Saturday, 4 February 2012

Kingsbridge Est

off Lincombe late afternoon:
Goosander male with 26 RB Merg's. 4 Med Gulls (2adW, 2W, 1W)

Bursdon Moor

1 Merlin, and 1 male Hen Harrier coming in to roost at 1700

Thurlestone Bay

Back on the patch Friday pm -

On Thurlestone Marsh - 30 Wigeon , 25 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 40 Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe, 2m Blackcap .

Over at South Huish Marsh- 2 Golden Plover were the first of the year, 4 Gadwall, 5 Wigeon , 15 Teal, Greylag Goose ,

Female Black Redstart on the beach along with 3 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Turnstone, Singles of Common Scoter, Red Throated Diver and Shelduck ( another first of the year ) in the Bay . On the sea another 5 Gadwall and 5 Wigeon with 9 Razorbill.

Saturday 4 Feb .

Waders on the beach this am 5 Turnstone, 4 Ringed Plover , 8 Sanderling ( winter site max for me )

On the Marsh- Wigeon up to 50 , 30 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 2 Lapwing , 1 Water Pipit, 1 Black Tailed Godwit,

At the feeders - 21 Reed Bunting , 20 Goldfinch..

Last reported sighting of the Glossy Ibis was by AJL on 30 Jan

Plym Estuary & Coypool

No sign of either the Yellow-browed Warbler or Spotted Sandpiper but - 3 Teal, 1 Turfted Duck, 2 Greenshank, 1 Kingfisher, 3 Snipe and 2 Common Samdpipers.

River Dart - Totnes

Between Totnes Weir & Long Marsh (south of old Bridge): 4 Goosander (1 drake 3 females), 8 Teal, 1 Mandarin Drake, 7 Little Grebes, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Siskin and 1 Treecreeper.


Waders can be hard to come by outside of migration periods at Wembury so 9 species including Grey Plover, Sanderling, Knot, Barwit and Redshank was nice today. Also 4 Teal and one Slav Grebe made it thoroughly worthwhile braving the weather this morning.

American Wigeon (drake) - Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Topsham

A cropped pic of the American Wigeon taken from the hide yesterday p.m.


Fri 03/02/2012

A look around Slapton produced:  Firecrest (Quarry)
6 Chiffchaff (incl. tristis at Torcross - opposite  Red Phone Box as you approach village from Kingsbridge)  2 Blackcap

Friday, 3 February 2012

Matford marsh & bowling green marsh

Matford marsh 14:00 till 15:15

Took a walk over to the marsh after work snipe were flying around as I arrived and on the main scrape I soon found 40+ snipe feeding on the grass also 1 water rail, 250+ wigeon, 23 shoveler,50+ teal, 13 fieldfare, 22 redwing. On the back scrape from the seating area another 24+ snipe, after receiving news of the American wigeon being at bowling green marsh i decided to go and see if it was still there.

Bowling green marsh 15:50 till 17:05

On arriving at the hide soon had the drake American wigeon in my scope and got great views of it feeding with the 300+ wigeon. I believe this is a first for bowling green marsh hopefully it will stay around over the weekend an added bonus was a female merlin showing for about 10 mins in trees to the right of the hide before flying low and fast over the marsh flushing several snipe at least 7+ showed on scrapes to the left of the hide. Just as I was leaving the wigeon all went up some flying off eventually a peregrine flew over heading of down river to finish the day.

Exeter - yesterday 2/2

Black Redstart in southwest window of St. Michael's church, off Dinham Road.  [Joe Martin]


1 Spoonbill (adult) roosting on Drake Island this morning - present from dawn until at least 09:30 (when I left).

[Tom Forster]

Anchor Wood Bank

13:00 - 14:30  2 Spoonbill (neither ringed) showing well from the Tarka Trail at Barnstaple.

Exminster Marshes

Visit mid afternoon. Very quiet along railway path apart from c100 linnets that had spilled over from Powderham Marshes, (there were nearly a thousand linnets there yesterday). On the fields were small flocks of dunlin totalling over 300 frantically feeding with starlings. Also a few black-tailed godwits, curlews, lapwings and 3 golden plover. As I reached Turf I heard the brent geese calling as they flew from the estuary onto fields south of the Turf. The last small flock took off as I reached the canal and amongst the 8 geese was the red-breasted goose. Along the canal I heard Cettis at 3 locations. The lagoon was 2/3 frozen with all the ducks on the northern edge, including an impressive number of wigeon. Elsewhere I saw or heard several snipe and counted 17 greylag geese.

