Saturday, 24 September 2011

Black Hole Marsh Semi-palmated Sandpiper

As hoped for, a few shots of the BHM Semi-p from Brian Palmer. The bird was never really close enough, and these are highly cropped.

L to R: Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Semi-palmated Sandpiper

And, just for variety, a Greenshank...


A couple of shots from Brian Palmer, taken today...

Flight of Knot

Not Knot 

Black Hole Marsh

A juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper was a major prize today, in company with a Curlew Sandpiper and 15+ Dunlin.

Black Hole Marsh was completely cleared out by an overflying microlight this evening, and the small waders flew off downriver. Hopefully that's not the last of it though...

In the absence of anything better, here are a few ropey shots of the Semi-p, but there will probably be some much better photos presently.

Thurlestone Bay

Light winds and mild - walked round the Golf Course this morning-late start 10.30 :-

1 Merlin, Sparrowhawk, 105 Meadow Pipit, 12 Skylark, 55 Linnet, 35 Pied wag, 5 Whit wag, 13 Wheatear, 1 Curlew , 25 swallow ,

On Thurlestone Marsh Ruff last seen Fri 17.30, only 1 Black T Godwit, 4 Wigeon


Orcombe Point - 0650 - 0800 - 1 quail flushed from stubble field (0720), 1 grasshopper warbler (dung field), 3+ siskin, 3+ chiffchaff, 1 wheatear, 1 grey wagtail, 1 tree pipit and a light passage of meadow pipits and alba wagtails all west.

Exmouth Beach - 45+ sandwich tern, 1 common tern, 2 juv sabine's gull, 3 mediterranean gull, 11 common scoter, 28+ knot, 1 turnstone and 1+ yellow wagtail.

Mudbank - 1400 - 3 greenshank, 8 pale-bellied brent goose, 2 mediterranean gull, c350+ wigeon, 15 pintail, 3 great crested grebe and 1 presumed 'intermedius' lesser black-backed gull (see photos).

Interestingly it's almost exactly a year ago (25/9/10) that I flushed a quail from the same stubble field at the top of Gore Lane.

Froward Point and Hillhead

Froward Point, 07.00-12.00. Just one Yellow Wag, 2 Whinchat and 2 Wheatear, plus 30+ Chiffchaff this morning.

Hillhead, Brixham 14.30. Of more interest this afternoon, (a) probable Bee-eater(s) heard only, moving south/southwest overhead.

Berry Head

0630 - 0915hrs. With light Southerly winds and cloud cover it was looking good for migrants but very little around the headland, highlight was a mixed flock of 30+ Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit in the tree line from the car park towards the Northern Fort. Other totals included: 35 Swallows, 31 House Martins, 3 Siskin, 1 Bullfinch, 5 Cirl Bunting, 1 Blackcap, 1 Wheater, 30+ mixed Goldfinch & Linnets, 7 Alba Wagtails, party of 18 Magpies and a further 16 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest. Of other interest: Harbour Porpoise & Hummingbird Hawk Moth.

Friday, 23 September 2011


A couple of photos from Gordon Youdale, taken at Exmouth today, including all 3 Sabine's Gulls and the Grey Phalarope in one shot...

Bolberry - Starehole Bay

07:00 - 18:30. Light to moderate SSW, dry overnight, 70% cloud cover in morning, warm and sunny afternoon.

3 Sparrowhawks, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck ( East Soar, follow hedge up valley from small pump house and bird in corner of field ), 85 Swallows, 20 House Martins, 2 Tree Pipits, White Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtails, 3 Whinchats, 20 Wheatears, 23 Blackcaps, Whitethroat, 57 Chiffchaffs, 8 Goldcrests, Firecrest ( East Soar Willows ), 33 Siskins.

Not much evidence of vis. mig. Bolberry early morning. Plenty of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks thanks to the excellent habitat of Southdown Farm rather than any movement.

