Saturday, 31 March 2012


Another lazy seawatch from 7.50 to 9.30 in NE breeze produced my first Manxies (41) all east. Also a Sandwich Tern, 1st year Med Gull and summer plumaged Black Throated Diver east. Also my first Willow Warbler at Prawle flew in off the sea and landed in front of me at the point. Only 6 Wheatears -3 at the point and 3 at Langerstone. 2 fem Black Redstarts along the beach. From the Point to Horsely Cove a reasonable number of phylloscs-singing Chiffs and 6/7 non singing Willows.No sign of the Water Pipits at Horsley Cove .

[Tony Marchese]

Otterton Mill

Early morning at Otterton Mill produced a good 20 sand martins.

Two dipper and a grey wagtail at the weir on the river Otter and my first willow warbler heard at the same place.

Sharkham Point

A quick walk around The Devon hirundine no fly zone before tea produced singles of Wheatear and Willow Warbler

South Milton Ley

Only person at the feeding station from 12.30 to 13.45 when two other guys turned up, but no sign of the Little Bunting amongst up to 10 Reed Buntings by 14.40 (silent Willow Warbler went through).
Returned at 15.55 to find one of the other birders still present and watching the Little which had appeared on the seed at 15.45! At 16.00 it flitted off again by which time I had grabbed a couple of digiscope shots. Phew! Nice to see its finder and ringer Bob Burridge who arrived with seed at 16.10. Bob confirmed from these shots that this is the first of the two birds ringed here recently.

Thurlestone Bay

Thanks for the update on Hirundines guys- still none for me today. The quietest day of the month.

LITTLE BUNTING showed but very elusive

Seaton area

Female Redstart on Seaton Marshes in field leading to hide at 10-00 not seen half an hour later

Good numbers of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap on Beer Head and Undercliffs.

4 Swallows over Colyford Common at 15-00


Very windy at first light calming down by 10. Crossbill 2 males, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin a Tree pipit was unexpected.

Berry Head

Brief views of a male Common Redstart (my earliest Devon record) in scrub behind South Fort this morning, also 3-4 Willow Warblers singing on headland.

Exminster Marshes

50+ Swallows around and about the marsh this morning, also 30+ Sand martins and a House martin, and a ringtail Hen Harrier behind the Lions rest Industrial estate at 9.08. Also 2 Brent geese.

[Kevin Bainbridge]


Red Kite W over the town at 11:10

Friday, 30 March 2012

Slapton Ley

Six members of DBWPS Plymouth branch report a female Kentish Plover on the beach between the bridge and the tank this morning. Also 3 Garganey (1 m, 2 f). [Jack Aldous]

Berry Head

Male Black Redstart today  [Tim Clyburn]


Red Kite quite low over Colyton this morning at 10.00am, before gaining height & heading west over Oxhill Woods.


The adult Whooper Swan was on Braunton Marsh this morning - all on it's own west of the round linhay.

This evening (please note Mike P!) there were LOTS of Sand Martins around Wrafton Pond/Sherpa Marsh - perhaps 100's! including one House Martin - probably first time I've seen one in March! On Wrafton pond 2 female Pochard and a drake Shoveler. One drake Gadwall in amongst the Canada Geese on Sherpa main pool.

And that Mallard with 16 young the other day - two days later it was shepherding 18!


Orcombe Point and the High Land today between 11.00 and 13.00 produced:
A single, lonely, sad looking brent goose at Orcombe Point.
A sparrowhawk giving great views.
A pair of wheatear, male and female.
A skylark singing in a nearby field.

For something completely different, peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies at Orcombe Point and then at the back of a field behind the High Land, speckled wood and comma.

Hartland Point

Report of a Red Kite from the Hartland area late this afternoon.

Thurlestone Bay

An early TREE PIPT flew over the Cafe at 9.15 . 5 SANDWICH TERN in the Bay along with singles of GUILLEMOT and RAZORBILL, 4 SHELDUCK.

Waders were 2 RINGED PLOVER and a single CURLEW.

Thurlestone Marsh - TEAL increased to 20 ( last wigeon departed overnight ).

In my garden a male BLACKCAP and a nice female BLACK REDSTART.

Anyone else wondering where the Hirundines are - none for the last 2 days here.

Matford marsh & exminster marsh

Matford marsh 10:50 till 11:35

1 Little ringed plover and 3 green sandpipers

Exminster marsh 12:10 till 13:00

1 little ringed plover between fishermans car park and the s-bends on main pool on left hand side.

