Saturday, 3 March 2012

Ringmoor Down, Dartmoor

Just a few of the 500+ Golden Plover seen around Ringmoor Down today.
(Bob Barrow)

Bowling Green Marsh

Two pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were in good view off the platform yesterday early afternoon.Sorry for the lateness.

Seaton Marshes

A Stone-curlew was found on Seaton Marshes this afternoon. Technically it was on Sheep Marsh, the field immediately south of the flooded field. View from path to hide (or from the hide) looking south. Also a female Pintail on the lagoon.

Exe estuary & Exminster Marshes

The Spotted Redshank is currently on the Exe estuary just North of the outlet of the River Kenn.

Just to add to the earlier Exminster Marsh entries, the Water Pipit was on the first pool East of the Lions Rest industrial estate this morning.

[Sue Murphy]

N Devon

Six med gulls in field between bideford new bridge and roundabout from the old bideford to barnstaple road.Comprising 5 ads+fw.Seen at 3pm along with 500+ black headed.


Mudbank - 1415 - first spring migrant pale-bellied brent geese (6) this afternoon - presumed family party 2ad and 4 fw. Flew towards the Warren at 1435. Also 153+ shelduck.
Orcombe Point - 25+ fieldfare.

Late news for 24/2 - the drake teal x wigeon hybrid again on the Otter with wigeon. This is the same bird that was initially off Mudbank Dec 2010 and then on the Otter early 2011.

Exminster Marshes

Watched from 08:00 till 12:30, a quieter day around the marsh but still great views of the Barnacle geese initially they were on the left of station road opposite the rspb car park entrance, they later moved to the right hand side and were between the road and the lagoon still present when i left.

The drake American wigeon was viewable from the S bends/ middle car park between the road and the lagoon was elusive at times but with fewer wigeon on the marsh becoming easier to see.

No sign of the spoonbill  or water pipit this morning, but a couple of peregrines, 1 sparrowhawk, 2 kestrels and 5 buzzards, 4 cetti's warbler heard and seen this morning , and 7+ reed buntings.

Exminster marsh

Barnacle geese were present yesterday but couldn't find them today. No sign of the spoonbill this morning.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Great Grey Shrike showing well this morning between 9.15 and 9.40 and giving the meadow pipits a hard time. The latter had increased in number since last week with at least 30 or more present. 3 stonechats and a scattering of fieldfare and redwings plus plenty of skylarks in song.

Isley marsh circular walk info

This is just a reminder that the area between the Yelland jetty an the Instow oil jetty is closed for 6-8 weeks because of environmental work shoring up the bank. I got caught out using the short-cut down the old pipeline lane as there was no notice warning you but the access to the beach is blocked off.
I did manage some Turnstone shots on the rocky area near by though.

Exminster update

Further to my earlier post having seen the spoonbill and barnacle geese and a peregrine, walked up station road and the water pipit was in field to left on s bends. Then just as started to head back at 16:50 I picked up the female Hen Harrier flying in over the marsh it came in from near the lagoon out of the mist flew between the s bends and the cannal path then headed towards the reed beds by the motorway bridge but lost it in the mist.

A very good afternoon on the marsh


West Lodge - 1600 - thought the milder weather may have tempted the yellow-browed warbler to move on but it's still there. Showing well for ten minutes this afternoon in bare trees close to the cycle path in the Holm Oak copse - a change in habits and much easier to see out of the Holm Oaks!


  The adult breeding plumage Spoonbill on Exminster marsh this afternoon is our old friend FJ9

Exminster marsh

Spoonbill along railway path near turf also 5 barnacle geese still showing well along station road near rspb car park

Mid-channel in the fog - yesterday 1/3

Whilst the birds around the boat were limited to Kittwakes, Fulmars and Great Blacks it was great to see two waves of around half a dozen Meadow Pipits pass us chirping noisily as they went North – I presume to maintain contact in the fog which was down to 30yd visibility in places out there. Not long now methinks.

[Tim Clyburn]

Roadford and Burdson Moor - Wed 29/2

A bit of late news from Will Salmon...

Roadford Lake: 5 Scaup still present mid-afternoon, in NE arm viewable from bridge.

Bursdon Moor: 3 Hen Harriers (2 males & a ringtail) and a Merlin late afternoon/evening.

Teign Estuary

From Lower Netherton area at nearly high tide birds of interest: 68 Common Gulls, 3 Lesser Black-backed (all graellsii), 1 Lapwing and 2 Greenshank.

