbrel, 200+ teal, 4+ shoveler, 2 green sandpiper, 1 common sandpiper, 2 greenshank,200+ redshank and 21+ lapwing.

Seaton Area

Two Marsh Harrier reported over Colyford Marsh early afternoon today, with at least one on show at 3pm.

Beer Head this morning was quiet, with a couple of Wheatears, a few Blackcaps and Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler being the best of the grouded migrants. Offshore 8+ Balearic Shearwaters flew east, and 20+ Common Scoters flew east then back west.

Hartland Point a.m

The Wryneck reported yesterday was still in the compound by the golf ball this morning. It was at the weedy edge of one of the concrete slabs, but unfortunately spotted me first and after a brief flight disappeared into the scrub, and I was unable to locate it again.

Upper Tamar Lake Update

The two Grey Phalaropes are still present today on the Upper Tamar Lake, although more flighty and mobile than yesterday. Also 8 Black Terns and a Dunlin.

[Harvey Kendall]

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est and Bradiford Reserve

11:10 - 11:55

57 Knot; 49 Bar-tailed Godwit; 3 Black-tailed Godwit; 1 Turnstone; 75 Dunlin; 1 Kingfisher and 3 Curlew Sandpiper(11:45)

Also 1 Green Sandpiper in ditch by sewage wrks.

Berry Head

All quiet between 0830 & 1030, just two Sandwich Tern passing the headland, no sign of any shearwaters. Plenty of Chiffchaff around the site with 2 Whinchat the only birds of interest - on the srcub between the North & Southern Forts.

Thurlestone Bay

Late post relating to Thursday

As at Prawle ,passerines to the fore- 15 Chiffchaff, 4 willow , 11 Yellow wag, 1 Grey Wag , 1 Tree Pipit 6 Stonechat , 2jv Whinchat,50 Goldfinch, few Meadow Pip[it.

In the bay at 10.15 6 Balearic Shearwater watched on the sea and taking short flights, first time this has occured in the Bay -our normal views are fast flghts .

On T'stone marsh- wigeon, 2 Black T Godwit , 3 Snipe,25 Teal.

At 07.15 3 Mute Swan flew over , aborted landing approch , leaving only 2 of the cleared the overhead wires and one was electricuted.

Evening Swallow roost whilst only reaching 4000 commotion caused by the attention of 2 Hobby & a Sparrowhawk.

Bob B ringing on his own- 10 Sedge, 8 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed W , 1 Blackcap, 1 Reed Bunting

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Prawle Area

In calm and fine conditions passerine migrants on the move, best of which were 3 Ring Ouzels in Pig's Nose Valley this morning. A large build up of hirundines , several thousand, mainly Swallows over the fields around the village first thing, small parties of Skylark and Meadow Pipits going over.

Other totals: Yellow Wagtail 5, White Wagtail 2, Blackcap 34, Whitethroat 9, Chiff-Chaff 80, Willow Warbler 3 Garden Warbler, Tree Pipit, Wheatear 5, Spotted Flycatcher 4, Whinchat 3.

South Easterlies and cloud tonight....

Another Grey Phalarope

This Grey Phalarope was at the southern end of Venford Reservoir, Dartmoor, this morning.

[Nigel Pinhorn]

Upper Tamar Lake

Two Grey Phalaropes on the Upper Tamar Lake this afternoon, showing very well feeding close in under the dam wall. Also singles of Dunlin and Common Sandpiper.

[Harvey Kendall]

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Bowling Green Marsh

A Pectoral Sandpiper on Bowling Green Marsh this evening on the near bank feeding amongst Teal, viewable from the hide. Located by MW from an entry made in the logbook and still present till dusk. Also 2 Foxes on the far bank.

R. Taw, Anchor Wood Bank - Fremington Quay

Cycle ride 14:00 - 15:00, Low water so very quite.
Anchor wood Bank - 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, couple of dozen Curlew and a Peregrine (managed a quick snap)
Fremington Quay/Pill - 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and a single Greenshank in the Pill.

