Saturday, 11 February 2012

Bowling green marsh

On the walk down to the hide this morning 1 chiffchaff and a great spotted woodpecker from the hide from 07:30 till 10:00 350+ avocet, 54+ shoveler, 2 pintail (1m, 1f), 2 gadwall (1m,1f), 7 tufted duck(3m,4f), 2 snipe, 300+ wigeon, 22+ Dunlin, 600+ black tailed godwit, only 70+ bar tailed godwit,80+ lapwing, a nice water pipit showed well along with 5 meadow pipit.


3 male Goosanders  [Terry Lakeman]


20+ Mandarins near Dartbridge [the family Grove]

Brent Geese

Report of a Black Brant at Pottington with the Brent Geese this afternoon.

Exminster marshes

Lots of birds with lapwings scattered all over the marshes as were wigeon. Other ducks included shoveller, teal, mallard, pintail, gadwall and pochard. Also plenty of geese - Canada geese, greylags (18), brents c300 and 2 white fronted geese. At 17.00 all these geese were between the lagoon and the canal and easily seen from the viewing platform. Earlier in the day the same area held 60+ golden plover and c50 dunlin. I also saw 6 snipe in one of the ditches. At dusk there were 2 merlins sitting on the fence close to the lagoon.

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est and Penhill Marsh.

12:40 - 14:30

277 Dark-bellied Brent mid-river with c230 Wigeon and 53 Shelduck off Penhill Marsh.
c250 Dunlin; 5 Little Grebe; 6 Grey Plover; 1 male Goosander; 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit off Pottington. Quite high numbers of Redshank about as well.
c500 Golden Plover with a few Lapwing in the field between Bradiford Reserve and the sewage works and the Green Sandpiper in the usual ditch.

Thurlestone Bay

Waders on the beach this morning - 12 Ringed Plover, 10 Sanderling, 6 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin 6 Common Scoter ( on sea )

On the Marsh - Glossy Ibis , 50 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 5 Shoveler, 2 Lapwing, 35 Snipe .

AJL had 3 Water Pipit on the marsh next to the main road

Friday, 10 February 2012


Had a Barn Owl flying alongside the road at 7.40 this evening between the Bridge Inn and Dart's Farm, roughly opposite the entrance to the 'Tremletts' complex (sorry, don't know what it's called now).

Darts Farm

The Red-breasted Goose was visible from the main road with some Brent Geese at Darts Farm around noon today.

Thurlestone Bay

Dreary day cold and rain this am- Glossy Ibis on the Marsh both first thing & at 17.00.
A surprise visitor was a Green Sandpiper which flew in at 08.00 and stayed for an hour. Little Egrets must be on the move 3 on the marsh at 08.00 first for a few weeks .

Visits to 2 off patch sites this afternoon - Stover C Park - 2 Marsh Tit, Green Woodpecker Nuthatch, Siskin .

On the way back stopped off at Buckfastleigh rewarded with my largest flock of Mandarin at least 35 with over 20 males, also 2 Goosander , 2 Dipper.

Starling roost starting to build up with the arrival of cold weather - 2000 tonight with some good flying displays

Brixham Breakwater

With Mike Langman currently watching a Kumlien's Gull resting on steel barge, pics to follow.

Mike's Photos the same 3rd winter bird that had previously been visiting Brixham. In flight it is almost impossible to pick out the grey in the outer primary tips, and perhaps only a hint of any brown in the wing coverts (looking at the pictures) - even zoomed right up on the bird I would have sworn the coverts  were all grey. Browner flecks on lower chest- belly, greenish bill base with blackish marks on upper mandible, nice dark eye on this bird too.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thurlestone Bay

Roosting on rocks at Warren Pt this morning 3 Purple Sandpiper .
5 Gadwall flew into Thurlestone marsh at 08.30, otherwise all the same as yesterday.

At South Huish Marsh a 1st w male Black Redstart on the fence posts.

