Saturday, 7 January 2012

Cockwood and Dawlish

Cockwood.....Slav Grebe, plus at least 8 x Goldeneye....
Dawlish Warren, seen from sea wall, Black Redstart, Red Throated Diver, Surf Scoter.

[Trevor Leaman]

Bursdon Moor and Lower Tamar Lake

Started the day at Bursdon Moor where at 08.20 got 3 hen harriers - 2 at the north end and 1 south/top end. On to Lower Tamar lake where on arrival a flypast first of lapwings numbering 200+ then sizeable flock of redwings and fieldfares. In the hide a 'swimpast' of 9 goosander (5 males) resplendent in the morning sunlight.
Then a kingfisher perched on a reedmace head 20metres out. A jay at the feeding station with nuthatch, great spotted wood and the reliable willow tit... A female sparrowhawk swooped in but failed to capture any of the 7 common snipe feeding on one of the newly formed miniature islands in front of the hide.
Numbers of teal, mallard, little grebe, a great crested grebe and a pochard or two. All the while serenaded by songthrushes. Fabulous!

[Stewart Beer]

Drake Goosander by Brian Palmer

Exminster marshes and matford marsh

Another excellent day on the marshes startted  at matford marsh at 10:30 the snipe were still giving good views and at least 35 showed well, 400+ lapwing, 100+ wigeon , 1 little grebe, 12+ shoveler, 3 common gulls, 50+ teal

Then walked out to exminster marshes between the motorway bridge and the main car park 3 reed bunting, 2 stonecaht, 2 cetti's warblers, buzzard and the water pipit was in the field just before the car park. From the viewing paltform 5 pochard, 15+ gadwall, 300+ wigeon, 2 tufted duck, 1 merlin over the back of the marsh. Then walked down station road looking at the scapes on the left produced 12+ shoveler and in the distance a large group of wigeon 1500+ and plenty of teal and a couple of pintail then as i came to the bends in the road the Glossy Ibis was showing down to a few meters in the field on the left hand side by the gate it was feeding with a group of wigeon and giving fantastic views . I finished of the day watching 2 short eared owls and a kestrel over fields towards the motorway bridge 



Seawatching (08.00 - 10.30) was dominated by a heavy passage of Auks, with 2460 logged moving west, and 210 east. Most were Razorbills, but numbers of Guillemots are on the up. 'Back-up' birds weren't bad, with single Balearic Shearwater and Great Northern Diver, 12 Red-throated Divers, 138 Gannets, Common Scoter, 8 Common Gulls and 114 Kittiwakes.

On the land, 2 Egyptian Geese still on the Airfields, and the Green Sandpiper put in another appearance. At Horseley Cove, the Water Pipit still, and a Med Gull. Elsewhere, at least 9 Purple Sandpipers, Water Rail, 16 Redwings, Black Redstart (Point), Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.

Thurlestone Bay

Nice Water Pipit on the back marsh this morning feeing with the Wigeon which had increased to 76, teal still 35, 3m 1f Shoveler, 15 lapwing

AJL had sight of 2 Bearded Tit from the footbridge, this morning.

On Kingsbridge Estury - off Castle Pt Salcombe a 1cy male Eider shows very well in calm water only 30yds off

Isley Marsh

Just got back from a walk down Braunton Pill to the end of Chivenor runway from where I could see 9 Spoonbill over at Isley as the tide reached it's high point. On the way back a large (2000?) flock of Golden Plover were spooked by something over the Chivenor airfield.

Exeminster and Dawlish Warren

The Glossy Ibis was feeding up to 4-5 metres on the left side of the lane at the second car park.
Also the single Water pipit was showing well on the opposite side of the lane to the ibis.

At Dawlish Warren the Surf Scoter was off shore aswell as a Red throated diver 3-4 common scoter and a female eider.

