Saturday, 29 October 2011

Start Point

Quick seawatch 14:00-16:00: 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 5 Manx Shearwaters, Pomarine Skua (another juv), Arctic Skua (adult pale phase), Harbour Porpoise

Exe Estuary

The drake American Wigeon still late afternoon at low tide, feeding distantly with the large Wigeon flock between the Railway Line and Dawlish Warren hide viewable from 'The Railway Marsh', accessed walking south down the river from the railway line crossing, south of Cockwood. Also an adult Med Gull and the Slavonian Grebe just upriver from the wreck.

Staddon Heights

Very little movement this morning did nothing to dampen my post-Scilly blues. Seven Siskins, 30 Jackdaws, 20 skylarks and 100 Wood Pigeons over was about the best of it.

Bowling green marsh

Out for first light this morning so got to the hide for 07:35 lots of activity with 87 avocet being my best count so far this autumn. Wigeon numbers are upto 160+ and similar numbers of teal and 2 shoveler. Wader numbers were good with 120+ Dunlin 3 spotted redshanks(2 adults and a juv/ 1st winter) 35+ bar tailed godwit 650+ black tailed godwit. Star birds this morning were a total of 14 golden plover my best count for the marsh. Also 15+ greenshank 100+ redshank a superb adult peregrine causing panic amongst the waders and a sparrowhawk seen on and off most of the morning the cetti's warbler was again calling well from the reeds on the far side.

At 10:00 made my way down to mudbank lane large numbers of Brent geese and wigeon were close in but by far the best birds were 120+ pintail including 60+ males also 3 great crested grebes and 1 female red breasted merganser.

Nothing rare but good to see the numbers building of are winter visitors.

Skern, Northam Burrows.

07:30 - 08:30

Dark-bellied Brent c120; Pintail 15; Wigeon c150; Shelduck 31; Curlew 47 and 10 Great black-backed Gulls. All the geese were on the water so not possible to see if there were any Pale bellied. Apart from the Curlew there were no other waders about.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Exmouth Dusky Warbler

Bird still present until 1615hrs at least when I went back for another look! However, it was over in the hedgerow, the other side of the field across the road from the beehives!

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Great Grey Shrike still present this evening at 17.40 plus 4 wheatears still and c90 golden plover.

R.Taw. Anchor Wood Bank to Penhill.

The Golden Plover flock off Hollowcombe was up to c1500 at 11:30 this morning..
By 3:30pm had increased to c2000.


07:15-17:00. Clear night, light to moderate northeast wind first thing gradually decreasing. Sunny, bright day.

Vis Mig on Bolt Head 07:45-09:45 included Golden Plover, 50 Skylark, 25 alba Wagtails, 60 Meadow Pipits, 19 Starling, 14 Lesser Redpoll, 61 Siskins, 5 Brambling, 10 Crossbill, 80 Linnet, Bullfinch, 180 Goldfinch, 360 Chaffinch and 5 Reed Buntings. Felt this was perhaps a small part of a very big movement but birds flying very high eg almost constant calling of Chaffinches but vast majority through unseen and uncounted. Also c 5000 Woodpigeons through heading south during the morning. Also seen later an additional 9 Siskins and 4 Reed Buntings. Elsewhere Merlin, Grey Wagtail ( poor autumn for these ?), Black Redstart ( Southdown, very poor autumn for these ? ), Wheatear, 10 Redwing, 4 Ring Ouzel ( Starehole Valley ), Lesser Whitethroat ( hedge across paddock from East Soar Cafe ), 8 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff and 13 Goldcrest.

Bellever Forest, Dartmoor

Dipped on the great grey shrike but picked up:

ring ouzel, 20 crossbill, 45 fieldfare.

Also: 60 woodpigeon - flying south high.