At Horswell House wood were 2 Nuthatch and 2 Jay .

This afternoon at Bolberry Down car park were 18 Cirl Bunting and 8 Reed Bunting

Otter Estuary

A brief check of the Otter estuary early afternoon produced 1 Snow Bunting,1ringed Adult Med Gull ring no 34K4 1 Male 4 Female Goosander,1 Grey Plover 1Red Breasted Merganser.

Edit by GMH - some photos from Pete Adey to illustrate...

Woodbury Castle

Lunchtime at Woodbury Castle produced:
2 Brambling (male + female), 200+ Chaffinch, 15 Lesser Redpolls, Tawny Owl, drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and the usual Nuthatches and Treecreepers. Today the Brambling were more toward the centre of the ramparts. The Redpolls were very active and noisy nearby.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Axe Estuary

A Bittern today, seen from the Tower Hide [Derek Carter]

Also 5 Pintail in the morning, at least 5 Gadwall and 8 adult Med Gulls.

Lower Tamar Lake - yesterday 7/2

35 Goosander (18 males, 17 females) and a female Goldeneye.   [Tom Wallis]

Thurlestone Bay

Bitterly cold day with a brisk ENE wind .

Glossy Ibis feeding at 08.00 next observation at 16.00 when it flew in down the valley - where is it going to ?

On the Marsh 40 Teal, 35 Wigeon, 3 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 50+ Snipe, 2 Lapwing , 1 Black -tailed Godwit . 10 Redwing , 2 Water Pipit.

18 Reed Bunting on my feeders .

S M Ley - 7 Chiffchaff ( inc 1 tristis type ) Water Rail, Grey Wagtail.

Waders on the beach this morning - 8 Sanderling, 7 Ringed Plover, 10 Turnstone.

At Witley X farm 15 Fieldfare

Otter Estuary

16 members of the East Devon Branch of the DBWPS braved below freezing temperatures to find approx 45 species before lunch including Reed and Snow Bunting, 2 Med Gulls, 19 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 7 Pintail, 6 Ringed Plover, 3 Chiffchaff, Kingfisher and others. Have fun finding the 3 birds in the first pic above!

Brixham Breakwater

3w Iceland Gull present from 1620hrs. This new bird for the harbour gave brief flight views before settling down upon the barge within the outer harbour.

Aveton Gifford & Avon Valley

10 days relocating to Aveton Gifford from Cornwood and a new patch to get to know:

Today's highlights a smattering of wildfowl & waders:

Imm.Bewicks's swan; 2 Egyptian geese; 19 wigeon; redhead goosander.

39 curlew; 2 greenshank; 5 redshank; 2 green sandpiper; 3 common sandpiper.

East Devon Commons - Woodbury Castle

At long last late morning! Male & female Brambling feeding amongst Chaffinches and a Bullfinch on path on southern side. Very large and mobile flock of Chaffinches around the whole Castle area, so much patience and searching needed.

south Dartmoor - Tuesday

Yesterday an opportunity to visit the high blanket bog on the southern part of Dartmoor was rewarded with quality not quantity. Almost a bird-less day but a jack snipe, one red grouse and a female peregrine made the long walk worthwhile. However the biggest shock was finding fox moth caterpillars sunning themselves at such an altitude in February.

Fox moth caterpillar


The sea was too choppy to check properly and the wind chill felt like it was -20! However, I did pick out 7 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Wigeon.

At the back of the 2nd car park the seed I dropped this morning immediately attracted 24 Cirl Buntings (best site winter count) and 7 Reed Bunting. 

Also to add to Mikes sightings there was a single Dunlin and a Knot on the beach

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Otter Estuary

The Snow Bunting was on the estuary side of the pebble ridge early afternoon, showing very closely, feeding on seed put down for it. I didn't have time to look for the Caspian Gull!

Axe and Exe

Eight Ruff and two Golden Plover on Bridge Marsh this afternoon were the best the Axe had to offer today.

