Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Axe

Along the river today - 4 Grey Plovers (plus another on the beach with a couple of Ringed Plovers), 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 10+ Whimbrel, 16 Dunlin, singing Lesser Whitethroat, many hundreds of hirundines (probably a few thousands through). Ian M had 3 LRP's on Black Hole Marsh this morning.

© Roger Harris
© Roger Harris

Powderham to Exminster Marshes

Just to add to Keith's sightings, about 200 Swifts over Powderham Marsh, a male Peregrine snacking on the hirundines, 2 summer-plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit off Powderham and at least 13 Wheatear, 3 along the sea-wall, the rest around the water on Exminster.

Bowling green marsh and exminster marsh

From the hide at bowling green marsh 08:50 till 09:30 Very quiet 15+ black tailed godwit, 9 greenshank, pochard(m), 3 tufted duck, cetti's, along the lane from hide towards the viewing platform a nice lesser whitethroat was a nice find. Exminster marsh 10:10 till 14:30 Got the ferry over from topsham and had grasshopper warbler in reeds by landing area, 3 sedge warbler and 2 Reed warbler along path to fishermans car park. Along the lane by middle car park a beautiful female BLACK WINGED STILT and the 2nd summer ICELAND GULL showed well 4 yellow wagtails, 3 wheatear and a HOBBY north and a couple thousand sand Martin, swallows with a few swifts and house martins. Another 2 HOBBIES between station road and the lagoon, 1 pochard, 4 tufted duck, 1 pintail, a fox, 5 more wheatear in field before the lions rest industrial estate. Yet another cracking morning on the marsh


Little Ringed Plover on the Skern, Northam this morning, with Ringed Plovers. Photo by Steve Hatch.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Lundy Pics

Some mouth-watering photos from Derren Fox.

The Osprey and Red-rumped Swallow taken yesterday, with a Golden Oriole from today...

Haldon Hill

A Turtle Dove was on wires near the Texaco Garage on Haldon Hill mid-afternoon.  [David Bradford]

Exminster Marshes

A wander round this afternoon produced one Hobby (only!) over the lagoon area, 2 Grasshopper Warblers (one up the path by the Lions Rest Estate and another canal-side between fishermans car park and motorway bridge), 32 Wheatears, a Whinchat, a Bar-headed Goose near the S bends, c. 100 Swifts, hundreds of Swallows and Sand Martins but few House Martins, a single drake Shoveler and several Reed and Sedge Warblers, Whitethroats and Blackcaps.  

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide 16:20 till 18:00 Several hundred swallow, sand Martins, house martins but no swifts. Also 9 greenshank, 18 black tailed godwits,4 whimbrel, 8+ sedge warbler, 4+ reed warbler, 4 reed buntings,2 shoveler, 20+ shelduck, 2 tufted duck. On walk back to topsham had a hobby flying north over the river exe


Mudbank - 1930 - iceland gull, probably a first-winter, with large gull roost this evening. Also 40+ whimbrel and c150+ black-headed gull.
Orcombe Point - 0535 and 1530 - a reasonably good fall with 10+ blackcap, 18+ wheatear, 8 whinchat (much higher numbers than usual this spring), 4+ chiffchaff, 9+ willow warbler, 2 lesser whitethroat, 18+ whitethroat, 1 reed warbler, 1 sedge warbler, 2 yellow wagtail and 1 redstart. Note some of the blackcap and whitethroat and probably all chiffies will be breeders. Also c20+ swallow, 4 sand martin, 4 house martin, 10 swift (all east), 1+ whimbrel, 3 great crested grebe, 3 common tern and 4 eider.
3/5 - a small number of migrants on Orcombe Point included 1 grasshopper warbler, 1 garden warbler and 1 lesser whitethroat. Good numbers of waders off Mudbank included 25+ grey plover, 5+ knot and 62+ bar-tailed godwit.

Berry Head

Late afternoon update, 2 Redstart (both female), 9 Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher, 15 Whitethroat, 7 Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat between the carpark & Southern Fort.

Start Point

08:00-14:00. Mod. NE wind. Brighter and sunnier after midday.

Whimbrel, Tawny Owl,Yellow Wagtail, Redstart, 14 Wheatear, 3 Sedge Warbler, 7 Blackcap, 30+ Whitethroat ( some of this number now resident ), Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 8 Willow Warbler, Firecrest (very late spring bird Start Farm ), Pied Flycatcher and 6 Spotted Flycatcher.

Bolberry Down/Southdown Farm

Six spotted flycatchers heralds major arrival.
Also:  16 wheatear, 3 sedge warbler and a steady trickle of three species of hirundines.

