Saturday, 2 June 2012

Thurlestone Bay

A quiet day livened by the finding of a Greylag Goose on the back marsh at 12.00 ( also 35 Canada Goose )  My first 'summer ' record for the patch

Otherewise a Kittiwake and 6 Whimbrel were the only birds of note .

Bob B still has the Garden Warbler in a private garden on the edge of the patch

Exminster marsh

A quick look around the marsh this morning between 08:00 and 10:30 produced good views of the adult spoonbill on the scrape by the fishermans car park and the Glossy Ibis was mobile but gave good views around the scrapes between the middle car park and the fishermans car park

A summer plumage Black tailed godwit was nice and still 3+ gadwall 4+wigeon and 2 tufted duck also plenty of sedge and reed warblers, 3 cetti's and 2 stonechat

Instow Cricket Ground up to Jetty Roost.

05:45 - 07:30

Just 1 1st summer Mediterranean Gull (un-ringed) on the cricket ground.
Apart from c200 Oystercatchers and 3 Whimbrel, there were no waders at all on the foreshore, yet there was plenty of food in the form of sandhoppers.
Just 2 Swift; 1 Buzzard; 2 Common Whitethroat and 1 male Stonechat.
Very poor showing.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Yarner Wood

A visit late morning/early afternoon was excellent today. Two drake Mandarins were on the car park pond. A female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and a singing Wood Warbler together gave me a rather nice binocular-full! Two other Wood Warblers were found, together with good views of Redstart, Pied  & Spotted Flycatchers and Tree Pipit. A Tawny Owl was heard calling and a Lesser Redpoll was in song nearby. A male Grey Wagtail was collecting food on the pond.


32 Carrion Crows and 15 Buzzards on the ground on the slopes of Great Mis Tor this afternoon.
J&M Daniels

Thurlestone Bay

Some interesting birds for June on the patch today - highlights were - Adult female Marsh Harrier over the marsh from 06.30-10.00, this one has a full tail. 2 Manx Shearwater, 3 Guillemot , 2 Razorbill, 1 Sanderling, 31 Oystercatcher, 7 Whimbrel,  1 Yellowhammer, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Garden Warbler, 4 Common Gull , 68 species recorded

Berry Head & Torbay

0600-0800hrs: Manx Shearwater 17 > S, Whimbrel 1 >N, Swift 6 > S over sea, 6 Common Scoter on sea just off headland, 7 Harbour Porpoise including one small calf.

Torbay: from Berry Hd I could see a distant group of Scoter toward Paignton, a stop off on the way home and closer view gave a count of 32 Common Scoter, also 2 Sandwich Tern.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Berry Head

at the quarry late morning a Wheatear was a surprise, on the way back up this Hummingbird Hawkmoth appeared briefly.

Exminster marsh

A quick look around this afternoon from 15:00 and 17:30 Glossy ibis still showing well from the canal bank by fishermans car park Also 1st summer med gull, 3 gadwall,2 tufted duck , 2 wigeon, 3+ hobby, peregrine, kestrel, 9+ little egrets and 5 whimbrel flew over heading north. Received a call just after I left that the spoonbill had flown back in

Lundy - yesterday 30/5

2 male Subalpine Warblers caught and ringed in Millcombe Valley yesterday morning. One at least sighted later in the afternoon. [Derren Fox]

Exminster Marshes

Spoonbill and Glossy Ibis still present on exminster marshes this morning and showing well from lane and canal footpath. [David Smith]


Had a great non-avian highlight at Liverton this morning - a Swallowtail butterfly flew by at 12:15. Unfortunatly i was at work and did not get a chance to have a good look around for it afterwards. As i am not a great butterfly expert i would not know much about the provenance of a record like this but if there are any butterfly twitchers who maybe interested the grid ref is SX803752. I believe this is known as Old Liverton, about 1km towards Haytor from the bigger part of Liverton which is across the A38 from Trago Mills. I have lifted a couple photos of the internet to show exactly where.

Another Red Kite

Another Red Kite seen over the M5 near Exminster Marshes about 9:30 this morning.

More Red Kites!

David FitzGerald mentioned his sighting on Radio Devon today and more Red Kites were phoned in to his show - one at Paignton lunchtime (damned!) and another over Okehampton about 14.30hrs. And another just seen by Perry Sanders 15.05hrs drifting over Dean Prior Nr Buckfastleigh

Update and from Mark D's front garden - thanks Perry

South Brent

David FitzGerald, presenter at Radio Devon, has just called me to report a red kite over the A38 at South Brent.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Thurlestone Bay

A very quiet day in the Bay. Thurlestone Marsh last night the first Satarling roost with 50 birds on the wires at 20.30.

