Saturday, 12 May 2012


4 Winchat (3 f 1 m), 1m Bullfinch, 2 Cuckoo, several Lesser Redpoll, Willow Warblers, 3 Redstart,1 Spotted Flycatcher, and lots more making it a really worthwhile trip to the moor. Photos of very pale Buzzard and a male Whinchat attached. [Simon Thurgood]

Woodchat Shrike

A male Woodchat Shrike at Soar today, in the fields below the Farm. [Roy McCarthy]


A couple of Cuckoo photos from Exmoor from B Palmer...

There were also two Cuckoos at Bursdon Moor today [Harvey Kendall]


This Whinchat was photographed by Pete Adey at Otterton yesterday afternoon...

Lundy Update...

Have had this update from Derren Fox...

11th May - Golden Oriole pair still present

9th May – Red-backed Shrike at the Old Hospital

8th May – Short-toed Lark at quarter wall cottages. Spotted and photographed by Ian Serle

8th May – Richard’s Pipit still present on airfield by Ian Serle

Exminster Hobbies

Some great shots from Tim White of Hobbies over/on Exminster Marshes yesterday...

Slapton Ley

Casual walk from Slapton Bridge to Torcross this morning produced just 3 Whimbrel and 6 Wheatears.


Orcombe Point - 0530 - much quieter today but at 0540 a ring-necked parakeet shattered the peace as it shot out of some trees bordering the Bristol Schools Camp, landing briefly on top of an elm before heading in the direction of Exmouth. This is the first I've seen in Devon but it's anyone's guess where it's from, although interestingly, Portland had one earlier in the week. Also a singing lesser whitethroat apparently on territory (it has been singing there for 2 weeks now) in scrub along the coastal path, a singing garden warbler and 1 wheatear. Offshore still 3 eider and 9 sandwich tern.

Exminster marsh

Watched from 09:10 till 14:45 A beautiful morning on the marsh, but my first find of the day was a stunned & injured HOBBY by the lions rest industrial estate, a quick call and help arrived the bird has been checked over and it is hoped to make a full recovery thanks for your help John. All seemed quiet but the number of hobbies over the lagoon began to build and 4 of us had 16 birds in the air a fantastic sight coupled with 2 birds earlier that flew over topsham, 2 on post on marsh and the injured bird a total of at least 21+ birds a record for me in Devon. Also 4 gadwall, 3 tufted duck, whimbrel, 2 wigeon, 6 buzzard, a peregrine and sparrowhawk.


Ringing this morning produced a modest 18 birds:
3 Blackbirds
3 Blackcaps
6 Sedge Warblers
1 Reed Warbler
1 Blue Tit
1 Garden Warbler (first in spring at this site)
1 Chiffchaff and
1 Goldcrest

Also saw a brood of Moorhens new out of the nest.

Friday, 11 May 2012


Orcombe Point - 0545 and 1630 - 4 great northern diver, 14 swift, 30+ swallow, 1 lesser whitethroat, 1 garden warbler, 8 'greenland' wheatear (photo), 1 willow warbler, 16 house martin, 6 spotted flycatcher, 17 dunlin, 2 great crested grebe, 2 whinchat.
10/5 - 1 whinchat, 1 wheatear and 1 osprey NW @1715 (photo) - Orcombe Pt and 4 knot off Mudbank.
8/5 - Mudbank - 1 pale-bellied brent goose, 1 fs mediterranean gull, 74+ whimbrel, 2 great crested grebe and fs or 2s iceland gull roosting on sandbar.

Sharkham Point

Back to Sharkham then... Nice to see a Turtle dove had made it past the Cypriot shotguns and was feeding on a gravel path. The rest was standard fare with most of the common migrants on territory. It was a brief walk before tea, with not much else of note. Nice to be back though.