Otter Estuary and beach

A Great Northern Diver was feeding just off the river mouth at Budleigh, close in to the beach late morning. 4 Common Scoter flew west. Adult Mediterranean Gull on estuary from lower viewing platform. Water Rail showing well on river's edge reedbed opposite the upper viewing platform. A Kingfisher was in the ditch behind the new hide and 3 Stonechats were in the vicinity of the cricket pitch and Lime Kilns car park. No sign of Snow Bunting, although I see that it's been reported on Birdguides. Anyone have precise details as to where it is being seen?

At Exmouth late this afternoon, my first Blackcap of this winter, a male, showed in the valley opposite Greenfingers garden centre entrance and below Scott Drive.

As an aside, referring to Rupert's post below, there were 3 Goldeneyes (one drake) in the same spot off Shelly Beach about one week before Christmas and I had 5 there Jan 1st.

Exmouth - Bull Hill Banks

10a.m. on the low tide, there were 5 Goldeneye (2 males, 3 females) diving on the edge of the mussel beds off Shelley Beach & Bull Hill Banks. Recorded previously off D/Warren but first time I've managed to see them off Exmouth in their normal feeding spot - very late arriving this winter.

Berry Hd

Seawatch between 0930-1030hrs: 1 pomarine skua, 2-3 Great Skuas, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Divers and masses of Auks (mostly Razorbills), Kittiwakes and about 500+ Gannets in a huge feeding fenzy just off headland that gradually moved out into Lyme Bay.

Chris Smallbones reported a Glaucous Gull while watching off the top of the headland this morning.

Common Crane reported flying over Broadsands at 10am ish.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Budleigh / The Otter / Ladrum Bay

A Snow Bunting on the beach which I thought was long gone, was a pleasant surprise and a very obliging drake Red-breasted Merganser remains on the Otter. Numbers of Wigeon and Teal seem very low in number.

A look on the sea with DC off Otterton sewage works produced 4 RT Divers (23+ here on 2nd January) a lone Common Scoter.

Exminster Marshes

The Glossy Ibis was showing well down to a few feet this afternoon, just past Lions Rest Estate, either side of the lane towards the 'bends'. A Pale-bellied Brent Goose was with other geese, just in front of the canal path viewing platform. A Short-eared Owl showed fairly distantly from the lane looking towards the M5. A male Kingfisher showed well on the canal, 300m up front Turf.


Quite a few big Gulls on Beer Beach this afternoon including a 3cy Yellow Legged Gull, unfortunatly none of the Gulls hung around for long due to every man & his dog also being there.

After this a look around the set aside field near Beer Quarry turned up 50+ Yellowhammers, 15 Skylark & 4 Reed Bunting.

Yarner Woods

Sightings today from Yarner Woods: 6 marsh tits, 7 nuthatches, 2 goldcrest, great spotted woodpecker, 2 ravens, 4 jays, 2 treecreepers, a firecrest and in a nearby private site, 2 willow tits.

[Sam Marles]

Exminster Marshes - yesterday 5/1

A couple of shots of the Glossy Ibis - taken yesterday by Martin Cox

Bursdon Moor - yesterday 5/1

Yesterday evening about 4.20pm 2 Hen Harriers - a male and a ringtail. [Harvey Kendall]


Lanner Falcon with jess and radio tag this afternoon at the entrance to:
Snapes Pt Car Park, Batson at 13:46hrs
ring blue: /267233854?


First opportunity to put up some nets after all the stormy weather of late. Rewarded with a hatful of Finches (mostly Green) and the first Chiffchaff and Blackcap of the year. Later on caught another of each which were ringed late last year. Unfortunately the female Sparrowhawk got out of the net before I got to it, and there was no sign of the Green Woodpecker that was chasing me around the reserve for a couple of hours yesterday!
At one point a female Kestrel sat in a tree a few yards from the ringing base, but also avoided all the nets!
The totals for last year were 1655 birds ringed of 42 species.

Torridgeside 10:30 - 12:00

Weare Giffard: Whooper Swan still present in field with a couple of Mute's although a long way from the road.
Sandymere: 2 Snow buntings on the edge of the mere.
Nr Goosey Pool: Adult Med Gull showing well

Kenwith nature reserve Bideford

At least 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Water rail,2 Teal, Great spotted woodpecker, Jay,

Aveton Gifford & Avon Valley

On the estuary:
7 little egrets; Imm. Bewick's swan; black swan; 3 redshanks; 4 common sandpipers; kingfisher.

