Friday, 17 February 2017

Pacific Diver

 
I went down to Broadsands this morning for the Pacific Diver. Unfortunately it was a long, long way out in the bay, but at least it had paired up with a Red-throated Diver which allowed structural comparisons to be made. There was very little size difference between the two birds but the Pacific Diver was the stockier of the two and had a pretty distinctive head shape. I attempted the above sketch, much to the amusement of a couple birders nearby, but needless to say there is no plumage detail, save for the complete absence of any white flank patch.
It's almost 20 years ago since I saw my first (and last) Pacific Diver - a winter-plumaged adult bird in Galveston, Texas (April 1998).
I was surprised at how little else was out in the bay but a Black-necked Grebe, or two, was nice to see. It was also great to see Mark and Adele, Dave Land, Brian, Hoppers and Bob.
Yet another brilliant find by Mike but thoroughly deserved given the shear number of hours he puts in checking his local sites on a daily basis. White-winged Scoter next please Mike.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Slavs and Long-tailed Duck


Starcross from Mudbank first thing this morning.
 
Mudbank was good early this morning - 1 Long-tailed Duck, 6 Goldeneye and 2 Slavonian Grebes. A flock of c30+ Meadow Pipits was further upriver towards West Lodge.
Later on I spent a very pleasant couple of hours exploring a small patch of private woodland, on the edge of Exmouth, with Rupert Ormerod and Dick Andrews. Highlights were at least 4 Woodcock, 3+ Stock Doves and up to 6 Treecreepers.
A further whiz round Exmouth late evening produced a probable Yellow-legged Gull (adult) on Bull Hill with an adult Mediterranean Gull over and a Greenshank off Shelly Beach. There are now 2 Little Grebes in the marina and at least one Firecrest is still behind the cricket club.

 
The Slavonian Grebes are normally off Cockwood - just about visible as dots from Shelly Beach. They're rarely off Mudbank so I took the opportunity to get some photos.
 

 
 
 


 
 
 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Black Red


The first-winter male Black Redstart showed really well on boulders around Pirate Cove today. Otherwise very little to report apart from the adult Mediterranean Gull that is fast acquiring breeding plumage. I saw it at the Imperial and off Mudbank today.




I've seen loads of frogspawn over the last couple of days. Also several bumble bees and a Red Admiral tempted out by the warm weather.


Adult Mediterranean Gull

Monday, 13 February 2017

Catch-Up


Herring Gull  - Imperial. This bird has more than one feature suggestive of Caspian Gull but unfortunately it's not one. The greater coverts in particular look unlike those of a typical Herring Gull.
 
I did a sea-watch from the raised beach huts from first light til 0825 this morning. Best bird was an immature Pomarine Skua that made its way slowly east past Orcombe Point shortly after dawn. I also recorded 10+ Fulmar, 12+ Red-throated Divers, 3+ Great Northern Divers, 8 Diver sp, 4 Common Scoter, 5 Shelduck, c10+ Brent Goose and 1 Razorbill amongst a trickle of Auk sp, Gannets and Kittiwakes. A quick look off the seafront, from The Grove   pub, produced an adult Mediterranean Gull and c20+ Bar-tailed Godwits on Warren Point along with c10+ Sanderling.
This afternoon I managed to get out again but couldn't come up with anything better than 8 Purple Sandpipers on Maer Rocks and 2 Black Redstarts in the Shelly Beach area.
Yesterday the female Black Redstart was on the Imperial recreation ground and there was a near enough breeding-plumaged adult Mediterranean Gull off Mudbank with 3 Goldeneye. On Saturday there was an immature male Eider distantly off Maer Rocks along with c10+ Great Crested Grebes and 1 Great Northern Diver.


Orcombe Point at dawn this morning.


Dark-bellied Brent Geese off the Imperial.


Redshank - Imperial


Meadow Pipit - Imperial


Rock Pipit - Imperial. The outer tail feathers looked very white on this bird (possibly too white i.e. an aberration) so I had to have a good look at it. It's just a Rock Pipit but the breast streaking looks relatively well defined. Possibly littoralis? Who knows?




Mediterranean Gull - Exmouth seafront - from 'The Grove' pub.


Black Redstart - the usual female - Shelly Beach apartments.


Shag - Exmouth seafront. Rough weather always forces Shags to be a bit more cooperative. Hope this one's ok.


Purple Sandpiper - one of eight on Maer Rocks this afternoon. Numbers still a bit lower than last year's twelve. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who counts more.



Turnstone - Maer Rocks



Black Redstart number 2. A first-winter male frequenting Pirate Cove.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Subtle Changes


Firecrest - Exmouth Cricket Club

Still not much going on in Exmouth but a few signs of change late this afternoon, with a very black-backed intermedius - type Lesser Black-backed Gull off the Imperial, and a noticeable increase in Common Gull numbers. Also 30+ Sanderling with 1 Knot and the first 3 Linnets that I've seen in Exmouth this year.
Yesterday there was a Great Northern Diver off Maer Rocks late afternoon, and a Firecrest behind the Cricket Club with a Goldcrest.
At least 30 Common Scoter were off the seafront with c10+ Great Crested Grebes.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Bramblings


At least five Brambling feeding with c40+ Chaffinch on beech masts inside Woodbury Fort this afternoon. I failed to photograph a couple colourful males that just wouldn't play ball. Several ground-feeding Coal Tits with the flock too.
Exmouth has been disappointing today but 7+ Purple Sandpipers were on Maer Rocks late afternoon and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and single Lapwing were noteworthy sightings off Mudbank. Two Peregrines also present.


Stonechat - Woodbury Common

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Rockit


This Rock Pipit was feeding right below the viewing screen at Mudbank this afternoon. Note the orangey-toned supercilium which is rather well defined, as well as the grey cast to the upperparts. A potential littoralis? Probably not possible to say. It would be interesting to see how this bird looks in dull conditions or in a month's time. 




Seven Goldeneye off Mudbank this afternoon, including this displaying drake. I've included this terrible shot because I so rarely manage to photograph this species for the blog. Little else off there today.
 
 
At least 4 Cirl Buntings at the local site today. Also 5+ Yellowhammer, 1 Reed Bunting, 35+ Redwing and 3 Stock Doves. Very few Chaffinches though.