English Channel

Yesterday out on an angling boat approx 40nm SE of Start Point: 5 European Storm-petrels, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Bonxie, 50+ commic Terns moving up channel (of closer birds see all were Common Tern), still good numbers of Lesser black-backs and Fulmars. Migrant passerines crossing the channel included a trickle of Swallows, 2 Swifts and 35 Whimbel.

European Storm-petrel

European Storm-petrel

Common Tern

Rillage Point to Watermouth

06.15-09.15 An almost still morning for a change; heavily overcast with just a gentle E breeze. A 1st-summer Mediterranean Gull (scarce here), 35 Whimbrels (dividing their time between the rocky foreshore and the first fairway of Ilfracombe Golf Course!), 7 Dunlins, 15 Wheatears, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipits, 1 or 2 Grasshopper Warblers, at least 20 Whitethroats, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Blackcaps, 95 Swallows, 3 House Martins and 15 Swifts. 55 Kittiwakes, all heading E again. Yesterday evening (3rd) 1 Spotted Flycatcher (first of year for the patch), plus six Harbour Porpoises close-in and 10 Gannets feeding amongst them.

Lundy 3 May update

...and a Red-rumped Swallow topped off a rather good day for those fortunate enough to have been there! Derren Fox reports that it settled briefly in St John's Valley yesterday evening, allowing him to get a photo or two.

Exminster Marshes early AM

Second-summer Iceland gull again plus LRP, Med Gull, a good wader roost (inc. 120 dunlin & 131 whimbrel) and a fresh smattering of warblers & chats including grasshopper warbler, lesser whitethroat and wheatears

Berry Head

0630hrs-0815hrs: 10 Wheatear, 3 Tree Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 20 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Redstart, 11 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warblers, 2 Whimbrel, 16 Swallow, 7 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin, and 24 Swift >E.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Berry Head

Arrived early to do a seawatch and look for grounded migrants. Very surprised to find a 1W Caspian Gull on the ground near the seawatching point at 07.00, it then flew to nearby rocks and was watched at close range for 10-15 minutes, plumage and structure spot-on for classic 1W Caspian. Little moving on the sea and few grounded migrants despite the overnight rain. I continued on a tour of the SE Devon hotspots and clocked up 112 species for the day.

Exminster marsh

Another fantastic day on the marsh arrived 14:35 watched till 19:30 and as John said station road passable bare feet was rather cold had to be done. The 2nd summer Iceland gull was this evening viewable from the canal path under the motorway bridge from 18:45 till 19:15 with large group of herring gulls The highlight for me today was the thousands of swallow sand Martin house martins and swifts the place was alive, 5 hobby 4 over the marsh and 1 over the countess wear sewage works 19:25, 4 yellow wagtails (2m,2f) in field by the s-bends, a short eared owl flew along the canal at the fishermans car park towards the motorway bridge, a grasshopper warbler reeling by the s-bends was heard again along canal path towards the motorway bridge in addition to John on the waders I had 8+ ringed plover, a group of 40+ Dunlin north, 3 whitethroat, missed an osprey, 5 Reed bunting, 7 Reed warbler 3 cetti's, 4 sedge warbler, 4 wigeon, 5 tufted duck, 4 wheatear, kestrel and 2 buzzards The summer plumage grey plover were fantastic

Thurlestone Bay

A fairly quiet day until 17.00 when Bob B phoned to say a cracking male Garganey on South Huish Marsh.

Earlier in the Bay 3 Great N Diver, 1 Red T Diver, 125 Whimbrel, 7 Bar T Godwiit, 1 Dunlin , 1 Sanderling, 1 Curlew, 6 Turnstone

Good passage of Hirundines this morning

Exminster marshes

The lane is now passable in wellies (or bare feet Keith) so went for a walk between 4.30 and 7.00 pm. Impressive numbers of swallows, sand martins and house martins. Hundreds hawking low over the fields with swifts above. Counted 201 whimbrel with 14 black-tailed godwits (2 in full summer plumage), 16 bar-tailed godwits (4 in sp), 16 grey plover (2 in full sp - very smart), 5 curlew, 1 common sandpiper and 12 dunlin.

One shoveller was the first I have seen for weeks. A bar-headed goose was also unexpected. Hundreds of gulls in the northern part of the marsh. Some made their way into the main marsh and could be viewed from the canal-side car park and amongst the flocks were one Iceland gull and one Med gull (first summer).

Also seen 2 bullfinches, one lesser whitethroat, at least 6 whitethroats, a sedge warbler nest building and two yellow wagtails and lastly two short-eared owls.

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay ( 17:30-19:15, high tide )

2 Gadwall, 14 Whimbrel, 12 Dunlin, Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot and 2 Sandwich Terns. Couple of Reed Warblers singing.

East Soar

Whimbrel - out in cereal field, slightly odd.
35 wheatear, 2 garden warbler, sedge warbler, 29 whitethroats.

Wall browns on wing on May 1st.