North of bridge:
water rail; dipper; 137 redwings; 16 fieldfares.

Marshes north of the bridge look ripe for conservation development!! Could be a really good wetland.

Baggy Point Gulls

Went north of the Taw/Torridge estuary this morning to try to find the Iceland gull, and surprisingly found it, and a Glaucous Gull together. They had found a calm area just off the rocks and and both were in the 'scope at the same time. I would age both birds as first winter.

Whether this is the same Glaucous as seen on Northam Burrows is debatable. The straight line distance is not great, and there are not too many places for the gulls to do fresh water bathing. Malcolm Shakespeare was on Northam Burrows at the same time and was unable to find the Glaucous there, so it is inconclusive as to whethere there are one or two birds.

Broadsands & Clennon Valley

Managed to miss the R-t Diver and R-n Grebe this morning but did get 2 Common Scoter, 18 Cirl Buntings on seed in the back of the 2nd car park and 7 Reed Buntings.

Clennon Valley: No sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler this morning but there were at least 6 Chiffchaffs (mostly seen by Josh) including 1 tristis type and a bat again - after giving a description to an expert it sounds like it is a Daubenton's Bat.


With MD, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Diver, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, tristis type Chiffchaff also in marsh.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Thurlestone Bay

Forced inland because of the gale foce wind blowing sand into my face. At Upton Cross ( near South Milton ) - a walk round a rape seed field produced 200 + Skylark 10 Linnet, 36 Stock Dove , and the big surprise of the day (year ? ) a pair of Grey Partridge flushed from a hedgerow - I don't know who was the most surprised the Partridge or me ! I am aware that Falconers do release birds - there were some at Soar 2 years ago.

This afternoon at Aveton Gifford Bewick's Swan, 2 Greenshank, 4 Redshank, 1 Common sandpiper.

Clennon Valley

Yellow-browed Warbler still present top NW corner of western Pond it is regularly ranging down to the middle pond. 2 collybita type and one tristis type Chiffchaffs, 3 Siskin, 4 Water Rail, 2 Shoveler, 2 Teal and a Little Egret.  

Northam Burrows

The 2 Snow Buntings which were around the edge of Sandymere Pool at the back end of last year are back again. This afternoon they were along the roadside edge just before the path to the Information centre.

Dawlish Warren

A very windy morning and I caught sight of the female surf scoter flying round the point. From the hide it was diving near the wreck next to a couple of mergansers.
On the go cart track hopping in and out of the tyres a brightly coloured male black redstart showed well in the sun.


A report of a Chough was phoned through to me, it was seen well in a garden backing on to the River Clyst in Topsham on 2nd January - keep your eyes peeled....

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Plym estuary, Plymouth.

The Spotted Sandpiper showing well today at high tide from the "hide". This bird has gained a few more spots on the undertail coverts since I last had a decent view of it. We're hoping it will dress itself for summer before it departs!
Not a lot else here just four Greenshank, two Common Sandpipers, a few Pied Wags and Linnets and one each of Peregrine and Sparrowhawk overhead.

Yesterday at Devils Point were two adult Med. Gulls, a Razorbill and a Redwing. The Redwing was my first here apart from last winters cold spell influx.

East Prawle, Aveton Gifford, Beesands

An early 2012 'twitch' to see 3 Egyptian Geese flying over the airfields ,East Prawle at 11.30am today, following a visit to Aveton G to see the  Bewick's Swan, most of the time asleep. (PS Pat, I have a silouette photo of the geese as proof !) Also 1 x Great Northern Diver and 14 + Common Scoter off Beesands [Tony Marchese]


Just in case anyone still needs it for the year, the Slavonian Grebe was still present this afternoon, close in to the harbour wall.

Exminster Marshes

The Glossy Ibis is still showing well today in the fields behind Lions Rest Industrial Estate, Exminster.

