Monday, 31 August 2015



I've been away with the family since early Friday so was keen to get out on Orcombe late this afternoon. I checked the eastern fringes of the patch that border Sandy Bay as this was where the best sunny spots seemed to be. There appeared to be plenty of migrants around so I'm a bit gutted I was unable to get out this morning. Birds seen included 1 Wryneck, 3 Tree Pipit, 1 Whinchat, 3+ Wheatear, 1 Curlew, 1 Blackcap, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, c20+ Chiffchaff and 10+ Yellow Wagtail.
Rush Veneers were very much in evidence in the long grass and a single Silver Y and 2 Clouded Yellow were also seen.

The Wryneck is feeding in the last place I'd expect to see one - the shady edges of a busy, narrow and very muddy part of the coast path about 500yds west of Sandy Bay Caravan Park. If you're approaching from Orcombe Point it's not far past the wooden bench.

Tree Pipits - there were 3 together in the hedge bordering Sandy Bay.

Whinchat silhouette.

Clouded Yellow

Thursday, 27 August 2015


White-point - the best of the immigrant moths last night, trapped alongside 2 Silver Y, 2 Rusty Dot Pearl, 2 Dark Sword-grass and 2 Rush Veneer.

Dusky Thorn

Dark Sword-grass - one of 2 caught last night.

Light Emerald

One of 2 Rusty Dot Pearl.

Silver Y

Blood Vein - a lovely fresh pink-edged individual.

Rush Veneer

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Happy Birthday Joel!

My son's tenth birthday today so no birding. Well I say no birding -  we went down to the river this evening to scoff fish and chips as the sun started to lower, and I took my scope so I could do a quick check of the river. Whilst trying to remain focused on the birthday celebrations I happened to notice huge numbers of terns dropping on to the sandbar in the estuary. Unfortunately the light in the evenings is poor from this side of the river but I reckon there were about 1000 terns, mostly silhouetted 'commics'. They were extremely difficult to count but I got to 500 and reckon I was only about half way through, so somewhere close to 1000 seems reasonable. I did manage to pick out at least 2 Black Terns but there may well have been more. Other than that, 16 Wigeon, 2 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Mediterranean Gull noted.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Butterfly Scare!


Green-veined White - this got me going for a while. I'm not familiar with Black-veined White (but am aware of its existence) but I thought I was familiar with Green-veined White! Thanks to Brian Heasman, Dave Stone and Dave Hopkins for helping sort out the ID.

A lightening look off Maer Rocks, shortly after dawn, produced an adult Little Gull and 2 Turnstone with 1 Black Tern, 2 juv Arctic Tern, 1 Great Northern Diver and a trickle of Sandwich Tern and Kittiwakes through.
Off Mudbank there was 19 Teal, 1 Little Tern, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, 2 Redshank and 1 Greenshank.
 Another quick look off Orcombe late afternoon was worthwhile, with 1 Great Skua lingering and a handful of Manx Shearwater, 2 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Skua sp, 10 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Tern through.

Red Admiral

Vestal - my first this summer - an immigrant species. This one was flushed from long grass in the Dung Field, along with a Rush Veneer. The autumn of 2013 was fantastic for this species on Orcombe, and that culminated with finding a Crimson Speckled, so fingers crossed this autumn is as good!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Less Busy

Acleris sp - can't suss this one. Too small for Light Brown Apple I think, plus too heavily marked.
Much less time out today. A very quick look off the seafront early on produced just one Black Tern, c50+ Common Tern, 2 Knot, 2 Dunlin and 2 Sanderling.
Good to see Andy Bond down at Mudbank today. While we stood chatting 13 Wigeon flew in with a single Shoveler, and a Ruff joined a small group of Knot out on the sandbar. Ruff is always a good Exmouth bird. The duck numbers will increase daily now off Mudbank with Pintail due any day and then the Brents.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Raining Birds


Juvenile Wood Sandpiper - Maer Rocks - not quite a flock of 33 but magical all the same!
The heavy and persistent rain prevented me going out as early as usual, but I eventually made it down to Maer Rocks for about 0730, seeking what little shelter I could find beneath the raised beach huts. A juvenile Wood Sandpiper was stood, looking decidedly fed up, on the rocks along with 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 5 Turnstone, 4 Ringed Plover and a single Sanderling - a really nice little selection for the normally 'wader-less' rocks.
Offshore there were at least 6 Black Tern with small numbers of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern, as well as 7 Common Scoter.
Totals, following two checks of the estuary from the Sailing Club/Imperial and Mudbank, included 13 Black Tern (with Kev and Lee simultaneously watching 6 from the Warren), c60+ Common Tern, c100+ Sandwich Tern, 1 Mediterranean Gull, c120+ Redshank, 25+ Sanderling, c150+ Ringed plover, 7 Greenshank, 2 Knot, c50+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Grey Plover, good numbers of Curlew, a few Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 5 Wigeon and 4 Teal.
On Warren View Playing Fields, at the back of our house, there was a single Black-tailed Godwit and at least 3 Blackcap in surrounding scrub.
A quick check of the Orcombe 'Top Fields' in improving weather this afternoon, revealed at least 3 mobile Yellow Wagtail but not a lot else. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Today's Moths