Fremington Quay

15.30 top of the tide.
On the small sandbank near the quay were 20 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot and a single Ringed Plover.
1 Greenshank and the usual Redshank in the Pill.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

After a week of illness, finally venturing out. Wednesday evening, 21st, 16 wheatears present but no sign of any whinchats as the farmer was cutting their favoured field.
This evening just 4 wheatears and 2 whinchat along with 80+ linnet, 30+ meadow pipits, 20+ goldfinch, 10 stock doves and 4 raven.


Lifeboat Station - early am - 7 turnstone, 41+ knot, 29+ sandwich tern, 4 mediterranean gull, 1 grey phalarope and 2 juv sabine's gull still.

Orcombe Point - 0650 - reasonable overhead passage west but not much grounded -

6+ siskin, c100+ meadow pipit, c10+ skylark, 1 whitethroat, 1 wheatear, 2+ tree pipit, 1 grasshopper warbler (dung field), 1 yellow wagtail, 4+ chiffchaff, 50+ hirundine sp.
Mudbank - 1700 - c30+ pintail, 1 greenshank and fw yellow-legged gull (photo).

Upper Tamar Lake

Grey Phalarope still this afternoon - along the dam base at 15:30 [Tony Brooking]

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est and Bradiford Reserve

This afternoon on rising tide, 2 Curlew Sandpiper with small flock of Dunlin on foreshore just off Bradiford Reserve, which then moved to the mudflat at rear of RGB. Also 40 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Black-tailed Godwits and just 5 Knot.

Exminster Marshes

About 11.00 on the main marsh - 1 green sandpiper flew from Powderham marshes onto the lagoon. A flock of 20 green finches near the railway was the largest flock for some time. At Turf there were more green finches and c600 starlings. A single common tern (juv) and one yellow wagtail flew over the canal. Elsewhere c3 blackcaps, a flock of 15+ long-tailed tits, 12 meadow pipits and a grey wagtail. A brief burst of song from a Cettis warbler was the first I have heard since the spring.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Exmouth again

...and a couple from this evening, courtesy Martin Cox - very photogenic birds.

Aylesbeare - yesterday 21/9

5+ Wheatears on Aylesbeare RSPB late afternoon. [Pete Adey]

Exmouth - yesterday 21/9

Some nice photos, taken yesterday, of Grey Phalarope and Sabine's Gull at Exmouth. First photo from Dave Helliar, the rest from Charlie Fleming...


Three juvenile Sabine's Gulls late morning just west of the lifeboat station. The Grey Phalarope was just east of the lifeboat station.
med gull adult at bideford quay 14.45 hrs

English Channel 20nm off Start Point

From a fishing boat yesterday: at least 6 Sabine's Gulls (5 juvs, 1 adult), Little Gull juv, 3 Sooty Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwater, 15+ Great Skuas, 10+ European Storm-petrels, 150+ Fulmar (including some interesting birds, will do a separate post on these later). A few photos for now!

from top to bottom, Great Skua, Balearic Shearwater (x2), adult Sabine's Gull, juv Sabine's Gull (x3), juv Little Gull (x2).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Lifeboat Station - the 2 juv sabine's gulls, grey phalarope, 44+ knot, 3 turnstone and 4 med gull. Fantastic to watch these beautiful birds at such close range. Shame about the kite surfers charging past. Gary and Ernie witnessed the phalarope crashing into the kite lines!

Thurlestone Bay

Signs of viz mig in the Bay this morning-35 skylark, 50 Mipit, 16 Siskin, 1 Grey wagtail. 22 Wheatear in the fields, 2 White Wagtail

8 Turnstone were the only waders

Offshore- 4 Sandwich Tern, 2 Razorbill.

On T'stone marsh- 2 Black T Godwit , 1 Ruff, 32 Teal, 1 Sand martin

5 Sedge & 1 chiffchaff ringed by Bob B.

Don't disturb the Sabines we are coming over in the morning


Having started a new job this week hadn't been able to get out last couple of days but a quick visit down to exmouth seafront this evening was well worth it with good views of the 2 juv Sabine's gulls and the grey phalarope around 18:30 by the lifeboat station mobile though due to the kite surfers and were moving west along the shoreline.

