Sunday 16 June 2024

More Heath Cirls, Common Spotted Orchids

Lovely to see Common Spotted Orchids out now.

Still desperately quiet. A single Grey Plover on Cockle Sands with a smaller wader sp on this afternoon's dropping tide but that's about it.
Yesterday off Mudbank - 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel and 10 Curlew.

 Cirl Bunting - Bicton Common. Hot on the heels of a singing male on Withycombe Raleigh Common, this male was with a female. How long, I wonder, 'til there widespread on the Pebbled Heaths? Nearby - a Firecrest in song. It wasn't long ago (2017) that I recorded the first breeding birds for the Pebbled Heaths, now they're in every pocket of suitable habitat up there. Looks like Cirls are heading the same way...

Friday 14 June 2024


Yesterday - a forty minute sea-watch from the raised beach huts, after work, produced 105+ Manx Shearwaters and 2 Fulmars south. Visibility was dreadful though so I'm sure I missed stuff. 
The most Swifts I've seen together over the town in Exmouth, this summer, is six birds. On Monday a pair were inspecting our neighbours' roof and I enjoyed watching them whiz up and down our road at head height for several minutes. Three birds were then hanging around for a while afterwards. In the morning a flock of 23 flew west across the river, into a headwind - a significant number given the low number of local birds. Also on Monday - 3 Red Kites west. Two went really low over the river at 0840 and a single bird crossed at 1040. Otherwise just 5 Whimbrel off Mudbank, along with a hunting Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. A Peregrine was over the house.

Red Kite - Hurn, Dorset. I see Red Kites from the car pretty much every time I'm working up in Dorset.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Heath Cirl!

I'm used to seeing Cirl Buntings in heathland habitat around the Mediterranean but not in Devon, so this afternoon's singing male, on Withycombe Raleigh Common (against a back-drop of singing Yellowhammers), was a real surprise.

Yesterday off Mudbank - 103 Black-headed Gulls, 19 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Sandwich Terns.
June 4th - 95+ Black-headed Gulls and 6+ Sandwich Terns.
June 3rd - 19 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Mallard and 82 small wader sp, distantly on Cockle Sands.

Sunday 2 June 2024

More Bobs and Bits

Mudbank early this morning - c22+ Sanderling, c15+ Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Knot, 14 Ringed Plovers, 6 Curlew and 3 Black-headed Gulls. A bit more off there than I was expecting to be honest.
On 30/5 - 1 Whimbrel, 8 Canada Geese, 1 Swift and a Red Kite across the other side of the river, heading north.
On 29/5 - 64+ Canada Geese off Mudbank - a notable count for this time of year.

Herring Gulls are roof-top nesters in Exmouth but this bird is only 5 or 6 ft off the ground, on the side of a container/waste 'bay' in the Coastal Waste recycling centre.

Lu and I were cycling to Topsham but I stopped to photograph this Marsh Harrier, high over Bowling Green marsh.

This local adult Barn Owl is attending at least one chick.

Broad-bodied Chaser.

Green Hairstreak.

Lots of recently-fledged Dartford Warblers around at the moment and plenty of singing males too.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Local Bits and Bobs

Shelducks - Blackhill Quarry.

Still ever so quiet but there's always plenty to enjoy locally at this time of year. Today off Mudbank - just 11 Whimbrel logged.
26/5 - Mudbank - 38 Sanderling, 1 Ringed Plover, 25 Canada Geese, 2 Grey Plovers, 6 or 7 Dunlin, 8 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Curlew.

Spotted Flycatcher.

Privet Hawkmoth - spotted on a dog-walk on a neighbour's wall.

Sanderlings - Mudbank. Part of a 38-strong flock on Sunday.

Bar-tailed Godwits (with Oystercatchers and a Whimbrel) - Mudbank.

Curlew - Mudbank. One of only 3 present on Sunday.

Heath Spotted Orchids.

Meadow Pipit.

Willow Warbler.

Early Marsh Orchids are properly out now.

Exmouth's Bee Orchids aren't in the best condition this year.

 Lots of Coal Tit activity on the commons at the moment, as juvenile birds (like this one) beg the adults for food.

Friday 24 May 2024


Osprey - Mudbank. My first in Exmouth this year but a long way off.

An Osprey was on a catch, off Mudbank, at 5pm this afternoon. Soon pushed off by the rising tide, it flew upriver. Also off there - 10 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits. The Reed Warbler and a Whitethroat were in song when I cycled past West Lodge earlier.
Yesterday off Mudbank - 1 Redshank, 1 Knot, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 Whimbrel and c30/40+ Sanderling.
On the 19th - a passage Reed Warbler singing on Orcombe Point and 2 Red Kites seen from the back garden. Off Mudbank - 16 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin and 2 Swifts.
May 18th - a/the singing male Cirl Bunting on Orcombe Point and a Little Egret over. On Cockle Sands - 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Knot, 2 Common Gulls, 4 Grey Plovers and c40 small wader sp. A search of the local heathland revealed 2 'new' Firecrest territories and a new Spotted Flycatcher site. Heath Spotted Orchids are now out in force.

Male Cirl Bunting - Orcombe Point 18/5/24. A breeding Exmouth bird!

Brown Hare - at a survey site near South Molton on Monday.

Friday 17 May 2024

Early Marsh Orchids

Won't be long now before theses Early Marsh Orchids are blooming...

It feels like spring migration is well and truly over in this neck of the woods. Off Mudbank today - just 12 Bar-tailed Godwits and 8+ Whimbrel.
15/5 - 5 Dunlin, 15 Sanderling, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Grey Herons and the leucistic Herring Gull again.
On the 13/5 - an early morning sea-watch from the raised beach huts produced 8 Great Northern Divers, 5 Sandwich Terns, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Red-throated Diver and 2 lingering Arctic Skuas.

A few strolls on local heathland, over the past week, have provided some nice sightings...