Scarce Bordered Straw
A decent haul thanks to humid overnight conditions. Immigrants trapped last night included 1 Scarce Bordered Straw, Olive-tree Pearl, 4 Silver Y, 2 Rush Veneer and 1 Rusty Dot Pearl. The rest of the catch included 1 Mullein Wave, 2 Cabbage Moth, 1 Canary-shouldered Thorn, 2 September Thorn, 3 Jersey Tiger, 2 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 7+ Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Swallow Prominent, 3 Double-striped Pug, 2 Spectacle, 13+ Shuttle-shaped Dart, 15+ Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 6+ Brimstone, 1 Grey/Dark Dagger Agg, 1 very tatty Elephant Hawkmoth, 1 Brussels Lace, 1 Marbled Green, 3 Riband Wave, 1 Dingy Footman, 1 Scarce Footman, 2 Knot Grass, 1 Single-dotted Wave, 1 Peppered Moth, 3+ Willow Beauty, 1 Lime-speck Pug, 1 Purple Bar, 3+ Common/Lesser Common Rustic Agg,  c20+ Rustic/Uncertain/Vine's Rustic Agg, 5 Flame Shoulder, 1 Dark Arches, 1 Lychnis, 1 Rosy Rustic, 3+ Square-spot Rustic, 1 Angle Shades, 2 Small Square-spot, 1 Bright-line Brown-eye, 1 Flame Carpet, 3+ Mother of Pearl, 2 Straw Dot, 2 Ruddy Streak and several each of Common Grass-veneer, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer and Light Brown Apple Moth.

Grey or Dark Dagger

Black-headed Conch - Cochylis atricapitana

Scarce Footman

Angle Shades

Olive-tree Pearl

Ruddy Streak - Tachystola acroxantha

Swallow Prominent

Marbled Green

Vine's Rustic

Flame Shoulder

Thursday, 20 August 2015


Very quiet on Orcombe today - just 2 Yellow Wagtail, c5+ Willow Warbler, c5+ Chiffchaff and 1 Curlew made the notebook.
Mudbank produced 1 Mediterranean Gull, 260+ Mallard, 4 Teal, c10+ Common Tern and 4 Knot this morning, and this evening I recorded c80+ Common Tern, 1 Little Tern and 1 juv/fw Yellow-legged Gull - my first for some time.
Yesterday 1 Goldcrest was the most noteworthy sighting on Orcombe, and Mudbank produced 1 Little Tern, 17+ Common Tern and 4 Mediterranean Gull.

Juvenile Willow Warbler

Silver Y - two trapped last night along with the expected small numbers of Rush Veneer and Rusty Dot Pearl.

Mullein Wave

Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer - Agriphila geniculea - lots of these around at the moment, along with plenty of  A. tristella

Yellow-barred Brindle

Tuesday, 18 August 2015



At least 20 Common and about the same number of Sandwich Terns were resting on Maer Rocks early this morning, giving me a fairly rare opportunity to get quite close.
It was an absolute joy to be out on the patch on a beautiful late summer morning. Nothing rare but plenty of stuff to keep me interested and nice to see good numbers of insects, encouraged out by the warmth. Birds seen included 20+ Common Tern, c30+ Sandwich Tern, 28 Manx Shearwater, 8 Common Scoter, 3 Tree Pipit, 1 juv Mediterranean Gull, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 6+ Blackcap, 7+ Whitethroat, 1 Turnstone, 3+ Willow Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3+ Wheatear, 1 fly-over Green Sandpiper, 4+ Chiffchaff, 1 Curlew, 2+ Sparrowhawk and 1 Spotted Flycatcher.
A quick look off Mudbank produced 1 Wigeon, 9 Whimbrel, 4 Common Tern, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 29 Mute Swan.

This juvenile Yellow Wagtail was on the beach by Maer Rocks.

A single Ringed Plover was also on Maer Rocks.

Juvenile and adult Common tern.

Sandwich and Common Tern.

Common Terns

Sedge Warbler - Dung Field.

Painted Lady - one of several butterfly species seen on Orcombe this morning, including Red Admiral, Wall Brown, Holly Blue, Common Blue and Small White.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Spotted Flycatcher

Willow Warbler

Rosy Rustic - one of my favourite autumnal species. Also trapped last night - Mullein Wave, Pebble Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Purple Bar, Blood-vein, Dingy Footman, European Corn-borer, Rusty Dot Pearl, Rush Veneer, Silver Y, Jersey Tiger, Spectacle, Square-spot Rustic, Vine's Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Brimstone, Riband Wave, Cloaked Minor, Common Carpet and a load of other stuff.

Grey Poplar Bell - Epinotia nisella