Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dawlish Warren

A Barred Warbler , found by LC this morning, still showing at Dawlish Warren early afternoon in bushes towards the end of Greenland Lake bordering the golf course and showing on and off for 20 minutes at around 2pm.

Horsey Island, Braunton Marsh

There may not have been any Greenshank at Fremington for Roy but there were 20 at Horsey Is at 08:40 this morning together with a few Snipe, Dunlin, Redshank, Little Egret and 8 Lapwing.
First Lapwing I`ve seen up here this autumn.

Not Quite Devon

It seemed a bit pedantic to not publish this gem - especially as it's not a million miles from the Seaton area, which some may be visiting for the Semi-p. Only trouble is, it's not quite Devon!

One [Hoopoe] was found yesterday by Henry Squire of Chard and still present this morning frequenting the open areas and footpaths below the National Trust shop. Picture taken early this morning at 7am attached - sorry, a bit grainy.
[Roger Harris]

Hoopoe at Stonebarrow - near Charmouth, Dorset

Bowling green marsh

A very misty morning and a beautiful sunrise as I arrived at the hide at 7:00 straight away had a cetti's warbler calling and it continued to call on and off all morning so good to hear, a kingfisher showed well early morning. The highlight of the waders was a juv curlew sandpiper
and 2 avocet is always good, 2 spotted redshank, 20+ greenshank,14+ Dunlin, 5+ whimbrel,500+ black tailed godwit, 6+ bar tailed godwit, green sandpiper, 4 knot,20+ lapping and 34 little egrets flew in on mass looking splendid with the morning sun on them. Also 1 Jay a buzzard and the local fox eyeing up the teal. Several meadow pipit heard flying over early morning and 1 swallow.

A very enjoyable mornings birding.

Thurlestone Bay

In Bedford using Sons computer-lastpost botched. Before leaving had an hours viz mig watch at 07.45 at the high point of the Golf Course- 3 Whinchat,6 Wheatear (one taken by a Sparrowhawk) 60+Pied/White Wags, 75 Linnet, 150 Meadow Pipit, 30 Goldfinch, 15 Siskin, 2 Redpoll (first of the year ) Jv Merlin stillaround, 1 Ringed Plover over, 2 Stock Dove

Friday, 30 September 2011

Fremington Quay 12:00

Some real lazy birding at the Quay today, sat on a bench in the sun and just waited for the birds to come into range. Nothing special but a Curlew came close and the Bar-tailed Godwit that has been kicking around for several weeks did not disappoint. A bonus was a lovely Pied Wagtail feeding on the path right next to me.
No Greenshank in the Pill today. Curlew numbers are really building up at anchor wood bank with a count of 100 plus a solitary Whimbrel

Black Hole Marsh this evening

The Semipalmated Sandpiper was on the Axe, viewable from the Tower Hide. Also present were 33 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plovers, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Knot. A Wheatear was on the tramline by the hide, a Yellow Wagtail flew over S, and 2 Stonechats were in the fields between BHM and Seaton Marshes.

News from Lundy

Chris Dee (from Hertfordshire) has been ringing on Lundy this week. A text from Chris received earlier today says: "Rosy Starling ringed on Sunday still present. Little Bunting trapped and ringed this morning."

Powderham Marshes

Walked in from behind the Swan's Nest eating and drinking establishment, (its not really a pub). The crops sown for bird feed are just becoming attractive and mid way onto the reserve I was greeted by a flock of about 300 small birds rising from the fields and settling, for only a few minutes, on the hedges. I was surprised to see that the majority were green finches. I could only find c20 linnets and a few reed buntings. All the rest were green finches - very impressive. They were nervous due in part to the presence of a peregrine (juv) and kestrel.

no birds in the photo but lots of food
Also recorded were skylarks (overhead and hidden on the ground), meadow pipits (7), blackcaps (2), chiffchaffs (2), one stone chat and one very noisy green sandpiper.

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Excellent views of the Axe Semi-P on Seaton beach this morning (09:00 - 10:00 at least). I've looked for it on the beach with the Dunlin and Ringos during high tide pretty much every morning since it has not been using Black Hole Marsh, and this was the first morning it was there....

Note its leg colour! I'll post about a million more pics on my blog later...

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

First snipe of the autumn this morning, 5 birds plus the first stonechat since the spring, a juvenile bird. Also the best numbers of skylark this autumn although counting was difficult and conservatively put at 40 birds. 16 wheatears strung along the fence wires by fresh mown field obviously findng plenty of insects. A flock of 100 linnet, 20-30 meadow pipits and 4 stock doves.

