Saturday, 21 January 2012

Spring At Mansands

On the lane down from Brixham to Mansands, a pair of Blackcaps (the male singing) and a Sparrowhawk and a small flock of Meadow Pipits appeared to fly in off the sea. Also a Firecrest near the new hide. [Tim Clyburn]

Brixham Kumlien's

Thanks Dave Leigh for the call. As I arrived the 3w Kumlien's Gull dropped near to the pontoon that Tom Whiley had photographed it last week. Looking from the War Memorial near to the Breakwater I picked the bird up on one of the enclosed floating pontoons opposite the fish quay.

I have an exhibition of my sketches and paintings on at Cockington Court, Torquay until 11th Feb free entry open 10am - 4pm daily


Live blog from the site! Awful digiphone pic of the Kumliens gull on the marina pontoons re-found by Dave Leigh this afternoon, Mike L sketching away as I write. Quality!

Southcott Valley, East the Water.

The adult Little Gull was still here this morning at 10:30, with at least 6 Common Gulls, several
Black-headeds and Lapwing.

Another Ibis...

This colour-ringed Glossy Ibis was found and photograped by Rob Horrell at Lower Tamar Lakes yesterday (20/1/12).


First winter Little Gull over Greysands Lake late morning. This is the second Little Gull around Bideford following the adult found yesterday.

Friday, 20 January 2012


West Lodge - 1550 - yellow-browed warbler - still present, showed reasonably well for a couple of minutes late this afternoon, calling on and off. It was in trees along the stream towards the back of the marsh. On Tuesday there was a lesser redpoll in the copse along with a sizeable pre-roost gathering of goldfinches. Also treecreeper and chiffchaff still there.

Thurlestone Bay

Glossy Ibis still on the back of the marsh where it spends most of the time feeding, unless takes a short fight will ber difficult to see from the road. ,

, Aveton Gifford this morning - 1 Green & 4 Common Sandpiper, 9 Snipe ,3 Redshank, 20 Curlew . on the river both Bewicks and Black Swan, and 2 Little Grebe.

Seawatching this morning only produced 5 Gannet and 4 Razorbill , 1 Guillemot in an hour .

Southcott Valley Bideford east

adult Little Gull in valley opposite the scrap yard at 11.30 today.

Brixham Kumlien's Gull

3w Kumlien's Gull photographed in Brixham (inside the marina) on Sunday by Tom Whiley. Note the grey pigmentation in the primaries, dark-looking eye and traces of immaturity in wing coverts. Head shape appears less rounded than in glaucoides. This is the first Devon record in nearly twenty years!

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Pete Adey took this picture of two Goosanders on the Otter at Dotton this afternoon.

Brixham Harbour

The adult Iceland Gull in Brixham on Sunday 15th was a 3rd winter Kumlien's Gull!


Yesterday watching around the harbour and for returning trawlers from the breakwater revealed no white-winged Gulls but 2 Little Gulls (ad and 1w, this ad had half the tail missing!). On the breakwater 20 Purple Sandpipers and Ringed Plover.


Mike Tyler sent me this photo of two Chiffchaffs ringed at Colyford yesterday. One is clearly Collybita, and the other most likely a Tristis. Anyway very good to have them side by side as comparison.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


On the edge of the moor above Teigncombe, under a line of beech trees at least 2 bramblings were feeding amongst 40+ chaffinches.I am sure there are many more as I have seen them hereabouts before christmas. Other activity included, mistle thrushes, fieldfares & redwings.
On the edge of Meldon Common 50+ siskins with greenfinches and a nice male goldcrest in the hedge below. 2 Jays as well.
Finally,on Padley Common much croaking coming from puddles, pools & ditches complete with frog spawn.
Spring is here!?

Labrador Bay

Apart from the usual passerines lurking round the cliff and fields, Razorbills were scattered liberally across the bay below the cliffs, with a single distant diver (presumed Red-throated on structure) and Great Crested Grebe as well. Best of all, a (the?) 2w Iceland Gull flying along the cliffs for a while at 14.30.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Brixham last week

These pictures, taken last week, of a female Common Redstart were sent to me by a Brixham resident. The pale buffy edges to the tertials and secondaries are not unusual in 1st winter western birds and are normal in more eastern forms. The tips of the greater coverts seem quite richly coloured rufous.

