Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bowling green marsh

From the hide this evening 18:45 till 20:00 1 snipe, my first white wagtail of the year, 4 Dunlin, 10 knot, 13 greenshank, 1 wigeon, 55+ bar tailed godwits, 90+ black tailed godwit, 15+ house martins and good numbers of sand Martin and swallows, 2 tufted duck (m,f)


A beautiful morning at bowling green marsh watched from the hide 1 whimbrel, 8 knot,4 dunlin, 60+ bar tailed godwit, 100+ black tailed godwit, cetti's and sedge warbler, 1 wigeon 2 gadwall, peregrine, small passage of swallow and sand martins and 2 house martins

walked around to the goat walk and had 2 groups of whimbrel fly up river (3 & 9) also 3 sandwich tern flying around on the far side at least 60+ whimbrel feeding on the exposed mud, 3 more groups of (5,3,11) flew over and 2 groups of 3 landed on mud right in front of me.

from the viewing platform on bowling green marsh another group of 8 whimbrel flew in and 4 greenshank

In total 106+ whimbrel this morning around topsham

Exminster Marshes

A lovely calm sunny early morning on the marshes:  at least 100 Whimbrel including one flock of 70, over 30 Little Egrets, a few Reed and Sedge Warblers in song, a light passage of Sand Martins and Swallows going through, a Wheatear and a Short-eared Owl giving good views over the northern marsh.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

First visit for somewhile this evening due to heavy work committments. However I was rewarded by the presence of 3 whimbrel on the airfield which was a nice surprise; also 10 swallows feeding low over a dandelion filled meadow. 8 stock doves, 2 chiffchaff and plenty of linnets present - the latter were noted on passage through the Blackdowns earlier in the day. 

Blackingstone Rock

Lovely early morning walk at Blackingstone Rock today, everything in good voice including this tree pipit...


Pretty dire this morning with 3 Whimbrel, 1 Willow Warbler and 2 Blackcaps. A daylight Tawny Owl at the point saved things a bit. 8 Whimbrel going west and 2 Sandwich Terns this afternoon. Also my first Swallow of the year for the garden.

Thurlestone Bay

Fine sunny day with brisk cool wind turned W around 10.30.

First sign of Wader passage with 3 groups in off the sea and flying straight up the valley- first were 3 Bar Tailed Godwit followed by 6 and later 4 Whimbrel.

In the Bay were 4 Arctic Tern ( first of the year ) 2 Sandwich Tern, 5 Manx Shearwater, 8 Kittiwake.

Migrants limlted to 36 Swallow.

No sign of the Little Bunting this afternoon

Berry Head

A brief visit this morning gave a reeling Grasshopper warbler (heard only alas), a single whitethroat and
2 Wheatear. Otherwise fairly quiet migrant wise.
Three days ago a visiting birder and myself were delighted to see a Whimbrel land on the turf in the southern
fort, it was close enough for a great photo. Just got zoomed in when out of nowhere, a charging spaniel and
smiling woman.......I'm almost over it now.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Yarner Wood

Early morning walk. A roe deer crossed the track by the office on the way in. A short walk round the wood produced 4 pied flycatchers, 3 male (1 of them singing, another courting a female), also a singing wood warbler. 8 mandarin on the pond (6 drake, 2 duck) with the drake wood duck, with a lot of courtship going on here too.

Dipper song

Some Dipper song - recorded a few days ago on the River Teign by Charlie Fleming.

Bowling green marsh

From the hide 16:30 till 18:40

Good passage of sand martins and swallows with 20+ house martins, 98+ black tailed godwits, 60+ bar tailed godwits, 8 knot,5 dunlin, 1 whimbrel, 60+ curlew, 2 gadwall, 17+ greenshank, 20+ redshank.


12 whimbrel,bar tailed godwit,38 ringed plover,150 white wagtails.Mainly  female types with dusky flanks with a group  presumably males 50+ very neat wiith pure  whiite flanks and tending to stay seperatefrom  the females.skern.Present on leaving at 18:15.

Thurlestone Bay

A Little Gull flew west at 10.10 ( first of the year ) 3 Manx Shearwater. A single Whimbrel on the rocks. In the bushes walking to Warren Pt a Whitethroat

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Exminster Marshes

Over the high tide this evening: a drake garganey, male merlin and a beautiful flock of 101 whimbrel busily refuelling.


Little tern,4 whimbrel,7 gey plover,4 knot,34 ringed  plover,4 dunlin,and at least 84 white wagtail.