Ingra Tor, Dartmoor

9.00am this morning Red Kite low over area flying NE.

Sharkham Point

Still skillfully managing to avoid any hirundines at Sharkham but at least 4 Willow Warblers singing were the first ones this year and this female Black Redstart


Red Kite NNW fairly low over my house in Cedar Close, at 1215hrs, being mobbed by local gulls. Also a House Martin over north at 1315hrs, and later a Sand Martin over north at 1900hrs..

Bolberry Down to Bolt Tail

Superb cliff top walk this morning highlighted by cracking male ring ouzel on cliff top.

Also: 2 fulmar, swallow & wheatear.

Berry Hd

Hoopoe on the short grassy lawns of Landscove Holiday Park by the coastal footpath this morning (Nigel Smallbones).

Thursday, 29 March 2012


Red Kite flew S today, seen from A376 just S of Lympstone  [Kevin Harris]

Matford Marsh

Little ringed plover and green sandpiper this evening

exminster, bowling green marsh

A quiet day around the exe this morning 

Exminster marsh from 07:25 till 10:10

Cetti's calling from 6 locations around the marsh, 23+ Reed buntings, 25+ chiffchaff, 3 willow warblers, 2 Blackcap, and 2 water rail by the S-bends most of the wigeon now gone but still 30+ shoveler, 2 pintail, great spotted woodpecker

Bowling green marsh 10:45 till 12:00

3 little egrets, 1 pintail, 6 gadwall, 4 tufted duck, 50+ wigeon, 12+ shoveler, 2 little grebes, sparrowhawk(f).

Topsham Recreation ground 14:00 till 14:30

The Slavonian grebe is still by the recreation ground with 2 Red breasted mergansers

Axe Estuary

A first winter/summer Iceland Gull was on the river close to Tower Hide this afternoon.


West Lodge - 1720 - osprey on fish on sand bar, mid-river and still present at time of writing (1855) viewable from my son's bedroom window!
Orcombe Pt - 1540 - black redstart (photo)- fem-type on rooves around Foxholes. Also red-legged partridge top fields but few other birds present.
West Lodge - 27/3 - ybw still plus 2 wheatear, 1 treecreeper (photo), 1+ chiffchaff.


A Heron that wasn't very well (allowed very close approach) yesterday was picked up dead today.

I'll try to send it to Monks Wood to see if they can ascertain cause...

Ringed the first Willow Warblers today - just two, and 6 Chiffs plus a couple of Blackcaps.


The Yellow-browed Warbler showed well around midday from the bridge.

Red Kite Seaton

Red Kite circling high over the garden at 15:00 (west side of Seaton).

Scabbacombe Head to Froward Point

A nice sunny stroll along the coastal path produced afew migrants. At Scabbacombe, there was a singing Willow Warbler and another bird singing at Coleton Fishacre. Also 12 Chiffchaffs all singing along the coastal path in various places as well as quite afew Yellowhammers and 3 Cirl Buntings near Ivy Cove. At Coleton Fishacre, 3 early House Martins flying over the woods before flying towards Scabbacombe Head.

Axe Estuary

This second winter/summer Iceland Gull was on the river opposite Tower Hide mid morning. The only other bird of note was a White Wagtail.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

High Land of Orcombe/Gore Lane, Exmouth

Lunchtime visit produced a female Wheatear in the dung field, 15 Meadow Pipits, a pair of Ravens and 3 Chiffchaffs. Offshore 15 Sandwich Terns.

Seaton Area

Little Ringed Plover and Greylag on Colyford Marsh this evening, and a summer-plumaged Water Pipit on the beach at Culverhole, which is about a mile E of Axmouth.


Lesser spotted woodpecker on main trail leading north, 50 metres from car park. [Tony Brooking]

Powderham Marshes

Walk across Powderham Marshes today (13.20 - 14.45) produced little, highlight was single Female Pied Flycatcher in Oak tree next to the 'new' 5 bar gate on path towards road. Feeding in typical flycatcher style for about 10mins, it flew off towards the adjacent line of trees, alongside the cattle field towards the Swans Nest pub. Could see/ hear no sign of it after walk back past an hour later.

[David Smith]

Yettington and Hawkerland

Willow Warbler at Yettington and 2+ Orange tip's at Hawkerland this morning [Pete Adey]

Thurlestone Bay

After the finding of the second LITTLE BUNTING in 9 days incredibly Vic T and Nick T had a low flying LAPLAND BUNTING over the cafe at South Huish Marsh, with one of the few spring CIRL BUNTING last week March will certainly be remembered for a long time.