Seen and heard cuckoo this morning near 'horse barton' between cockington and edginswell, Torquay. [Chris Noakes]

Rillage Point to Watermouth

06.30 – 09.15 Overcast, but dry (!), with very good visibility; cold and blustery onshore NW wind. Strong early passage of Swallows, presumably having left fairly local roosts, with 200 W before 07.00. Also 5 Swifts, but just 1 House Martin. Still Whimbrels about (14 yesterday evening, 5 this morning). Offshore: 101 Manx Shearwaters, 120 auks (majority Razorbills), 17 Kittiwakes, 2 Common Scoters W and 1 dark-phase Arctic Skua E, quite close in. 1 Lesser Whitethroat the only notable grounded passerine. The few Chiffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps about seemed all to be 'resident' territory holders.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Exminster Marshes

I must have visited just after Keith had left. At 6.00 the 3 garganey were very obvious together with 4 teal, one shoveler and several mallard. There were hundreds of swifts, lots of swallows and fewer house martins and even fewer sand martins.
Scattered around the marsh were at least 7 hobbies, including 3 sitting together on a bush and another on the ground. When I had finished counting the hobbies I returned to view the first one only to find it missing. Within 10 minutes all the hobbies had vanished and so had the garganey when I walked back up the lane.
The only waders were 4 whimbrel calling noisily when they flew in from the estuary.

Exminster marsh

From 14:25 till 17:00 The 3 Garganey (2m,f) still on main scrape by middle car park 9+ hobbies were fantastic including a group of 4, lots of swift, swallows and a few house martins , sand martins, peregrine , 5+ sedge warbler, 2 cett's, 2 wheatear, 3+ reed warbler.

Berry Head

Murky conditions, overnight rain and strong - gale SSW wind seemed perfect for a mornings seawatching, in reality it was okay but could have been better!
0600hrs - 1330hrs:
Manx Shearwaters 1308, Storm Petrel 2, Puffin 14, Great Northern Diver 8, Common Tern 1,Sandwich Tern 2, Whimbrel 2, Sanderling 47 (several flocks), Dunlin 46+ (two flocks), Swifts 141, Swallows 51, House Martin 9, 1s Mediterranean Gull , Common Gull and  Harbour Porpoise 1.

Around the quarry 1 Short-eared Owl flushed from roadside as I walked down first thing this morning (see photos below), 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, Wheatear 2, Tree Pipit 1. While driving to BH this morning  I followed a buck Roe Deer along Berry Hd Road from Brixham breakwater for 400m before it eventually ran off into a garden.

exminster marsh

watched  14:40 till 16:50  lots of swifts, swallow, house martins and the drake and female GARGANEY by the s-bends on main scrape, best was this stunning HOBBY

Watched this particular individual for 30mins from 16:10 by the lions rest industrial estate fantastic views of it hunting then returning to this post.

After a quick visit home returned at 19:20 and watched till 20:30 when the heavy rain arrived and light became to bad along station road 3 HOBBY and the 2 GARGANEY. Then watched from road just before fishermans car park from 19:40 a fantastic summer plumage CURLEW SANDPIPER flew in at 19:50 with 20+ dunlin, 7 Knot including 2 cracking summer plumage birds, 2 grey plover, 1 black tailed godwit, 20+ bar tailed godwit, 83+ WHIMBREL ( more coming in when leaving) 7 wigeon(4m,3f) 2 shoveler, 65+ curlew and lots of swifts

The marsh just keeps producing stunning birds day after day at the moment just fantastic  

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Exminster Marsh

A quick half hour visit before work this morning was very rewarding. At first glanse all seemed a bit quiet then I spotted a bar headed goose with the Canada geese, a pectoral sandpiper, curlew sandpiper and the Iceland gull. A good number of swallow, a few whimbrel and the usual suspects.. Shelduck, little egret etc. failed to spot the garganey though (which was what I went to see) all in all a good half hour!

Shoalstone ,Brixham

A short check from the car park during a gap in the rain around 12.00, not many seabirds passing but a summer plumaged Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern flew south.

Exminster Marshes

09:30 - 11:20. Gloomy mizzle. PECTORAL SANDPIPER, s.p. Curlew Sand, 4 Knot, 7 Dunlin, 1 Black-wit, 23 Bar-wit, 59 Curlew, only 6 Whimbrel, pr Garganey, 3 Shoveler, pr Wigeon, f Teal all on or near main scrape viewable from road to Fisherman's Carpark.

Berry Head today

First light until 7:15. Very slow with just a couple of bedraggled Wheatear on the North fort and a Lesser Whitethroat by the car park of any note. A roe deer by the south fort made a pleasant surprise though. [Tim Clyburn]

Hoopoe Exmouth

Hoopoe in a car park at Priddis Close, Exmouth at 17:30 on 8th May. [T.N. Templeman].