Saltern Cove, Torbay

Popped down to the cove to look for the Black Redstart which was exactly where I had been told it would be - on the sea defence Boulders at the south end of the beach (probably easiest to walk down through the Waterside Caravan Holiday park to get to it) it's a really smart male.  Also there was a Little Egret and just off-shore 1 Black-necked Grebe.

Broadsands: 1 fw Med Gull on rocks with Black-headed Gulls.   

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Exminster marsh

Another good afternoon on the marsh from 15:35 till 17:30.

The 5 barnacle geese were between the lions rest industrial estate and the rspb car park on right hand side of station road and whilst watching them a kingfisher flew past. The water pipit is still in field between s-bends and main car park.

A peregrine had a dive at the wigeon but failed, suprise of the afternoon was a Jack snipe flushed with 7 snipe from field behind the swans nest pub by a sparrowhawk a good way to end the afternoon.

Great Grey Shrike Dartmoor

Great Grey Shrike seen on 26th Feb and again today at Lydford Forest at SX491845.

Park at forest car park and follow main track down into forest for about 15 minutes until you reach piles of logs at the start of a wide open area that has been clear felled on either side of the track. The shrike was present hunting from thin scattered trees in the left cleared area, which has been recently fenced with deer netting.

[Peter Chapman/Charlie Elder]

Slapton yesterday (29 February)

At Torcross was the hybrid drake Red-crested Pochard x Tufted.

An adult Med Gull came in to bathe.

At about 5pm a Bewick's Swan flew in from the north over Slapton Bridge with a Mute. Shortly after they settled near the bridge. The bill colour was slightly duller than an adult and the neck grey, so an immature and perhaps the bird that's been at Aveton Gifford recently? There were several Cetti's singing near the bridge and a Chiffchaff put in abrief appearance.

On the sea there was a single Great Northern Diver, at least 10 Great Crested Grebes, including a pair displaying (more were on the Ley) and a Grey Seal.

Earlier there were also 10 Great Crested Grebes on the sea off Beesands, plus small numbers of Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted and Pochard on the Ley. A Cetti's sang occasionally and there was much Toad activity and croaking along the seaward side.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Exminster Marshes...yet more!

Female Hen Harrier flew over the railway lines at around 17:30   [Sue Murphy]

Exminster Marsh

To add to the other sightings at Exminster today-a Merlin early afternoon north of Station Road.

(Of interest the flock of Barnacle Geese could be the first genuine ones on mainland Devon for over 10 years)?

Exminster marsh

A nice walk around the marsh this afternoon from 14:30 till 16:30

The 5 Barnacle geese were more distant this afternoon seen flying over the lagoon and between the lagoon and the railway line. The water pipit showed well between the s bends and the main car park in the field on the left. Also 3 chiffchaff around car park, the American wigeon was distant near the lagoon. 5 cetti's warblers and 7 Reed buntings, 1 sparrowhawk, 2 kestrels, 2 buzzard.There were 6 tufted duck and 4 gadwall on the lagoon, 7+ pintail and still lots of shoveler around the marsh.

From the turf hotel, the slavonian grebe, and 160+ grey plover, 4 red breasted mergansers, 1 great crested grebe.


Spotted Redshank showing well, in company with 6 Greenshank on the bank of the river Kenn. As we watched, 4 more greens' flew over the sea wall. At Exminster the American wigeon was on the first scrape
near the lane. The 5 Barnacles were seen to land near the single bird, but there appeared to be no association.

Ashclyst Forrest, Broadclyst (E.Devon).

Hardly out of the car at Sprydon Plantation, pairs of Siskin and Crossbill were present with a Green Woodpecker calling and Gt Spotted Woodpecker drumming.  Marsh Tit in numbers seen during a walk around the deciduous woodland and a further flock of 8 Siskin seen feeding at Goulds Brake..a nice change from the coasts and estuaries and not a birder in sight!

Exminster Marshes

The 5 barnacle geese and American wigeon both still present early morning.


The bay was like a mirror this morning so every single bird could be counted very easily, the highlight was a Red-necked Grebe out in the middle of the bay from Elberry headland. Also, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Common Scoter and 10 Great Crested Grebes. 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrests in the marsh and 15 Cirl Buntings on seed with 3 Reed Buntings in the 2nd car park.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Barnacle geese exminster

Just a couple of photos of the Barnacle geese at exminster this afternoon sorry not the greatest pics but ok for record shots. The resident 'Barnacle goose' never joined the new birds even when they walked past it and as Pat noted earlier it is much darker than the 5 new birds. Not bad for a couple of hours walk after work around the marsh.