Earlier in the day I called into the Double Lock's wetland. Both pools were frozen. I saw 3 water rails as they walked on the ice. A fox flushed 5 snipe. About 12 teal were huddled at the back of one pool.


2nd winter Iceland Gull followed a trawler in at 3.20pm then went to roost on a rusty barge.

Broadsands: 19 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd car park with at least 9 Reed Buntings.

Torr Quarry

c 180 Golden Plover this afternoon in field at the top of Sandy Lane near Torr Quarry ( couple Kms north of Kingsbridge ).

Lower Tamer lake

Malcombe had a Glossy Ibis hiding in edge of reedbed today at 10.30 hrs

Jacobs Ladder, Sidmouth

Nice Black Redstat (male) showing on grassy bank on steep path down to the beach this morning, together with Meadow Pipit and Pied Wag.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Stover Park

A nice range of birds at the moment in the park which may be of interest:

This morning. 6 Crossbill in the monterey pine in the car park,
3 Brambling, Siskins, 6 Marsh tit, 12 Nuthatch, 2 drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers,
2 Treecreepers singing and Chaffinch singing, female Goosander, 5 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck,Pochard, 2 Kingfisher, c150 Black-headed Gulls plus 2 lesser Black-backed Gulls and 51 Snipe yesterday.

(Jon Avon)

Whooper Swan

1 on its own in Weare Gifford seen at 13.30 today in large field the other side the road from the cyder presse pub seen by my son on his delivery.

David Churchill

Isley Marsh to Instow oil jetty

11:30 -14:30
Around 100 lapwing in the field opposite the entrance to Isley marsh.
8 Spoonbill on the marsh together with several hundred Curlew. In the Gullies were a lot of Teal (est 150). Counted 12 Little Egret hunched up sheltering from the cold wind on the side of the gullies.
On the foreshore between Isley on the Yelland outfall high tide Roost  there were a large scattering of Dunlin, 2 Barwits,  6 Redshank, a single Grey Plover and a few Oystercatchers.
At the Yellend outfall roost c150 Curlew and a couple of dozen Wigeon in the outfall gully.
On the beach between the outfall and Instow jetty was 7 Sanderling and 4 Blackwits.

nr. Modbury

15 Golden Plover and 3 Lapwings at Weeke Farm, Modbury.

Brixham Harbour

2W Iceland Gull in the outer harbour resting on the rusty barge. Roosting on the barge as I left towards last light at 1710hrs This was probably the same bird seen/and photographed earlier in the week by others as it showed similar characteristics such as the pale looking eye, and dark tipped pale bill.

Barnstaple to Isley Marsh along Tarka Trail.

With so many reports of 15 Spoonbills on the Taw, I cycled from Barnstaple to Isley Marsh and back between 11:30 and 3pm, hoping to locate them all.

4 Goosanders (1 male and 3 redheads) just off Anchorwood Bank.
1 Greenshank and 2 Snipe on Fremington Pill with the usual nos of Redshank, Dunlin & Shelduck.

Plenty of Bullfinches in the bushes along the trail. Always great to see.

No sign of any Spoonbills until I got to Isley, where I was able to see 8 from the trail. Also 10 Little Egret. They were all sheltering from the cold in the gullies and vegetation and with their heads well down. Some of the Egrets appeared quite large and fluffed up due to the cold so are are they being mis-identified??

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Despite the frozen conditions and light covering of snow, some decent birding over the last two days.

1st February

Great Grey Shrike and Little Owl showing well late afternoon and being only about 250 yards from each other. Near the cow sheds an area that had been churned over and spread with slurry was obviously unfrozen and a draw for many birds including around 30 lapwing, 2 snipe, 2 dunlin (first I have seen here) and around 40 fieldfare. It had also drawn in all the skylarks with the total of 60+ being the best count for some time.

31st January

The same area yesterday held 40 lapwing, 120 golden plover and 4 snipe.

Plymouth - another YBW

Yellow-browed Warbler in Copse adjacent to Longbridge Road, Marsh Mills, by gas installation. Also Firecrest. [Barry Rankine]


West Lodge - 1535 - cycled down to West Lodge after work to see if the yellow-browed warbler has survived the recent cold. Was pleased to get the above record shot as it's hard enough to see nevermind photograph! It actually showed reasonably well but was flighty and skittish as ever ranging from the copse back along the hedgerow that runs inland from the cyclepath. Also present 2 redwing and c20+ goldfinch.