This morning the female Pochard still on the front pool , also the adult female Marsh Harrier over the reeds.
 Went for a walk round the whole of SOUTH MILTON LEY- talking with Bob B he is concerned about the low numbers of Reed/ Sedge this year . My totals were -  8 Reed Warbler/ 5 Sedge , 2 blackcap,  2 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Bunting, 10 Chiffchaff.

Has anyone else noticed any similar reductions on their local patch? 


Spoonbill this afternoon, visible from canal footpath  [Gray Clements]

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A few bits of interest today including a juvenile Tawny Owl fresh out of the nest, a Spotted Flycatcher, a family party of 8 Grey Wagtails and a drake Mandarin. Also Nuthatch, and both Great Spotted (3) and Green (1) Woodpeckers.

Sherpa Marsh

Delighted to also find a female Pochard with seven ducklings. I'm pretty sure this is a first certainly for this part of North Devon, unless anyone knows otherwise?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Golden Oriole (female type), Firecrest, 8 Spotted Flycatchers and a little influx of Phylloscs today.  [Kevin Hale]


Three juvenile Little Grebes on Wrafton pond yesterday and today.


I discovered this bunting this evening which I consider to be a hybrid Cirl Bunting X Yellowhammer. Head markings closer to Yellowhammer but stronger surrounding to earcoverts, lacking the black throat of Cirl. Also  yellow central crown stripe like Yellowhammer. Upper breast with olive as Cirl Bunting but a bright rufous rump like Yellowhammer. The lower flanks were very heavily marked not really like either bunting! Cirl buntings songs are variable in speed and tone but this song was more like Yellowhammer without the 'eeez' at the end - some Cirl Buntings can be quite close to this. The call was closer to Cirl bunting but not quite right, it was more clipped and not so thin. The bird was quite close to the location of a strange very yellow headed bird in 2009, detailed in this link and in more detail in the Devon Bird Report for 2009.

As far as I know there are still no proven records of hybrid Cirl Bunting x Yellowhammer and even this one will have to go down as presumed but it must be as close as it comes!

Update: Following a phone call with Bruce Taggart this is a bird he saw in 2009 (he also considered it to be a probable hybrid) while carrying out Cirl Bunting work for the RSPB - even singing from the same tree!

Exminster marsh

Watched from 14:20 till 16:30 A great afternoon on the marsh as the good birds keep coming, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER showed well viewable in scrape by the fishermans car park sharing the scrape with a GLOSSY IBIS, 3 Garganey, and an avocet, the supporting cast was a hobby overhead, 7+ gadwall, 4+ pochard, 4+ wigeon, 2 barnacle geese, 2 cetti's, reed and sedge warblers, 12+ little egrets and a peregrine.

Thurlestone Bay / Soar

Last sighting of the Great White Egret was at 21.00 last night - no sign of lt today. Female Pochard still on the front pool this morning.

Walk from Mid Soar to East Soar produced - 1 Groppa, 10 whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 2 Sedge warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 m Wheatear, 8 Swift flew south, 6 Yellowhammer

Exminster Marshes

What a great day. Went to look for Dragonfly's, starting along the railway line. Saw Hairy Dragonfly, 3 Four Spotted Chasers and 2 Broad-bodied Chasers, and a Banded Demoiselle. Watched 5 Hobby's hawking followed by the Black-winged Stilt, which flew across from the Powderham side of the railway line.

More Hairy Dragonflies as I crossed to Turf Hotel, and on the canal c15 Red-eyed Damselflies. Two more Four Spotted Chasers and a second Banded Demoiselle too. Lots of Common Blue, Azure, Large Red and Blue-tailed Damselflies too.

Got to the fisherman's corner pools, and Glossy Ibis, which looks like an adult but possibly in moult, 3 Garganey (two males and a female) and someone had also kindly found a Pectoral Sandpiper. Also Ringed Plover.

Also saw 12+ male Reed Buntings, 4 Cetti's Warblers, numerous Reed and Sedge Warblers and one Avocet on the fisherman car park pools. Wonderful.

Exminster Marshes

Glossy ibis and 3 garganey early morning

Monday, 28 May 2012

Berry Hd

Evening watch; Not much in the way of birds but 5 Grey Herons moving North was a bit strange, too far out to age them presumably juvs. 12 Manx Shearwater > S and two Harbour Porpoise just off shore. Also of note were 3 Painted Lady Butterflies on the end of the headland - my first of the year.

Isley Marsh viewed from Tarka Trail.

Male Little Ringed Plover seen in overflow pool of marsh (from Tarka Trail, Isley) briefly before flying north,at 11.45. Also 1 green shank, 6 whimbrel and 2 curlews on the marsh.

Thurlestone Bay

The Great White Egret showed well from 06.30 to 17.00. A female Pochard on the front pool was a surprise at 12.00
Waders on the beach- 12 Whimbrel, 1 Bar Tailed Godwit .

Cuckoo heard up South Huish Valley.