Over on the Exe, the Red-breasted Goose was seen on the Estuary near Topsham, and later at Dart's Farm.

Brixham breakwater

Late afternoon - 10 Purple Sandpipers and a Great Northern Diver

Fremington Quay

12:30 A single Spoonbill in a shallow pool off the quay - it was quite a way off but this heavy crop confirms  it is our old friend FJ9. Nothing else of note on the quay or in the pill.

Thurlestone Bay

Only the Glossy Ibis and a female Black Redstart worthy of listing

Monday, 6 February 2012


Lots of Shags around again today, 100+ along the near coastline including a group of 85+ together off Langerstone Rocks, where 2 Purple Sandpiper and a Grey Plover were feeding. Not much at sea but a few Razorbills passing. On land 46 Teal,1 Egyptian Goose, Kingfisher, 2 Chiffchaff. At Horseley beach 1 , probably 2 , Water Pipit and a Grey Plover. A leucistic-looking pale House Sparrow near the village green gave a momentary surprise. West of the Airfield a large flock of waders was visible circling, dropped in on a ploughed field opposite Meadow Barn west of the radio mast;counted 600+ Golden Plover and 166 Lapwing.
On return called in at Slapton quarry where a Firecrest was visible mid afternoon , but a half hour wait did not reveal the Yellow-browed Warbler.

That Wigeon

Here's a rather blurred photo I took of it .... not that's it's of much help.

Seaton Area

Slavonian Grebe off Branscombe, also 8+ Bottle-nosed Dolphins slowly east this morning.

An 'interesting' pale female Wigeon sp. on Bridge Marsh (E of Colyford by A3052) and a Ruff on the Axe.

The one at the back, with its head up

Bursdon Moor - yesterday 5/2

1 Short-eared Owl around 2pm.    [Hilary and David Phillips]

Otter Estuary

The adult Caspian Gull was again present on the estuary until at least 1300hrs. At this time all the gulls were disturbed and they flew around a bit. They all seemed to settle back down again, but I was unable to relocate the bird in the time I had left!


1 x male Black Redstart on the wall of the car park in Cliff Road(Behind the harbour)


Wader-tastic at Broadsands today, 3 Sanderling and a Knot. Also in the bay 75+ Great Crested Grebe and 7 Black-necked Grebe. Quite a few Cirls around the seed and at least 5 Reed Bunting difficult to count thanks to the multitude of Dog walkers. A couple of Colybita Chiffs in the marsh. On a side note, the decision to abolish free parking on the road was made by the community partnership, a meeting attended by probably no more than 20 persons, cheers for that. Hopefully the extra revenue generated for the council will be used to manage the marsh..but probably not.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


N Hallsands
Black redstart- around boulder area, r/h side of beach, also chiff

YB Warbler - above and at the back of, the 'Quarry' Ireland Bay though very elusive (2-3 brief views over 1-1.5hrs) AFD EW.  Also Firecrest (pic), 2 Goldcrest, Blackcap.

Bowling green marsh

Watched from hide from 14:00 till 16:15

Numbers have increased over last couple of days with 500+ wigeon, 53+ shoveler my best count for the marsh and interesting watching them feeding in large circular group of 30+ birds spining around in the same area for most of the afternoon, 3 pintail( 2m & 1f), 2 gadwall(1m & 1f), 3 pochard(1m & 2f), 5 tufted duck (2m & 3f), 100+ teal, 4+ snipe, 2 meadow pipit, 1 redshank, 20+ curlew, 80+ lapwing.

Topsham recreation ground 12:00 till 12:30

3 snipe, 2 red breasted mergansers(1m & 1f), 3 common gull

Goat walk 12:45 till 13:50

350+ avocet, 200+ black tailed godwit, 4 red breasted mergansers, 200+ Brent geese flew in from darts farm direction.