Cracking views of two Short-eared Owls in and over the fields beside Mare Lane this morning, also 17+ Crossbill east and two Lesser Redpolls in with Meadow Pipit flock. No Dusky Warblers though :-(


Orcombe Point - 0745 - 1200 - dusky warbler - in copse 300 yards up Gore Lane. Please do not enter fields to view. The bird can be viewed from the gate by the beehives. It can get up and down the lane and has spent some time in the copse across the field on the other side of the road. Also 18+ meadow pipit, c50+ skylark, 12+ goldfinch, 3+ redpoll, 8+ siskin, 10+ chaffinch, 8+ balckbird, 2+ reed bunting, 3 brambling, c50+ linnet, 2+ yellowhammer, 1 stonechat, 32 starling, 7 goldcrest, c60+ woodpigeon (high flock), 2 coal tit, 2+ bullfinch, 1 chiffchaff, 3 curlew and 1 blackcap.

Venford Reservoir - yesterday 27/10

Great White Egret yesterday late afternoon at Venford Reservoir. Bird flew in after 1600, fished successfully for almost an hour and then went to roost in high trees by the road. It  then had second thoughts and was seen disappearing in to the distance South East (ish).

[Charlie Fleming]

Thursday, 27 October 2011

East Soar

A stroll around East Soar Farm area late afternoon after work: a Yellow-browed Warbler close views as it moved along the hedge around the first field west of the main carpark. Also Merlin (airfield), Firecrest (Starehole), small influx of Song Thrushes and a handful of Chifs and Blackcap

Thurlestone Marsh

Late pm - 60 Teal, 26 Wigeon, 2 water rail, 1 Black T Godwit, 1 Snipe. At 18.00 a Woodcock flushed from the marsh and flew N W.

Starling roost 30k + superb aerial disply from 17.40- 18.00 particularly when a Sparrowhawk decided to try his luck

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Great Grey Shrike still  present this afternoon. 2 wheatear, 4 stonechats, around 160 golden plover but only 15 settled on the ground and then soon departed again. 80 fieldfare with a sprinkling of redwings, 60 skylarks, 30 lapwing, 9 snipe, 20 meadow pipits and a female sparrowhawk.

Dartmoor - Venford Great White Egret - yesterday 26/10

A nice photo of the bird, taken yesterday by Mike Goss

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Dartmoor - Bellever

Great Grey Shrike - present, but mobile, showing well late afternoon.

Dartmoor - Venford Reservoir

Great White Egret feeding around edge of reservoir mid afternoon then went to roost in firs close by.

Smeatharpe & Beer Head

A couple of photos from Joe Martin...

 Great Grey Shrike at Smeatharpe this afternoon...

...and a Wheatear at the same location - one of half a dozen

While we're on late Wheatears, one reported from Beer Head today also [Mike Lock]


2 Firecrest by barn at top of starehole valley
1 Hen Harrier (ringtail) over fields around carpark

[from Tom Forster]


Orcombe Point - 0740 - 0900 - steady passage of finches, meadow pipits and pied wags plus 1 brambling, 3+ reed bunting, 1+ crossbill, 2+ redpoll, 12+ siskin, 3 chiffchaff, 1 short-eared owl, 5+ bullfinch, 3 blackcap, 1 yellowhammer and just 1 goldcrest. Only a small area covered though.

Thurlestone Bay

Another day of Skylark in off the sea 145 In 2hrs, Plenty of Gannet with a few Kittiwake, 20 Wigeon on the sea , 8 Swallow over

Burrator Area, Dartmoor

Reservoir: 2 redhead goosander; 4 little grebe.

Moors: 2 ring ouzel; 11 raven.

Woods: 7 common crossbill; 3 lesser redpoll; 17 goldcrest

Snow Bunting Dartmoor

One Snow Bunting 50m NW of Trig Point at the summit of Gibbet Hill at 9am. Also 250+ Golden Plovers.

[Charlie Elder]

Rillage Point to Widmouth Head (nr Ilfracombe)

750 Chaffinches SW in the first hour after dawn in flocks of up to 50, with 2 calling Bramblings amongst them. Five Brent Geese (dark-bellied) flew W offshore. Also a noticeable passage W of Black-headed Gulls, in flocks of up to 35.

Prawle - yesterday 25/10

Prawle Point: Pig's Nose Valley 0930-1400 yesterday 25/10/11
Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 around paddocks at top of valley
Chiffchaff, 5 (at least one looked interesting but didn't sound so!) 
Firecrest, 2+
Redwing, 5
Siskin, 20
Swallow, 37
[from Paul Holmes]

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Northam Burrows & Budleigh

A couple of recent photos...