Josh in Cyprus

Our Devon Wildlife Crime officer Josh Marshall is carrying out some brilliant bird protection work in Cyprus at the moment. For those interested, his regular blogs are on:

Black Torrington - yesterday 2/5

A Red Kite over fields at Longmoor Cross, Black Torrington at 16.45hrs [Ian Wilkins]

Orcombe Point

A quick dash round the point area at lunchtime produced a 'winter'-plumaged Great Northern Diver close in to the point, 4 Eider still (near Maer Rocks), a Garden Warbler in clifftop scrub at the top end of the 'orchid field', 3 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroat and 2 Wheatears. A more detailed search probably would have uncovered more!


Derren Fox (Lundy Warden) has sent through news of a male Golden Oriole in Millcombe today, with an Osprey flying overhead...

Late news: Exminster Marshes

2 May: saw three different Iceland gulls during the day (at various times between dawn & dusk)- the two birds photographed by Keith, plus an additional second summer (much heavier, chunkier bird with a extreme pale tip to the bill).  All on the North marsh.  Also in addtion to Keith's other records, a nightingale singing at dusk for 5 minutes (but not since) near the Swans Nest railway bridge and a short-eared owl still.

3 May: the daintier second summer Iceland gull present again by 0615 on the North marsh.  Also greenshank, 5 ringed plover and just 3 whimbrel.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Iceland gulls exminster marsh

A couple of photo's from this evening of the Iceland gulls on exminster marsh not the best digi scoped

Ringed Barwits - information.

Hi Mike,
Try any of the below:-

There are others if you surf a bit.

BTO have a ringed bird reporting site..

Exminster marsh

Watched from 14:45 till 19:05 Star bird was not 1 but 2 Iceland gull from gissons bridge with large number of herring gulls in flooded fields I picked up the 2nd summer bird and Stan picked up the 1st summer bird at the same time 2 stunning birds photos to follow Also this afternoon at least 6 hobbies over the marsh, 4 yellow wagtails in field by lions rest (2m,2f) with cattle, 6 wheatear close to station road and late passage of swifts with 150+ in half an hour small numbers of swallows, house martins, pintail, 3 wigeon, 2 tufted duck, kestrel, 3 buzzards, 4+ reed warbler, 2 cetti's, 20+ little egrets. Earlier at matford marsh, 1 hobby over north, garden warbler and lesser whitethroat Another cracking day on the marsh

Exminster Marshes

Iceland gull on marshes in large gull flock south of motorway this evening.

Start Point yesterday and channel today

English Channel -  today Just got a phone call from the skipper of the boat I frequent saying massive movement of commic Terns up channel and they had 4 bp Black Terns around the boat. I'm out there tomorrow but probably too late!

Start Point - yesterday
Perry has described to me what a big Start Point fall is like and yesterday we witnessed a good un. Even driving the last bit to Start down the lane the hedges were packed with Whitethroats etc and on the point any patch of cover had birds amazing! A wander around with Mike 'crinkle' Brooking  and we totted up (probably underestimates): 150+ Whitethroats, 120+ Backcaps, 100+ Willow Warblers (also a few Chiffs), 25 Garden Warblers, 3 Black Redstarts, 5+ Redstarts, 4 Whinchat, 50+ Wheatear, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warblers, 6 Sedge Warblers. A lot of these were at the lighthouse at first and many more around the farm and in Mattiscombe valley. Also a brief view of a Nightingale in the thickest part of the tamarisks at the lighthouse, failed to reappear or sing (female?).  Also hirudines arriving and big party of Swifts over the higher ground. Pics from yesterday: Garden Warbler etc

Thurlestone Bay -6pm update

Just rec'd a call from Bob B with details of add'nl waders late afternoon -  35 Whimbrel, 30 Bar Tailed Godwit, 7 Dunlin ,1 Sanderling and a pale phase Arctic Skua.

One of this mornings Barwit'swas colour rined - right leg  RED/YELLOW/RED   left leg- large RED Can anyone inform who to contact for more info ?

Thurlestone Bay

Apologies for the blank post -my brain & fingers were working against each other !

Brisk ENE wind this morning- main interest were the Waders- difficult to know how many are new arrivals and which are still resting up - usually at this time of the year they fly straight through.

Whimbrel- 170, Bar Tailed Godwit- 45, 2 Grey Plover ( our first of the year ), 1 Dunlin.
On the sea were 2 Great Crested Grebe ( unusual here in May ) a Great Northern Diver 6 Common Scoter , 2 Sandwich Tern.

First big passage of House Martin - 125 + north in 2 hrs.

Bob B had a Lesser Redpoll near the sewage works


The Stilts appear to have taken advantage of the clear skies last night to move on.

As indeed did pretty much everything in the reserve - very disappointing to have perfect weather for ringing, and virtually no birds!..

The Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpipers remain, and we have at least 6 cygnets on Wrafton pond.

Rillage Point to Watermouth

From 05.50 this morning. Keen onshore NE breeze (F3), but clear skies, so not much in the way of grounded migrants; best was a Lesser Whitethroat – my first of the year. Others included 6 Whitethroats and 5 Wheatears. Diurnal migrants made a better showing, with a continuous trickle of hirundines (rather than the rush of yesterday), 5 Swifts, 20 Whimbrels, 1 fly-over Yellow Wagtail and at least 5 fly-over Tree Pipits. Also a steady passage up-Channel of small Kittiwake flocks (both ads and imms), totalling 165 birds. I wonder if these are taking a short-cut to the North Sea via the Severn Estuary, then (high?) overland to The Wash. I remember seeing similar flocks flying up the middle of the Severn Estuary during fine weather in April when I lived in Gloucestershire in the early 80s.

Berry Head

Back to normal this morning 0830-0945hrs: 1 Redpoll sp. >W and then later N,  8 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Singing Chiffchaffs, 7 Wheatear, 1 Skylark >E, 15 Swift >E, 2 House Martins.                             Photo: one Whimbrel that didn't get to the Exe Estuary!

Orcombe point, Exmouth.

7:00-9:00am. A bright clear morning with low wind produced, 4 Eider off shore (2 males, 2 females) first seen just off mear rocks, but drifted out on receding tide, last seen east of orcombe point. 4 Common Whitethroats, 2 singing. A single Gannet, 2 Sandwich terns, plenty of Chiffchaffs, Linnets and Swallows, along with a single Rock pipit and Coal tit.

More Berry Head migrants

I had a couple more Redstarts and another Spotted Flycatcher after others left late am yesterday. Among the mass of migrants -"like Fair Isle"! - one of several obliging Lesser Whitethroats and a Wheatear

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


A reeling grasshopper warbler by the rangers office at Brownstone Farm near Kingswear [Andrew Hanlon]

Exminster Marshes

Quick visit at dusk. Drake Garganey with Teal on flooded main scrape area. Iceland Gull (ss) in field beside Lions Rest. Lots of Swift & hirundines, Hobby, 4 Wheatear. Other folk earlier had Short-e Owl (flew high N) & Lesser-throat (RSPB carpark),

Otterton Cliffs

Two Great Northern Divers just off the cliffs today. [Pete Adey]

Wrafton - yesterday 30/4

Just one more of the Black-winged Stilts, and a nice Black-tailed Godwit shot, both from Steve Hatch

Exminster Marshes

An hours watch from the RSPB car park between 11.00 and 12.00 produced, 2 Black Terns over the main lagoon also 2 Hobbies, and 4 Wheatears and 2 Yellow Wagtails.

[Kevin Bainbridge]

Axe Estuary

Following reports from Steve of a fair few migrants at Beer Head I had a late morning look at the marshes. Totals were 23 Wheatears, 5 Whinchats and a Redstart, plus a Greenshank, 2 Common Sands and 5 Bar-tailed Godwits. I also caught the tail end of what had clearly been a big movement of hirundines and Swifts, which all magically evaporated as the sky went blue...

Start Point

At 07:20 this morning when Mike L. rang me just as i was leaving for work, to say Berry Head was sinking under the weight of migrant birds i might have made a Faustian Pact to have been transported to Start Point. Better judgement saved my soul and like Pat and Matt i waited till after work which i managed to finish early. Mark Darlaston and Crinkle had had loads of birds at Start during the day so like Pat mine was a ' smash and grab '.
Arrived at Start Farm at 16:00 and decided to concentrate on this area. Present were 3 Redstarts, Sedge Warbler, 20 Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers , 30 Willow Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher. Felt i'd given it a good look and then decided to have a go at the lighthouse. Lots of birds still present with plenty of insects to refuel on in the tamarisk belts. Saw Redstart, 3 Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, 20 Blackcaps, 3 Garden Warblers, Pied Flycatcher and 10 Willow Warblers. 40 Swifts feeding above the spine as i walked back up. Lots of Whitethroats scattered around and 5 Wheatear. A good few hours birding birding but i look forward to hearing what Mark and Crinkle saw earlier.

Berry Head

Nightingale still present this evening singing consistantly from 6.30pm. Walk up the path from the carpark towards the Northern Fort for 100m and listen from the bench, bird in the scrub opposite. Many of the morning migrants still present including Grasshopper, Reed & Sedge Warbler, Redstart, Spotfly and numerous Blackcap. 


