Saturday, 25 February 2012

Dunsford Woods

Went looking for the lesser spotted woodpecker today at Dunsford woods, no luck but an abundance of birds including; 2 dippers, 3 marsh tit, 4 goldcrest, 2 tawny owls calling, 5 siskin and best of all a solitary firecrest.

[Sam Marles]

bowling green marsh and exmouth

This morning arrived at the hide at bowling green marsh at 07:00 and watched till 10:15

500+ Avocet was a good count but even better was the 218+ bar tailed godwit my best count this winter, 600+ Black tailed godwit, 10 pintail, 4 gadwall  (2m,2f), 8 tufted duck (5m, 3f), 37 shelduck , 15+dunlin, 1 knot,120+ redshank, 1 cetti's warbler, 8 greylag geese

Decided to then watch the estuary between exmouth and lympstone along mudbank lane between 10:45 and 13:20. The highlight was some good views of the Yellow Browed Warbler moving through the trees in holm oak copse at west lodge at 12:35 for about 20 mins

and finally managed to get this photo not the greatest but ok for a record shot.

Also on the estuary 2 goldeneye (1m 1f) , 60+ Pintail, 55+ red breasted mergansers, 2 ravens, 1 peregrine, 1 grey plover, 33+ turnstone

Beesands / Kingsbridge Estuary

3 GN Divers off Beesands this pm and 8 RbMergs Kingsbridge Estuary near road bridge.  [Steve Piotrowski]

Braunton great field

Dusk visit as it was a calm evening and delighted to see both Barn and Little Owl.

Roadford Reservoir

7 scaup 2m 5f+ 9 goldeneye 3m 6f at roadford reservoir today at 11.30am

Axe Estuary & Seaton

Gorgeous 1st-winter Caspian Gull on the river this afternoon, north of Coronation Corner. Also 3 Ruff there briefly, and the Black-necked Grebe still off the seafront this morning.

Hardly world-class photography, but I don't care!

River Kenn-Exe Estuary

The Spotted Redshank still off the River Kenn mouth, showing very well just off the railway crossing on the falling tide. Also 3 Greenshank. Nearby a brief look off Dawlish Warren- a Black-Necked Grebe off the sea wall and 2 Slav Grebes south of Langstone Rock.

Friday, 24 February 2012


Black-necked Grebe still off the seafront this afternoon.

Pied Wag roost Plymouth

With the lengthening days, I am starting to see the Pied Wag roost in Plymouth as I wait for the bus in the evening. About 150 birds are roosting each evening on the big tree on the roundabout in front of the post office by Drake Circus. Barn Owls quite vocal around Wembury over the last few days but refusing to stray near enough to the patch!

Brixham Breakwater

Kumliens Gull came in with Trawlers at 1640hrs and hung around on the water at the end of the Breakwater until last light

Bowling green marsh

Another good morning on the marsh watched from the hide from 07:45 till 11:00

The marsh was busy as usual when I arrived and a quick count of the bar tailed godwits found 200+ another good count, then a peregrine swooped over the masses of black tailed godwits 600+ again today. Then as I watching 3 pintail on the far side from the hide a female hen harrier flew in over the railway line at 08:16 and dropped onto a post in the far reedbed a fantastic sight and proceeded to sit there till 08:44 the 4 of us in the hide all got some views unfortunatly there were a few reeds in the way to get great views. Then it flew off and was lost for a few minutes before coming back into view being harrased by a group of crows it flew down over the viewing platform and was heading towards lympstone area.

Other counts were 510+ avocet, 10 pintail, 4 gadwall, 6 tufted duck, 1 little grebe, 30+ shoveler, 2 knot, 12+ Dunlin, 3 snipe, 2 lapwing, 5 meadow pipit and a chiffchaff, 500+ Brent geese

From the viewing platform 45+ grey plover, 1 greenshank, 2 goldeneye (1m, 1f) were off lympstone commando

From goat walk 3 great crested grebe and 4 red breasted mergansers

Thurlestone Bay

Shelduck starting to appear - 4 this morning .