Barnacle geese

The five barnacle geese still present near dusk, with Canada's near the railway bridge, Exminster Marshes

Blue ring

Knockout, thanks for that. I'll try to pursue and let you know if I get an answer!

Blue-ringed Canada Geese

An email from Roger Peart of Dorset...

In response to Jon Turner’s question about Canada Geese with blue rings he could try looking on which is on the site coordinating European colour ringing.There are at least a couple of projects using blue rings on CANGO :- Richard de Feu; Richard Hearn, W&WT, Slimbridge

Thurlestone Bay

Little wind , flat calm sea with virtually no birds this am . Frustratingly a GREBE sp flew west far out ,too small for Great Crested but not possible to id.

Pintail still on South Huish Marsh but no sign of any gulls.

Nuthatch at Horswell House Wood, at Upton Cross a singing male Yellowhammer.

Over at South Milton Ley- 10 Chiffchaff, 1m Blackcap 2 Water Rail, 2 Goldcrest, 5 Redwing. In one of the fields a very nice Hare .

At 16.30 did the first Gull roost watch - no sun so they could easily be checked through- amongst the flock of 200+ Black Headed Gull were 2 Med Gull ( a1st & a 2nd winter ) . 2 Common Scoter
on the sea

Branscombe update...and Seaton

Firecrest and Dipper at Branscombe today, as well as the Red-necked Grebe. [Ian Waite & Sue Smith]

Black-necked Grebe still loitering off Seaton. [Sue Smith]

Negative news on the gull front - no sign of either the Caspian Gull or Iceland Gull today.

Exminster marsh

15:40 5 barnacle geese circled marsh then flew to turf going have look to try find them again back again circling the marsh landed by the lagoon towards railway line. They finaly settled in field just to left after railway bridge viewd from gate opposite the rspb car park still viewable at 17:10 , also this afternoon the American wigeon and the water pipit on the marsh

Velator reserve

Opened some nets this morning, just to see what might be about. Retrapped a male Cetti's Warbler that has been calling for about 10 days now. He was ringed on 2nd September last year as a juvenile. Later on I caught another Cetti's - this time a new male, also aged 5 (last year's bird). Later on I trapped a new male Goldcrest - is this the first evidence of a spring movement? I was vaguely thinking that there might be a few Goldies on the move.....
The Canada Geese seem to be down to two pairs fighting for the right to nest on the island. One of them has a strange blue ring on it's left leg - Kane Brides says he has no idea who puts odd blue rings on Canada Geese. Anyone any ideas?
Roll on March!

Exminster Marshes

As I was passing anyway, popped in to see the American Wigeon, which was showing very well near the fishermen's car-park. As I was leaving, a party of 5 Barnacle Geese flew in, circled for several minutes before landing near the Lion's Rest Industrial Estate. They joined a flock of Canada Geese, and the 'resident' Barnacle Goose, that looked very dark and sullied against the clean black and white of the five new birds. As good as it will ever get for genuine wild birds in Devon?

(Yesterday, the Spotted Redshank was roosting again on the bank of the River Kenn in Powderham Park).

Wembury Point

2 Slavonian Grebes with up to 20 Fulmars off the Mewstone.  A Grey Plover and 33 Turnstones on the beach and 8 Cirl Buntings feeding in the field behind.


Red-necked Grebe this morning. Also 6 Red-throated Divers and 2 Great Crested Grebes.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Stover + Bellever + Exminster Marshes

Stover - 2 goosander (both f)

Bellever - 6+ crossbill, siskin, lesser redpoll, 2 grey wagtail

Exminster Marshes (on lagoon) - American wigeon

Good day's birding!

[Claire & Chris Grove]


2 Med Gulls on the R Otter opposite the 1st viewing platform  [Sue Murphy]

Thurlestone Bay

Patch life tick this morning at 10.30 a superb 1st w CASPIAN GULL bathing on South Huish Marsh.

male Pintail and 20 Wigeon still showing well.

Waders on the beach at high tide were- 7 Sanderling, 9 Ringed Plover, 12 Turnstone.

No change to species on Thurlestone Marsh


2cy Iceland Gull, initially on the Axe north of Coronation Corner, by 10:00 had moved to south end of Seaton Marshes. Its presence there also led to the Caspian Gull getting found again, for the third day in a row. They are both in the ropey shot below, though one is perhaps easier to pick out than the other!

