Saturday, 22 February 2020

Dog Walk

Singing male Dartford Warbler.

Long-tailed Tit collecting cobwebs for a nest.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Pale-bellied Brent

A juvenile Pale-bellied Brent Goose was with c200+ Dark-bellied birds off Mudbank this morning.
Still pretty quiet in Exmouth at the moment. Counts from Mudbank today included 13 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Goldeneye (one male), 32 Wigeon, 1 Canada Goose, c200+ Brent Goose, 2 Teal, 11 Great Crested Grebe, 12+ Sanderling, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Dunlin, 1 Knot, 2 Peregrine, 95+ Common Gull and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull. The Slavonian Grebe was scoped from Shelly Beach and nearby the male Black Redstart betrayed its presence by calling from a tree in someone's drive.
Yesterday the only birds of note were an adult Mediterranean Gull off Maer Rocks, 48 Fieldfare and 1 Redwing over Withycombe Raleigh Common and 8 Snipe and two Skylark in Littleham stubble fields.
On the 19th a look off Maer Rocks revealed 60 Brent Goose, 2 Purple Sandpiper and 3 Great Crested Grebe. The female Eider was off Dawlish Warren. Mudbank counts included c600 Brent Goose, 2 Peregrine and 3 Goldeneye. An afternoon dog-walk on Colaton Raleigh Common produced 3 Siskin, 2 Crossbill, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Stonechat, 3 Skylark and a lone Jack Snipe - the first I've seen in ages.
On the 17th, on/off Maer Rocks - at least 5 Purple sandpiper, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Turnstone and 33 Brent Goose. Off Mudbank - 8 Red-breasted Merganser and a male Goldeneye.
The Ravens are getting playful. Six birds seen on Orcombe Point this morning.

Black Redstart - Shelly Beach.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Storm Dennis

A Great Northern Diver flies in to the bay before 'belly-bouncing' off a wave and landing, to loaf off the seafront. In the background the waves hit the sea wall and railway line between Dawlish and Langstone Rock.
I've been really surprised at how few birds seem to have been blown in by storms Dennis and Ciara. In the past I would have all but guaranteed finding the odd Little Gull or Kittiwake somewhere in Exmouth but I've had no luck whatsoever. Probably just as well for the birds, but the suspicion is the birds just aren't out there like they used to be.
It has been raining heavily for most of today and yesterday but this morning I managed to record 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, at least 9 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Goldeneye off Mudbank. At least 10 Cattle Egret flew up from Cockwood Marsh with a load of gulls. Earlier a Great Northern Diver, 1 Fulmar and two Mallard were off Maer Rocks. A look off Shelly Beach late afternoon revealed good numbers of Black-headed Gulls dip-feeding in the estuary and the regular Kingfisher in the marina.
Otherwise the only news this week is from the 12/2 when the Slavonian Grebe and 2 Mediterranean Gulls were scoped from Shelly Beach after work.

The female Kingfisher can be so difficult to find in the marina. Great camouflage!

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Storm Ciara

Horrendous conditions today and precious little in the way of birds. This is Exmouth quay and part of the seafront shortly after dawn.
Thought I'd at least get a Little Gull or two today but if anything the weather was too bad with apparently nothing moving at sea and very little on the estuary. I just about managed to pick out the Red-necked Grebe, alongside a Great Crested Grebe, off Shelly Beach this morning and 14 Grey Plover flew towards the Warren late afternoon. Otherwise 26 Pied Wagtail on the cricket pitch and 15 Brent Geese on the Imperial rugby pitch were the only things noted.
Yesterday was better with Mudbank counts including 4 Pintail, 2 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 13 Dunlin, 3 Goldeneye, 70+ Shelduck, 11 Grey Plover, 1 Peregrine, 30+ Wigeon, c40 Common Gull, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 100  Brent Geese, 130+ Curlew and a tight-packed flying flock of 18 Cattle Egrets towards Starcross (with a further 3 sitting on a wreck).
A very quick look off Maer Rocks produced just 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 20 Kittiwake. The Red-necked Grebe was off Shelly Beach with 9 Red-breasted Merganser.

No shelter in the estuary today. This was the view from Shelly Beach this morning. The Red-necked Grebe was out there alongside a Great Crested Grebe but difficult to pick up in the choppy conditions.

This strikingly pale Black-headed Gull was off Mudbank late yesterday afternoon.

Two of fifteen Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Imperial rugby ground this afternoon.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020


The cattle field at the top of Gore Lane is just mud now. It's attracting Pied Wagtails (at least 65 this afternoon) and gulls. Should be good for Wheatears in a month's time.
Some birding after work this afternoon. Off Mudbank - 10 Pintail, 54 Wigeon, 14 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Greenshank, 3 Redshank and 1 Peregrine. Thanks to the flat-calm conditions the Red-necked Grebe was scoped in the usual spot off Shelly Beach.
Shelly Beach - the Red-necked Grebe 'til gone 5pm, Slavonian Grebe (off Cockwood), the male Black Redstart, 70+ Shelduck and 170+ Curlew on Cockle Sands.
Orcombe Point - 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot and 130+ Kittiwake back on the Straight Point ledges. The top fields returned counts of 65+ Pied Wagtail, c20/30+ Meadow Pipit, 20+ Skylark and a single Snipe.

Sunday, 2 February 2020


Little Egrets - Lower Halsdon Farm. Birds regularly use the fields alongside the cycle track to sit out the high tide.
Today's highlight was a Woodcock flushed from damp woodland along Castle Lane. Otherwise a few other local bits and pieces but no unusual gulls...
Mudbank - 46 Mallard, 360+ Brent Goose, 2 Peregrine, 13 Wigeon and 15+ Cattle Egrets on a wreck north of Starcross.
Shelly Beach - 12+ Sanderling (Cockle Sands), Red-necked Grebe and the Slavonian Grebe off Cockwood. Nice to see Libby for the second day running and good to meet Tim.
Maer Rocks early on - just 1 Red-throated Diver south and a Fulmar. Offshore winds are never terribly productive.
Yesterdays counts were as follows:
Mudbank - 21 Wigeon, 38 Mallard, 100+ Dunlin, 47 Shelduck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Goldeneye (male and female).
Shelly Beach - 1 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Raven, 9+ Cattle Egret (north of Starcross), 7 Pintail and 11 Wigeon over.
Off the seafront - 7+ Great Crested Grebe, 1 Red-throated Diver and the female Eider sitting off Dawlish Warren.

Scarlet Elf Cap? No clue with Fungi.

Red-necked Grebe - still here and still hard to photograph.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Shelly Beach

An hour before dark, after work - 1 Red-necked Grebe (above) still, the Slavonian Grebe, 5+ Great Crested Grebe, 10+ Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Goldeneye, 50+ Great Black-backed Gull, 4+ Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 Mute Swan.
On the way to work this morning - a Blackcap at the end of Belle Vue Road, possibly the same bird that I saw earlier in the month.
Didn't see the RnG yesterday but the male Black Redstart was found feeding beneath a car of all places!