Berry Head - a seabird's view

On a recent seabird survey of Lyme Bay one of our transects passed Berry Head, so it was interesting to see the seawatch point as a passing seabird would! So this is what that Great Shearwater and 304 Balearics saw!!

Thanks to Kevin Lane who took this photo.

Exmouth - pm edit

Orcombe Point - 1600 - possible serin south at 1617. It called twice but it was a fair way off in breezy conditions so must remain just a possible.
Mudbank - 0730 - 235 brent goose, 13 little egret, c300+ wigeon, c30+ pintail (inc white one), the first 4 red-breasted merganser of the autumn, 2 shoveler, juv spoonbill (flew S towards the Warren 0750), 1 snipe, 1 wheatear, c5+ siskin and 4 redpoll. Also this evening a male ruff north upriver viewed form the house (1810)
Yesterday - 1 crossbill, several siskin and meadow pipits early morning over Belle Vue Road. Also 1 hobby high south at 1325.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Beer Head

07:00 to 08:20 before work this morning - superb in the early morning sun! Good numbers of Meadow Pipits going over (though a lot of milling about made attempts to count fruitless) and a few Chiffs and Blackcaps in the scrub, though not enough time to do the bushes justice. Noteworthy were a handful of invisible but audible Siskins over, at least 2 Redpolls and a Ringed Plover heard. At least 4 Wheatears on the small bit of head covered. More Linnets and Goldfiches about than normal I think - surely only a matter of time before something good!

Forgot my scope, so 2 distant Heron silhouettes going W at 07:45 remained unresolved. I was sure they were going to turn out to have been the Axe Great White Egrets, but seemingly not. So, either the pair from Radipole...or 2 Herons!

Thank You

Had a delightful email this morning, reproduced here with permission. It is entitled 'Thank You' and is clearly aimed at all contributors to this blog...

I came across this blog on birdguides, and we are heading to Devon for the week on Saturday.
We are keen birdwatchers, although only a year into it, so still struggling with some of the names!
I would just like to say how useful this has been in preparing for our holiday, we were down there last year at the same time and found everyone in the hides so very knowledgeable and helpful. Can't wait to get down there again.
Tina Andrews

Thurlestone Bay

Another beautiful day almost clear skies with some interesting birds logged

Golf course this am - 4 Wheatear, 2 Tree pipit, 10 swallow . , 1jv Cirl Bunting ( patch yr tick )

South Milton Ley- 3 Yellowhammer (over), 4 jv Whinchat. 12Siskin (over )

S H Marsh / Bay- 1 ad 1 1st w Med Gull, 18 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat, 10 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover .2 Whinchat

AJL had a Wryneck on the coast path near the Golf Club at 09.30, also 1 Marsh Tit in Mallards Lane ( rare bird here ).

At Upton X late morn - 210 Skylark, 700+ Linnet, 2 Hobby, 6 Wheatear.

Tstn Marsh - same birds as Weds . apart from a raptor picked up in flight over my house at 15.50- a superb Goshawk.

Berry Head

Cracking early morning sunrise at Berry Head with 4 Wheater, 28 Goldfinch, 8 Linnet, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Skylark, a Tree Pipit, 9 alba Wagtail, 4 Swallows, 16 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest and a single Blackcap.

Soussons Down/Headland Warren,Dartmoor

Ringtail hen harrier being harassed by two ravens, early pm.

Also: 5 wheatear, 50 meadow pipit, 10 alba wagtails ( mainly pied ), 2 chiffchaff.

Very warm and no breeze!!


Honey Buzzard over Brixham today about 1.30 pm heading towards St Mary's Bay, quite pale with clear bands on tail and dark carpal patch, accompanied by a lone herring gull, fairly high, confirmed through binoculars.

[Seb Loram]

Clennon Valley

2 Crossbill and 7 Siskin flew over my garden this morning all >SE plenty of Meadow Pipits and Alba Wagtails going over too - early on only.

Scabbacombe Head to Froward Point

Walked down the track from Coleton Camp carpark to Scabbacombe Head, at the very bottom, saw first one Wrynecks, then another, both on the fence by the gate to the coastal path. Also there was a male Redstart. Further along the coastal path by Ivy Cove, a Hobby was seen chasing Swallows and Martins, but didn't catch any, then flew high towards Slapton.

Great White Egrets

The two Great White Egrets were distantly viewable on the salt marsh north of Coronation Corner at 9am in very misty conditions...