In the Bay - 4 SANDWICH TERN, 2 RAZORBILL, 1m 2f PINTAIL rested on the sea, 6 SAND MARTIN.

A Tristis type CHIFFCHAFF at the sewage works .

30+ SNIPE on S H Marsh with a WHEATEAR in the field by the Cafe.


And it is still only 28 March - hopefully some more surprises to come


The Yellow-browed Warbler showed well, albeit briefly, at around 6 p.m. in the usual copse adjacent to the iron bridge by West Lodge. Otherwise, very little else.


Quick look offshore this morning from middle car park and the Black-throated Diver is still there, plus a Sandwich Tern.

Non-bird news...yesterday I had 6 early butterfly species on the wing around the reserve: Holly Blue, Orange Tip (female), Comma, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell.


Willow Warbler singing by the village hall most of the day. Amazing though the 2 Little Buntings at South Milton are, this is not without precedent. Two were present at Slapton Ley ( field by the bend going into Torcross ) from 29th -30th March 1989, one staying into April. Incredible the similarity in timing.

Around Torbay

Chris Smallbones managed to photograph this Osprey over his Garden in Brixham early afternoon today being mobbed by the local gulls.

Also a 30ft whale sp. was seen off Paignton today it was watched for over 1/2 hr from a tourist boat before moving NE out of the bay, hopefully some mobile phone footage will be available this evening, I'll post a link if it does.

Bowling green marsh

A quiet morning on the marsh with the best bird being a 1w/1s med gull, still 100+ wigeon,1 pintail(m), 6 gadwall, 3 tufted duck, 1 snipe, 10+ shoveler, only 1 little egret this morning, 80+ black tailed godwits

Also 4 sandwich terns from goat walk

Axe Estuary

Four very smart s/pl Ruff north of Coronation Corner this morning. Other than them, and oodles of Chiffchaffs, not much. We really could do with some cloud and rain!

Chudleigh Quail

I received a call from a lady that has a very tame Californian Quail (good description) in her garden in Chudleigh - any one know of anyone that might have lost one? The owner of the garden is worried that the quail might be taken by a cat. Give me a ring on 01803 528008.

Berry Hd

Some movement today, around the headland 2 Crossbills (see photo above - one, left bird, showed subdued wing bars not showing very well in this photo!), 1 Black Redstart, 2 Wheatear, 1 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, just two Stonechats on site now. Flying over in 1.5 hrs: 1 Brambling, 1 Crossbill, 48 Chaffinch, 8 Linnets, 9 Goldfinches, 2 Bullfinches, 15 Meadow Pipits, 2 Alba type Wagtails.

East Soar

Brief visit first thing produced a smattering of migrants:

black redstart on the airfield buildings; 3 wheatear; swallow & nine chiffchaffs.


Sth Milton Water Treatment Works:
2nd! Little Bunting caught and rung today by BB. quite remarkable
bird from the 19/03 and today 28/03.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Around the exe

An early start with a quick visit into exminster marsh this morning from 07:30 till 08:40 produced 4 cetti's, 3 reed bunting, and several chiffchaff along station road as seemed quiet decided to go over and do the high tide roost on Bowling green marsh.

Bowling green marsh 09:25 till 12:00 from the hide

On the walk down to the hide 1 blackcap(m), had only just set up my scope when a group of Little egrets flew in and i noticed a smaller egret then as i put my scope on it CATTLE EGRET a fantastic bird a shame it stayed on the far side so just a record shot below sat on the post surrounded by little egrets.

It stayed around from 09:30 till 11:24 when it flew over to the railway line and dropped down into goosemoor. Also this morning 2 pintails(m) , 6 Gadwall, 15 little egrets, 2 little grebes, 5 tufted ducks , 70+ bar tailed godwits , 150+ black tailed godwits, 15+ shovelers, 2 greenshanks. A great way to start the day

After a stop for coffee and hearing of a Little ringed plover on exminster marsh made my way over and watched from 14:30 till 16:45, 2 Willow warblers, 2 cetti;s warblers along the path by the railway line but no sign of the Little ringed plover so checked along station road but just a Peregrine over and 2 more cetti's 4 chiffchaffs and 3 reed buntings.

Powderham Marsh 17:00 till 17:45 a walk around to the viewing platform produced a splendid male Cirl Bunting by the first house along the path and 11+ reed buntings, and a further 3 willow warblers. Then from the viewing platform a Green sandpiper and a Little ringed plover what a great way to finish the day

East Soar, Soar Mill Cove & Bolberrry

A lovely long walk produced 35+ Chiffchaffs, 4 Wheatears and one Ruff behind car park at Bolberry in grassy field.