Exminster Marshes

What a year it has been for yellow wagtails. Some years I am lucky to see one on the marsh. This year I have lost track and today another 6 with cattle close to the canal-side car park. One was an adult female with a very pronounced supercilium.
Nearby a flock of linnets exceeded 200 and were very difficult to count. Elsewhere c8 chiffchaffs, 4+ blackcaps and a distant osprey soaring briefly with 4 buzzards.

Dawlish Warren + Bowling Green Marsh

Quiet morning at both sites. Large numbers of Oystercatchers and Curlew at Dawlish and a Spotted Redshank at BGM.

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est to Ashford.

09:55 - 11:00

Bar-tailed Godwits 102 ( 97 off Pottington with a further 5 off Ashford Sewage Wrks)
Black-tailed Godwits 3
Knot 14
Dunlin 8
Green Sandpiper 1 in the drainage ditch by sewage works
Whimbrel 1

Bowling green marsh

A quiet morning watched from the hide 07:00 till 11:00

4 juv curlew sandpiper, 2 green sandpiper, 2 common sandpiper, 550+ black tailed godwit, 8 bar tailed godwit, 1 spotted redshank, 2 knot, 180+ teal, 3+ shoveler, 3 meadow pipit, 5 greenshank 150+ redshank, 4 whimbrel.

Budleigh Seafront

There still appears to be a good number of Balearic Shearwaters off Budleigh this morning with an absolute minimum of 60+ birds sat on the sea but far out. Also a dozen or so birds flying around close in-shore. Obviously plenty of food around with 100+ Gannet feeding way off-shore along with other shearwaters too far out to id. Also 1 Arctic Skua and 2 Skua sp again far out with Gannet feeding flock.

Skern Northam burrows

Malcombe had first returning Brent Goose at this mornings high tide,also a Curlew sandpiper, wheatear, peregrine, sparrowhawk.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Exmouth + BGM

Orcombe point - 7+ wheatear, 5 white wagtail (photo) and 1 whinchat - more than expected in seemingly unfavourable conditions - top stubble fields.

Bowling Green - 1 spotted redshank, 3 juv curlew sand, c200+ teal, 6+ whimbrel, 1 green sand, 32+ dunlin and 1 ringed plover. Off the goatwalk a beautiful adult arctic tern.

Yesterday - osprey from Imperial Rec.

Thurlestone Bay

Grey Phalarope still on the lagoon by the footbridge at 17.30. On S M Marsh Whimbrel & a Ruff, 2 Wheatear

On Thurlestone marsh - 3 Black T Godwit, 3 Wigeon , 12 Teal

Berry Head

Early evening romatic stroll around Berry Head with a bonus ..... fly by Puffin heading South from the top of the Headland and a juv. Hobby low over the Northern Fort!

East Soar

35 White/Pied Wagtails - most appeared to be alba.

Also: 2 sand martin, 2 wheatear, fem.sparrowhawk, 60 carrion crow.

Very breezy!!

Bowling Green Marsh

Osprey preparing to fly away from BGM. Ring on right leg.

Bowling green marsh

Watched from hide 07:00 till 11:30

Juv osprey still showing well along with
2 juv curlew sandpipers
1 juv little ringed plover
553 black tailed godwit
8 bar tailed godwit
15+ greenshank
2 green sandpiper
1 common sandpiper
1 kingfisher
1 grey wagtail
3 knot
464 curlew
5 whimbrel
4 Dunlin
200+ redshank
151 teal
1 wigeon
4 shoveler
1 sparrowhawk
Not a bad morning

Prawle Point

06.45 to 10.45 Strong W. Visibility good though sun glare off water to SE 08.30-10.00 before more cloud.
81 Balearic Shearwater W. several wonderfully close to the point, 59 Manx Shearwater W., 25 "small" shearwater sp. W. far distance, 1 probable Sooty Shearwater E. far distance (into sun glare). 200+ Gannet mainly W., 5 Guillemot W. but no Kittiwakes or skuas at all.