[Mike Jones]

Thurlestone Bay

Turned into anther stormy day wind increasing from a WSW 5 to gusty 7/8 by 13.00

Nothing new on the marsh Bay watched 10.00-12.00 45 Razormott, ,45 Gannet, 3 Kittiwake, 12 Common Scoter -east, a Red T Diver flew east , a Great N Diver flew into the bay( landed on the sea ) it or another flew west lter. A Turnstone on the rocks .

South Huish Marsh- Greylag Goose, 18 Wigeon ,1 Shoveler, 25 Teal, 30 Stock Dove ( largest flock for some time ). A 1st w Yellow L Gull in amongst a large flock of Herring Gull in the fields ,.

Bob B had Bearded Tit calling ( at least 2 ) by the footbridge with 3 Chiffchaff at the sewage works.

Visited Slapton this afternoon - Off the M car park Velvet Scoter, Slavonian Grebe, on the Ley

4 Great C Grebe, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Pochard , 30 Tufted duck . 1 ad Med Gull

Rackerhays and Kingskerwell

At Rackerhays, Newton Abbot this afternoon, an impressive 13 Mandarin, 10(6m,4f) on Island Pond and 3(2m,1f) on Dawes Pond. This may be the first record of Mandarin at Rackerhays and presumably have been displaced from the nearby fast flowing rivers. Also 2 Goldeneye, c15 Siskin and 3 Goldcrest.

At dusk this evening, a Woodcock flew over a regular fly-route at Stoneycombe at the back of Kingskerswell.

nr. Kingsbridge

Driving to work this morning and flushed a Short-eared Owl from the roadside hedge near the top of Sandy Lane ( nr. Torr Quarry ).

Weare gifford

adult Whooper Swan near annery kiln. also 40 red throated diver at hartland point. 6 crossbill at melbury

Dawlish Warren

Late morning four of us scanned the sea for thirty minutes trying to find the female Surf Scoter. We saw the Velvet Scoter and a few Common Scoters plus a female Long-tailed Duck. We walked south of Langstone Rock and saw a Great Norther Diver. On the way back just past the cafe we stopped to look again at the Long-tailed Duck and up popped the Surf Scoter a few feet away. I was told later that a Red-necked Grebe had also been seen this morning.

Baggy Point


Iceland Gull still on south side of Baggy, approx midway between the whalebone and the Point. In spite of all the commoner gulls eventually moving away, the Iceland kept coming back to the same spot. Also a number of 1stW Kittiwakes feeding in same area.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

West Prawle

In the very windy weather this morning saw 25 Golden plover, 20 Stock Doves and a couple very showy Peregrines by Holset Turn.

Exminster Marshes

Glossy Ibis still at Exminster Marshes today at 4pm, in field next to Lion's Rest Industrial Estate. Good views as lovely & close to the road.

[Claire & Chris Grove]

Charleton marsh

On the marsh at high tide. c. 90 Teal,  2 Egyptian geese, 5 Pintail, 1 Little grebe, 23 Wigeon, 9 Bartailed godwit, 66 Curlew. On the estuary, 85 Brent riding out the storm.  Offshore at Beesands, 1 GN Diver and
13 C. scoter, no sign of the Velvet.


One Purple Sandpiper on Maer Rocks at 1620 'til dusk. Nothing else of note here.
30 Knot and 50 Sanderling on newly exposed mud bars off Shelly Beach as tide dropped mid afternoon.

Baggy Point

A slightly dangerous walk out to the point this afternoon was rewarded with good views of the Iceland Gull. Also saw 5 Razorbill, 3 Gannet and a Balearic Shearwater heading south. Probable Red-throated Diver, and a flock of about 70 Common Scoter. No sign of the Glaucous Gull, but Malcolm Shakespeare has seen it (or another) on Goosey Pool at Northam Burrows this afternoon.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Prawle and Start Bay

Seawatch 08.00 - 09.30; 1 Great Northern and 3 Red-throated Divers, 227 Gannets, 25 Fulmars, 2 Shelduck, 43 Kittiwakes and 244 Auks (most Razorbills). Quite a nice selection on the walk around, including ironically 2 Egyptian Geese. These, on the airfields, are presumably 2 of the 5 from West Prawle late last year, and are reported to have been here for several days. Only the second site record, following 3 that dropped in briefly in January 2010. Also around the airfields, a female Merlin, and a Green Sandpiper poking about in the waterlogged corner. At Horseley Cove, the Water Pipit still, and elsewhere, 6 Redwings, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, Goldcrest and Firecrest.