I was a little concerned that the tone and colour of the photos might have been wrong ant that it was just a over-exposed photo of a Black Redsart but all the photos are the same all well balanced on and the camera set on auto, so what you see is pretty much just as the bird looked in reality.


Went down to the sea front at first light this morning and discovered a dozen or more Brent Geese in the bay , together with 6 Great crested Grebe and a solitary Razorbill .

Exminster Marshes

Very brief visit between 13.45 and 14.30. The glossy ibis was very close to the lane - so not one of the birds seen near Crediton. The water pipit was reported to be near the bend in the track but I failed to see or hear it. Lots of birds spread over the marshes but the highlight for me was a small group of finches; a male bullfinch, 4 goldfinches and a male chaffinch sitting in a bush quite close together and in full sun. What a picture and the colours!

The big flock of brent geese was out on the estuary.


Two Glossy Ibis feeding in wet field near the entry to Tesco's, Crediton at 12.30 - no longer present at 15.30.

[Heather Woodland]

Monday, 16 January 2012


West Lodge - 1600 - yellow-browed warbler again present but elusive and showed only briefly. As well as getting in the copse of Holm Oaks it moves back along the stream away from the cycle path so patience required. Also chiffchaff there this afternoon.

Thurlestone Bay - yesterday 15/1

This male Goosander swam across Thurlestone Bay on Sunday 15 January 2012 at 1140, and carried on west across the bay towards Burgh Island until lost to sight.

 Photo by Pauline Smale

Thurlestone Bay

At 08.00 both Glossy Ibis & Marsh Harrier over / on the marsh .

Bay watched 10.00-12.30 - superb visability F3 easterly wind . almost continuous passage of -
152 Gannet, 130 Kittiwake, 72 Razormott, 3 Common Scoter, . First of the year were - 2 Fulmar and a Great Skua. Great Northern Diver - 1 east , 1 west then at 12.05 3 together flew east

Bob B at South Milton Ley this am - 20 Chiffchaff ( inc 1 Eastern & 1 Tristis types ) 1 F Blackcap, 1M Yellowhammer

Fremington Pill

Had a walk from Fremington Pill to Barnstaple via the Tarka trail today. Nothing much in the Pill apart from the usual Redshank's and a single Greenshank. I was surprised to see three Spoonbill's  fly up the Pill, they reached the end of the creek, circled around and went back down the creek towards the estuary at Fremington quay. Almost certainly three from Isley marsh I would think (10 at Isley yesterday).
Just a  single grey plover on the quay mudflats. Very quite on Penhill marsh and Anchor wood bank with just the usual stuff.

Lower Tamar Lake

86 Teal; 44 Wigeon; 51 Mallard;  91 Coot; 7 Moorhens; 15 Goosanders (7 drakes); 5 Little Grebes; 9 Great Crested Grebes; 10 Mute Swans; 1 Water Rail; 27 Canada Geese; 1 Snipe; On and near the feeding station - 2 Willow Tits; 2 Marsh Tits; several  Blue, Great and Coal Tits, 3 Nuthatches; 1 Tree Creeper; 1 Jay; some Redwings and 1 Raven over.

[Harvey Kendall]



17 Purple Sandpipers and a single Ringed Plover

Shoalstone car park

2 Little Gull, ad.w and 1w
Frustrating views also of the white-winged gull toward Berry Head, hopefully it will return later with the boats.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


mid/Late afternoon off the Monument Car Park:
3 Little Gull 2adW 1W also Med Gull 2W.  many BH and Common Gull also


Photo of the ad winter Little gull off Breakwater beach today found by Dave Leigh. The reported adult Iceland Gull today would be different to the 2nd w white winged gull (most probably a big Iceland) several of us saw briefly yesterday before it headed off out to sea only to return with a trawler in rapidly fading light!

Exminster Marshes

Glossy Ibis today - photo by Tom Wallis


1 of the 2 Egyptian Geese still on the Airfields today. They might become more difficult to find now, as their favourite field was being ploughed this afternoon.

Seawatching from 7.45 - 10.45 produced a steady stream of the usual suspects, most heading east, namely Gannet (297), Kittiwake (111) and Auks (833, most Razorbills), with a little variety provided by 7 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a Great Skua.