 Cetti's Warbler at Budleigh this morning - photo by Pete Adey

Snow Bunting at Northam Burrows - one of 3 birds by the golf clubhouse at 14:30 today
Photo by Tony Brooking

Budleigh Salterton / Woodbury Common

Highlights today:
4 Med. Gulls (two 1st winter and two 2nd winter) on the Otter and a Short-eared Owl along the coast path between Otter Head and Brandy Head this afternoon. A Merlin on Woodbury Common this evening.

Thurlestone Bay

Spent the afternoon watching the marsh - -new arrivals were - 1 LIttle Grebe, 1 Black T Godwit, 1 Snipe, . Female Marsh harrier flew into reeds at 17.00. A Merlin spooking the Starlings at 18.00.

Reed Buntings at my feeders increased to 6 ( only 2 ringed ).

Bob B had the Firecrest & Y B Warbler again at 16.00


Orcombe Point - 0745 - 1145 - 30+ alba wagtail, 35+ chaffinch, 34+ meadow pipit, c30+ skylark, c20+ starling, 10+ goldfinch, 16+ siskin, 8+ goldcrest, 13+ greenfinch, 7+ reed bunting, 3 grey wagtail, 1 mute swan (photo), 4+ yellowhammer, 2+ great spotted woodpecker, 3 chiffchaff, 3 bullfinch, 1 blackcap, 1+ redpoll, 2 curlew, 1+ redwing, 2+ song thrush, 57+ jackdaw, 2+ linnet, 1 male black redstart, 2 swallow, 1+ crossbill, 1+ coal tit.

Mudbank - c140+ pintail (photo)

Yesterday - adult little gull (0805) and 2 adult mediterranean gull on beach by Lifeboat Station briefly.

Sunday - Orcombe Point - 1535 - 2 pomarine skua west, 1 skua sp and 1 shearwater sp.

Re: Pic of Spoonbills at Isley.

The flagged bird on the left appears to be the one that was seen recently at Bowling Green Marsh with the juvenile. One of the Taw`s winter residents.

Ringed as a nestling at Oosterkwelder, Schiermonnikoog, West Frisian Islands, Netherlands on 10th June 2007


Tamertion Creek, from Tamerton Foliot to Ernesettle Point today: among the commoner birds were 6 Greenshank and 42 Black-tailed Godwits. [Tom Forster]

Isley Marsh - Saturday 22/10

A photo taken by Brian Palmer on Saturday shows 8 Spoonbills on Isley Marsh. Note colour-ringed/flagged individual on the left.

Froward Point and Hillhead

Froward Point, 08.00-11.00; absolutely dire this morning with nothing of note at all.

Hillhead, 11.45 - 13.00; 2 vocal Woodlark low over southwestwards at 11.45am with 2 Bullfinch, a Grey Wagtail and a Merlin over heading in the same direction subsequently. Also a Firecrest in my next door neighbour's Alders at 12.00pm and a flock of 5 Redpoll which stopped off in the same Alders briefly before continuing southwest at 12.30pm

Thurlestone Bay

A very calm & quiet morning until the rain arrived at 14.00 . One of those days that starts quiet but by 13.30 had turned into a red letter one

Seawatching at Beacon Pt produced 27 gannet 3 Razorbill, 4 Kittiwake, a Red T Diver flew into the Bay at 1o.55, small groups of Skylark moving south - total 145 plus a Woodlark (patch tick for me ).

Stood looking at the Copse at the far end of South Huish marsh from 12..00- 12 45 which produced 2 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, and a Yellow -browed Warbler ( second record for the patch )

Got back to the car to find afemale Red Breasted Merganser drop into the Bay ( first this year ).

Finally among.
st a few Gulls on Thurlestone Marsh was a jv Little Gull

4 Reed Bunting and a female Blackcap in the garden

Just off to buy a lottery ticket!

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est and Bradiford Reserve

11:25 - 12:15

c1100 Golden Plover and c120 Lapwing on sandbar btwn Ashford sewage works and Penhill Marsh.