No Grey Phalaropes for me this morning, but a feeding flock of Gulls, Tern and Gannets just south east of the mouth of the Axe did contain at least 9 Balearic Shearwaters. At 9:30am an Arctic Skua came in from the east and investigated the feeding frenzy before continuing south west.

Very quiet up Axe Cliff this morning, just 3 Wheatears. A distant scan over the main scrape on Colyford Marsh showed 3 Ruff.

Aylesbeare Osprey

This Osprey flew south over Aylesbeare Common at 10:30 this morning.

[Pete Adey]

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est.


67 Bar-tailed Godwits; 3 Black-tailed Godwits and 5 Knot.
Rain stopped play.


Merlin yesterday pm

Start Point 12/09/11 - update

Well the Devon Balearic Shearwater record goes again!, with 383 passing SW off Start Point. At one point over 400 was looking on the cards, but the watch was hampered by sun glare from 12:00-14:00 so likely many birds were missed. With other posts from yesterday still indicating circulation of birds further up in Lyme Bay, it is likely that this record breaking run involves far more birds than this peak passage count. Interesting to note, at last passage picked up further down the English Channel from Cornish sites, with 125 past Rame, 86 (in 3 hrs) Bass Point (Lizard) and 202 past Gwennap Head.

Can I also just say how useful this blog has been for building up a picture of this unique event, please keep posting any Balearic sightings.

Update of yesterdays Start Point totals, 06:45-19:00, all SW:
383 Balearic Shearwater, 1148 Manx shearwater, 14 Sooty Shearwater, 22 European Storm-petrel, 37 Fulmar, 9 Arctic Skua, 25 Razorbill, 23 Guillemot, 19 Auk Sp (razorbill/guillemot), 5 Arctic Tern, 32 Sandwich Tern, 6 Common Tern, 19 'Commic' Tern, 20 Common Scoter, 81 Kittiwake & 400+ Gannet. Also 1 Turnstone, Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper.

Mark D, Adele R, and Mike L

Arctic Tern (ad)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Yealm Estuary

An Osprey hunting at 6:30pm yesterday on the Yealm, also a Ruff and 10 Greenshank.

[Mike Moxon]

Berry Head Yesterday (11th Sept)

16.50 – 18.50

Large numbers of Manx and Balearic Shearwaters gathered offshore on arrival, both close-in and distant. This made any accurate counting very difficult, as I felt I would be counting at least some of the birds twice; 400+ Manx Shearwaters and 75+ Balearic Shearwaters would be a conservative estimate. Birds began to disperse after 17.30, and there was a northward passage of c.50 Balearic Shearwaters and c.250 Manx Shearwaters in the final hour I was there with the Balearics generally much closer in than the Manx’s.

Also noted were 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 7 Arctic Skuas, 8 Great Skuas, 1 Pomarine Skua, and 4 skua sp.

[Will Salmon]

Bowling green marsh

A quick look in this evening between 18:00 and 19:00

1 juv little ringed plover
1 juv ringed plover
1 juv spotted redshank
2 Dunlin
500+ black tailed godwit
8 bar tailed godwit
5 whimbrel
350+ curlew
5 greenshank
250+ redshank
1 common sandpiper
3 yellow wagtails

Just missed a lesser spotted woodpecker seen over far side from hide in a dead tree below the house the juv osprey had been showing earlier in the day

Thurlestone Bay

Sometimes the day starts off and does not produce results up to expectations-- keep going 'cause it only gets better !

3hrs of seawatching this morning was poor by comparison with other sites - I need to remember that Thurlestone bay is not a headland particularly in a SW gale -
Gannet 94 w - 6e , Manx S'water - 50 w . Balearic S 'Water- 32 W ( still a record count for me ).