The cold weather elsewhere has certainly brought a few birds in since last week. Highlight was the first drake Goosander for Prawle, briefly off Langerstone Point this morning, and again late afternoon. As this bird flew off east, 2 drake Red-breasted Mergansers flew west. Shag numbers sometimes build up offshore in late winter, and this year is looking like a good one, with 117 counted today, the first 3-figure count since 2002. While counting these, 3 Red-throated Divers flew west. Waders were represented by 4 Knot, and single Sanderling and Dunlin along with the usual Grey Plover. 3 Med Gulls and the Water Pipit were in Horseley Cove, and a Reed Bunting and Firecrest were around the Reserve. Earlier a seawatch (J.Lambert) produced 2 Brent Geese and a probable Black-throated Diver.

(accompanied today by 'the Brent Birders')

Exe Estuary area

Today's Stuart Line Cruise was a good one, with much milder conditions and better light than yesterday. 3 Black-necked Grebes off Dawlish Warren ('scoped to confirm), Slavonian Grebe (Cockwood as usual), good numbers of Great Crested Grebes (maybe more than a dozen in the estuary), c40 Shags, only a single Little Egret, Herons at nests (Powderham), Red-breasted Goose (with Brents near Turf), 5 Goldeneye, maybe 80 Mergansers, Peregrine on the mud near Turf, good numbers of Avocets (500 perhaps?), c30 Lapwings (Turf), 2 Greenshank (Powderham), Sanderling (Pole Sands), a few Knot, adult Med Gull (Lympstone - also seen yesterday), Razorbill (Warren), Kingfisher (Ken outlet), several Rooks on the sandbank off Powderham Church, and 2 Ravens keeping the Crows at bay at a bird corpse (gull?) off Exmouth. A Harbour (Common) Seal was seen briefly.

Yesterday we also had a second Razorbill right next to the boat at Exmouth Quay, a Shoveler at Turf, good numbers of Mallard and Teal (presumably because inland waters were frozen), 2 sepearate Tufted Duck drakes in the Turf-Topsham area and 2 Gadwall flying over the middle of the estuary.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Geese Quarries - Charleton Marsh, 11:40-14:20, rising tide.

95 Brent Geese, 2 Egyptian Geese, 5 Pintail, Tufted Duck, 27 Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander ( male ), 4 Great Crested Grebe, 11 Little Grebe, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Rock Pipit, 2 Chiffchaffs ( sewage works ).

Axe Estuary

Iceland Gull on the estuary at midday [Roy Williams]

Otter and Exmouth

Otter Estuary - c1510 - 1615 - caspian gull - presumed female again present this afternoon.

West Lodge - 0840 - yellow-browed warbler still. Also 10 goldeneye including 4 displaying drakes.

Maer Rocks - 0800 - 2 dunlin, 2 knot, 1 ringed plover, 4 turnstone and 4 eider.

Friday - 3/2 - 2 purple sandpiper on Maer Rocks and the yellow-browed warbler again in the Holm Oak copse at West Lodge.
Very educational watching the caspian this afternoon. It looked a different beast to last Sunday when it kept its head low. Note how tiny the head is in relation to the body which, combined with the long slender bill gives it a unique profile. The best way to pick this bird out is to look for the darker neutral grey upperparts lacking any bluish tones. In flight look for a big white tip to p10 and large mirror on p9.


The run of easterly winds and freezing conditions have certainly shaken things up a bit with 133 Great Crested Grebes (just 15 just before the easterly winds), 3 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Avocet (only my 2nd ever in Torbay) it didn't stay too long with so many dogs on the beach but did sit on the sea for some time with the black headed gulls, 1 Dunlin. 15 Cirl Buntings, 3 Reed Buntings at back of 2nd car park, 2 collybita Chiffchaffs in Marsh.
The local authority have decided to make the whole of the road at Broadsands no parking, even in the winter. The winter charges in the car park are £1 for 40mins - not long enough to check the area well! There is free on road parking elsewhere but its a bit of a hike.  

Thurlestone Marsh

The Glossy Ibis back feeding on the marsh at 08.15