After the excitement of the last few days, a bit quiet this evening: drake Gadwall, pair of Pintail, 30+ Alba Wagtails, a Little Egret, and the first brood of Mallard ducklings - 16 of them!


An Osprey being harrassed by Herring Gulls flew N/E over Beer at 16.00 this afternoon.


Slavonian Grebe in partial summer plumage on Exe opposite Recreation Ground at noon

Exminster marshes

Mid morning walk around southern part. Two willow warblers singing and I lost count of the chiffchaffs (after 12). A single little-ringed plover on a pool near the railway line. Over 430 curlews roosting together with c30 black-tailed godwits, c20 bar-tailed godwits and 6 dunlin. Barely 30 wigeon but still over 30 shoveller. Also one db brent goose, female sparrowhawk, 6 tufted ducks and 6+ little egrets.

6 Cettis warblers

Bowling green marsh

Cattle egret 09:30 till 11:24 when flew over to goosemoor

Wrafton, Velator and Sherpa Marsh/Pond.

Wrafton Pond - 2 Little Grebe and Cetti`s heard.

On the field pond on t`other side of Tarka Trail, 1 male Shoveler and Kingfisher.

Velator pond - just inside gate on right - 4 Water Pipits. All sporting nice grey heads with distinct white eye stripe and undersides beginning to pink up.

09:00 Sherpa Pond
1 Whooper Swan with 31 Mutes. The Whooper was doing a lot of head bobbing and making soft whooping calls. 3 Snipe; several Cetti`s heard but only 1 seen; 4 Little Egret; 1 Little Grebe; 2 male Gadwall;  the pair of Pintail;  just 2 Sand Martin; 10 Reed Bunting; 1 Buzzard;  2 Grey Heron and best `til last - 1 Little Ringed Plover which I disturbed from the embankment side of the pond and which flew off towards Braunton Marshes.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Prawle yesterday (25/03)

Stoat and Hare - among the contenders for 'bird' of the day!

Genarally a disappointing day. Seawatch produced a nice s/p Black-throated Diver, but other than 10 Common Scoters and 3 Carrion Crows in off, not much else. Best of the rest included both Water Pipits still (one now well into s/p), 2 Wheatears, 2 Black Redstarts, Blackcap and 37 Chiffchaffs. First of the year (for me) Holly Blue and Painted Lady butterflies added a little colour.

Axe Estuary

Female Marsh Harrier over the estuary marshes late afternoon/evening. Departed east at 19:00.

North Devon

Went to the reserve at Bradiford this morning, a Kingfisher was sitting on the post I put up just for it! From the Tarka trail (where I met Maurice) we saw a pair of Gadwall fly in to the reserve and a pair of Goosander on the river. As it was high tide most of the birds were over on Penhill Saltmarsh.
This evening I toddled down to Sherpa, via Wrafton Pond (not much) and popped into Velator reserve, where at least one Willow Warbler was flitting about. Then as I went round the pond, several birds took flight, one of which seemed at first glance to be juvenile Gull, but on closer inspection turned out to be a first-summer Night Heron! It flew off south then west and appeared to land out on the great field, perhaps by one of the drainage ditches. I carried on to the main marsh and was busy counting (or at least trying to count) the mobile flock of Pied Wagtails, when a Swan flew in and started circling. Through the bins it turned out to be an adult Whooper Swan!! Where's that come from? It did two circuits and appeared to then land in Braunton Pill south of the Toll House. The pair of Pintail were still present, but I only saw one drake Gadwall. 6 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron. I concluded that there were probably 100+ Pied Wagtails.
So, cycled home and then drove out across the Great Field. No sign of the Night Heron, but 36 Mute Swans in a 1st-year dominated herd. 2 Little Owls calling from a hedgerow.


Swallow through Pittaford near Slapton this morning.


Hi fellow twitchers I've seen on Rare Bird Alert website that 2 Hoopoes have been spotted in Devon? Wondering if anyone had seen them?

Exminster Marshes

Female marsh harrier (appeared to depart north), female black redstart & single swallow early afternoon.

Sharkham Point

A brief walk around with the youngest yielded 5 Wheatear, 4m 1f.

Western Channel Observatory (L4) - Plymouth

07:30 - 10:45

Sandwich Tern near breakwater, adult Little Gull approx 4 miles out, 3 Manx Sheawater at L4 (8 miles from Plymouth), just about double figures of Gannet, 2 Guillemot, c8 Auk spp., 5 Fulmar and small numbers of gulls.