Sooty S'water 1 w (10.20 ), Common Scoter 4w . Kittiwake 2w.

Went back this eve , 17.00-18.15 On S H Marsh the largest flock of Yellow Wags I have recorded 75/80. 12 Teal., 4 Ringed Plover .

On the way back a very nice Grey Phalarope feeding in the lagoon by the bridge over S M Ley., a

The juv Merlin still around both this am & eve.

Black Hole Marsh

Black-tailed Godwits from Tower Hide


A sea watch from Seaton 06:50 - 08:30 showed (all west); 2 Common Scoter, 297 Gannet, 8 Manx Shearwater, 41 Balearic Shearwater, 7 Shearwater sp., 1 Pom Skua (immature at 07:20), 2 Artic Skua, 40 Kittiwake, 3 Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern, 2 Arctic Tern and 6 commic Tern.

By 08:30 the wind seemed to have turned more westerly, and the clouds cleared to give way to brighter conditions - passage all but dried up. Another short sea watch from 09:30 confirmed things were a lot quieter!

Hopes Nose

Further to Dale's post, continued to sea watch from 1010hrs to 1130 hrs - with 21 Balearic Shearwater heading South and an equal number, if not more, passing North at distance. In clearing conditions large concentration of birds on the horizon. Balearics moving South were close to shore emerging from Labrador Bay. In addition a further 3 Arctic Skua, Bonxie, Arctic Tern and 7 Sandwich Tern.

Budleigh Seafront

Between 07.00 - 08.30hrs

Balearic Shearwater - 76 W
Arctic Skua - 1
Great Skua - 1
Skua sp - 2
Storm Petrel - 1
Smaller numbers of Kittiwake heading west and a continual movement ofGannet.


Start Point

Seawatching 0645-1200hrs all birds moving SW:
261 Balearic Shearwater, 601 Manx shearwaters, 12 Sooty Shearwaters, 6 Storm Petrels, 26 Fulmar, 7 Arctic Skua, 20 Razorbill, 19 Guillemot,  9 Auk Sp (razorbill/guillemot), 1 Arctic Tern, 17 Sandwich Tern, 11 'Commic' Tern, 6 Common Scoter, 68 Kittiwake & 385+ Gannets. Also 1 Turnstone 1 Common Sandpiper.

Mark D, Adele R, and Mike L

Hopes Nose


69 S & 20 N Balearic Shearwater, 14 S & 13 N Manx Shearwater all +. It began as a normal relaxing southerly movement with close Balearics, but from about 9:45 it got more and more confusing with shearwaters moving both ways coupled with the emergence of a large distant feeding flock.

7 Arctic Skua, 2 skua sp, 262+ Kittiwake, 97+ Gannet, 7 'commic' tern, 7 Sandwich Tern, 1 Razorbill, 6 auk sp

5 Dunlin at Passage House today.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bowling green marsh

Bowling Green marsh this weekend

Saturday   15:15 till 18:45 

Started at the viewing platform the juv Osprey showed well catching a fish returning to the 'Derrick' by the viewing platform at 16:05

Headed up to the hide shortly after for the high tide roost, much better totals with the higher tide with the following totals,
520+ Black tailed godwits  highest count so far this autumn
8 Bar Tailed godwits
34+ Greenshanks
2 Green sandpipers
1 Common sandpiper
1 Kingfisher
11+ Little egrets
1 Peregrine
6+ Whimbrel
2 Knot
1 Dunlin
1 Juv ringed plover
21+ Lapwing
3 Wigeon
2 shoveler

Sunday 15:15 till 18:15

Just a short visit today much the same as yesterday with fantastic views of the juv Osprey from the viewing platform between 16:30 and 17:00 again being successful  catching a large fish and bringing it back to the 'Derrick' to the left of the viewing platform.