Thurlestone Bay

Sea watched from 08.30 -12.30 ,had to leave the car park couln't put the scope up and the car was rocking . Sheltered from the NW 7/8 ( gusting 9 in the squalls) but not the heavy showers.

Totals recorded were - 320 Gannet, 74 Fulmar, 57 Manx Shearwater, 2 Great Skua, 5 Sandwich Tern, 2 Common Tern, 8 Razorbill, 4 Auk sp.

Migrants restricted to 10 Swallow and 2 Sedge Warbler on Thurlestone marsh.

Gannet total highest of the year , Fulmar total is a site record for me


A mixed flock of 25+ Hirundines at Rackerhays early afternoon over Dawes Pond, (half and half Sand Martins-Swallows) included 1-2 House Martins.


A good selection of birds at high tide in very unpleasant conditions. 1 Little Tern 8 Whimbrel 2 Knot 6 Grey Plover c30 Ringed Plover 3 Dunlin c100 White Wagtail


Just in Devon on West Anstey Common - about 60 golden plover, most in summer plumage. Flock just south of Ridge Road at 13.00.

Exmouth seafront

  0630-1100 : 13  Manx Shearwaters flew South-west, with a Bonxie and 2 Arctic Skuas mid-morning, along with at least one Common Tern amongst the Sandwich Terns, and a dozen Whimbrel.
 Truly trumped ! But beats working!


Seawatch 06:35-09:00
234 Manx, 91 Gannet, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 3 diver sp., 4 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 12 Sandwich Terns, 1 Little Gull, 10 Kittiwakes, 1 Razorbill, 2 Guillemots, 3 auk sp., 10 Whimbrel.

A very nice haul, but soundly trumped by the summer-plumaged Black Guillemot which flew past two of our colleagues stationed at Beer!

Berry Hd

Seawatching 0600-0730hrs, all birds moving south: 281 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Red-throated Divers (sum plum), 23 Fulmar, 42 Gannets & 3 Harbour Porpoises very close in to headland. Didn't appear to be any new migrants in quarry or on top of the headland and no passerines moving overhead.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

        28 common gulls on instow cricket ground this evening,17:30.4 adult 24 fs,

Exminster marshes

Quick visit around 6.00 pm coincided with the high tide. About 50 curlew roosting. Other waders included the regular 2 oystercatchers, 5 whimbrel and a probable ruff that flew in and vanished. There is still a flock of over 70 shelduck roosting on the marsh. Elsewhere 16 little egrets was the most I have seen for a long time, they were feeding in the wet fields probably on earthworms.

This morning at about 7.30 4 or 5 jays flew north over the village. Another landed in a garden later in the morning. I saw another 2 or 3 a few days ago flying north. Possibly migrants?

Thurlestone Bay

Complete contrast to yesterday- F6 WNW ( later F8 ) rough sea and some heavy showers.

Sea watched from flats 09.30- 12.30 which produced - 2 Great Skua, 148 Gannet, 25 Fulmar, 55 Manx Shearwater , 10 Sandwich Tern, 2 Common scoter, 18 Auks, 3 Whimbrel. Only 9 Swallow recorded

Pale-bellied Brents

Just had a phone call from Dave Hopkins, there's 130-150 Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the Exe off Mudbank Lane, Exmouth. Presumably something to do with the flock of c100 that flew past West Bexington (Dorset) and then Beer Head earlier this morning.

Over this way, lots of grounded migrants this morning. Beer Cemetery Fields produced 45+ Willow Warblers, 2 Redstarts (males) and singles of Grasshopper Warbler and Tree Pipit. With a Whitethroat at Black Hole Marsh (along with the already mentioned Grasshopper Warbler and Common Tern) and 20 Wheatear on Seaton Marshes.

Seaton Area

Seawatch from 07:00-08:00
60+ pale-bellied Brents (in 3 flocks), 6 Common Scoter, 1 Bonxie, 2 Great Northern Divers, 1 diver sp.,4 Sandwich Terns, 8 Manx Shearwaters and a 1st-summer Med Gull. All flew W except the Med, which was loitering just off the beach.

At Black Hole Marsh was a Grasshopper Warbler which went against the grain by actually showing itself, and a Common Tern. Also lots of Willow Warblers seemingly fresh in.