This follows a report of one in a private garden in Exmouth on 5th May.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Exminster marsh

Around the marsh from 14:20 till 17:10 Between the motorway bridge and fishermans car park 5 hobby (2 groups 3&2), 12+ sedge warbler, 4 reed warbler,2 whitethroat, 15 blackcap(12m,3f), 6 chiffchaff,2 willow warbler, 1 cetti' 150+ swift Along station road 2 garganey(1 drake,1f) on main scrape by middle car park, 7 hobby(2 groups 3&4) along the lane at the s-bends on left hand side 1 drake Garganey, lots of rooks, 9 wheatear,3+ sedge warbler, 2 reed warbler, whilst scanning some gulls from by railway bridge a cuckoo flew north towards the motorway bridge at 17:05 A great way to end my walk around the marsh

Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley ( 11:40-15:00, walk frombridge to Strete Gate and back ).

Female Marsh harrier passed through and a Hobby in off the sea. Otherwise quiet, just 3 Sandwich Terns offshore and 3 Wheatears on the beach. Couple of Common Lizards sunning themselves on the bridge.

Start Point

08:10-10:30  ( Farm / light )

2 Wheatear, 4 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and 3 Spotted Flycatchers,


First brood of young Starlings seen being fed on the recreation ground this morning.

Pair of Pochard on Wrafton pond.

About 30 Swifts over Sherpa Marsh this afternoon, with good numbers of hirundines.

Exminster marshes

My visit was confined to Station Road and a short bit of the canal bank. At the high tide roost were 16 dunlin, 3 grey plovers, 55 whimbrel, 2 curlews, 4 bar-tailed godwits and one turnstone in summer plumage. A single ringed plover flew over to the estuary. A pair of shoveler and 2 additional males were the most for almost a month. Other ducks included a pair of wigeon and 10+ mallard. Hawking over the lagoon were 5 hobbies, flying as a small group on several occasions. I did not look to closely at the gull flocks, still very impressive. There was however a first summer Med gull near to the road close to a pair of garganey that were showing well to visiting birders. Another male garganey was at the end of Cork's drove. Other migrants included c50 swifts and 2 wheatears.

Berry Head

0615 - 1100 with Dave L - Garden Warbler near the lighthouse but little else around the headland, Grasshopper Warbler reeling near the cattle trough in the meadow, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler, 6 Wheatear, 4 Bullfinch, 3 Linnet, 17 Swallow and 3 Swift.

For info of N.Devon Birders.

After strolling around Isley and the Jetty Roost, I decided to have a look into the old Yelland Power Station Generator Pit pond. In the past few years Grey Heron, which used to nest in the conifers nearby, transferred their breeding site onto small islands within the pit pond. c30 Sand Martin also took up residence in the cable conduits around the pit and also 2 Great Black-backed Gull pairs also nested in a similar fashion to the Herons.
On asking permission to enter the site, I was informed that all the water in the pond had had to be drained on instructions by Health and Safety and that now there was nothing worth observing.
I saw that the pond had been drained and partially filled with rubble, broken up reinforced concrete and general site rubbish.
So no more nesting Herons and Sand Martins, nor Little Grebes, Moorhens, Coots, Canada Geese and certainly no more Ring-necked Ducks, one of which appeared a few years ago.
Just 1 pair of GBBGs were hanging on.
Who thought up Health and Safety and why does it have to interfere in the countryside?
Because people are so ready to complain of catching their clothes on brimbles etc on the Tarka Trail,  hedges and bushes have been cut back; sometimes by half; into nice little, neat, straight-edged bushes. All in the interests of Health and Safety and with no thought into the reduction of small birds along the trail. VERY SAD!
I appologise to Devon Bird News Blog for "ranting on."

Isley Marsh, Jetty Roost and Tarka Trail.

06:30 - 09:00

2 Reed Warblers and 4 Reed Buntings in the small reedbed just inside Isley Gate
2 Spoonbill; 1 Little Egret; 8 Whimbrel and just 2 Curlew on Isley Marsh
1 Little Grebe in the freshwater pond on top of the ashbeds. First time I`ve seen one in there.
2 Wheatear on the ashbeds.
5 Wheatear; 72 Whimbrel; 5 Bar-tailed Godwit; 15 Dunlin; 7 Grey Plover and 3 Turnstone in Jetty Roost area.
4 Reed Warbler and 1 Cetti`s in reeds of overflow pond.
4 Bullfinch ( 3males,1 female) on Tarka Trail.

Monday, 7 May 2012


2 immature Spoonbills until 6.25pm when they flew up river Taw.