English Channel - Fulmars

Yesterday out working on a fishing, 3 'dark phase' Fulmars in with the usual 'light phase' birds. Excellent neutral light conditions allowed these comparison shots (see below) with the 'dark' phase on the right. Although the scale of darkness is a gradient the right-hand bird would be a dark as opposed to a double dark. From seawatching experience I usually find Feb is the best month for them and they're out there!

Also 2 Bonxies around the boat. I've now seen bonxie every month of the year in the channel.

Despite lots (c300) of gulls feeding aroud the boat, for the fourth time this winter I failed to see a 'white winger' at sea.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


1st-winter Caspian Gull present again from at least 15:40. Probably due to repeated disturbance on the river it was found instead loafing on fields at the south end of Seaton Marshes, viewed from the cycle track/footpath which runs along the west side of the marshes.

Also, a female Merlin flew down the valley mid-afternoon.


Bewick's Swan, Water Rail & Marsh Harrier ( female ) at Slapton this morning. [Roy Williams]


A couple of early signs of spring today (apart from the weather and 2 Peacock butterflies), namely a new-in male Reed Bunting and the first female Blackcap of the year. Otherwise very samey, with 2 Water Pipits still (2nd bird first suspected by Dave Norman on 6th Feb, and confirmed last week), female Black Redstart, 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Goldcrests. The Shag-pile was reduced to 95 birds today.

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Mainly the usuals seen at very low tide.

Teal 2 females, Common Sandpiper 1, Greenshank 5, Pied Wagtail c25 (Blaxton), Bullfinch 2 males, Snipe 18, Black-headed Gull 400+.

Exminster Marshes sat 25th Feb

A relatively brief visit on way back from Gwent. Paul Kemp picked the drake American Wigeon out amongst hundreds of Wigeon, on the lagoon - viewing from the canal bank at 13.30.

Starcross to exminster marshes

A fantastic morning spring nearly here and for a change decided to walk from Starcross back to Exminster marshes this morning 09:45 till 13:30

A look out from Starcross produced 2 little grebe, 3 great crested grebe and 90+ Red breasted mergansers then walked up by the railway line to powderham estate and on the river bank of the River Kenn was a group of greenshank (9)and redshank (20+) and on top of the bank was the spotted redshank a good start to the day also 2 reed bunting, continued to walk along the road lots of commotion with the crows harassing a small bird of prey as i got my bins on it it was the female Merlin it continued low through the estate my third sighting in a week.

After crossing the railway line a look over the estuary towards turf produced a few more red breasted mergansers and 2 Goldeneye (1m,1f) and 12 Buzzards rising on the thermals from over powderham. As i approached towards turf picked out the beautiful Slavonian Grebe feeding in the chanel  it seems to be settled in this area now

Near the turf hotel a Fox sat out in a field sunning itself then from the viewing platform a small group of wigeon was feeding in the ditch before the lagoon a quick look found the drake American wigeon

My Best views of the American wigeon yet

On the lagoon 5 Pochard and 4 gadwall and on the way down station road the water pipit flew overhead calling.

A great morning with quality birds and a hint of spring what more could you ask for on a Sunday morning walk along the exe

Kingsbridge Estuary

Curlew Drive - Charleton Marsh, 10:30-13:00, falling tide.

80 Brent Geese, 4 Tufted Duck, 29 Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe, Water Rail ( heard Charleton Marsh ), 23 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Rock Pipit.

Broadsands correction

Broadsands. Below.. should read 13 Cirl Bunting not 16, sorry, can't add up!

Broadsands- Clennon Valley, Paignton

16 members (East Devon Branch) of DBWPS enjoyed a morning around Broadsands and after lunch the remainder moved on to Clennon Valley, Paignton.
A Water Rail was heard from the stream runing through the car parks and Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were also present in the trees. 16 Cirl Bunting (8 f and 5 m) were found, although our enjoyment was spoilt by a lady dog walker who insisted on walking through the feeding area in spite of our protests! Sea conditions were very calm but few birds present other than single numbers of Gt Crested Grebe, 20 C. Scoter and a possible Bl.- Necked Grebe. The group were almost mowed down by a large gentleman on a mobility scooter who seemed to deliberately aim at us and protested he was blind!
A Bullfinch and a pair of Blackcap were sighted briefly above Elbury Cove.
After lunch the group moved on to Clennon Valley where there was a group of 22 Magpie.

Exminster marshes

Exminster marshes 10:15-11:15
The American Wigeon was showing well directly in front of the viewing platform on the canal with a smaller group of wigeon.


3 Slav Grebe this morning as well as a Grey Plover still. Also a Grey Seal and 2 red-legged Partridge.