Saturday, 28 January 2012

Exminster Marshes

Nice little flock of 10 Bullfinches along path from RSPB carpark to Turf, they were having a good feast on the buds. [Simon Thurgood]


Brixham Breakwater, 3 Iceland Gulls, 2 ad 1 1stW following trawler to breakwater only 1 ad came inside of breakwater 16:45.

[Roy Williams]

Kingswear > Mansands

Juv Iceland Gull (quite a pale bird) feeding over brown field (recently sludge sprayed) south of old School House just after turning off onto the Coleton fishacre/Man Sands road. It flew off to another brown field with good numbers of Herring gulls S of this field again. Perhaps the same one that appeared in Brixham later?


West Lodge - 0800 - 8 goldeneye (including 3 drakes), 10 little egret, 5+ meadow pipit, 1 greenshank, c300+ dunlin and yellow-browed warbler seen briefly at 0820.

Maer Rocks - 4 eider, 3 razorbill, 2 turnstone and 14 common scoter, 1 blackcap behind beach huts and a red admiral!

Exmouth Docks - male black redstart around Regatta Court.

Yesterday - West Lodge - 0815 - 2 mistle thrush, 1 treecreeper, 1 redpoll and the yellow-browed warbler on call only.

N Devon

One, possibly two Dartford Warblers in song on the N Devon coast today. [Peter Liddle]

Brixham Breakwater

A quick walk along the Breakwater (3:10) produced 5 purple sandpipers and a single 1st winter Iceland gull that followed a trawler with about 40-50 herring gulls right round the end of the breakwater, then stopped to clean the deck outside the harbour.

Plym Estuary & Coypool

After no sign all morning, Russ Eynon re-found the Yellow-browed Warbler around midday and I connected with it an hour later - upstream from Coypool Park & Ride in the wooded area to the west of the river (by the no entry road signs where the lane joins Longbridge Road).

Otherwise the Spotted Sandpiper showing very well on Blaxton Meadow close to the "hide", sporting a little more adult plumage; also 38 Curlew, 80 Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 5 Little Egret, 4 Little Grebe and 30 Shelduck.


Three Goosanders on river 300m up from Totnes Weir this morning - one drake and two females.

Friday, 27 January 2012


Went searching for Matt's Iceland Gull this afternoon. Spent a couple of hours grilling the gulls but with no luck. However, the Long-tailed Duck was present fairly distant off the Harbour View cafe and a Red-throated Diver was obligingly popping up for views every so often. Walking towards Orcombe produced 3 Common Scoters and finally an Eider was close in to Maer Rocks. No sign of any Purple Sandpipers though. As Matt has alluded to, these rocks seem to be a magnet for masses of people to clamber over, sometimes with their dogs!

Northam Burrows

Today and for 4 or five days previously I have watched a pair of Snow Buntings feeding not far from the water's edge in the Northam Burrows near Appledore. Taking the Westward Ho entrance and following the road past the first car park on the right there is further parking on the right on the way to the Burrows Centre (closed at present).The birds were on the grass verge opposite. The tide comes in and forms a lake here.

[Andrea Shorrock]


On sea: particularly quiet today just 3 Black-necked Grebes and 6 Great Crested Grebes and 1 Common Scoter.                                                                                                      After dropping seed in the 2nd car park 19 Cirls and 9 Reed buntings came down to feed almost immediately. In the marsh just one 'collybita' Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest and 1 Water Rail.                                                   
                                                                                                           For information, and those thinking about giving Brixham a go this weekend. I have tried visiting Brixham on several evenings over the past couple of weeks hoping to catch up with some scarcer gulls, they only seem to come in when the day trawlers or sprat fishing boats return - usually late afternoon. Most of these fishing boats gut fish off the end of the breakwater before unloading their catch at the fish quay bringing hundreds of gull in to feed. I tried the other evening and no fishing boats came in = no gulls! The evening before when two Iceland gulls were found, about 5 trawlers came in, so its very hit and miss. Astra Zenica (freshwater quarry) car park is the best unless you are prepared to walk out to the end of the Breakwater as Steve Cox did.                                                                                       

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Seafront - A first-winter iceland gull on a rapidly disappearing sandbar this evening c1705 - 1715. Also 1 sanderling. On Maer Rocks 1 purple sandpiper and at least 4 turnstone.
This is the first time in a while that I've seen purple sand on the rocks. The area is generally over-disturbed. Although the light was poor the iceland appeared smaller than herrings and typically round-headed. There was clear contrast between white-looking primaries and overall biscuit-coloured plumage so I don't think there's any 'kumliens' about it.

Aveton Gifford

On a falling tide:

Imm. Bewick's swan still with mutes.
Greenshank, 2 redshanks, 3 common sandpipers.
300 Black-headed gulls inc.2 with full chocolate heads.
2 kingfishers.

Exminster Marshes

During a walk around the perimeter of the southern marsh I was surprised at the number of wigeon spread out on almost every field. There must have been several thousand. Also lots of lapwing including one or two starting to display in the sunshine. Amongst the 600 brent geese in the field adjacent to the Turf were the red-breasted goose and two possible pale bellied birds. There were 11 greylag geese on the lagoon with 3 gadwall and a few coots.