Orcombe Point - 1535 - 1920 - covered a few miles this evening, as far east as the western border of Sandy Bay and a good way inland, in an attempt to pick up some of the earlier migrants. The bulk of the birds were concentrated around the point and Gore Lane. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of birds still present. 11+ blackcap, 8+ chiffchaff, 2 sand martin, c1/200+ swallow, 11+ wheatear, 6+ whinchat, 14+ whitethroat, 1 spotted flycatcher (middle photo), 1 garden warbler, 2 lesser whitethroat, 1 stonechat, 2 pied flycatcher (male and female (bottom photo) together), 5+ redstart, 12+ willow warbler, 4 sedge warbler and 1 grasshopper warbler.

Exminster Marshes

Late afternoon cycle down the canal. Whimbrels everywhere from just south of the motorway down to Powderham. A few yellow wagtail in the flooded fields to the north of the reserve. Hobby over the the lagoon on the reserve. Wheatear in the fields to the south of the Turf. Sedge warblers singing at regular intervals, more than I'd noticed last week. Lots of hirundines, but no swifts. (Note: the road from Starcross to Powderham was flooded and quite deep ...).


Thanks to calls from Mike and Perry, took myself off to Prawle after work to catch the posterior end of the fall.  Concentrated entirely on Pig's Nose Valley, coming up with 6 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 3 Redstarts, 11 Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers and 15 Chiffchaffs.  Hardly on the scale of further east, but still, not too bad  for a 'smash and grab' raid !

Exminster marsh

Also forgot the in earlier post 150+ pale bellied Brent geese flew over north

Exminster marsh

A stunning afternoon on the marsh from 14:30 till 18:55 started with a short eared owl being mobbed by crows, 3 splendid summer plumage Black terns in flight together, 3 hobbies one headed north 2 towards powderham, 4 yellow wagtails 2 by lions rest (m,f) and 2 by the rspb car park one a fantastic blue headed wagtail, finished with a distant garganey also 40+ little egrets 2 cetti's, reed and sedge warbler, hundreds of swallows, sand martins and swifts, peregrine , buzzard, 7 reed bunting , 7 wheatear. Just a fantastic afternoon.

Thurlestone Bay

Not the fall of migrants as seen on the Headlands but still interesting for the Bay

Days totals were - 34 Wheatear, 7 Whinchat, 10 Sedge Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler 1 Grasshopper Warbler. , 1 Cuckoo.

Waders on the marshes / on the beach/ rocks- 185 Whimbrel, 35 Bar Tailed Godwit, 7 Turnstone , 3 Sanderling ( partial sp )

Over the sea / in the Bay - 2 Great Northern Diver ( together ), 3 Sandwich Tern, 31 Auks , 4 Guillemot, 6 Fulmar , 60 Kittiwake. 26 Gannet

Steady movement of Hirundines this morning particularly Swallow - 400 moving north in 2hrs..

A few Whimbrel on Thurlestone Marsh, the male Wigeon made it into may , 10 Teal.

The anticipated wader movement -se wind clear sky - just did not materialise 

R.Taw. Pottington to Ashford Strand.

13:30 - 15:15.

Grey Plover 1; White Wagtail 1; Whimbrel 3; Common Sandpiper 7; Dunlin 134;
Wheatear 6 (4m,2f); Black-tailed Godwit 8 and Bar-tailed Godwit 14.

Rillage Point to Watermouth

No indication of the South Devon chat/warbler fall on this stretch of the north coast, but a tremendous movement of Swallows once the weather front had cleared north towards Wales and the sun came out. A conservative estimate of 500 flying west in an hour or so at lunchtime. Only a handful of martins and, unlike yesterday, just 1 Swift!

Not Quite Berry Head : ORCOMBE.

A brilliant mornings birding here today, even knowing Berry Head had hit big time!
Just a Lesser Whitethroat before the geo-needle, but birds increased as I walked East :  Two male Redstarts,
two male Whinchats, 15 Wheatears, one Grasshopper Warbler, and showing, 3 Sedge Warblers, 9 Whitethroats,two Garden Warblers, and on the way back a female Pied Flycatcher in the old pines.  Add to that numerous Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, swooping Swifts and a few Whimbrel overhead,and I was loath to leave.


Thanks to ML for the phone call this morning, got to Berry Head after the school run to catch  the most amazing fall of birds! (See report below for details). On leaving the site at 11am, in the absence of JM thought I had better give Sharkham a visit and was not disappointed. Little around the point probably due to a freshening SE wind, but the circular shaped copse in the field below the new building works held:- a Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Sedge Warblers, 3 Whinchat, 3 Redstart, 5 Whitethroat, 6 Blackcap, 6 Willow Warbler and a cracking male Pied Flycatcher.