Clennon Valley

A quick visit around the ponds this morning produced my first Grasshopper Warbler (didn't see it though!) of the year, 2 Swallows, 2 Willow Warblers and numerous singing Chiffchaff. Still two Little Egret lingering on the top pond with 6 Teal and a single Mandarin drake.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Yarner Wood

To complement all the photos ... here's a sound recording ... of a pied flycatcher song at Yarner Wood yesterday.

Bowling green marsh

A quiet afternoon from the hide 15:00 till 18:00 but Some good birds notably 2 spotted redshank with 1 now in full summer plumage in with 15 greenshank, 1 whimbrel dropped in with a few curlew, 30+ black tailed godwit, 1 knot, 1 Dunlin, 1 grey plover was an unusual record, good numbers of swallows and sand martins moving through and at least 6+ house martins, 1 1st winter Mediterranean gull, 11+ common gull, 2 great black backed gulls, little grebe, 4 gadwall, 2 shoveler a peregrine caused panic as it attacked the waders but just missed a black tailed godwit, reed bunting and 40+ shelduck.

Earlier on matford marsh 3 green sandpipers, 1 little grebe


Ringing this morning produced 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 each of Blackcap and Willow Warbler, and the first Grasshopper Warbler ringed at this site!

However bird of the day was the first Reed Warbler of the year, a retrap which was also the first Reed Warbler caught last year (3 April) and also the first Reed Warbler ringed in the reserve in 2010 (on 17 April).

Later on Sherpa Marsh, 2 pairs of Gadwall, 3o Mute Swans, and a Common Sandpiper on the Pill.

South Dartmoor

Red Kite heading east 11:20. Also Grasshopper Warbler reeling, plenty of Redstarts now in.

Berry Head

Not much moving this morning just a single Willow Warbler, Blackcap and a couple of Chiffchaff, highlight was a Whitethroat (my first here this spring) and one Redpoll.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bovey Tracey

First newly-fledged birds of the season for me this year: a family of Robins on the fringe of Parke estate. Swallows around on the high moor today and yesterday included a bird pushing north through an intense hailstorm on Tor Royal Bog.

Sherpa Marsh

Late evening walk around; 3 Gadwall again, 100+ Sand Martins with a few Swallows, and maybe 40 Alba Wagtails flew in to the reed-bed, most of which seemed to be White Wagtails. 2 Little Owls again on the roofs of Marstage Farm.

Exminster Marshes

Osprey off Turf, carrying fish to Powderham Park area, at 1510; little ringed plover at Matford Marsh; and injured ruff still on Powderham Marsh.

Beesands Ley

Quiet WeBS count this afternoon, chilly wind keeping temperatures down. On the ley 11 Gadwall, 21 Tufted Duck and 7 Pochard. Single Shelduck also present. A couple Cetti's Warblers singing but no sign of any Reed or Sedge Warblers and only 6 Swallows seen in an hour.

Thurlestone Bay

A very quiet day 2 additions to the year list- Sedge Warbler on Thurlestone Marsh and a Lesser Redpoll amongst a passage of Linnets over the car park.

In the bay a lone Sandwich Tern

Yarner Wood

Pied flycatcher in reasonable voice. Brief snippet of wood warbler song. Blackcaps loud and everywhere. Mandarins and wood duck looking particularly fine. Wonderful early morning stroll.

Exminster and topsham

Exminster 07:45 till 09:30

My first Reed and sedge warblers of the year along station road also 80+ sand Martin, 30+ swallow and 2 house Martin, 6+ blackcap, 7+ chiffchaff,2 willow warblers.

Around topsham 10:00 till 13:15

200+ sand Martin through bowling green marsh in small groups most heading north east also 25+ swallows, 12+ greenshank flew over also gadwall, 1 wigeon,5+ common gulls, 6 knot, 30+ black tailed godwits and 1 sparrowhawk

Goat walk

2 sandwich terns flew up river, 60+ bar tailed godwits, 8+ knot, 50+ black tailed godwits

Rillage Point to Watermouth

One singing Grasshopper Warbler this morning, plus 30 Swallows and 3 House Martins heading into the sharp ENE breeze. Otherwise very quiet.

Berry Hd

06.30-0900: A brisk cold NE cutting into most of the headlands migrant corners and clear skies meant there was very little to be found as far as passage birds go. 12 (mostly territorial) Chiffchaffs, 2 willow Warblers, 5 Blackcaps, 3 Swallows and nothing much else. Two Roe Deer were bit of a surprise in the field behind the Wardens bungalow.