8 Common Scoter flew into the Bay and landed on the sea .
Nick T whilst carrying out his conservation work flushed a Woodcock ( first of the year) and also saw a Firecrest

Singing blackcaps

I have heard a few blackcaps singing in the last few days - From thick ivy next to Lower Union Street car park, Torquay and in a private mature oak woodland near Dawlish.

Bowling green marsh

Hen harrier ringtail at bowling green marsh now from the hide far side sat in reeds on post

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Exminster Marshes

A very quick visit early afternoon produced the drake American Wigeon over towards the railway line, one of the Ruffs on the scrape near the anglers' car park, a calling Water Rail near the middle 'car park' and a Water Pipit which had been flushed by a marauding Peregrine, flying over the main scrapes area.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Nine Red Breased Mergansers made a quick excursion up to South Pool (Kingsbridge Estuary) and back down the creek, swimming and diving this morning. Four males and Five females. First time I've seen them here.

[Peter Liddle]

Exe Estuary (yesterday)

Yesterday afternoon's Stuart Lines cruise experienced surprisingly decent weather - it's amazing how relatively calm and dry it can be in the estuary when offshore the sea is rough and the surrounding hills are clad in rain clouds! The highlight was excellent views of a new Slavonian Grebe with the 'resident' bird now between Lympstone and Turf. Totals of 17 Great Crested Grebes and 9 Goldeneye were my best for the winter. The Spotted Redshank was still with Greenshanks between the Kenn outlet and Starcross Sailing Club. A rough count of the Avocets between Topsham and Turf came to 510, plus even rougher estimates of 500+ Black-tailed and 200-300 Bar-tailed Godwits.

Seaton Marshes - yesterday 22/2

Another excursion to the Axe Estuary produced a great gathering of Shelduck 100+ from the hide. 50+ blackwits, 200+ lapwing numerous black headed gull, one Med Gull, 10+ little grebe, one male Pintail, 8 Shovelers, to name but a few.

[Derek Carter]

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Slapton and Beesands

  Rain!  2 male Goldeneyes, a male Shoveller and a burst of Cettis at Slapton.  At a very wet Beesands a Slavonian Grebe close in to the beach.

Thurlestone Bay

First strong wind for a while SW F 6/7 with increasingly rough seas and after 11.15 heavy rain and poor viz.

On Thurlestone Marsh at 08.00 - 45 Wigeon, 25 Teal, 2 m Shoveler, 2 Lapwing, 50 Snipe, 1 Black Tailed Godwit.

On South Huish Marsh a new arrival a female Tufted Duck ( 1st of the year ) also another male Pintail, 20 Wigeon, 7 Teal.

Seawatching until the rain arrived produced the first Balearic Shearwater ( flew west at 10.40 )
12 Gannet, 7 Common Gull, 6 Fulmar.

Waders on the beach - 7 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin

Bowling green marsh

A nice early start and watched from the hide from 07:10 till 09:45

500+ Avocets, 209+ bar tailed godwits is my best count for the marsh this winter, 600+ black tailed godwit, 8 pintail, 4 gadwall, 5 tufted duck, 43+ shoveler, 1 knot, 12+ Dunlin, 300+ curlew, 1 peregrine, wigeon numbers are down with only 200+, 8+ meadow pipit and lots of groups of Brent geese flying over towards darts farm and back to the estuary, 6 Greylag geese.

Popped into the viewing platform for 20 mins and had 33+ grey plover

Exe Estuary

Yesterday afternoon's Stuart Line cruise produced 16 Great Crested, 2 Little and the 'resident' Slavonian Grebe (last was near Turf), 2 drake Goldeneye, 23 Sanderlings, c900 Black-tailed Godwits, Spotted Redshank still with Greenshank off Powderham, c100 Common Gulls and the Harbour (Common) Seal was near Turf. Earlier, a Raven was patrolling low along over the shore at Mudbank Lane.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Aylesbear common

A nice change this morning with a trip up to Aylesbear common, the heathland very quite with just 2 yellowhammer, and 5 stonechat but following the path through the wooded area produced 3 treecreepers, 2 great spotted woodpecker, 9 coal tits 200+ redwing, 25+ fieldfare, lots of chaffinch and siskins moving through the trees and a small group of 6 lesser redpolls, 2 raven and 2 buzzards.