Berry Hd

Tremendous fall of migrants today 0700-1100hrs: 1 Nightingale (singing), 11 Grasshopper Warblers, 17 Redstarts, 3 Whinchat, 5 Garden Warblers, 7 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher (male), 1 Yellow Wagtail, 23 Sedge Warblers, 5 Reed Warbler, 26 Wheatear, 156 Blackcaps, 192 Willow Warblers, 103 Whitethroat, 2 Cuckoo (together briefly), only territorial Chiffchaffs that I could make out just 7 singing. good numbers of Swallows, Swifts and House Martin also over.
Butterflies:Clouded Yellow and my first Small Copper of the year.

Best ever fall for me at Berry Head. Sorry about the early phone calls to several of you!



Alicia Normand saw a Roller this morning at 1015hrs flying from Little Haldon down toward Teignmouth - good views in bright sunshine.

Keep your eyes peeled!!

Lundy 30 April

Lundy Warden Derren Fox reports a HUGE passage of Swifts through the island yesterday, with an estimated 1,000+ This is the second highest day-total on record for Lundy (2,000 were estimated on 16 May 1978). Colin McShane, currently over to ring, flick-netted 9 Swifts during the day – exceeding in a few hours the total number of Swifts ringed on Lundy during the past 60 years! Colin and his team also reported a Richard's Pipit seen and heard at the head of St John's Valley at around 4pm yesterday afternoon.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Wrafton Stilt Pics

A couple more...

Yesterday - © Brian Palmer

Today - © Steve Hatch

Some Berry Head pics

Great Skua
Fulmar (dark -intermediate phase)
The Five Poms at 14:13

Berry Head

06:15-17:45 (11.5 hrs) seawatch. Mark D, Del and Bill MacD also in attendance for some of it.  SE gale, a wet start; eased slightly, drying out by lunchtime, backing ESE.  Attempted to omit 'local' birds from counts. All flew S.

7482 Manx Shearwater (max 3300+ 08:30-09:30), 'thousands' of auks (mostly Guillemot; max 427 in 1/2 hr), 4 Puffin, 668 Fulmar, 486 Gannet, 231 Kittiwake, 90 Sandwich Tern, 27+ Common/ 'commic' Terns, plus 12 Arctic Tern; 33 Bonxie, 8 Pomarine Skua (incl flock of 5 at c.14;10), 4 Arctic Skua, 23 Great Northern Diver (some on sea), 1 Black-throated Diver21 Storm-petrel, 3 Common Scoter.

5 Whimbrel, 2 Purple Sandpiper; 1 fs Med Gull (N), 1 fs Common Gull, 1 fs Little Gull, 5 LBbG.

Light to moderate passage of Swift all day, best from late a.m. through lunchtime when at 12:30 an ALPINE SWIFT flew low to the sea with Swifts, disappeared into a trough all too soon, possibly heading N; not seen again.  Only 2 Swallow in off.

A Whinchat in weeds near seawatching point, Wheatear and a Cuckoo (pers Martin Lees) in the quarry.

Exminster Marshes
The s.p. Black Tern was still hawking flooded fields viewed S from Gisson's Lane bridge at dusk.

Exmouth & orcombe point

After work made way over to exmouth watched from 14:30 till 18:20 From the seafront 2 eider on the sea and 1 whimbrel east an Arctic skua harrased a group of sandwich terns, 1 great skua west,from orcombe point 3 black tern east, 6 great skuas (4&1 east & 1 west), surprise was a group of 3 wheatear fly in accompanied by 1 whinchat(m) a steady passage of swallow and swifts fantastic watching them arrive, only 30+ Manx shearwater all west. Not a bad afternoon


A scan over the sea from Three-beaches Headland this evening produced 1 1s Mediterranean Gull, and one sum plum Great Northern Diver.


Mudbank - 2 black tern, c10+ sandwich tern, 3 great crested grebe and c80+ pale-bellied brent goose - 1515 - and still present at time of writing, all viewed from house.
Orcombe Point - quick scoot around just 2 fields between dropping the girls off for dance lessons and sorting tea produced 10 wheatear in a single group and a min 3 (posssibly up to 5) redstart. Also numbers of swallow and house martin moving through. Dread to think what I missed whilst at work. Also 10 bar-tailed godwit and 4 common tern was unusual on a sand-blasted Exmouth Beach early this morning.
29/4 - 1+ yellow wagtail on Orcombe Point plus 13+ bar-tailed godwit, 2 grey plover, c20+ whimbrel and the drake eider again off Mudbank roosting on the sandbar.
28/4 - a nice little fall of migrants on Orcombe Point included 6+ blackcap, 3+ willow warbler, 8 chiffchaff, 1 redstart, 1 whinchat, 1 wheatear, 1 whitethroat and 13+ swift with 3 eider west plus 1 great northern diver and 2 whimbrel.

Thurlestone Bay

Watched from 15.45 - 17.45 BOB B NICK T and myself - Although no more Skuas seen , watched from the cafe so that one eye could be kept on the Marsh -

Additional totals were - 80 Gannet, 240 Manx Sheawater, 26 Kittiwake, 4 Fulmar, 1 Sandwich Tern .
On the Marsh were a large flock of resting waders - 55 Whimbrel and 70 Bat Tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone on the rocks,.