Bowling Green Marsh

The two Egyptian Geese (presume the same birds Steve had earlier near the estuary mouth) were at Bowling Green at 3 p.m. (per Naomi Barker).

Exe and Axe

Had to go to Exeter this morning, so diverted down to the Exe on the way back. Off Dawlish Warren the Surf Scoter and a single Slav Grebe, and from Cockwood looking south towards Railway Saltmarsh, two Egyptian Geese on the water's edge before flying up river.

Back home, this afternoon on the Axe; 12 Gadwall, 8 Med Gulls (7 ads, 1 2nd winter) and 7 Golden Plover. At last - some cold weather movement!!!

Baggy Point

Walked out to the point this morning and saw at least 2 Red-throated Divers. A Guillemot was sat on the sea too.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

N Devon Spoonbills

An email from Ken Smith confirms there were 15 Spoonbills present on Sunday 29/1 at least. Five flew towards Fremington Quay around 9:15 or so, and the remaining 10 were still present at 11:00.


The second-winter Iceland Gull (pale eye and dark bill tip just visible in pics)
still present around the fish quay and outer harbour at least until 13:30pm

Duckes Marsh

A quick look on the River Exe at Duckes Marsh produced 3 Goosander 2 males,also Jay,Great Spotted Woodpecker,Bullfinch,10 Siskin and double figure numbers of Song Thrush and Redwing.

North Devon

Started at Northam Burrows this morning and finally caught up with the two Snow Buntings! Couldn't find any Dartford Warblers, and the Whooper Swan at Weare Giffard seems to have gone too. There was, however a Common Sandpiper below the road bridge at Landcross. A Greenshank amongst the Redshank on Fremington Pill. Last Saturday I went to Newbridge at Bishop's Tawton, but no Whoopers or Greylags, so I went back today, and saw 36 Mute Swans, and 5 Greylags, but again no Whooper Swans. Finished the day cycling home to Braunton along the Tarka Trail. Lots of Golden Plover still and about 20 Sanderling at Ashford.

Sadly Maurice, I didn't call in at Isley, but Roger Treeby saw 10 Spoonbills there this morning.

Isley Marsh Spoonbills

Although I have not been there myself I have had two separate reports over the past 24 hours to say that there are now 15 Spoonbill on or around Isley (in groups of 10 and 5). It looks as if the birds I saw at Fremington Pill last week were not part of the Isley marsh 10 birds after all. Can anyone confirm this?


Good views of the f.w. Iceland gull this morning. It was picking at the nets of a moored day trawler, "BM79", halfway along the breakwater. It then settled on a steel barge some way behind, still there
when I left, 0920. Close to  the end of the breakwater was another first winter bird, a Little gull,
it spent 5 minutes feeding in company with 3 imm. Kittiwakes before flying off towards Fishcombe.
 Just one Purple Sandpiper on the inside, sea quite rough with a S. easterly, waiting for a Sabines!

Monday, 30 January 2012


There's been a gathering of small Gulls on the field over the Tarka Trail from Wrafton pond for some weeks now, and I have taken to scanning through them in the hope of something interesting, and there has been an occasional Common Gull. Today the flock was considerably smaller, and as I scanned across I said Mediterranean Gull rather distractedly, then realised it was one! A winter plumage adult. Otherwise cold and wet.


First winter Iceland Gull was circling around the fish quay intermittently mid- morning .Seen from near yacht club up the hill to the left, or from viewing platform right of the fish dock entry. Planned to view returning trawlers from breakwater in afternoon but abandoned due to poor conditions.


4 Purple Sandpipers flew in at 1330 hrs and landed on Maer Rocks. Still present when I left at 1345hrs.

Weekend at Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Sunday 29th

The Great Grey Shrike was showing well in the morning at 8.30 a.m.- first time i have caught up with it since the new year (illness not having helped) but Ian Pearson saw it on the 8th and Dave Helliar the day before a little away from the airfield. It does seem to be roaming further now. 28 golden plover and female stonechat. A noticeable number of blackbirds with a small flock of around 15 birds staying close together feeding in hawthorn.

Saturday 28th

The Little Owl showed well for the first time since the autumn and was enjoying the last of the sun in the late afternoon. 6 golden plover were dodging cows in the rough pasture.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


Otter est - c1430 - 1615 - adult caspian gull and 4 med gull this afternoon.