WeBs count turned up the first Grey Plover of the year among the usual waders, and 3 Med Gulls. 200 Golden Plovers were in the Airfield/West Prawle area, but the wader highlight was found in the hotspot of 'the waterlogged corner' of the Airfields when I flushed a Jack Snipe.

Elsewhere, just the Water Pipit of note, still in Horseley Cove.


The black redstart was again around Shelly beach this morning and the razorbill and guillemot still in exmouth dock. After hearing about a yellow browed warbler at holm oak copse popped over but no luck.

Exminster marsh this afternoon the glossy ibis showing well with the Canada geese also along station road 80+ golden plover and 4 snipe.

Dartmoor - yesterday 14/1

3 Red Grouse at midday today, on the west side of  Hameldown Tor (Dartmoor 708808).  A little earlier 30+ Golden Plover over Broad Barrow (Dartmoor SX799706).

[George Wilkinson]

Grand Western Canal - yesterday 14/1

A walk along the Grand Western canal this morning from Halberton to Samford Peverell didn't produce any target species of Kingfisher or Water Rail but of note was a large flock of Fieldfare well in excess of 200 with a constant stream joining them from the East. Also on an adjacent ploughed field were 40+ Lapwing,30+ Redwing with several Song Thrush & at least 1 Mistle Thrush as well as good numbers of finches. Along the canal path were at least 3 pairs of Bullfinch + 2 solitary males,1 GS Woodpecker & several Coot were engaging in territorial disputes,2 Raven overhead & a commotion back at the carpark when a very noisy Green Woodpecker appeared to dive-bomb a jogger Skua-style!

[Andrew Moore]

Thurlestone Bay

The Glossy Ibis spent most of the day feeding at the back of the Marsh - not viewable from the road, apologies to anyone who made a special visit. The female Marsh Harrier flew over twice this afternoon flushing - 35 Snipe, 2 Lapwing, 1 Black T Godwit. 60 Teal, 30 Wigeon, 3 Shoveler.

Webs count this morning produced- 12 Ringed Plover, 10 Turnstone, 2 Sanderling, 22 Oystercatcher, 1 Great N Diver with 4 Razorbill on the sea . Surprise of the day flew close inshore and then east - Sandwich Tern - my first winter record.

AJL had a Green Sandpiper on South Huish Marsh .

A visiting birder reported to AJL a male Goosander in the Bay- can whoever it was confirm please as this would be the first male recorded on the patch

Brixham Iceland Gull

Saw what looked like adult Iceland distantly from the breakwater about 9.00 am today , appeared to head towards fish quay but not there when I drove round. Reported on Birdguides today as present on pontoon.

Exminster Marsh

Glossy Ibis in the field with the Canada geese at 10:45 on Saturday in the field on the right as you drive through the marsh. This is not a shy bird, as most people were driving up to it and watching it from their cars without binoculars!

Apparently the Red Breasted Goose had been around a few minutes beforehand.

Plenty of Teal, Widgeon and Shovellers. The most enjoyable bird was a swan lifting it's wings on the water to be purposefully blown across the scrape without having to paddle.


Dave Leigh found an ad. Little Gull feeding just off the beach at Breakwater.
Although good numbers of gulls around the harbour there was no sign of the white-winged gull up until last light

New Bridge, Bishops Tawton

The 2 Whooper Swans were still with 26 Mute Swans, viewable from the causeway(A377), although they sometimes disappear from view down some of the dips at the far end of the field..
One of the Whoopers had a distinct orange stained face and head.


West Lodge - 1000 - 1130 - yellow-browed warbler in Holm Oak copse next to marsh approx 3/4 mile along cycle path from Mudbank where tarmac meets boardwalk. Very elusive in windy conditions but calling on and off. Appears not to be associating with tit flock.
Maer Rocks -0800 - prob red-necked grebe, 4 eider, 1 fulmar but far fewer birds than yesterday.
Yesterday - Maer Rocks - c400+ razorbill, 1+ great crested grebe, 3 common scoter, 2 wigeon, 4 eider, 1 red-throated diver and 2 great skua. Also ad mediterranean gull Exmouth Docks late pm.


Had a good look around Brixham harbour this morning - no sign of the white-winged gull, but no great surprise as the numbers of gulls are much better late afternoon when the trawlers and sprat boats return.

Broadsands - very rough sea only 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Black-necked Grebe in bay. 12 Cirl Buntings and 2 Reed Bunting on seed in back of 2nd car park.