Good numbers of hirundines passing through

Hope's Nose this afternoon

Obviously the passage had dwindled to a trickle in the two hours watching I did up to 4pm.  Manx Sheawaters totalled 'only' 420, but I did glimpse a Storm Petrel briefly. Two Great Northern Divers flew S and one stayed on the water, as did a G C Grebe.  c15 Common and a couple of Sandwich Terns S. 1 Whimbrel flew N.  No skuas though. Whitethroat singing out of the wind. 1 Grey Seal.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Whilst all you guys were enjoying the seawatching some of us were working. However the first swift of the year this evening along with a number of swallows and house martins. 2 whimbrel found the flooded rough pasture to their liking and 3 wheatear were busy catching big black flies. Plenty of linnets and skylarks, one stonechat and a record number of mallards, which at 5 is not saying very much!!

Hope's Nose this morning

Some of the birds form this mornings seawatch: manx shearwaters, close great northern diver, bonxie.


2 Black-winged Stilts still present at 15.30. A photographer was seen in the field this morning. Please view only from the Tarka trail, from where all the excellent shots so far posted on this site have been taken.


Sea-watch from the south end of Torcross village from 08:15-13:30.
On arrival Manx Shearwaters flooding through heading south. Was good to have the extra eyes of Tom, Crinkle and Stodge soon join me. By doing a few timed counts birds estimated to be moving through at over 3600 per hour on my arrival until slowing down around 10:00. About half this number going through for the next hour after which numbers decreased again and they passed further out in Start Bay.
Also heading south 8 Common Scoter, 2 Storm-Petrels, good Fulmar passage c200 per hour, 2 Great Northern Divers, 15 Dunlin, Whimbrel, Little Gull, Common Tern, 18 Sandwich Terns, 14 Great Skuas, Arctic Skua and 1 unidentified Skua.
After the large number of Swallows seen over the ley yesterday evening, just a small number there this morning though a couple hundred at Torcross early afternoon.

Thurlestone Bay

Paul B did the early watch from 06.15 Bob B from 08.00 and I arrived 09.15  till 12.30 .F8 SE pulled the birds into the Bay - highlight was a total of  28 Arctic Skuas  ,many of which took the inland flyway - these included 2 groups of 4 and included at least 13 light phase. Our highest site total for some years.

Bob B had 2m 4f Eidedfly east. Our Manx Shearwater only totaled 155.. Gannet total 475, Fulmar 22, Kittiwake  11. 1 Great N Diver on the sea (sp) , 22 Common Tern 1 Arctic Tern and 7 Sandwich Tern
Waders were 37 Whimbrel, 3 Bar tailed Godwit, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper.
1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear , 1 Whitethroat also good passage of hirundines with 50 Sand Martin over the marsh

Sandy Bay

At 11am there was a male Whinchat with 4 Wheatears in the ploughed field along the access road to Sandy Bay [Sue Styles]

Shoalstone Beach , Brixham

Joined Bob Bailey at the beach shelter by 0930, he had been seawatching from 0800, we continued to 1200. Totals 2 Storm Petrel (prior to 0900), Redthroated Diver, 3 Great Northern(1 on sea), 1 Scoter, 12 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skua, also considerable south passage of terns. Common Terns were passing in groups of up to 30-40 at a time when I  arrived , estimated 200+, and Sandwich Terns passing in small groups throughout.  12-15 Swifts arrived off the sea.

Exminster marshes

Few birds, however quality if not quantity. Most to the northern end towards the motorway. Station Road flooded and probably impassable to cars.

Single black tern with corvids and gulls at the end of Gisson's Lane. Near railway bridge 1 redstart (female), 10+ wheatear and 18 little egrets. Elsewhere c70 whimbrel.

Hope's Nose

After taking one look at the spray and wind direction when I got to Brixham this morning I turned round and drove to Hope's Nose! seawatching from 0700-1000hrs with Chris Proctor produced: Manx Shearwater 2655 (with peak hour count of 1373) it had slackened off considerably by 10am but still a good passage for the South coast on any normal day! 11 Great Northern Divers >S (Chris has some good photos!) and 7 more summer plumaged birds sat on the sea, 23 Great Skuas, 2 Pomarine Skuas  (one pale phase full spoons the other much closer intermediate Chris hopefully will publish pictures later), 29 Sandwich Terns, 47 Common Terns, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel, 13 Swift (but a more moving when I walked back up to the top of Hope's Nose), good numbers of Kittiwake, and Auks (not many Razorbills) also on the move, 2 unidentified skuas sat on the sea were only visible for seconds in the huge seas the pale bird looked full tail ended and extensive black on head so probably also Pom. I'd forgotten how close birds fly past Hope's Nose compared to Berry Head on a SE wind - which usually does better in variety and numbers!