A quick look in fading light from the monument car-park at Slapton showed the Velvet Scoter to be still bobbing about all alone.

dawlish warren and exminster marsh

A visit to dawlish warren this morning got me good views of the Surf Scoter and eventually the velvet scoter with 4 common scoter all from the lifequard lookout. Also on the sea were 1 red throated diver and lots of razorbills and a few guilemots, at leat 5 great crested grebes and  the male eider was with 2 female eider. A couple of rock pipits were on the rocks in front of the seawall.

From the hide on the rising tide the American wigeon showed well with at least 2 sanderling amongst the dunlin with 15+ knot and good numbers of grey plover, 2 razorbill and at least 15+ red breasted mergansers,
14 ringed plover were in the bight, 12+ skylark, 2 stonechat, on the pond were 1 snipe and 2 little grebes

Exminster marshes this afternoon got great views of the Glossy Ibis and the barnacle goose was in with the canada geese 
Glossy Ibis exminster marshes

Knot at Dawlish warren

Redshank Dawlish warren
Another great days birding around the exe

North Devon

At  Baggy Point this morning with  fellow birder Stephen Jordan. He  spotted the Iceland Gull reported there yesterday. It seemed settled in an area  close in to the cliffside about midway out to the Point. At the Point a second white gull, a Glaucous! A fierce, and stinging, hailstorm curtailed further spotting!
Malcolm Shakespeare had a goldeneye in Croyde Bay midday.

[Stewart Beer & Stephen Jordan]

Bursden Moor

Heavy rain did not prevent a display of hunting female hen harrier, later joined by male, two peregrines, a pair of Merlin playing tag, and single flypasts of buzzard, kestrel, jay and a distant owl (probably short-eared) which alas did not return. (14:15 - 16:00)
[Andy Lansdell]

Out and about

To fill in the blanks for the day and to save replicating information already listed today- The Red-Breasted Goose still with 400+ Breant Geese on Exminster Marsh between the lagoon and Turf in the field by the canal path, a Short-Eared Owl at the northern end of the marsh and a Water Pipit on the last pool north of the road before the end car park. The Glossy Ibis still late afternoon viewable from the road by the industrial estate. Also, a Cettis Warbler in sub song this afternoon. The male Merlin was also seen today and it or another was also seen at Bowling Green Marsh.

At Dawlish Warren-the Surf Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Great-Northern and Red-Throated Divers all offshore and the drake American Wigeon still in the estuary with far fewer Eurasion Wigeon making the job of finding it a lot easier!

At Clennon Valley, a male Blackcap and a Chiffchaff in the same area as the Yellow-Browed Warbler. Also a Little Egret on the top pool.


Maer Rocks - 1500 - fw little gull (1520), 1 purple sandpiper, 6+ turnstone, and still lots of auks out in the bay. Also this morning 3 eider still and 23 dark-bellied brents.

Scobbiscombe, Erme Est

Ringtail Hen Harrier today.

Yelland: Taw Estuary

9 spoonbill, 30-50 shellduck, 50-70 teal, 50-70 wigeon. Huge flocks of lapwing. flocks of dunlin, redshank, curlew, oystercatcher. Few grey plover, turnstone, Little Egret. Disturbed a couple of snipe.



Exminster Marshes

A late-morning walk timed to avoid the heavy showers. The glossy ibis was close to the Lion's Rest industrial estate. Elsewhere lots of wigeon, lapwings and curlews. 11 greylags near the Turf and a single female peregrine on one of the pylons. The red-breasted goose was reported to be in the large flock of brent geese but the flock had flown out on to the estuary. The flock then flew back on to the marshes but by then we were on the way home.