Green Sandpiper in the ditch alongside sewage works.
Kestrel being harassed by small flock of c20 Goldfinches.
1st winter Reed Buntings in bushes nr electrified Tarka Trail gate to sewage works.

Usual pair of Kestrels perched on posts in Bradiford Reserve.

Exminster Marshes

What a difference a day makes. Warm, sunny and calm. I heard Cettis calling from at least 4 locations on the canal bank and from both sides of the canal. One showed particularly well at the viewing platform. Few other small birds apart from one goldcrest and one stonechat. A kingfisher on the canal and about 50 skylarks over flying west, included one flock of 27 birds.

On the lagoon the number of teal has risen to over 130. Also about 30 shoveller, 20 wigeon (but more arrived as I left) and one tufted duck. At 10.00 there were 5 or 6 gadwall but I could only see one at 11.30. On the fields it was great to see 6 curlew feeding in the fields and 31 lapwing. A sign of wetter things to come.

At Turf 10 redshank, 5 black-tailed godwits and 2 little egrets. A small flock of 6 meadow pipits, one rock pipit and 2 chaffinches.

Pom fest - Berry Hd - 231011

Following the significant passage of Pomarine Skuas 23-24/10 (c150 birds mostly juvs!), some pictures showing a range juveniles that passed through (by request!).

First (above) a typical juv, quite long tail projection on this bird. Underwing looking paler than body, heavy two tone bill. Double patch on hand of underwing. Barred rump.

Another darker individual larger size cf Kittiwake

Another juv, this one has a less prominent double patch on hand. But still a nice barred rump, dark mask around eye. Heavy two tone bill. Underwing paler than body.

A very nice dark individual.

Upper and underside of two more typical juvs. First one showing more reduced tail projection.

Two different birds with more extensive pale 'double patch' area on hand almost merging when seen at range.

This bird was not a large Pom, with only a sublte 'double patch' on hand! But still show heavy two toned bill, deep chest and typical paler underwing than body. Quite long tail projections as some do!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Hope's Nose, yesterday 23/10

Three of the Poms past the Nose yesterday

Soar - yesterday 23/10

Ring Ouzel photo by Martin Cox - one (well, two I suppose) of five birds in Starehole Valley yesterday morning...

Devils Point, Plymouth

The weather looked promising for something good at Devils Point but all I could manage were two adult Med. Gulls and a Sandwich Tern.

Berry Head

Seawatch 07:45-17:45: 64 Pomarine Skuas (all juvs), 21 Arctic Skuas, 43 Bonxies, 5 Pom/Arctic, Balearic Shearwater, Red-throated Diver, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (1w), 7 Common Gulls, Brent Goose (heading N). Most skuas came through in the morning before the rain and gale force SE wind arrived, then a few more late afternoon after the rain cleared. Also eastern-type Chiffchaff at end of headland.

Dawlish Warren

Late afternoon on a rising tide, in front of the hide beyond the thousands of birds sheltering from todays storm, a nice winter plummage Scaup sat on the waters edge preening itself amongst four Mergansers. 435+ Great black backed gulls, 1000+ Oystercatchers, small numbers of Sanderling, Grey plover, Bl tailed godwits etc, plus large numbers of Brent geese and Widgeon. One Wheatear came in off the water.


Seawatch this morning (to 10:25) very disappointing. 16 Med Gulls was exceptional for here, but otherwise just 2 Bonxies, 10 Brents and 3 Common Scoter.

An Avocet on the river from the tower hide.

Start Bay

Tried a seawatch from the midway car park along Torcross Line between 08:00-11:00. Just a single juvenile Pomarine Skua and 2 Great Skuas heading south. Also one unidentified ( Pom / Arctic ). 2 waders passing through were possibly Purple Sandpipers. First winter Mediterranean Gull in the car park.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Plym Estuary

Spotted Sandpiper still present, also ad and 1st-winter Med Gulls, and a Grey Phalarope briefly [from Roy McCarthy]

Dawlish Warren

Male American Wigeon seen late morning with c1200 Wigeon to the right of hide in saltmarsh, showed well for more than an hour until birds took flight. Birds didn't leave site, but most went further away into the saltmarsh & not seen subsequently, despite extensive search, am sure bird is still present.
Also early morning, 7.45-9.25 produced 6 Bonxie's, 2 Poms & 2 Arctic Skua's. Plus female Merlin went past hide on incoming tide.
[from Lee Collins]