From the hide 17:10 till 18:15
300+  Bar tailed Godwits
6 Bar tailed Godwits
6 Greenshank
350+ Curlew
100+ Redshank
60+ Teal
3 Whimbrel
2 Green Sandpiper
1 Common Sandpiper
25+ Lapwing
1 Sparrowhawk

Budleigh Again

Just a brief update for this evening. Much less movement this evening as the "Budleigh Three" did another hour or so of watching between 17.30 - 18.45
Balearic Shearwaters - 12 W
Arctic Skua - 2
Skua sp - 1
Glaucous Gull - on the beach at 18.45hrs

Plym Estuary

The juv Spotted Sandpiper still present on the river, then Blaxton Marsh (channel then pools with islands). Also, 30 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 14 Little Egret. All afternoon at high tide.

Seawatching at Rame this morning and looking at other reports - where are all the Kittiwakes?

Froward Point

The Buff-Breasted Sandpiper still 7pm in the ploughed field opposite the Daymark, showing at 100 yards range in a obvious hollow towards the centre of the field viewed from the gateway. Also a Wheatear in the same area. (Follow the signs for Coleton Fishacre and park in Brownstone National Trust car park).

Hopes Nose

16:15 - 19:20

South - 23+ Arctic Skua, 8 Great Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua, 3 Skua sp, 144 Manx Shearwater, 22 Balearic Shearwater, 45+ 'commic' tern, 20+ kit, c50 Gannet, 9 Guillimot & 2 auk sp.

North - 153 Manx Shearwater & 46 Balearic Shearwater

There was a mass of birds on arrival and almost all the southerly passage was in the first 45mins and was middle distance. The northerly passage was all close. It does feel as though I may have been counting the south bound Shearwaters coming back north??

Prawle this weekend

Seawatching today from 07.00 - 11.00; (all west unless stated), 2217 Gannets, 4 Sooty, 150 Manx and 32 Balearic Shearwaters, Pomarine Skua (east), 49+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Kittiwake (only one this weekend!), 'Commic' Tern (east), and a Great Crested Grebe, (1st of the year). Outdone by the likes of Budleigh Salterton and Orcombe Point - Oh the shame of it !!!!!!!

Also today a Hobby, and 2 Grey Wagtails west.

Yesterday (Saturday 10/9), Seawatching from 06.30 - 12.00 (with John Lambert and Tony Marchese); 720 Gannets, 4 Sooty, 107 Manx and 12 Balearic Shearwaters, 54 Common Scoters, Pomarine and Arctic Skua, 4 Sandwich Terns, 2 'Commic' Terns.
Predictably, landbird totals were low, comprising 4 Wheatears, 3 Whinchats, 2 Sedge Warblers, Blackcap, 4 Whitethroats and 8 Chiffchaffs. Along the front were 3 Ringed Plovers and a 2nd winter Med Gull.

(Update for 4/9, (the large fall day) - John Lambert covered a different part of the area to me and added 21 Spotted Flycatchers and c30 Wheatears to the day's total, bringing the totals of these species to 39 and 230+ respectively).


Strong SW veering S. latterly, very good visibility with sun behind me through diffuse cloud. 15:00 - 16:30
After rather underwhelming seawatches at Start yesterday and Berry Head this morning I took my scope along for the Sunday afternoon family walk on Teignmouth seafront. Apparently in contrast to Seaton this similarly "inward" Lyme Bay site was busy with seabirds: 5 Balearic Shearwaters N. only 3-400m offshore with 4-5 more distant shearwaters (presumably Balearic), 100+ Gannets, 30-40 Sandwich Terns, 20+ ad. Kittiwakes and 3-4 Common Terns S. or fishing at close/medium range. From 16:00 to 16:07 a probable Cory's Shearwater towered and sheared S. along the horizon on a line from the Exe to Hopes Nose. A similarly distant dark skua sp. N. at 15:40 was probably Arctic.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

I think I must have been the only person not seawatching today but having spent yesterday watching the Hornets win away birding had to be local.
Whinchats outnumbered wheatears today being 12 and 6 respectvely. A small trickle of hirundines through with 30 swallow and 20 house martin, a white wagtial amongst the pieds, 60+ linnets, 2 stock dove and 4 raven.