Soar Plus

To add to Rob's numbers, Alan Doidge & I can add

Wheatear 150+
Whinchat 2
Ring Ouzel 1
Grasshopper warbler 1

Sharkham Point

A mid morning wander didn't turn up much other than 17 Wheatear, 11 arriving Meadow Pipits, 9 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. A quick sea watch between 1515hrs and 1700 saw a few trawlers with lots of gulls but little else, the best being a day trawler which had 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 European Storm Petrel an a single Great Skua behind it. Another couple of Wheatear near to the point.


Good day for vis.mig. generally moving west.

Totals from 0920 to 1345 hrs:

Skylark 170; Sand Martin 6; Swallow 63; Meadow Pipit 720; White Wagtail 8;
Whinchat 1; Wheatear 60; Whitethroat 2; Blackcap 3; Chiffchaff 4; Linnet 250.

Also 63 House Sparrow; 90 Carrion Crow.

One Painted Lady & Wall Brown on wing.

Black Hole Marsh

Good close views of both Common Sandpiper and Kestrel

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est and Bradiford Reserve

11:35 - 12:30

On the mudbank at rear of RGB on rising tide:-

49 Bar-tailed Godwit; 35 Knot; 3 Ringed Plover; 55 Dunlin; 2 Curlew Sandpiper;
1 juvenile Little Stint at 12:05 and 2 juvenile male Ruff at 12:25.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Thurlestone Bay

Early morning on T'stone marsh a Ruff joined the 2 resident Black T Godwit, teal up to 37.

A 2.5 hr seawatch from Beacon Pt produced the first Skua's of the autumn - a dp Arctic & a jv Pomarine, 1 Arctic Tern, 4 Razorbill, 1 Fulmar , 3 Kittiwake. In the field 4 Wheatear .

This aft on the Erme Est -55 Wigeon, 1 Common Tern

Exminster Marshes

A late afternoon visit just before and during the rain that arrived at 5.00pm. Initially there seemed to be lots of birds about with chiffchaffs calling everywhere but in the end I only saw 12. Two flocks of long tailed tits were accompanied by at least 3 blackcaps. A single sedge warbler was seen in the canal side vegetation.
On the recently cut fields to the NW of the railway bridge were 11 yellow wagtails, 20+ white wagtails and about 10 pied wagtails. There were also 6 or so meadow pipits.
Over head 31 wigeon flew south and 5 sand martins were with about 20 swallows.
At Turf an adult arctic tern was sitting on drift wood in the channel. Also there were 4 wheatears and a couple more yellow wagtails.


Following Lyndon's discovery of a Sabine's Gull at Mudbank Lane. I ventured down to Shelly Beach to look for it where I met another birder with the same idea who was already watching not one but two Juv. Sabine's Gulls and a Grey Phalarope. The birds were in the surf tide line between the lifeguard hut and the Lifeboat Station.

Start Point

Seawatch 08:00-13:00: 32 Balearic Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwater, 2 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Pomarine Skuas, 16 Bonxies, 16 Arctic Skua, 4 Sandwich Terns, 2 Arctic Terns, 4 Common Terns, 10 'commic' Terns, 5 European Storm-petrels, 66 Razorbills, 20 Guillemots, 200+ Gannets, 85 Kittiwakes.

This cracking photo of a second-summer(?) Pomarine Skua was taken by a Dave Marles while fishing 20 mile off Start on 15/09. Now why don't they come that close when I'm onboard? I'll find out tomorrow!

Sharkham Point

A second seawatch of the day from 1300-1515hrs, this time without sun but reduced viz and at times slight drizzle and an increasing SW wind.