Berry Head

Seawatch 13:15-17:45 (wish I had arrived earlier!): 77 Pomarine Skuas (nearly all juvs), 38 Arctic Skuas, 55 Bonxies, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, Manx Shearwater, Arctic Tern and a Long-tail / Arctic. At least another 9 Poms , 17 Arctics and 40+Bonxies seen before I arrived. So perhaps a record Pom count for Devon - will post some Pom pics tomorrow as many came past close. Also lots of Auks, Gannets and Kittiwakes including one 1w killed by two Bonxies infront of us .

Bowling green marsh

Made my way over to bowling green marsh for this afternoons high tide and watched from the hide from 13:30 till 16:00.

On arrival had a report from a couple leaving the hide of a skua being seen where the rivers meet around 13:00 the description suggested arctic skua interesting record this far up the estuary.

Another interesting high tide with 1 curlew sandpiper still showing well amongst 120+ Dunlin, good to see 3 golden plover still around and 15 pintail( 5 males and 10 fem). 45 avocet,3 spotted redshank all adults, 40+ bar tailed godwits, 650+ black tailed godwits, 10 greenshank, 10+ shoveler, 1 green sandpiper,1 knot, 5+ wigeon, a brief 1st winter med gull,little grebe.

Overall an enjoyable afternoon

Sunday 23/10

on the Kingsbridge est:
4 Med Gull, Arctic Tern, single Brent Goose, 200+ GBB Gull
3 Bonxie, 2 Arctis Skua, 30+ Auk sp,  good passage of Gannet/Kittewake Sth... 15:00 17:30

Hope's Nose

Seawatch with Janet 3pm-6pm. Among large numbers of gannets and kittiwakes passing, 1 adult med gull, 4 bonxies, 18 pom/arctic skuas (including several close poms), 1 balearic shearwater, 1 leaches petrel and 1 small passerine (probably a wagtail) struggling south over the sea against near gale force winds.

Prawle this weekend

Another fairly quiet weekend. Seawatching today (8.00 - 11.30) produced a lot of Gannets - 2080, (1070 west, 1010 east), and 279 Kittiwakes (most west), but only a handful of anything else, namely 4 Fulmars, single Manx and Balearic Shearwaters, Common Scoter, 3 Wigeon, 3 Great and 1 Pomarine Skua, 3 Common Gulls and 42 Auk sp. A quick wander turned up Merlin, Swallow, 8 Wheatears, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests and 2 Firecrests.

Yesterday (22/10); The first Turnstone of the winter appeared, along with a late (for Prawle) Whimbrel. Doing the rounds produced 3 Swallows, 6 Wheatears, Ring Ouzel, 4 Chiffchaffs, 8 Goldcrests and 2 Firecrests.

Friday (21/10); 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaffs in a quick look in Pig's Nose Valley.

Oh dear !!

Thurlestone Bay

As expectedaction over the sea limited to gannets , Kittiwakes , Auks & the first Common Scoter _4 for some weeks

Thurlestone marsh - female Marsh Harrier at 08.00 & 17.30 , 80+ Teal, 16 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 3 Snipe & the first Jack Snipe of the autumn.

Over the bay a Merlin & 12 Swallow


I thought I'd post this link to a trip report from birder/bird ringer Luke Phillips who has just spent a week on the island...

Budleigh Salterton

10am. Short eared owl mobbed by crows over cricket ground.

Fremington Pill.

On way home from Northam Burrows popped into Fremington Pill at 10:25. Not much there,
1 Greenshank; 1 Little Egret; 7 Dunlin; c150 Redshank and 3 Shelduck.

Sandymere, Northam Burrows.

At 09:25 the 4 Snow Buntings were still flipping around the base of the pebble ridge. If you stand still they will come within a few feet of you.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

No sign of Great Grey Shrike this morning. Note that the site is subject to heavy disturbance today due to a stock car meeting at the stadium and some kind of metal detection society working the site. The 150 golden plover have already been flushed. 2 wheatears and a single snipe present.