Bowling green marsh

07:30 till 10:00 from the hide
1 green sandpiper, snipe, 6 gadwall still, 100+ redshank, 90+ bar tailed godwit, 150+ black tailed godwit, peregrine, 2(m) pintail, 15+ shoveler, 50+ wigeon, 5 tufted duck

Also this morning a nuthatch in trees opposite the bridge pub at 07:25, and 1 sandwich tern of goat walk 10:20, a slavonian grebe was along the river just down from the goat walk.

Stover CP Saturday 24th March

3 Great crested grebe, 1 little grebe, 33 common snipe, 1 water rail, 10+ siskin, 2+ crossbills (showing well near visitor centre), 8 marsh tit, 6 nuthatch , 1 chiffchaff (singing), great spotted and green woodpecker, also plenty of Brimstones. [John Avon]

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sharkham Point

2 smart male Wheatears this afternoon along with 9 Chiffchaffs with 2 that were pollen encrusted around the face. Lots of other common stuff hanging about but still no hirundines!

Colyford Marsh

Our first Little Ringed Plover of the year, on the nearly-dry scrape this evening.

Braunton late news

SO, late light evenings start here, and I went back down to the marsh to see if anything else had appeared.

Ruff still present, now 2 Drake Gadwall, with the pair of Pintail. At least 30 Pied Wagtail by the main pond, included a couple of White Wagtails. Best though was a subadult male Marsh Harrier, which put up lots of birds as it flew all along the reeedbed: 6/7 Snipe, 2 Little Egrets, some Teal, lots of Reed Buntings. Finally over Wrafton Pond 9 Sand Martins.

Lovely spring day - several Chiffchaffs singing in Croyde this afternoon, and recorded Comma, Small Toroiseshell, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue today.

Thurlestone Bay

Little Bunting seen by a number of visitors ,one of whom reported the first Willow Warbler.

On South Huish Marsh the Little Ringed Plover still present along with a Brent Goose ( DB ).
At least 5 Wheatear around the patch. 3 Swallow and 3 Sand Martin were reported..

Offshore a Puffin flew east at 08.30, also seen -65 Gannet, 9 Shelduck, 9 Wigeon, 6 Common Scoter and 15 Sandwich Tern.

Waders - 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 4 Sanderling.

Gull movement included 4 Med , 5 Common and 15 Lesser Black backed most of which went straight up the valley

Little Bunting

I managed to get down to Thurlestone this morning.
Waited at the gate oppersite the feeding station for over an hour until the Little Bunting finally came down for acouple of minutes(fairly good views) before disapearing again.

Also 2 wheatears in the field near the cafe and 8 sandwich terns off the beach.

Thanks to Mike Passman for directions.


Orcombe Point - 0700 - at long last a wheatear - was beginning to think it wasn't going to happen! You can usually rely on an early one on Orcombe but not this year. Also 3+ chiffchaff, 1 blackcap, c50+ meadow pipit, 1 firecrest ( first 2012 record), c15+ linnet, 2+ siskin and 1 redpoll sp east. Also the four eider offshore still.
Mudbank - West Lodge - 7+ sandwich tern, 24 little egret, 8 pale-bellied brent goose and the yellow-browed warbler in the usual spot at 1440.

Prawle etc... yesterday 24/3

A lazy ( 8am start) 2 hour seawatch in breezy NE winds and blue sky with sunshine produced one summer plumaged Great Northern Diver , 4 Sandwich Terns close (smart pristine summer plumaged-my first this spring) , and 6 Common Scoter all flying east. Also one Harbour Porpoise and Grey Seal. Near the point 4 Wheatears ( incl 2 smart males). Half a dozen singing Chiffchaffs around the car park and 2 Peacock Butterflies.

Later at Beesands of interest a male Pintail.

[Tony Marchese]


At Wrafton pond this morning, 2 female Pochard, a couple of Little Grebes and one calling Cetti's Warbler.
Around Sherpa Marsh: 8 Shelduck, 6 Little Egrets, 4 Snipe, 2 Curlew, 30+ Canada Geese (one hybrid with a strange white face) a pair of Pintail still, about 16 Teal, 3 more calling Cetti's Warbler, several singing and displaying Skylarks, 2 pairs of Ravens flying strongly east, a Kestrel, and a single Ruff.
In the reserve, a lone singing Chiffchaff.

Double locks wetlands

2 green sandpipers on the river and 1 on the pool nearest the pub also kingfisher,1 snipe and 5+ chiffchaff