A really great couple of hours started with a day trawler creating a mass feeding frenzy. It tracked around for an hour with masses of birds before it reached Berry Head and the birds then dispersed. All the Storm Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters followed this boat. Later coming back south giving some stunning views. Quality was in the form of an adult Pom Skua with complete tail coming past close.
Totals as follows
EuropeanStorm Petrel 25+ (best count I could manage), Adult pale phase Pomarine Skua (with spoons), 10 Arctic Skua, 13 Great Skua, 12 Balearic Shearwater, 3 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Common Tern, 1 Sandwich Tern, also masses of Gulls, Gannets, and Kitts
It was hectic behind that trawler!
Also nice views of a Bottlenose dolphin passing through.

Berry Head

A seawatch in the sun and very little wind from 0700-1200hrs joined by Bill Macdonald and Dave Lee at 0830 produced the following. As best as I can remember as I seem to have misplaced my notebook!
Great Skua 6, Arctic Skua 17, Pomarine Skua 1, Skua sp. 1, Balearic Shearwater 8, European Storm Petrel 2 (1 fell foul to an Arctic Skua), Common Tern 7 , Arctic Tern 1, 6 Common Scoter.

Bowling Green Marsh

10.30 to 11.30 with Dick Andrews, a rather dull morning at BGM at high tide with an absence of waders exc 2 Green Sandpipers; however, a Curlew Sandpiper was feeding with 7 Redshank on the edges of the River Clyst; also 2 Whimbrel and a lovely flypast from a Kingfisher.

The Wrafton Pond Black Tern

Rob Jutsum took this cracking photo of the Black Tern at Wrafton Pond on Sunday 18th Sept...

Mudbank Lane, Exmouth.

11.00am Sabine's Gull. Roost for 5 minutes then continue down to Shelly Beach.

North Coast – Widmouth Head, Sun 18 Sep

Two Leach's Petrels well offshore struggling to fly into the teeth of the NW gale... A few very tired looking Manx Shearwaters also trying hard to get out of the Bristol Channel. Yesterday (19th) an exhausted Guillemot was being hunted by a Great Black-back, which jumped on the auk each time it surfaced from a gull-avoidance dive...

Monday, 19 September 2011


ad Osprey late afternoon, mouth of the river Avon.
Scillies going all 80's.  very nice, let's hope there's a bit left over for us.

Exminster Marsh

One Spoonbill seen at 10.31 this morning flying up river, watched flying past Topsham then seemed to gain height then head for Exeter.

Also on the estuary 1 Arctic Tern and on the marsh 7 Yellow Wagtail around the cattle.

[Kevin Bainbridge]

Thurlestone Bay

Away for the w/end ( Sheffield when it should have been St Ives )

Picked up from Bob B / AJL - the following

Friday - Bob ct & ringed- Wryneck (i managed to see as we left ) , 29 Sedge, 1 Reed, 8 Chiffchaff.

Sunday - S H Marsh- 1 GRey Phalarope, 1 jv Merlin, 1 Spot Fly.

Today - Grey Phal still , waders on the beach - 18 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone. In the Bay 1 Arctic Tern.

T'stone marsh - 30 Teal, 2 Black T Godwit

Sharkham Point

A window of opportunity arose for a brief look at the sea off Sharkham between 1300-1400. Light WSW wind, moderate viz with drizzle at times. An interesting collection of birds were feeding of a few small fishing boats, 14 Balearic Shearwaters (six behind 1 boat), 1 European Storm petrel, 3 Arctic Skua with 1 pale phase bird harassing a flock of between 70-80 Kittiwakes that were day on the water. 1 Great Skua, 2 Skua sp., and a diver sp.(GND/BTD) All birds except the diver went north after feeding

South Huish Marsh - weeks ago!

These cracking photos were taken by Richard Stafford at South Huish Marsh on the 26/08/11. I know it was a few weeks ago now, but they show a Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff so well that I just had to post them up on here...

