Sunday, 19 January 2020


Sundog over the Exe on yesterday's afternoon dog-walk.

It has been a cold but still and beautiful weekend, with ice under foot in the mornings and blue sky dawn 'til dusk.
Maer Rocks first thing, in flat-calm conditions, produced 36 Brent Geese, 9 Purple Sandpiper, 4+ Turnstone and 48 Curlew over to feed in Maer Valley. Nearby on Orcombe Point - the female Cirl Bunting, 20+ Skylark, c20/30+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Linnet - the latter my first in Exmouth this year and a strong indication, along with an increase in Skylark and Meadow Pipit, that the cold weather has forced a few species to move. Really nice to meet John and Sally this morning.
The Littleham stubble fields held 25+ Snipe, 6 Skylark and c20+ Redwing.
There was a good number of waders on show today - totals from both Mudbank and Shelly Beach today included 98+ Grey Plover, 1 Greenshank, 45+ Turnstone, between 500 and 1000 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover, 16+ Sanderling, 6 Redshank, c80 Curlew and, best of all, a lone Lapwing! Also off Mudbank - 5 Goldeneye (2 males), 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Kingfisher and 60+ Shelduck.
At least three Firecrest were found along Madeira Walk this afternoon and the two Black Redstarts showed well in the Shelly Beach area.
Yesterday I found a flock of at least 15 Lesser Redpoll feeding with 4 Bullfinch on the Bystock reserve. Also 1 Snipe, 1 Firecrest and 3 Moorhen.
Off Mudbank yesterday - 8 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 male Goldeneye, 1 Greenshank, 38 Common Gull, 7 Grey Plover, 3 Redshank, 1 Peregrine, 8 Wigeon and 37 Mallard.
A last-ditch evening look at Woodbury Common yesterday revealed just 1 Brambling amongst several Chaffinch flying over to roost.

One of at least 15 Lesser Redpoll at Bystock yesterday. A pale-rumped individual but note the orange-buff wash to face. Pointed tail feathers indicate first-winter.

One of at least three Firecrests - Madeira Walk.

Black Redstart - Shelly Beach - the two birds again present this afternoon. If you want to see these birds you can't beat sunny, still conditions!

Friday, 17 January 2020


The two Kingfishers that were getting off Mudbank at the end of last year seem to have vacated the area. Perhaps this bird, that was in the marina this afternoon, is one of them. Either way it's the first one I've seen in Exmouth this year.
Off Shelly Beach late this afternoon - a small grebe off Starcross, which was almost certainly the Slav, and at least twenty Cattle Egrets gathered on a mud-spit just north of Starcross. Otherwise this week has been a very busy one work-wise, though a Blackcap just down the road, on Monday as I walked to work, was noteworthy.

Sunday, 12 January 2020


Two Mistle Thrushes, 5 Fieldfare and 11 Redwing on the Archery Club playing fields this morning. It's difficult to catch up with winter thrushes at the moment. Mild weather generally keeps them away. Also three Raven and a Stock Dove over but otherwise quiet.
Eleven Red-throated Divers flew in to the bay past Orcombe Point shortly after dawn this afternoon. Off Mudbank - 25 Pintail, 12 Great Crested Grebe and 41 Wigeon.

Adult Mediterranean Gull in with the cattle along Gore Lane this afternoon. Nearby - a single soggy stubble field in Littleham yielded 30+ Snipe and at least 4 Skylark. A single Kestrel was hunting over the very tip of Straight Point firing range.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Common Stuff

Three Bullfinches in hedges around West Lodge late yesterday afternoon. Also 1 Mistle Thrush there.

Maer Rocks just after dawn - 3 Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter and a Fulmar.
Off Mudbank - 34 Pintail, 54 Wigeon and a Greenshank.
Shelly Beach - 2 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 15+ Shag, 1 Great Northern Diver and a probable Merlin low across the estuary towards Starcross, at one point perching on the back of a small boat.
Yesterday off Mudbank - 3 Goldeneye (2 males) and 2 Cattle Egrets distantly, just north of Starcross.
On Wednesday (8/1) at least 18 Cattle Egrets were perched on wrecks just north of Starcross, viewed from Mudbank, and 114 Wigeon, 9 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Teal, 6 Pintail, 1 Greenshank and a drake Goldeneye were logged.

Pale-collared Jackdaw - Littleham. Probably within variation of the local population.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Seven Firecrests

Firecrest - St John's Road. At least seven Firecrests present in the Bystock area today. I strongly suspect there are more. At least five were within the Bystock reserve itself and two more were not far outside it, at the top of St John's Road. Also at Bystock - 9+ Goldcrest, 5/10+ Lesser Redpoll, c10+ Redwing and 5+ Nuthatch amongst a load of the usual woodland stuff. Looking great up there at the moment!
Maer Rocks - 0820 - 0845 in flat-calm conditions - 55+ Brent Goose, 7 Turnstone, 6+ Purple Sandpiper, 6 Red-throated Diver, 1 female Eider (Pole Sands), 1 Knot, 3 Great Crested Grebe and ten Curlew.
A scan from the tip of Orcombe Point produced a further 6+ Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Common Scoter, 20+ auk sp, 1 Razorbill and 5+ Kittiwake. In the bushes - 9 Long-tailed Tit with 1 Goldcrest.
Selected Mudbank counts included 53 Mallard, 1 Teal, 25+ Pintail, 74 Wigeon, 121 Shelduck, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 54 Turnstone, 1 male Goldeneye and 108 Curlew.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Black Red

The male Black Redstart was still in the Shelly Beach area today. Off Mudbank - two drake Goldeneye, 1 Greenshank, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Teal, c100 Wigeon and 25+ Pintail. Just after first light I scoped 13 or 14 Cattle Egrets perched on a wreck, just north of Starcross. Later this afternoon, from Shelly Beach, a small number of birds was again watched amongst the cattle herd between Cockwood and Starcross .

Friday, 3 January 2020


Spent quite a bit of time out and about today and walked miles, but didn't stray beyond the Exmouth boundary. First thing off Maer Rocks - 2 Red-throated Divers, 6 Wigeon, 29 Curlew and 8 Brent Geese.
Off Mudbank - 59 Mallard, 11 Pintail, 7 Wigeon, 6 Redshank and 2 Peregrine.
Bystock - 2 Firecrest, 1+ Lesser Redpoll, 1+ Siskin, 7 Nuthatch, c10+ Coal Tit, 2+ Jay, 2 Green Woodpecker, 3 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Moorhen, 7 Mallard, 1+ Redwing and a Bullfinch amongst other stuff.
The Cirl Bunting was with 4 Rock Pipits on the dung heap at the top of Gore Lane, and nearby in Maer Valley - at least 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, c40 Pied Wagtail and 3 Little Egret.
Finally, at least nine Cattle Egrets in the usual cow field between Starcross and Cockwood, viewed from Shelly Beach late afternoon.

One of two or three Jays - Bystock.

One of two Firecrests showing well in Holly bushes beside Bystock Pool.

Stonechat - Sandy Bay.