Predictably though, at about 09:45 they realised the Axe was just a little too small for their liking, and they flew off high north up the valley, and were seen flying north past Musbury.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Seaton Area

First off, the Semipalmated Sandpiper was present again today - reported from the Axe at Coronation Corner early afternoon at least.

Also, some last-minute action...

Two Great White Egrets dropped in to Black Hole Marsh briefly, just before 19:00, then headed off east across the tramline. They found a comfy tree and went to roost. Hopefully they will still be there at dawn. They were visible from the A3052 coast road W of Boshill Cross, looking S from a position just E of the bridge over the Axe. Their tree is just over the far side of the field next to the road - the one with the WWII pillbox in it.

Finally, a Spoonbill flew SW over BHM at 19:30.

Here is a photo even worse than yesterday's Marsh Harrier. Taken at 19:30, with a shutter speed of about ten minutes...

Certainly not worth clicking on

PS. Two Great White Egrets turned up at Radipole late today as well - the timing makes them a different pair.


Not much to add to Mike's post - a few more Linnets and Meadow Pipits at East Soar and - 1 Firecrest, 2 Siskins, 2 Whinchats, 6 Wheaters and a Peregrine.

Bollberry Down / Soar

A very clear day blue skies with a brisk SE wind., EW & I started at the car park at Bollberry at 08.45 very soon picked up the bird of the day a female Montagues Harrier slowly moving west - good views from 30/50 yards with the bird at a height 30 feet.

Birds moving east until mid morning totals were - 1500 Meadow Pipit, 250 Skylark, 90 Swallow, 10 House martin, 10 Chaffinch, 3 Siskin, 1 Yellow Wag., 8 Wheatear, 1m Whinchat, 170+ Linnet, 11 Stonechat,

Both Cirl Bunting -5 & 4 Yellowhammer in the valley . Surprise was the lack of Warblersonly 5 seen.

This aft on Thurlestone marsh - 2 Ruff still with the 2 Black T Godwit, 37 Teal, 6 Wigeon, 2 Ringed Plover & 1 Hobby over

At South M Ley Bob B ginged 2 Sedge ,1 Reed W , " chiffchaff, also had 8 Whinchat, 2 Hobby , 12 Siskin


Had a call from Graham White who saw a Wryneck at Tacketwood, Kingsbridge today.

Seaton Semi-P

Some photos taken on Sunday by Dave Land. Muddy semipalmations on view in two of them...rather tricky to see in the field!

Exminster Marshes

A glorious day, almost hot without a cloud in the sky. Also pretty bird less. At the Turf 4 dunlin roosting on the sea-wall and 3 wheatears and one yellow wagtail in the first field south of the pub. On the marshes a small flock of black-headed gulls were feeding between the lagoon and the canal. Amongst them were 3 Med gulls - an adult in winter plumage, a second year bird and a juv./first winter. Also in that area were another 3 wheatears. Apart from 4 chiffchaffs and one blackcap the hedges were quiet. Heard Cettis warblers calling in two locations. A single green sandpiper called and flew over Powderham Marshes. Only 2 swallows and 2 house martins seen throughout the walk this morning but as a sign of this to come skylarks, meadow pipits and the odd siskin were heard frequently over-head.

R.Taw, Barnstaple to Wrafton.

08:30 2 Green Sandpiper still frequenting the ditch by Ashford Sewage Wrks.

09:10 I initially counted just 11 Wheatear, 32 Pied Wagtail and 25 Meadow Pipits on a small patch of grass in front of 22Sqn apron and offices at Chivenor but when one of their Sea Kings landed, there must have been c30 Wheatear disturbed. Just imagine how many there must be on the airfield.

10:10 25 Bar-tailed Godwit and just 2 Knot on foreshore at rear of RGB.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Seaton Semipalmated Sandpiper photo

This bird generally isn't close enough to satisfy the photographers, and shots of it are in short supply. So it was nice to receive this one from John Stagg this evening, taken late afternoon at Coronation Corner on the Axe.

If anyone else out there would like to contribute Semi-p photos they would be most welcome!

Bowling green marsh

Like every where else the mist was rolling in this evening as I arrived at the marsh at 16:45
The teal numbers are still rising with 200+ now, 2 green sandpiper were very active and noisy, a buzzard showed very well sat on a post most of the evening. As the waders came in the juv little stint came in with 2 Dunlin but stayed on the far side from the hide. A juv ruff showed well as did 2 spotted redshank. There was at least 1 juv curlew sandpiper in with a few Dunlin, 8 avocet flew in and included 1 juv. Greenshank numbers have grown to 40+ and bar tailed godwits are up to 20+ with 3 whimbrel amongst the masses of curlew and 500+ black tailed godwits. A sparrowhawk made 2 low passes over the waders but failed to catch anything and 25+ lapwing flew over. With the light fading left the hide a 18:40 having had a very enjoyable couple of hours.

