Saturday, 13 December 2014


Exmouth Quay shortly after dawn. Warren Point is visible on the right.
An uncomfortably cold and frosty dawn start this morning. A quick look off the Imperial with Nick produced 3 female goldeneye and we located the first-winter male black redstart on buildings around the sailing club. Additionally at least one kingfisher was around the sailing club area and 3 red-breasted mergansers were very close offshore there (I later had a flock of c40+ off Mudbank). I then had a quick look at the newly ploughed 'Top Fields' on Orcombe, and the Dung Field, finding c40+ skylark, c10+ meadow pipit, 2 stock dove, 1 grey wagtail and a reed bunting.
With a little time left I then had a look at Hayes Barton Pig Farm. This is my first trip up there this winter and it's looking pretty good, though I couldn't find any brambling or buntings on this morning's visit. There were good numbers of chaffinches feeding in the game cover strips and a decent gathering of gulls comprising c200+ herring gulls and c300+ black-headed gulls. I stopped under a large oak tree, just up the lane from the entrance to the farm, and scanned through a mixed flock of long-tailed tits and goldcrests. I 'pished' to try and bring them closer to me, and a male firecrest popped up in the hedge a few feet away and burst into song. Sadly it didn't stay still long enough for me to photograph it, and soon disappeared.

Meadow Pipit - Dung Field.

Grey Wagtail - Dung Field.

House Sparrow - one from the regular flock at Mudbank Lane. Photographed on a dog walk along the estuary late this afternoon.

View of the estuary this afternoon from the Cycle Path.

This week was ridiculously busy and I had no time for birding, but this watery winter sun scene was worth seeing just before dark on Thursday night.

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