Saturday, 17 December 2011

Clennon Valley and Exminster Marsh

The Yellow Browed Warbler still at Clennon Valley this morning showing well from the wooden bridge.

This evening, a Short-Eared Owl showed well at the northern end of Exminster Marsh

Thurlestone Bay

This report covers the last 2 days-

Friday - A female Goosander was a surprise flying in off the sea & straight up South Milton valley.

An increase in Duck - on Thurlestone marsh - 7 Shoveler, 32 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 10 lapwing.

On South Huish marsh - 1 Greylag Goose, 200+ Teal, 50 Wigeon 9 gadwall.

Saturday - Waders on the beaches at high tide- 14 Turnstone, 2 sanderling, 13 Ringed Plover, .

Only duck on Thurlestone marsh - 50 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 5 Shoveler

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 08:45 till 12:00

On the walk down to the hide had a male blackcap and 80+ redwing 15 fieldfare,

From the hide 180+ bar tailed godwit, 450+ avocet, 400+ black tailed godwit, 250+ wigeon, 140+ teal, 40+ Dunlin, 1 knot, 70+ redshank, 2 tufted duck, 1 snipe , 2 little egret and 1 cetti's warbler calling

Isley Marsh and Foreshore to Fuel Jetty

09:00 - 11:00

Unpleasant birding in strong N.W. wind; blowing straight onto the shore.
Difficult to make an accurate count due to bins and scope being blown about.

On the Tarka Trail from Yelland level crossing to Instow Barton Marsh, 23 Fieldfare;
1 Redwing; 7 Bullfinch and 1 Buzzard.

Jetty Roost.
c180 Grey Plover; c350 Dunlin; 19 Bar-tailed Godwit; c100 Lapwing; 54 Turnstone;
20 Knot; 34 Redshank and just a few Oystercatcher, Teal and just 1 Wigeon.

Isley Marsh.
10 Spoonbill; c250 Teal; c150 Wigeon; c70 Curlew and 9 Greenshank.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Bradiford reserve

A quick look in this morning at high tide. The river had backed up considerably, water completeely submerging the scrape and the reedbeds. In amongst the Teal (40?) and Mallard (a few) was a smart drake Pintail. On the other side of the river was a lone Black-tailed Godwit.

Clennon Valley

Yellow-browed Warbler still in same place NW corner westernmost pond where tiny feeder pool streams into the top pond. also 1 tristis type (Alan D, if you got any good shots could you post them?) and 3 collybita Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests and Water Rail.

Broadsands this morning: 2 Black-necked Grebes, 15 Great Crested Grebes, 27 Wigeon. around car parks 9 Cirl and 1 Reed Buntings on seed, 1 tristis type and 1 collybita type Chiffchaffs in marsh.

Seaton Marshes

Wheatear still present on Seaton Marshes this morning, with two Stonechats. Be good if it stays in to the new year!

Also yesterday, two Slavonian Grebes off Beer (found by Ian McLean).

 Added by GH

Northam Burrows

Two Snow Buntings feeding quietly around the edge of Sandymere Pool this morning. One was a very smart male, and probably a different bird from those earlier in the autumn.
73 Brent Geese on the Skern including 1 Pale-bellied, and around 40 Shelduck. Plenty of small waders, but impossible to get the scope on them in the wind.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

nr. Ashburton

Flushed a Woodcock in Owlacombe Wood, couple miles northeast of Ashburton this morning.

Yelland Taw est

9 Spoonbills feeding in field between Islay marsh and the main road opposite Lagoon view at 13.45 hrs still present at 16 15 hrs.


At Bellever Forest :
20 crossbill - a flock of 16 by the main car park. 1m 2f Goosander on the River Dart plus Dipper.

Burrator Reservoir: 1m1f Goosander at north end, also 10 teal.

Sidmouth - Jacobs Ladder

On time 2+ hours after high tide this morning the first
group of 7 Purple Sandpipers flew off the groyne to feed on the rocks alongside the foreshore. Overall total of 11 - (a passing pedestrian said that he had seen 14 on an earlier date)
Also 14 Turnstones.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

A totally unexpected surprise was an adult Bewicks Swan flying quite low south east at 8.50. Great grey shrike still present but elusive in the strong wind. 87 golden plover on the rough pasture until 9.05 when flushed by someone/something unseen and flew off east. Single mistle thrush and song thrush mixed in with around 60 fieldfare. 4 stock doves, 1 raven and one adult male stonechat.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Exminster Marshes

The fw red-breasted goose back today, with brent geese in the large field directly south of the M5 from the canal bank, over the high tide this morning. Also: 11 greylag geese, 2 water pipit and 2-3 short-eared owls (from 1500 north of Station Rd.)

Thurlestone Bay

Still blowing a F8 sw with much stronger gusts in the very heavy hail showers, with little shelter managed to stay up to 11.30.

A flock of 100 Wigeon flew into the bay and landed on the seabefore continuing west. A single Guillemot and 12 Gannets were the only other birds over the sea .

On the beach a first Dec record for me of a Knot with 5 Turnstone. an ad Med Gull on the marsh.

with2 Shoveler, 20 Wigeon, 30 Teal.

On Tstn marsh- 30 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 5 Shoveler,1 Greylag Goose, 8 lapwing & 1 Black T Godwit.

Just got back to find the postman has brought me an early Xmas present- no falling asleep in front of the Telly tonight with the 2010 Bird Report to salviate over

Clennon Valley

The Yellow-browed Warbler still in same place, 5 collybita type and 1 tristis type Chiffchaff, 3 Teal, 12 Snipe, 1 Water Rail, 1 Little Egret, 2 Shoveler.