Thanks for the Sanderling info Kev have sent details off

Tamar Bridge and Tavy

Ray Gould was at the Tamar Bridge this morning about 10:00 looking for a Red Kite that was reported in the area over Saltash for the last two days, when he saw a Purple Heron.
It flew over the bridge and up the Devon side of the Tamar towards the Tavy where he lost it from view.
Could be interesting for anyone in the Bere Ferrers area or perhaps Blaxton or Warleigh Marshes.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


A Little Stint, photographed with a mobile at Hallsands this afternoon. [Paul Fivian]

Hi Mike,

The email details are in the links in my previous post, the co-ordinator can be contacted at

 j.w.h.reneerkens @

Help required with the colour ringed Sanderling- Have tried sending e- mails to the and the waderstudygroup. org sites but both hve come back as not known - Help

Mike Passman

Some Photos from the Weekend

All taken yesterday 26/5...

The Cuckoo and Whinchat on Exmoor (Brian Palmer) and the Sacred Ibis at Bowling Green Marsh (Julie Soane)

Mamhead Obelisk

Red Kite flew over the obelisk at 17.10 heading towards Powderham. [Will Salmon]

Black-winged Stilts Exminster

If anyone has images of the bird today or the previous individual on 5 May that they would be happy to share please mail me on - to make my life easier for description submission and to help work out where these birds came from & moved on to.  Many thanks

And some late news from this week- little ringed plover Exminster Marshes on 24 May and red kite over Exminster village 25 May.

Colour-ringed Sanderling

Hi Mike,

Your Sanderling will be from a Dutch scheme see here The co-ordinator is Jeroen Reneerkens.

I wonder if yours will have had as exciting history as the last Warren bird


Colour riinging web site

Hi Mike, great news to hear of another c-ringed sanderling.

The BTO also has a reporting page on its website.

Great find.

Two Red Kites over Challacombe

This morning there were two separate sightings of Red Kites by one observer.
He managed to catch one on camera and the  second individual had feathers missing in the wings and in the tail.

Thurlestone Bay

The Great White Egret showed well for most of the day if at times it was on the back of the marsh.

Waders on the beaches were - 16 Whimbrel, 7 Turnstone, 6 Sanderling, 1 Bar Tailed Godwit, 1 Ringed Plover.1 Knot

Vic T and Eric W found one of the Sanderling had  rings and flag - lft leg- Red flag over Green, rt leg - Green/ Yellow.
They also had a Grey Plover and 30 Common Scoter

Whilst Bob B was collecting the car park fees he had a Turtle Dove flyover ( 1st of the year ).

We had a colour ringed sanderling last year - since when I have lost all my old e-mails- I think it was maurice @ Barnstable who gave me the web address to write to ( Holland from memory ) Would appreciate any info for this site . 

Another Red Kite

In keeping with many other sightings over the last few days, a single red kite being mobbed by crows heading east just north of the A30 somewhere between Rockbeare and Strete Raleigh at 16.10 this afternoon.

Clennon Valley

A short sharp yelp from the local Herring Gulls which is different from a similar call the gulls make when Buzzards fly over, a quick dash into the garden and scan of the sky above my house was rewarded with a Red Kite it gained height and glided off North at 1.45pm - perhaps the same bird from Berry Head earlier in the day.  Later in the afternoon a Hobby drifted East. 

Exminster marsh

After an early text of black winged stilt on exminster marsh made my way over but it had flown south so watched from 08:00 till 13:00 2 cuckoo's on site one around the lane from middle car park and one along the path by the railway line. A splendid Red kite drifted east and off over topsham an avocet dropped onto the scrape just before the fishermans car park. Still at least 2 hobbies over the lagoon and 18+ little egrets. The black winged stilt was relocated on powderham marsh and after making my way around to the viewing platform had distant views but my 5 on the estuary this year Another good day on the marshes

Budleigh and the Otter

3 Red Kites: 2 from the garden at around 10am this morning heading West and a third bird circling above Otterton at around 10.40am (later seen over DC's garden!).
Singing Lesser Whitethroat holding territory on the main Otter Estuary path.

Berry Head

0630-0900 a few birds still on the move: Siskin 2 > E, 47 Swifts 28 House Martin & 5 Swallows mostly feeding over headland but also > NE, 1 Willow Warbler on headland the first I've seen there in over a couple of weeks.
For any botanists the display of White Rock Rose at the end of the headland is fantastic this year - apart from Torbay I believe it's only found around Brean Down in Somerset in the UK.

Update 1010hrs: Nigel Smallbones just rang to say a Red Kite was over the headland.

Foreland Point 26th May

Further to Edd Davies' post below, Tim Davis and I were passing Foreland Point around 2.30pm and saw (presumably) another Red Kite, also heading east along the coast, along with a steady continuing passage of Swifts.