Of potential interest were two redwings. First seen feeding close to the lane with two fieldfares. I initially thought all 4 birds were fieldfares and was quite surprised to see that 2 were redwings. All 4 birds were of a similar size and shape. The redwings had very dark and well marked/bold streaking on their breasts and throats. The throats looked almost totally black. I wonder if these were Icelandic birds? Turdus iliacus coburni.

Clennon Valley

Yellow-browed Warbler showing well on north side of the middle of the three large ponds in Willow and Alder trees also 2 Chiffchaffs, 5 Water Rails feeding under the same trees. A medium sized bat started to hunt over the western most pond before making its way up the valley toward the Zoo.  

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Iceland Gull North Devon

Iceland Gull again off Baggy Point this morning. Seen and photographed by Rob Jutsum.

Exminster Marshes

Both the glossy ibis and red-breasted goose present today.


Local patch between the quay and St David's station this morning 08:00 till 9:30

1 dipper, 1 kingfisher, 2 grey wagtail, 2 peregrines, 2 sparrowhawk, little egret,chiffchaff
2 common gul, 30+ redwing ,6 fieldfare.

Forgot the 3+ snipe on earlier post for bowling green marsh.

Beer Beach

1 Female type Black Redstart on the Beach Huts this morning, getting chased around alot by Robins, did not see much else of note on a quietish day.


A quiet start to the year, only time for seawatching before the rain came. 08.00 - 11.00 (with JAL and FDS); 4 Red-throated Divers, 720 Gannets, 18 Fulmars, Common Scoter, 2 Curlews, 69 Kittiwakes and 370 Auks, mainly Razorbills today.

Thurlestone Bay

T. Marsh - 75 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 35 Snipe, 15 Lapwing, 1 Blk T Godwit 1 Cettis Warbler,

1 Water Pipit..

9 Reed Bunting, 1 Bullfinch at the feeders.

South Huish Marsh - 2 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 25 Wigeon, 1 Greylag Goose.

On the rocks 2 Turnstone,

Offshore -on the sea single Black-Throated and Red-Throated Diver 20 Gannet

Lower Tamar Lake

8 Goosander (2 females), 1 Willow Tit at the feeding station and a Great Spotted Woodpecker plus all the usual birds

[Harvey Kendall]


Maer Rocks - 0815 and 1400 - 15 dark-bellied brent goose, 3 eider (drake and 2 fem), 5 common scoter, 2 purple sandpiper, 9+ turnstone, 1 great northern diver and 1 great skua attacking a feeding flock of gannets and kittiwakes. Also several auk sp, only two of which close enough to be id'd as razorbill.
Also of interest on Friday there were 2 grey partridge, c10+ red-legged partridge and a large chaffinch flock, c200+ at Hayes Barton pig farm, Yettington. All birds viewable from the footpath that cuts across the lower section of the farm.

Bowling green marsh

A happy new year to everyone

Watched from the hide from 10:00 till 13:15

400+ avocet, 181+ bar tailed godwit, 600+ black tailed godwit, 6 knot, 42+ Dunlin, 2 little egret, 3 pintail, 4 tufted duck, 2 shoveler, 500+ wigeon, teal, 50+ lapwing, cetti's warbler calling, 1 sparrowhawk, great spotted woodpecker, Jay

A good start to the year


There were 12 Shoveler by the Tarka Trail this morning along with a single Wigeon. Plenty of noisy Canada Geese and further out in the field 8 Grey-lag Geese.

By the Tesco bridge about 100 Siskin.


Elbury Cove....2 x Black Necked Grebes this morning...
Broadsands car park....3 x Chiffchaffs, one was much greyer....Tristis type ?
4 x Male Cirls on the seed.

[Trev Leaman]

Downend, Saunton Down.

09:30 - 10:00

A single male Common Scoter just off the point plus a couple of Raven, about 30 Jackdaws and a few Black-heads; Herring Gulls and Cormorant.