Seaton Area

Been fairly murky all day here, with mist coming up the valley this evening too. A late afternoon visit to Black Hole Marsh did not give the hoped-for close views of the Semipalmated Sandpiper - though it was visible at some range across the river from the Tower Hide, with about 20 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plovers. Then a helicopter flew low down the river and flushed everything.

Apart from the Yank peep, best bird was an adult female Marsh Harrier which loitered in the area until I left, drifting up and down, mostly quite high. Here are some amazingly poor photos, in which you can just about see what it is...

Thurlestone Bay

Thick mist first thing gave way to sunshine by noon.

All the activity around viz mig/ grounded migrants

Golf Course-700+ Meadow Pipit, 25 Chaffinch, 50= Pied /White Wagtail, 1 m Yellow Wagtail, 5 Wheataer, 3 Stonechat.

At Upton X ( just outside South Milton ) high ground - in a 1 hour watch at 11.45 -1600+ Linnet, 250 Skylark, 70 Meadow Pipit, 15 Chaffinch, 10 Siskin 3 Swallow, 1 Stock Dove , 4 Raven, 2 Wheatear - all birds moving south /south east

English Channel up to 30nm SE of Start Point

Yesterday 26/09/11 seen from boat while fishing: Sooty Shearwater, 5 Black Terns, 15+ Great Skuas, 10 Common Terns, 'Blue' (dark) Fulmar in with 100+ light phase, 6 European Storm-petrels and........another juv Sabine's Gull. While heading back in 2 Balearic Shearwaters 5nm SE of Dartmouth.

Above, two different Black Terns

juv Common Tern ( quite a dark bird!)

Common Tern (immature 1s?) Juv Gannet (up close quite striking plumage)

AHHH not another Sabine's Gull photo, but nice in their real element!!

Exmouth Beach

Morning was grey but the sea was calm. Three Sabine's Gulls showed well this morning, right of RNLI boathouse. Grey Phalarope not seen.

Widmouth Head (just east of Ilfracombe)

Clear skies and good visibility from dawn this morning - i.e. the opposite of Start Point - was reflected in bird terms with hardly any grounded night migrants (just a handful of Chiffs) but a steady passage of Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails all flying in from the Welsh shore into the SE headwind. Many were flying too high to see and only calls gave them away.

Start Point

0645 - 11.45hrs very poor visibility with misty conditions. Tamarisks near the light house were alive with birds, 40+ Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 2 Redstart and a Whinchat. Grey Wagtail & 2 Yellow Wagtail disorientated circling the light. Around the farm a further dozen or so Chiffchaff, 3 more Blackcap, 1 Redstart, Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler.

Highlight was a Wryneck (09.55) on the fence line between the car park and the farm, before flying towards the farm and lost in the mist.

Berry Hd

Very misty this morning first thing and it got worse - no overhead migration at all: 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 20+ Chiffchaffs, 1 Wheatear only birds of note. 
Tree Pipit
Grasshopper Warbler

Beer Head

The top of the head was misted out by low cloud this morning, but still a few birds grounded and going over.

3-400 Meadow Pipits, a few alba Wagtails, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Skylarks, 8 Wheatears, 1 Redstart, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whitethroats, 1 Sedge Warbler, 6+ Blackcaps, 30+ Chiffs and 2 Goldcrests.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Exmouth beach

Sabine's gull and grey phalarope together west of the lifeboat station at 4.30 this afternoon.

Exminster Marshes

One Marsh Harrier, female - seen at 12.45 hunting over the main lagoon area. Also 10 Yellow Wagtail, and 1 Common Tern fishing in the canal.

[Kevin Bainbridge]

Exmouth and the Axe - yesterday 25/9

Some photos from Roger Harris...

 Black-tailed Godwits on the Axe - juvenile (top) and winter plumages

Despite a lot of photos of the Exmouth Sabine's Gulls on this blog, it is hard to tire of them

Aberrant Pintail - Mudbank

Think this is just a pintail with a pigmentation deficiency but it appears a bit smaller than the other pintail present so perhaps not pure pintail? Would be interested in other opinions.

River Axe + Exmouth Beach

Unfortunately the Semipalmated Sandpiper didn't come close enough for a good photo but it was great to see - a first for me.
Again two firsts for me Grey Phalarope and Sabine's Gull. Great day.