Update 1400hrs: another 5 Great Skuas and one Arctic Skua.

This Whimbrel strutting along the road was bit of a surprise as I drove up Ilsham Marine Drive toward Hope's Nose:

Rillage Point to Watermouth

Steady passage of Swifts this morning, all heading E in the lee of the cliffs, with 61 between 08.00 and 09.00. Also 3 Whimbrels, 2 Dunlins flying E low over the sea, a singing Grasshopper Warbler and 6 Whitethroats. Not surprisingly, gales from any easterly sector never seem much good for seabirds on this coast; a quick look yesterday revealed just a couple of Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes and it was similarly quiet this morning – seabird-wise if not weather-wise!

Black Guillemot

Just had a phone call from Doug Cullum; Black Guillemot showing on the sea off Budleigh. Also 6 Bonxies and 4 Arctic Skuas past.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Taw/Torridge Estuary - yesterday 28/4

There were over 100 Whimbrel on the Taw/Torridge yesterday 28/04.[Karen Sims & John Towers]

Exmouth and bowling green marsh

Another seawatch from by the life boat station on exmouth seafront this afternoon between 15:00 till 17:45 Poor visibility for most of time 1 great skua east at 16:58 and 2 more at 17:10 and a group of 5 skua sp at 17:30 east but too far out unfortunately 25+ gannets and 13+ fulmar, 3 turnstone on the rocks 30+ sandwich tern, 2 great crested grebe. After seeing a report on birdguides of Iceland gull on bowling green marsh decided to pop over and have a look no luck but 6 pochard (2f & 4m) my best count this year also 14 whimbrel, 1 common sandpiper, 3 tufted duck(2m,1f) 18 herring gulls, 2 curlew lots of swallow , house Martin , sand martins, cetti's, 2 reed bunting, sedge & reed warblers. Also forget to add 2m eider flew east this morning at dawlish warren

Exminster Marshes

18:00-20:00. A tad damp. 210 Whimbrel (& 2 Curlew) in field adjacent S-bend being eyed-up by a Peregrine stood nearby.  5 Tufted Duck, 5 Gadwall, 5 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 1 Greylag Goose. 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Wheatear, 100s mixed (3 spp) hirundines and light N passage of Swifts.


Interesting to see that Perry had that number of swallows this evening. I had a look around several times early morning and late afternoon and there were no where near this number, so must have come in to roost.

The only things of note was a sum plum Great Northern Diver fishing in the Bay, a Common Tern and a handful of gannet.

The wave action was pretty good with an easterly blowing!!

Prawle - weekend 'highlights'

Today, 8 hours watching the sea produced little more of note than 2 Great Northern Divers, although a slow but steady trickle of incomming Swifts, Swallows and Martins added a little interest.  Yesterday, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, and friday (27th) a Spotted Flycatcher complete the list of 'highlights'.  Thankfully, that just about does it for probably the worst April I've ever had!!!  Roll on May.

Slapton Ley

Quickfire half hour look this evening. Lots of hirundines, maybe c 5000 Swallows ( not an unusual number here in these conditions) few hundred House Martins and lesser numbers of Sand Martins. Very quiet in the bay except one Great Northern Diver heading south.

Thurlestone Marsh

Stormy conditions NE f 8/9 heavy rain and obscured horizon was as expected , birds didn't!

Bay watched 06.15 -11.30 and 16.00- 18.00 (when conditions improved ).

Highlight this morning was a Wood Sandpiper which flew through at 10.55. Other waders were - 3 Dunlin,     3 Bar Tailed Godwit, 33 Whimbrel.
On the sea single Great Crested Grebe and Great Northern Diver ( sp ), 2 Brent Goose flew east ,with 13 Sandwich Tern in the bay .
On Thurlestone Marsh a single Black Tailed Godwit.

Passage of Hirundines this afternoon in 2 hrs totals were - 30 Swift, 20 Sand Martin, 50 House martin , 100 Swallow

Plymouth area

No seabirds of note in the Sound, but at Staddon Heights - 4 Swifts, 7 Swallows, 1 House Martin and a Whitethroat.

Plym Estuary - 7 Wheatears, 25+ Swallows, c25 House Martins, 2 Sand Martins, 1 Swift and 2 Dunlins.

Sherpa Marsh

Of 2 Yellow Wagtails early this morning, one was this interesting 'Channel' Wagtail type...

© Rob Jutsum

Stilt Shots

Some more photos of the Wrafton Black-winged Stilts (courtesy Rob Jutsum and Rob Cross) which were still present at 13:30 today [Derek Carter]

© Rob Cross

© Rob Jutsum

© Rob Jutsum