Saturday, 7 July 2012


...a few bits and pieces from the Plym this afternoon

Common Sandpiper - 9
Greenshank - 2
Med Gull - 1 adult
Marsh Sandpiper - none!!!

[Roy McCarthy]

Darts Farm, Topsham

A surprisingly good walk around the farm at 2pm. Out on the lawn there were plenty of Pied Wagtails and an Oystercatcher taking full advantage of the sodden ground. From the hide a male Reed Bunting was calling and a Whitethroat keeping out of the rain. The muttering call of a Reed Warbler from the reed bed, along with a small flock of Goldfinches which stopped by briefly to the bird table.
Further out on the wetlands a group of about 25 Black-tailed Godwits, a handful in breeding plumage were busy feeding, followed by a smaller bunch of Curlew. On the return leg 9 Swifts floated by fairly low down heading towards the Exe.

Berry Head

Seawatch 0620-0820. Actually arrived on site 30 mins earlier but busy sheltering from the torrential downpour. Quite strong S wind when I arrived but decreased markedly and swung towards SW by the time I left. For much of the time there was virtually no seabird passage past the headland in the continuing rain and low visibility,  total count 220 Gannets and 191 Manx south.


07:45-08:30.3 bar tailed godwits,2 whimbrel,flyover male tufted duck.Waders are trickling back and the weather hasn"t changed since the spring when they were here!!.Pair of wheatears feeding young in nest looking very bedraggled.

Friday, 6 July 2012


A slightly unusual sight at Wembury last night with c. 250 Gannets plunge diving reasonably close in.

One lucky fisherman!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Thurlestone Bay

News from yesterday - on the beach/rocks - 2 Sanderling  & 2 Turnstone.

This morning ideal conditions for a seawatch  F3/4 SE and good viz - Warren Pt from 09.15- 12.15 & 16.00-17.00 Totals were

Gannet -385 ( mostly east ) Manx S'water- 125 E , Balearic S'water - 2 E. Common Scoter 5E and 40 W ( largest flock for some months.). Med Gull - 1 1st s  E . 1 s/pl Dunlin on the beach.

On Thurlestone Marsh this morning 1 s/pl Black Tailed Godwit and a male Teal

At S M Ley  Bob B had a Water Rail, 2 juv Whitethroat and 2 ad Reed Warbler with 3 juv.

The last juv Spotted Flycatcher did not last the night

Berry Head

06:30-10:00. F3-4 ESE, dry, overcast. Only obs.
97>S & 11>N Manx, 221>S & 33>N Gannet, 20>S Common Scoter, 1>S Curlew, 3>S Pomarine Skua (07:26; two spooned ad with an imm.), 2>S Arctic Skua, v light passage Kittwake, 2>S & 1>N Sandwich Tern, 5>S Common Tern, 1>S Puffin.  Also 3 Bottle-nosed Dolphin and a Grey Seal.


06:45 - 08:00

Common Sandpiper 15; Bar-tailed Godwit 1; Black-tailed Godwit 4; Dunlin 4; Wheatear 3;
Curlew 38; Oystercatcher 43; Black-headed Gull 13; Herring Gull 11 and 7 GBBG.
Still not many gulls. Meds seem to turn up on evening tide only.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

English Channel

Fishing the English Channel south of E Devon, first two juv Yellow-legged Gulls of the year feeding around boat, in with Lesser and Great black-backs and a few Herring Gulls - so no doubt be turning up at coastal sites shortly as in recent summers. Also 20+ Storm Petrels and a Common Tern.


Orcombe Point - 1900 - 2000 - a first summer sabine's gull was a big surprise on a brief and otherwise unremarkable seawatch. It flew into view with a kittiwake at 1920 and suddenly left the kitt to head SSW directly towards Berry Head. Also 2+ arctic skua (one dark phase directly over my head towards Exmouth), 15+ manx shearwater, 1 balearic shearwater and 1 guillemot. Earlier 80+ sandwich tern off the Seafront and a couple juv herring gulls.

Med Gull PAJ7

PAJ7 was ringed in Poland on 10/05/2005. It was first recorded on the Skern on 03/07/2008 and has been reported several times since.