Skern at high tide

A 5.8m tide this evening brought a good variety of birds to and around the saltmarsh.Terns have been scarce here this Autumn, but today's totals were
6+ Arctic
3 Little
2 Sandwich
41 Common
Among the waders were
4 Bar-tailed Godwit
3 Curlew Sandpiper
1 Turnstone
1 Whimbrel
1 Sanderling
1 Y
Yellow Wagtail
1 Peregrine
1 Sparrowhawk
the latter two causing a bit of chaos.

Froward Point/Higher Brownstone

Froward Point seawatch yesterday, 10/09/11, 07.10-13.00; 50+ Manx, 4 Sooties, 2 Balearics, 4 Bonxies, 1 Arctic, 2 Poms (or 1 seen twice), 71 Common Scoter.

Froward Point seawatch today, 11/09/11, 07.30-11.30; 142+ Manx (with many more, perhaps hundreds, way out in a feeding flock), 5 Sooties, 12+ Balearics, 6 Bonxies, 1 Arctic.

Higher Brownstone; a juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper this afternoon from 12.00 to 17.40 at least, in the ploughed field opposite the Daymark. Ranging widely across the field, the bird seemed uncharacteristically jumpy and occasionally disappeared from view for short periods but did show well on occasions too. The field is only viewable from one gateway so in the interests of the bird (and good landowner relations) please do not enter the field and view only from the gateway.

Seaton seawatching

06:30 - 08:30
77 Balearic Shearwaters, 593 Manx, 6 Bonxies, 1 Arctic Skua, 3 Kittiwakes, 3 Commic Tern, 2 Curlew, 3 auk sp, 1 Common Scoter - all W. Also counted [exactly!] 300 Gannets W in first hour. By 08:30 all movement had virtually dried up, coinciding (perhaps significantly?) with the appearance of blue sky and a lot of sunshine.

It's interesting to read the other posts to compare scenarios. Whilst this was (I think) a site record count of Balearics, the birds were generally not close - most being at a range of 1 mile plus. Most of the Manxies were - typically - further out still. There were shearwaters popping up above the horizon in some numbers as far out as you could see, and, as this jizz/behaviour usually indicates Manx they were counted as such, though some could obviously have been Balearics too. Our birds were clearly part of the same massive gathering as witnessed at Budleigh and Orcombe, but significantly further from land by the sounds of it. Perhaps we were on the eastern edge? It'll be interesting to see what Portland posts later.

Just to add some geographical context I thought it might be interesting to post a Google satellite map showing the relevant locations in Lyme Bay, especially if some readers are not familiar with the positions of them all. There is a scale at the bottom left.

PS. A normal Seaton seawatch involves a long yawn between birds - this is the first time that I have really felt the need for a 'clicker'! Must invest in one some day...

Exmouth update

Orcombe Point - 1345 - 1545 - 60 balearic shearwater west takes the day total to 376+. That total is for 5hrs 20min viewing so it's interesting to speculate how many would have been logged in total with continuous coverage between dawn and dusk. Also 21+ manx shearwater, 6+ arctic tern, c100+ 'commic' tern and much higher passage of sandwich tern this pm with c100+ and c150+ off Exmouth seafront. Also 1 common scoter, 3 arctic skua, 1 guillemot, 2 wader sp and 1 fulmar.

Start Point

Seawatch 06:45-11:00. Really only counted until 10:00, while there was still cloud cover and a little sun glare. Heading SW: 10 Sooty Shearwaters, 17 Balearic Shearwaters, 133 Manx, 3 Bonxies, Arctic Tern (close in), 2 distant 'commic' terns, 911 Gannets, 4 Common Scoter, 7 Razorbills, 9 Guillemots, 16+ Fulmars.