Around the exe

Bowling green marsh 09:35 till 10:20 Very quiet 200+ sand martins, 3 greenshank, 7+ whimbrel,7+ curlew, 5 tufted, 1 pochard, little grebe, white wagtail Exminster marsh 10:35 till 11:30 Curlew sandpiper, 12+ grey plover(3sp),20+ Dunlin, 1sp knot,2 wigeon, 3 hobby, 7+ sedge warbler 150+ swift, 3 reed warbler, 2 cetti's Dawlish warren 12:00 till 14:40 NIGHTJAR in flight at 14:05, Iceland gull 2nd summer, 28 whimbrel in of the sea, 2 whitethroat


A second Golden Oriole on Lundy (a female) yesterday. Also Richard's Pipit on 5th. [Derren Fox]

Exminster Marshes

"I had a walk around the marsh between 11.00 and 1.00pm and had a good trio of birds, 5 Wheatears opposite the lions rest in fields, 15 Whimbrel by the s bends and just before the fishermans carpark on the right in the flooded fields, 1 summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Knot in amongst the Dunlin, also 5 Grey Plover there.

Best birds were on the way back along the path back towards the RSPB carpark 1 Iceland Gull in with the Herring Gull flock between 3rd and 4th plyon from the car park also a male Cuckoo below the 3rd plylon"

[Kevin Bainbridge]


2 Whimbrel flew around calling this evening over the recreation ground on the seafront and then landed and fed on the cricket pitch from 6.30pm until they flew off into Torbay at 8pm.


Orcombe Point - 0800 - 15 pomarine skua (3 pale phase singles east @ 0812, 0830 and 0900 and the twelve-strong flock that lingered off the Warren), 15+ manx shearwater, 18 common scoter, 1 great northern diver, 3 whimbrel, 2 great skua, 3 red-breasted merganser and 6 fulmar. Also several small parties of auks, gannets and kittiwakes. When the cloud lifted several swallows started streaming through + 1 swift. Also 1 garden warbler and 1 lesser whitethroat.
Mudbank - 23 brent goose (inc at least 1 dark-b) + 15 sandwich tern.
6/5 - 4 eider still, 1 yellow wagtail, c20+ swift and 80+ swallow.
5/5 - 1 hobby (grounded for a change), 1 wheatear, 1 reed warbler, 1+ garden warbler and 1 great northern diver.

Isley Marsh to Yelland Jetty

Belated news from last week. 5 fs Med gulls at Isley, 3 May @ 5pm Reed and 6 Sedge Warblers in small patch of reed before Yelland Jetty. Between Instow and Yelland Jetty, 222 Whimbrel, 84 Bar Tailed Godwits, easily more present within estuary complex especially Whimbrel as many calling whilst making count @ 7.30 pm. Also present, 8 Grey Plovers, one of which in superb bp, 150 Dunlin, 6 Turnstone. Also in Yelland pond, Cetti's Warbler, 3 male Reed Buntings, 2 Reed and 2 Sedge Warbler. Also Friday,4 May at Yelland high tide roost, pair of Little Ringed Plovers and possibly 3 more in flight, distant but no wing bars visible? Seen at 5pm. Flock of 150 Whimbrel over Instow Jetty, also 58 Bar Tailed Godwits @ 5.30pm, 12 Grey Plover on high tide roost, 10 Turnstone, 200+ Dunlin. Saturday,5 May,SKERN, 7-8 am, 2 immature Spoonbill, large flock of Dunlin around a 1000 birds + 1 Sanderling, 103 Whimbrel, 10 White Wagtail, and 34 Wheatear on burrows on pools adjacent to old tip. At INSTOW, 10 Sandwich Terns and 3 Common Terns, @ 8.30am. Sorry for delays on posting, technology problems!!!!!


Cuckoo seen at Bursdon Moor, North Devon, yesterday, 1900 hours.

Lundy 5 & 6 May

The latest news received via Derren Fox is that a Richard's Pipit was seen between the Old Light and  the Airfield on 5th (presumed the same as the bird seen at the head of St John's Valley on 30 April) and there were two Golden Orioles in Millcombe yesterday, 6th.

Berry Head

Seawatch 0650-0850 generally low numbers of most seabirds   in clearing conditions, but had 2 Bonxies, 1 Arctic Skua, 7 Great Northern Divers , 47 Manx, 4 Scoter, 1 Whimbrel and 2 Puffin.