Still very blowy out in the bay so most birds very close in: 9 Black-necked Grebes, 14 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Red-breasted Merganser.

6 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd Car Park, 1 Chiffchaff in marsh.

Paignton: 2 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Great Northern Diver.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Thurlestone Bay

A SW5/6 soon increased to an 8 this morning, seas rogh but viz very good . A Great Skua flew west at 10.15, 78 Gannet, 16 Kittiwake, 11 Razormots, 2 Wigeon ( on sea ), 1 ad Med Gull.

Tstn Marsh this am - 1F Merlin, 12 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 5 gadwall, 6 Shoveler, 10 lapwing , 1 Black T Godwit

On S Huish Marsh - 2 Shoveler, 1 Grey L Goose

Powderham Marshes

At about mid-day the finch flock seemed to be smaller than on my last visit but there were still over 200 birds mostly chaffinches and linnets. A few greenfinches (c20), 10 redwings, 15 reed buntings and 2 (pair) bullfinches were in the hedgerows. All the birds were constantly moving probably due to the number of raptors; buzzard, kestrel (2), sparrowhawk and peregrines (2). Elsewhere one stonechat, 11 long-tailed tits and a single goldcrest. Overhead c6 skylarks and c10 redwings.

Clennon Valley

Yellow-browed Warbler showing well again - in NW corner of western most pond from small wooden bridge from the tiny feeder pond is. Birders have been looking from the wooden bridge on the causeway between the two large ponds (middle and western most) the chances are you will not see the bird from here!

Also : 1 tristis type, 2 collybita Chiffchaffs, Kingfisher, Water Rail and 3 Goldcrests.

Broadsands this morning: 4 Black-necked Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes 8 Razorbills, 1 Guillemot. 6 Cirls on seed in 2nd car park, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Water Rail in the marsh.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Clennon Valley Ponds yesterday

A belated pic of the ruddy shelduck on the lower pond yesterday.

Great Skua from St.Kilda off South Devon

I had a speedy response to yesterday's Great Skua sighting 30nm off Start Point.

The bird was ringed by Will Miles (of Leach's Petrel fame, if you subscribe to British Birds).

Will replied with the following interesting information on the bird:

"This is definitely one of mine, and the first ever record of one away from Kilda - totally brilliant! A live wintering at-sea record is particularly rare for these guys - so many thanks again. This fella is actually the second bird I ever ringed on Kilda. It is White/White (L) Red/White (R), ringed on Hirta on 22nd May 2007 as an adult (wing 441mm, weight 1510g, head&bill length 108.5mm). It nested every year on Kilda that I was there (2007-10) with only two other pairs on 'Mullach Sgar', quite a remote location away from the main colony in Glen Mor. Also, if I remember, the pair had rather a taste for Leach's Petrels too !"

Upottery Airfield, Smetharpe

Great Grey Shrike still present this morning though a little elusive in the strong wind. No sooner have I made a comment on the absence of golden plovers when they turn up again!! 32 on the barley field and a group of approximately 60 went north east. A single lapwing was the first since mid October. Circa 1500 starlings in various groups and 70 fieldfare on the rough pasture.  A few more gulls beginning to show with a 2nd winter great black backed being the first of the winter. A nice group of 19 house sparrows feeding on the sillage heaps.


Seawatch 8.00 - 11.00 returned totals of 3 Red-throated Divers, 307 Gannets, 10 Fulmars, Red-breasted Merganser, Curlew, Great Skua, 65 Kittiwakes and 252 Auks. A quick walk around the village before the rain came turned up little more than 2 Water Rails, a Goldcrest and a Firecrest.

Dawlish Warren

The drake American Wigeon showed briefly from the hide, lurking in Shutterton Creek; most of the birds on the Starcross side of the creek were busy dodging bait-diggers, dog-walkers and birders. Aside from that, the usual selection of waders as expected, 5 distant scoter offshore - all apparently Common - and a frustratingly distant skua heading east. Might, just might, have been a Pom.

English Channel 30nm SSW off Start Point

Out on a fishing boat yesterday, a few interesting bits and pieces in the channel. Up to 15 wintering Bonxies around the boat, one carried colour rings (so awaiting some feedback on this bird as to where it was ringed); see photo - left leg double white, right leg red over white. There were far more large gulls foraging around the boat than normal, mostly Herring, Great and Lesser Black-backs and good numbers of Kittiwakes. Fulmar numbers have picked up again and there was one dark phase ( a 'dark' as opposed to a 'double dark'). Best bird was a cracking dark morph 1w Pomarine Skua, though sadly I have no photos as it disappeared soon as I waved a camera!
Below photos of unringed Bonxie and 'dark' Fulmar.

Devils Point, Plymouth

A Spoonbill was on Drakes Island this morning at around 09.30.
I missed it's departure towards the Tamar but another birder got a nice shot of it in flight. Perhaps he will post it here??

Clennon Valley

Yellow-browed Warbler showing well this morning from small wooded bridge dividing western most large pond and tiny feeder pond (this is the best place to watch from the bird always returns here but does wander fairly widely). 6 collybita type chiffchaffs, 2 tristis type Chiffchaffs one calling very similar to the Broadsands bird the other with a soft 'see-ou' not the classic tristis flat 'hiii', both birds look good for tristis! Also 7 Goldcrests, 1 Pintail, 2 Shoveler, 11 Tufted Ducks, 1 Pochard, 2 Water Rail.