15 med gulls.6 adult,2s,8fs,.One of the adults was polish bird PAJ7 which i believe has been visiting the area for at least 5 yrs.Anyone know correctly.216 black headed.None of these birds present this morning.Must have heard my gripe about lack of.Common sandpiper,greenshank24 curlew.

Off Beer

A Beer fisherman reported a Puffin about 2 miles out this morning [Kevin Hale]

Otter Estuary, E Devon

Just as miserable on the coast this morning as elsewhere with visibility out to sea counted in yards.
A Green Woodpecker present plus 3 Cettis Warbler calling and a single sp Black-tailed Godwit on the scrapes.  A juv.Yellow Wagtail on the cricket pitch together with 14 or so juv. Starling and four juv. Goldfinch.  2 ringed  Shelduck with yellow bands on left leg with initials AT (?) and HF (?) provided some interest.

Sherpa Marsh

Had the first look around the pond at Sherpa this morning for some time, and delighted to find that there are now 6 fully-grown juvenile Pochard with adult female still in attendance. Looking at Mike Tyler's 'Birds of Devon' this may be the first successful breeding (including fledging) of Pochard in Devon.

Also present new family of three juv Little Grebes, a female Teal, and 18 Swans (+ one pile of feathers by the pond - fox?)

Instow Cricket ground and Foreshore.


In response to Rob`s comment of lack of Gulls on the estuary yesterday, there were only 9 Black-headed Gulls and just the odd Herring Gull off the Cricket Ground this morning. That was it and no waders of any description.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


32 black headed gulls,2 bar tailed godwits,dunlin.Seems to be a dearth of gulls on north coast at mo.Usually loads more around at this time.

Thurlestone Bay

A very miserable day ,almost continuous rain, very poor viz in the Bay.

On Thurlestone Marsh 9sp Black Tailed Godwit spent the day feeding on the back pool. A few Swift and 30 + House Martin over the marsh

Visited the Spotted Flycatcher nest site in South Milton- only 1 fledgeling survives- parent visiting the nest but not carrying food.

A large feeding flock of 250+ Gannet in the Bay with a futher 75 flying through. Also 25 Manx Shearwater and 3 Common Scoter

Berry Head

Seawatching with Dave Norman covering 09:15-14:15 between us. Steady trickle of Manx reaching c400, but no Balearics, 3 Arctic Skua (two went into Torbay), 1 Pomarine Skua (sub-ad type), 1 Bonxie and 2 Puffins.

One Harbour Porpoise off the headland, while fishermen reported a pod of dolphins heading south earlier. For me the highlight was a couple of huge splashes way-out of a breaching animal, on the third time I managed to get on the beast which revealed itself as a really large Thresher Shark coming right out of the water! I did not realise they can be so big - one caught off Cornwall weighed 1,250lb and measured 32ft!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Start Point

Seawatch 07:00-13:00: Great Shearwater (SW at 10:41, my earliest yet off Devon), 3305 Manx Shearwater (but surprisingly no balearics today!), 4 Puffins, 6 European Storm-petrels, 20 Common Scoter. 2 Pomarine Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas. The usuall group of Bottlenose Dolphins headed SW close inshore at 09:00.

Aveton Gifford

Second calender-year Mediterranean Gull at the start of the tidal road early afternoon.


2fs med gulls,44 black headed,6gbbg,2 bar tailed godwits,2 grey plover,14 dunlin,4 ringed plover,17;10pm

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Budleigh Salterton

A quick seawatch tonight from the seafront 17.00 - 18.00hrs this evening produced 2 Arctic Skua (light and dark phase) and at least 3 Balearic Shearwaters heading West. DC, HB & CT

Exminster Marshes

I very pleasant visit from 08.00 to 09.30, warm sunshine and hundreds of swifts feeding over the pools. Like many today I spent too long trying to scrutinize each bird - all common swifts. Also a few swallows including 3 recently fledged young and about 30 house martins.

On the pools nearest the canal were a few black-headed gulls (c30) and one 2s Med gull. Ducks included 17 mallard, 5 wigeon (1 male in eclipse), 2 teal (pair) and 1 garganey. On the muddy margins to the pools were 16 little egrets, one redshank and 5 black-tailed godwits (3 in sp). Elsewhere singing sedge, reed and Cettis warblers and at least 3 singing blackcaps. About 200 starlings, mostly juveniles suggests they might have had a reasonable breeding season.