So there still appears to be little movement west off the large feeding gathering of shearwaters further up in Lyme bay. This gathering (initially mostly Manx) appears to have been present from at least 5th September, while Balearic numbers are going up (aided by the SW winds), no doubt additions from southern Brittany where there were 5000 on 2nd September, before they dispersed. So how many will it build up to? Could that old Portland record go?

Berry Dead

Watched from 7.15-10.15 but compared to the numbers elsewhere quiet. Everything seems happy to remain circulating in the north part of the bay. Gannet and auks excepted very little was passing the headland with most birds feeding distantly to the NE.

Balearic Shearwater 30+, 7 Bonxie, 6 Arctic Skua, 2 Arctic Tern, 2 Puffin.

Budleigh Seafront

Another exciting morning and unsurprisingly, similar numbers to Orcombe Point. The Balearic numbers were obviously the main spectacle with the majority of birds close in-shore. The biggest numbers were in the first hour or so.

Interesting that so few birds are being seen at Portland and Berry Head. Although very few birds were actually seen heading east, I guess it is worth being cautious on actual total numbers as it is possible birds could be circulating on a loop too far out to be seen and are then returning W? Regardless, there are certainly a lot of birds out there!

Between 07.00 - 10.30 Helen, Doug and I enjoyed the following:
Balearic Shearwaters - 250+ passed W with the majority in the first 1.5hrs
Manx Shearwaters - Some birds in with the Balearics and further out early on but not counted
Pomarine Skua - 3 including a very close adult
Great Skua - 6
Arctic Skua - 10+
Skua sp - 2
Kittiwake - 150+ on sea
Commic Tern - 30+
Sandwich Tern - 8+

Hopes Nose

07:45 - 10:35

6 Arctic Skua, 3 Pomarine Skua & 4 Great Skua all south. 62 close Balearic Shearwater (north) & 31+ (south) along with 4 Manx Shearwater (south). Distant and in the glare 163+ Shearwater sp mostly south, plus there were a lot of Gannet (250 in the first 1/2 hour), 5 Guillimot, 4 Auk sp and "stuff" but viewing was difficult with the sun. There was a northerly passage of 95 Kittiwake in close with the Balearics, as well a a single Arctic Tern.

Like Matt I too saw a 2nd winter Med Gull (between 10 & 10.15, S), and I also had a group of 4 Common Scoter plus a single.

Now time to earn some brownie points before this evening and tomorrow!

Sherpa Marsh

07:30 - 09:30

21 Yellow Wagtails still feeding around feet of cattle by barn at SS484351. As I walked around the marsh the cattle followed but the wagtails didn`t.  When I got back to the barn they had all disappeared. Where I wonder?

2 Kingfisher zooming up and down Knowl Water by the bridge.

7 Mediterranean Gulls and 18 Pied Wagtails on the flats below the Toll House with a further 4 Meds at Crossbanks. Also 11 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover on that side of the Caen.

On the marsh,  9 Mutes; 3 Little Grebes; c40 Mallard; 10 Meadow Pipits; 2 Reed Bunting  and 2 Wheatear.


Orcombe Point - 0625 - 0945 - 316+ balearic shearwater, c 300+ manx shearwater, c150+ kittiwake, 19+ arctic skua, 7 auk sp, 1 guillemot, 22+ arctic tern, c30+ common tern, c70+ 'commic' tern, c10+ sandwich tern, 1 ringed plover, 1+ pomarine skua, 1ad little gull, 7 bonxie, 1 med gull (2w), 4 common scoter, 3 mute swan (east), 2 skua sp, 1 juv/fw yellow-legged gull. Also 10 raven and 5 grey wagtail.
All birds west unless stated otherwise. Again counting difficult and estimates probably conservative. Still some shearwater rafting and big feeding flocks of gannet. Balearic count is new Devon record but for how long?? Birds were still moving west, mostly very close in, when I left. Many more distant shearwaters were left unidentified so the true total is probably quite a bit higher.