Isley Marsh and Foreshore to Fuel Jetty

08:00 - 09:30

The lone Spoonbill on the marsh is FJ9 so she`s back from her hols at Norfolk, where it was hoped she would have bred. She`s 4yrs 5mnths old now.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Kingsbridge Est

Little Tern Juv. still W side, Gerston to Pumping St Kingsbridge. Also 76 Ringed Plover 31 Dunlin , 2 Curlew Sand, Bar Wit, 7 Med Gull.
no sign of BBr Sand at Soar 18:30. 6 Ringed Plover still. Worth a quick look in the morning?

Passage House

1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull, Barnacle Goose (in with 94 Canada in Buckland Barton fields) & Black Swan.

Wrafton Pond

Moulting adult Black Tern at Wrafton pond this morning [Jon Turner]

Middle Soar

12.00 - 17.30 strong NW. wind, intermittent sun and heavy showers
Juv. Buff-breasted Sandpiper with 6 Ringed Plover and c.15 White Wagtails near the old stone tower at W. end of large ploughed field W. of Middle Soar 16.20 to 17.00 at least. One Ring Ouzel (calling) in Starehole Valley. Otherwise area blown out by the wind.

Berry Hd

Seawatch 1630-1800hrs: Waiting for trawlers to come back to port - but unfortunately only one came in with just 5 Balearics behind!
Large feeding flock of Gulls, Gannets and Skuas about 3 miles out but some birds came in closer... 2 Pomarine Skuas, 7 Arctic Skuas, 4 Bonxie, 2 Storm Petrel, 30+ Balearic Shearwaters 10+ Manx Shearwater.

Seaton Area

A plod round late this afternoon/evening produced the following selection spread between the marshes and estuary...

22 Black-tailed Godwits, 44 Dunlin, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 17 Ringed Plover, 1 Wheatear, 52 Canada Geese (an unwelcome record count for me), 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Lapwing, 1 Ruff. Lots of hirundines spread up the valley.

Plenty of company there for a nice rare wader I thought...but not today.


Very 'samey' at the moment. Seawatch (7.15 - 9.15), 350 Gannets, 1 Manx, 34 Balearic Shearwaters, 7 Common Scoters and a Sandwich Tern. (Not a Skua in sight!). Elsewhere, 1 Grey and 10 Yellow Wagtails, 10 Wheatears, Spotted Flycatcher, 11 Blackcaps, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and 21 Chiffchaffs. Overhead, the first Siskins of the autumn, (34 west), a young Kestrel off out to sea, and a steady day-long westerly movement of Hirundines. Swallows dominated, conservatively estimated at c.2500, with about 1000 House Martins. 12 Sand Martins were noted during random watches, so presumably many more also passed through.


Hirundines streaming west over Exmouth all day today. A walk with the dog up on the common produced many more also heading west. Won't attempt to estimate numbers. Also a marked increase in wildfowl numbers off Mudbank this morning.
Mudbank - 0830 - 290+ wigeon, 5 gadwall, 25+ pintail, 2 teal, 4 dark-bellied brent goose, 7 great crested grebe and 22 little egret. Also 1 grey plover and 1 turnstone.
Blackhill Quarry/Woodbury Common - 1215 - c100+ mallard, 6 tufted duck, 2 teal, 2 little grebe, wood sandpiper, common sandpiper, 1 snipe, 1 whinchat, 1 wheatear and 1+ crossbill.

Beesands Ley

110 Canada Geese, Black Swan, 63 Gadwall, Teal, 16 Tufted Duck and 50 Sand Martins.

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide from 09:00 till 11:00

5 juv curlew sands, 80+ Dunlin, 1 juv little ringed plover,2 ringed plover, 2 whimbrel, 1 green sandpiper, 7+ yellow wagtails, 5+ meadow pipit, peregrine, 2 reed bunting 5+ wigeon, 2 avocet

Upper Tamar Lake - Friday 16/9

A couple of nice photos from Barry Rankine...

 Black Tern

Grey Phalarope