Tuesday, 18 September 2018


First-winter Yellow-legged Gull - Mudbank - a different bird to the one two days ago with exceptionally broad white tips to the tertials and apparent gap in the tail band. Each one is so different which is a part of what makes them so fascinating.

Nick and I had a look at the sea from dawn but it was really, really quiet. We just about scraped 1 Balearic Shearwater, 3 shearwater sp (probably also Balearics), 1 auk sp (my first for what feels like months), 1 Fulmar and 4 Common Scoter.
Mudbank was better today with two quick scans producing Osprey, Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Mediterranean Gull.


Monday, 17 September 2018

Orange Sallow

Orange Sallow - supposed to be a common species but this one, discovered late this afternoon beside a Bristol Schools Camp light, was my first ever.  Like all the Sallows it's a beautiful species and a real sign of autumn.
Bird-wise - 2 Sand Martin, 6+ Swallow, 2 Wheatear and c10+ Meadow Pipit was, if anything, a little more than I was expecting.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Balearics and YLG

Unfortunately this juv/fw Yellow-legged Gull was always distant off Mudbank. It looked like a real beauty.
Not a lot today. A quick look at the sea, early on, revealed single flocks of 6 Balearic Shearwater and 5 Common Scoter. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew along the beach.
Off Mudbank today were 1 Redshank, 68+ Pintail, c250+ Wigeon, 2 Teal, 4 Turnstone, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, c12+ Sanderling and a Yellow-legged Gull.
A bit of movement on Orcombe Point yesterday morning included my first Reed Bunting of the autumn, 3+ Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 6+ Swallow, 4+ House Martin, 130+ Meadow Pipit, 8+ Chiffchaff, 1 Wheatear, 1 Curlew, 4 'alba' Wagtail, 6 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 5 Skylark.
Meadow Pipit - Orcombe Point

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Pallid Harrier

A late afternoon dog-walk on Woodbury Common went a bit pear-shaped when I bumped in to this juvenile Pallid Harrier. I did the usual 'shake and panic' routine before securing this shot which seems to show everything. Mindful of hybrids, and having never seen Pallid Harrier before,  I texted out the news that I thought I had Pallid Harrier, but I was massively relieved when Paul Gosling and Chris Townend showed up to reassure me I wasn't going mad! The bird showed several times around the heathland surrounding the grenade range on Colaton Raleigh Common, and was last seen around 1910 as it was starting to get a bit darker. It will obviously roost in the area and will hopefully be seen again tomorrow. Please stick to the footpaths and bridleways.
Note the dark boa, broad pale collar, pale area below the eye, orange underparts, broad arm and narrow hand (showing 4 primaries), and dark secondaries contrasting with pale-edged inner primaries. The pale 'boomerang' is present at the base of the primaries. The bird looked buoyant and agile in flight, and was incredibly fast and low, covering large areas of ground quickly. A really good tip for locating it is to look for the alarm-calling Meadow Pipit flocks which the bird was clearly hunting.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

White Wag

A juvenile White Wagtail was with a single Wheatear on Maer Rcks this evening. Nearby on Orcombe Point - a sizeable flock of c60/70+ Meadow Pipit and 12 Yellow Wagtails.
Early yesterday morning - a pre-work sea-watch produced 10 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Manx Shearwater and c60+ Common Scoter south. Also a first-winter Mediterranean Gull.
On Monday - 3 Gadwall off Mudbank.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Another Garganey and YLG

Garganey - my second in four days. This one was in with a flock of 200+ Wigeon. I managed this record shot but would have loved it to come closer. Sadly, despite a great new initiative, disturbance is still a big problem off Mudbank (click on image to enlarge).
Orcombe was all but bird-less this morning, with just 1+ Grey Wagtail, 1+ Yellow Wagtail, 26+ Meadow Pipit and 3 Chiffchaff recorded. There are still at least a dozen Yellow Wagtails in with cattle off Maer Lane, but it was down to Mudbank to rescue an otherwise very forgettable morning.
In with 200+ Wigeon was my second Garganey in four days. I was at least able to enjoy prolonged scope views of this individual, but the flock was disturbed and I couldn't re-find it. Also 6 Pintail, 2 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Peregrine, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 3 Great Crested Grebe off there.
There was a little bit more happening on Orcombe yesterday morning - c110+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Wheatear, 7+ alba Wagtail, 2 Whitethroat, 8+ Grey Wagtail, 6 Chiffchaff, 11+ Yellow Wagtail, 1 Swallow and 2 Blackcap. A Tree Pipit flew over the cricket pitch and off Mudbank - 2 Greylag Goose, c160+ Wigeon, 44+ Pintail, 9 Sandwich Tern, 3 Black-tailed Godwit,  and a Mediterranean Gull.
Wheatear - dung heap. Taken a couple days ago.

Unfortunately, despite the massive yellow buoys with clear lettering on them, many people still haven't got the message, or they're choosing to ignore the signs.

This paddle-boarder succeeded in flushing a large flock of wildfowl this morning. He's just  inside the yellow buoys at the moment but he came in close to the shore shortly afterwards.

Some people will go to extreme measures to avoid paying for parking.


Centre-barred Sallow. The bulk of last night's catch was made up from Vine's Rustic, Large Yellow Underwing and Square-spot Rustic. Other species included Mullein Wave, Small Blood-vein, Small Dusty Wave, Treble Brown Spot, Garden Carpet, Cypress Pug, Double-striped Pug, Brimstone Moth, Early Thorn, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald, Heart and Dart, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, L-album Wainscot, Old Lady, Angle Shades, Flounced Rustic, Pale Mottled Willow, Burnished Brass and Snout.

L-album Wainscot

Spindle Knot-horn - Nephopterix angustella - by far the best of the micros. Garden Pebble was also recorded.

 Burnished Brass - beautiful and a master of autumn camouflage!
Little Egret

Lots of Common Darter up at Blackhill Quarry this afternoon. A dog-walk also produced Painted Lady, several Red Admiral, Small Heath, Grayling, Speckled Wood and a Green Sandpiper.


First-winter Yellow-legged Gull - heavily anchor-marked scapulars and a more streaky head than normal, but classic YLG in all other respects.

Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull

A Peregrine carries a wader away - it was still very  much alive at this point and was possibly one of two Greenshank present.
Mediterranean Gull - un-ringed!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Garganey and Ruff

Pintail - Mudbank
Two quick looks off Mudbank today (one before work and one after) produced some surprisingly good birds. This morning produced a juvenile Ruff, 1 Greenshank, 6 Knot, 1 Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Kingfisher, c50+ Wigeon, 1 Pintail and c150/200+ Teal.
An Osprey was fishing off Mudbank at 1705 and it caused havoc amongst the various duck flocks, but thanks to a c100+ Teal flock becoming airborne I was able to pick out a Garganey - the light grey forewing standing out a mile amongst the dark of the Teal. Otherwise off there - 2 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Tern, c10/20+ Sandwich Tern, 7 Pintail and c30+ Wigeon.
Still at least 25 Yellow Wagtails in with cattle on Orcombe. Three Chiffchaff and a flock of c20+ Meadow Pipits were also noted, but very little else on a lightning-quick whiz round the top fields this afternoon. On the beach was a small wader flock comprising 10 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling and a Ringed Plover.