Darts farm

A quick visit on the way home from work. Produced a nice flock of mixed finches, including several linnet, greenfinch and chaffinch. A little egret at the weir and 10 moorhens on the fish pond


A quick pop in late afternoon produced 3 redhead smew, 21 gadwall, 11 shoveler & 8 pochard on the ley.

Also water rail.
2 great crested grebes offshore.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Dartington - yesterday 19/2

Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in copse viewed from cycle track.  [Trevor Leaman]

More on Glossy Ibis 3T7

Received today from Trevor Warrick...

...I now have a somewhat more interesting update on Glossy Ibis 3T7 which I received earlier today from Peter Moore, a local birder. Here's an excerpt from his e-mail.

"I e-mailed details of the ring code from the Wareham Glossy Ibis (3T7 as Trevor says) to a Spanish ringing scheme yesterday and heard back today from the DoƱana Biological Reserve. If I have understood what they sent me correctly (my Spanish is worse than their English), it was ringed there in May 2004 as a 1st year bird and has been reported to them five times since - the other four being at various Spanish sites, mostly near Seville."

Ringmoor Down, Dartmoor

Flock of approximately 600 Golden Plover on Ringmoor Down this afternoon, near the stone row.

(Mike & Jan Daniels)

Kinsford Gate, Exmoor

Two short-eared Owls quartering around the moor yesterday afternoon giving very close views.

(Margaret Phillips)

Landscove, by Buckfastleigh

Atlas square turned up:

132 fieldfare; 42 redwing; 138 chaffinch.


Ruff still present this morning.


Five Scaup, two males and three females, in the NW arm from the viaduct this morning. One of the males was trying to impress the women by displaying, without generating any interest.
Otherwise 3 Goldeneye, 30 Gadwall, and numerous Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Teal around the lake.

Exminster marshes

A quick visit this morning produced 1 female merlin and peregrine along station road,60+ golden plover, 2 snipe, water rail and the water pipit.

After getting some bits done in town managed to get back to the marsh and watched from 14:30 till 18:00, walked along the path beside the railway out to turf and had 1 ruff, the peregrine attacked the wigeon but failed, 32 golden plover, lots of wigeon and Brent geese, 1 sparrowhawk over high towards topsham, lapwings spread all over the marsh, 5 Greylag. At turf the slavonian grebe along with 2 great crested grebes and 5 red breasted mergansers. Walked back along the cannal path on the lagoon 10 tufted duck, 3 pochard and 4 gadwall then at 16:34 the hen harrier drifted over exminster and behind powderham marshes, walked back down station road by the s bends a water rail showed briefley and the peregrine flew over again. Just before the railway bridge scaned across the marsh towards the motorway bridge and found a male merlin sat on a post and managed to watch it for about 15 mins. Also had 3 cetti's warblers and 12+ reed buntings and 2 buzzards around the marsh

At lunch time had the dipper on my local patch at the mill on the exe and a patch tick with a male shoveler

Another good day on the marshes

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Glossy Ibis feedback

An email today from Trevor Warrick sheds some light on where at least one of 'our' birds has got to...

I'm not sure if this is of any interest to Devon birders, but the Glossy Ibis seen and photographed at Lower Tamar Lakes on 20 January (ring code 3T7) - see post - is the bird that is now at Wareham Common, Dorset.

Here's an excerpt from my e-mail to the Dorset Yahoo Group earlier today:
"The Glossy Ibis was still present at Wareham Common between 11am and 12.30pm at least. When I arrived it was slightly further west just south of Ferncroft Farm, but after being flushed by dogwalkers it returned to the area south of Wessex Oval. I was joined by Ian Alexander and we tried to get close enough to read the ring. However, the bird is very wary and it was difficult to get within scope range. My best guess is that the numbers are 3T7, but I can't be 100% certain." 

A ringed Glossy Ibis (presumably the same bird) was first seen on Wareham Common on 12th February, but then went missing. It reappeared on Saturday (18th) and was still there today.

Exe Estuary

Nice Greenshank shot from Tom Wallis today.