Hopes Nose

Seawatching this morning upto 9.00 am- 2 Bonxie, 1 Puffin, 27 Manxies, 3 GN Divers (1 sum plum) all south. Also 30 Swallows in off , 5 Whitethroat and 3 Blackcap around the headland.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bowling green marsh

A quick look in between 19:15 and 20:15 from the hide Very quiet 7 whimbrel, greenshank, 1 black tailed godwit, 1 white wagtail,good numbers of sand martins and swallows and a few house Martin, 2 reed buntings, cetti's, 2 pochard, 8 tufted , 2 shoveler, as I left the hide a hobby flew over heading east


 Marsh harrier, big hirundine numbers and plenty of swifts. Lots of singing white throat,blackcap,cettis,reed warblers. Cirls and yellowhammer nearby.

Witheridge Moor

A good afternoon on the moor. Seen were :-  5 WHEATEAR  (highest number I have seen on moor), a pair of SKYLARK plus another displaying, 3 pairs of MEADOW PIPIT with another 2 displaying, a displaying TREE PIPIT plus another 3 adults, 2 pairs of WILLOW WARBLERS plus another 6 singing, 2 singing BLACKCAPS, 2 SAND MARTIN with small flock of SWALLOWS, 2 pairs of LINNET, a pair of REDPOLL, 3 RAVENS and 2 male REED BUNTING.

North Devon 5 & 6 May

Major fall of Wheatears yesterday – seemed to be in almost every suitable field between Berrynarbor and Barnstaple, with 20+ in one field close to home and many others flipping in front of the car and perched on wires and hedges elsewhere. Must have been a huge number involved across the whole region. Most seem to have moved on overnight. 500+ hirundines over the house (near Berrynarbor) earlier today – feeding migrants; all gone 5 minutes later. Quiet on the Rillage Point patch.

Exmoor - yesterday 5/5

We don't get too many reports from Devon's bit of Exmoor, but here's a Cuckoo photographed there yesterday by Brian Palmer.


1 1st summer and 1 2nd summer Iceland gull on the river between recreational playing field and M5 at lunchtime (on dropping tide). Last night the air was full with hundreds over Sand martins and Swallows at dusk before they went to roost in the reed-bed.

Exminster marsh

Watched from 08:00 till 12:00 2nd summer Iceland gull still with large herring gull flock Also 2 hobby , curlew sandpiper an odd Dunlin, 80+ Dunlin, 2 summer plumage knot, 12+ grey plover 3 in summer plumage, 2 ringed plover Another good morning on the marsh

Instow Cricket Ground to Jetty Roost, Yelland

06:10 - 08:30.

Instow Cricket Ground
9 Common Gull and 6 Black-headed Gull.

Foreshore to Fuel Jetty.
56 Whimbrel; 1 Turnstone; 22 Black-tailed Godwit; 69 Bar-tailed Godwit; c 70 Dunlin;
2 Grey Plover; 8 Wheatear and 3 Common Whitethroat plus Linnets and 1 Sedge Warbler in bushes by sand dunes.

Fuel Jetty to Main Jetty including Jetty Roost
47 Dunlin; 17 Whimbrel; 5 Wheatear; 2 Ringed Plover; 25 Oystercatcher; 1 Shelduck;
9 Grey Plover; 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and 13 Mute Swan flying in line-astern upriver.

Overflow Pond.
Several Sand Martins and Swallows feeding over the pond plus my 1st Swift of the year.
3 Reed Warbler and 2 Sedge Warbler plus 1 Cetti`s.

Walk back via Tarka Trail and Instow Barton Marsh 08:00 - 08:30.
6 Whimbrel and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit in the marsh with a further 29 Whimbrel flying overhead and inland. No doubt disturbed from the foreshore by this time, by walkers and their canine friends.
Plenty of Common Whitethroat and Blackcap in the bushes and trees along the trail, with
Blue Tits using the nest boxes installed on the heavily "pruned" trees by the side of the path.
Health and safety gone mad again?
Also a Stoat running back and fro across the trail.

Berry Head

06.15-0900hrs: 5 Lesser Whitethroat (4 singing), 1 Reed Warbler, 13 Whitethroat, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers,  5 Chiffchaff (singing) but no Willow Warblers or Wheatears today. Also over where; 2 Yellow Wagtails, 34 Swallows, 1 Sand Martin and 1 Swift.