The caspian gull was a fairly subtle bird. Size-wise only a fraction larger than herring gull but proportionally smaller head and noticeably slimmer, parallel-sided bill with a greenish-toned base. The yellow was duller, less orangey than similar aged herrings and there was a nice red gonys spot. The legs were an insipid grey-pink but it never stood out of the water so judging length wasn't possible. It was slope-backed which meant its primary tips dipped in the water and it lacked any tertial step. The upperparts were appreciably darker than herrings but perhaps not as dark as yellow-legged gull. It was quite proud chested when stood relaxed and its eye was often a mere pin-prick and dark though through Doug's more powerful scope it appeared dark amber. A long wait ensued before the all important primary tips were seen but on the closed wing the underside of the longest primaries looked extensively white. Once seen the outer primaries showed a lot of white with a wholly white tip to p10 visible in the second photo. The bird flew out to see around 1610.


Always happy to pose for a picture

Little and Large

It's been a poor year for waders so far, with a maximum of 10 Purple Sandpipers, 11 Turnstones, and just these singles of Grey Plover and Curlew. Even Oystercatcher numbers are lower than usual.

Began the day with a seawatch, highlight of which were 2 Iceland Gulls. An adult was with a group of about 20 Herring Gulls following a crabber, mostly quite distant, and while watching this one, a second bird briefly joined the party before heading off east - this one looked to be an adult too. When the crabber returned towards Salcombe, the attendant gulls followed, passing fairly close in, so could be worth a look around Salcombe for it. Also passing, 2 each of Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, 3 Brent Geese, Common Scoter and 700 Auks.

49 Golden Plovers were over the Airfields, while regular winterers included the Water Pipit, Black Redstart, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

Knowle, Budleigh Salterton

A Firecrest in the garden! Photo by Steve Oliver

Exe Extuary

My hunt for the 1st wint Red-breasted Goose, a winter passtime, was a success today with great views at Darts Fram. Also 980 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 10 Reed Buntings, 70 Linnet, 140 Wigeon, 45 Curlew and 165 Black-tailed Godwits.

A drive to Dawlish Warren with a quick stop at Starcross golf course, produced another 380 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, different from those above I am sure.

Finally Dawlish produced the female Surf Scotor, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Great Crested Grebes and 20+ Razorbill's.

Axe Estuary

14 Med Gulls this afternoon (all adults except for one 1st-winter) but still no Iceland Gull!


A Brambling today, in amongt a large flock of mixed Finches (mainly Chaffinch) to the back of the coach parking area at Princetown car park.[David Palmer]


On sea 3 Black-necked Grebes, 3 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-breasted Merganser.

In 2nd car park 16 Cirl Buntings on seed with 5 Reed Bunting.

3 more Black-necked Grebes off Goodrington Beach.

Plym Estuary & Coypool

The Yellow-browed Warbler showing quite well early afternoon in the wooded area just upstream from the white cottage, next to the gas installation; also Great Spotted Woodpecker.

On the Plym Estuary, one Common Sandpiper and 2 Little Grebes.

Yelland Fuel Jetty to Isley Marsh.

08:15 to 11:00. High tide at 09:38.

A stroll from Yelland Level Crossing down to the fuel jetty and back around to Isley Marsh was quite pleasant this morning, although I`ve never seen so many people about. Weekenders I suspect?

6 Bullfinch, 6 Greenfinch on the Tarka Trail. 7 Little Egret in Instow Barton Marsh and 2 male Reed Buntings on the path to the river bank.

Jetty Roost.
88 Grey Plover; 44 Knot; c200 Dunlin; 3 Little Grebe; 1 Great Crested Grebe; c80 Dark bellied Brent flying up river; 8 Turnstone; 1 Grey Heron; just a few Lapwing, O/catcher and Redshank;
23 Teal; 10 Wigeon and 87 Curlew.
1 Redhead Goosander just off the main jetty.

27 more Turnstone on the foreshore between the jetty and Isley.

Isley Marsh at 09:50.

10 Spoonbill on the marsh viewed from the ashbeds. It makes all the difference to view these from the right location! 5 Shoveler( 2 drakes, 3 ducks) and c50 Wigeon; c150 Teal and c30 Curlew.

Most of the Wigeon on the river seem to be off Penhill Marsh lately with nos of up to c300. Nos of c240 Dark-bellied Brent are usually there as well.