Hen Harrier over Topsham reed beds 08:00 [Neil Bygrave]

Lower Tamar Lake

A visit to Lower Tamar Lake this morning produced 22 goosander, 7 tufted duck, 6 great crested grebe (2 displaying), 3 little grebe, 5 greylag, 4 moorhen, 7 coot, mallard, heron and buzzard.  No willow tits but the feeders were empty!

[Tony Brooking]

Torbay Webs count

Despite near perfect conditions probably the worst ever Feb count I have had in Torbay with just 1 Black-necked Grebe and 18 Great Crested and nothing else of note on the sea!

A trip down to the South Hams was more productive there appeared to be just one Smew left at Beesands but I din't go around to the hide to check the reed edge on the seaward side, one Red-throated Diver close to shore at the north end of the beach.

Photo: an early hover fly sp. either Eristalis pertinax or tenax (I think?) was on the beach at Start Point.

Exminster marshes

After doing powderham marshes this morning made way over to exminster marsh and was rewarded with great views of the red breasted goose close to station road with Brent geese before flying towards turf, also 4 ruff, 60+ golden plover was a good count a peregrine flew over several times, 9+ pintail, the slavonian grebe was still viewable from the turf hotel. The white fronted geese where viewable from the footpath by the railway line with Brent geese.

Yesterday covered matford marsh in the morning with 54+ snipe, 16 common gull, 180+ wigeon, 86+ lapwing, 23+ shoveler, 2 bullfinch, great spotted woodpecker, 2 tufted duck.

A good weekends birding

Exminster to Powderham

On my way to the WeBS count at Turf the most interesting birds were 3 ruff flying over the marshes, one water rail sunning itself and 5 bullfinches. During the count a Slavonian grebe and great-crested grebe were in the main channel. On the fields north of Powderham Corner there were 867 brent geese and the red-breasted goose. A further c250 brent geese flew north to Exminster marshes. On the way home I managed to see the American wigeon, 2 white-fronted geese (albifrons) and 8 geylag geese. Very pleasant.

Exe Estuary: Starcross to Dawlish Warren Golf Course

Notable WeBS count totals from my section this afternoon: 3 Little & 2 Great Crested Grebes, 235 Brents, 4 Little Egrets, 2 Pintail, 93 Teal, 22 Wigeon, 18 Mergansers, 1 Avocet, 14 Lapwing, 4 Ringed Plover, 195 Grey Plover, 136 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 405 Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe (flushed from saltmarsh in standardised transect covering only a small section), the wintering Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 38 Turnstone. The tide was much lower than usual for the WeBS count period, with many more waders than usual still in the 'Cockwood Corner' section.

Aveton Gifford & Avon Valley

At low tide:

Little Grebe 4; Lesser Black-backed Gull 1; Curlew 28; Greenshank 2; Redshank 3; Green Sandpiper 1; Common Sandpiper 6.

Also: Meadow Pipit 20; Redwing 14; Chiffchaff 1.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Geese Quarries - Charleton marsh, 11:30-13:30, rising tide.

56 Brent Geese, 8 Goldeneye, 16 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 18 Little Grebes, 2 Rock Pipits, 2 Chiffchaffs ( singing, sewage works).

Hardwick Wood

A wander round in fine weather produced 1 Mistle Thrush, 6+ Goldcrests, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Sparrowhawk, and 30+ Redwings.

Powderham marsh

Drake American wigeon on powderham marsh till 12:15 then flew with wigeon to exminster marshes by the lagoon, only saw 1 ruff, 30+ reed bunting also could see the 2 white fronted geese on exminster towards the turf hotel probably only viewable from railway side of field.

R.Taw - Pottington to Heanton Court.

08:20 - 10:00

4 Grey Plover; 4 Bar-tailed Godwit; 8 Sanderling and 1 Little Egret.
No sign of John Wicks` Iceland Gull.

Bradiford Reserve.
A pair of Pintail and a few Wigeon and Teal.

Ashford Strand.
25 Sanderling; 12 Turnstone; 53 Dunlin; 4 Knot; 1 Little Egret; 25 Wigeon and a juvenile Spoonbill.

Heanton Court
1 Ruff.

Ashford Small Holding.
1 female Kestrel on the fence. I think Jon`s Greylag that he saw in the nearby fields came from here. I`ve seen the Muscoveys from here out on the river before now.