Also seen were a single kingfisher and a very vocal chiffchaff, the first I have seen this year on the canal bank. Raptors were very evident; 2 kestrels, 2 sparrowhawks (including a strangely marked first winter-spotted back) and a single buzzard. No peregrine to disrupt the party and no sign of the glossy ibis.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Orcombe Point

A quick seawatch at lunchtime today produced 2 Black-throated Divers heading south-west passing close in to the headland at 1335hrs. Earlier an adult-winter Mediterranean Gull passed west just below the point with Black-headed Gulls at 1315hrs. On the sea were 6 Common Scoter, with another drake flying west a little later.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Brixham Harbour

I watched from the outer breakwater, the same two Iceland Gull's (Juv & Adult) follow the trawlers into the Bay. The first I picked up at 1545 which was the Juv. It did enter the harbour for a spell. The Adult appeared 1615 following another trawler and stayed, as Mike had said, behind the trawler as it was gutting outside the harbour wall.

Also 10 Purple Sandpipers along outer harbour wall.


Picked up two new Iceland Gulls at Brixham this evening as the small day trawlers (5 of them) came in to port late afternoon. the first a  juv, after losing it and scanning the group of gulls sat on the sea then found an adult! The best views were from Astra Zenica car park (after I  moved from higher view points) but a walk out to the end of the breakwater would have give closer views.
Neither bird came into the harbour area where there were hundreds if not 1,000 + mostly Herring Gulls. Jake W, Dave N and Bill Mac all got down in time to see both birds, eventually sat together on the sea and feeding behind trawlers gutting fish.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Bishops Tawton today

Malcolm had

2 whooper swans
36 mute swans
7 greylag geese

and a ruff on the tarka trail near Heanton Court


1:00pm - 2 Bitterns and a Marsh Harrier. [Terry Lakeman]

R.Taw between Pottington and Penhill Marsh.


Nothing exotic but 46 Dunlin; 2 Black-tailed Godwit; 1 Bar-tailed Godwit; 3 Little Egret;
3 Grey Plover; 4 Little Grebe and 1 redhead Goosander on Pottington side.

c350 Wigeon; c200 Dark-bellied Brent; c200 Canada Geese and c40 Shelduck on Penhill Marsh side with c150 Golden Plover midriver.

1 Green Sandpiper in the usual ditch with 1 Kestrel windhovering overhead.

Clennon Valley

2 Woodcock  [Tim Clyburn]


Maer Rocks - 4 Eider

Shelley Beach - Black Redstart, Goldeneye

[Claire & Chris Grove]

Brixham - yesterday 22/1

Female Black Redstart by police station in Rea Barn Close. [Trev Leaman]

Bursdon Moor Sunday afternoon (22nd Jan)

At least two superbly plumaged immature male Hen Harriers (with remaining brown feathering restricted to their 'saddles') and one ringtail, plus two Merlins (considered to be a male and a female on size) at roost.


21 Cirl buntings and 7 Reed Buntings on seed today at back of 2nd car park near to the blue skip and beach huts - the best count this winter!

4 Black-necked & 6 Great Crested Grebes also 2 Common Scoter on the sea.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Prawle (and a little bit of Slapton)

Water Pipit - starting to look a little peachy now.

Not the Iceland Gull!

Seawatch, 08.00 - 10.30; Hardly had time to set up before an adult Iceland Gull flew east at 08.10. Thereafter most birds were moving west, final totals being 1 Great Northern, 2 Black-throated and 3 Red-throated Divers, 119 Gannets, 9 Fulmars, 2 Common Scoters, 2 Red-breasted Megansers, Great Skua, 69 Kittiwakes and 334 Auks, nearly all Razorbills.

Wader highlights were the Green Sandpiper again, and the first Lapwing of the year, flying north. In Horseley Cove, 3 Med Gulls and the Water Pipit still, and elswhere just a single Chiffchaff. Biggest suprise of the day were 2 Crossbills that flew west to the Point, but in the face of the strong west wind, turned north and headed inland. This is the first winter record here, all previous sightings coming in the dispersal/migration period of July to early November.

Just had enough daylight to stop at Slapton Bridge on the way home, where the Bittern flew in and landed in the reeds just to the north, on the Higher Ley.

Around the exe

Friday matford marsh
15 common gulls 30+ snipe then walk home along cannal to Exeter 7 bullfinch, 1 treecreeper, 2 kingfisher, 2 common gull at the quay. Dipper on river by the mill on the exe pub.

Saturday Dawlish Warren

Female Surf scoter, 2 slavonian grebe, 4+ great crested grebe, 1 red throated diver, 2 rock pipit, 3 eider all just of from the boathouse pub

Today exmouth

Male black redstart showing well Shelly beach, also 23+ red breasted mergansers, 1 razorbill, in exmouth dock the guillemot is still giving great views


No sign of the Kumlien's Gull today despite alot of people searching.

Exminster Marshes Sat 21st Jan

The Red-breasted Goose (at last!) found amongst 300+ Brents in the fields close to the railway and footpath, just before the path turns away from the railway line, towards the Turf.


Maer Rocks - 0815 - 3 red-throated diver and 4 diver sp (prob rtd also) south plus the usual 4 eider (including ad and imm drake).
West Lodge - c1600 - yellow-browed warbler again in trees along hedge at back of marshy area but elusive with occasional bursts of calling. Also 2 mistle thrush, treecreeper, c40+ goldfinch, 9+ chaffinch, 13 pied wagtail, 31 curlew, kestrel, sparrowhawk and 2 raven.


Flock of 15+ cirl buntings in area behind Broadmeadow Sports Centre in area. The mobile flock was frequenting hedgerows in field bordered by newt fencing presumably where forthcoming Morrisons store is to be built.

Ash Hill - 1 chiffchaff (collybita), 20 linnets, sky larks