Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Black Brant

Black Brant field sketches.
The Black Brant off Mudbank this evening was presumably the returning adult. It was with c8/900+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese and always distant. So distant in fact that the neck collar wasn't even visible. Also c1000/1500+ Wigeon, 1 Shoveler, 1 Teal, small numbers of Pintail, several Black-tailed Godwit, 25/30+ Turnstone, 2 Grey Plover, 10+ Great Crested Grebe and 5 Red-breasted Merganser. Also 2 Mistle Thrush over and 5 Sanderling off the seafront.
First-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull - Mudbank

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Med Gull

Second-winter Mediterranean Gull - red Darvic ring on right leg. No details read.
Disappointing on Orcombe today - best birds were 80+ Jackdaw, 4 Stonechat and 1 Stock Dove. Pretty dire really. Also c40+ Woodpigeon, c10+ Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 8 Skylark, 2 Bullfinch and 1 Kestrel. A steady trickle of Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail early on.
Yesterday morning was a bit better but I only had time for a very quick look. Best birds were 5 Reed Bunting, 4+ Redpoll, 4 Swallow and 7 Starling.
Very little of note off Mudbank but yesterday c30/40+ Black-tailed Godwit and my first two Red-breasted Merganser of the autumn. Things can surely only get better this month....

Goldcrest - no Firecrests yet this autumn. Should have had at least one today really!

Two of four Stonechats that were all together on Orcombe today.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Clifden Nonpareil!

I thought I'd missed the chance to see one of these this year. There's been a record number seen in Devon this autumn. Ten I think. John Gale trapped this one in Underdown, his second in recent weeks, and very kindly allowed me to go and see it after work. A large and spectacular species, it certainly didn't disappoint. This species seems to be expanding in range and I reckon it's only a matter of time before I get one here in Exmouth. Here's hoping. A big thank you John!

Sunday, 8 October 2017


Two Kestrels over Orcombe yesterday morning, before heading out over the bay.
Very similar species lists for both today and yesterday. Numbers different. Orcombe from 0705 this morning - 8+ Goldcrest, 7+ Chiffchaff, 2+ Coal Tit, 1 Song Thrush, 130+ alba wagtail, c100+ Meadow Pipit, c230+ Linnet, c35+ Goldfinch, 22+ Siskin, 24+ Chaffinch, 10+ Reed Bunting, 1+ Bullfinch, 5 Swallow, 9+ Greenfinch, 17+ Skylark, 1 Blackcap, 17 Jackdaw and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Yesterday - c100+ Meadow Pipit, 2+ Kestrel, 10+ Goldcrest, 5+ Chiffchaff, 70+ alba wagtail, c40+ Linnet, 15+ Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 23+ Siskin, c10+ Swallow, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Skylark, 3 Chaffinch, 6+ Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Tern.

Pintail - small numbers off Mudbank today. Most presumably at the north end of the river. Also off Mudbank - 1 Teal, c8/900+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 6 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and the White-cheeked Pintail with c50+ Mallard and large numbers of Wigeon.

Mute Swan

Friday, 6 October 2017

Ring-necked Parakeet

Ring-necked Parakeet - Maer Valley
This Ring-necked Parakeet has been reported from the Maer Valley area, occasionally, for a couple weeks now. I had a half-hearted look for it a while back. This evening, having seen virtually nothing on Orcombe, I had a stroll around the area between the sewage works and Maer Farm. As I was nearing Maer Farm I picked up the call and located the bird in trees bordering Rolle playing fields. Always good value, I watched it sat up high in a tree before it flew off noisily over the playing fields.
Otherwise it has been a busy week at work and a quiet one for birds. There were c20+ Swallow over Maer Valley this evening and 25 Pale-bellied Brent Geese off Mudbank with 6+ Teal, c20+ Pintail and a stack of Wigeon.


Speckled Wood


Small White

Comma and Painted Lady

Red Admirals are present in big numbers in Exmouth at the moment.


Small Copper

Red Admiral


This evening's Pale-bellied Brent Goose flock - 13 adults and 12 juveniles.

Wheatear - Orcombe Point

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Odd Pied Wagtail, Ruff and Hobby

This oddly-plumaged Pied Wagtail was on the cricket pitch this afternoon. Note the dusky ear coverts and dark loral line. The breast markings are a little odd too but no doubt just an odd Pied.
Best birds today, and very difficult to get in Exmouth,  were 4 Ruff off Mudbank for a short while on the rising tide - all juveniles - 2 males and 2 females I think, though they were never that close to properly scrutinise. A Hobby was also notable. It went over the cricket ground, high towards the Warren, and I probably wouldn't have noticed it had the White Wagtail that I was photographing not suddenly froze and looked skywards!
Nick and I did Orcombe early on, and in similar conditions to yesterday recorded 10+ 'alba' wagtail, c200 Meadow Pipit, c40+ Linnet, c10+ Chiffchaff, 6+ Goldcrest, 1 Stonechat and, unbelievably,  my first Reed Bunting of the year.
The only other birds of note today were 5 Sandwich Tern in the estuary and 2 Greenshank, 13 Redshank, 12 Grey Plover and 9 Dunlin off Mudbank.

Hobby - Exmouth cricket pitch - thanks to a White Wag.

White Wagtail - Exmouth cricket pitch.

Dawn skies - Orcombe

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Ivy Bee and Today's Birds

Ivy Bee - Exmouth Cricket Club - feeding on Ivy flowers.
I was surprised at how much stuff was going over this morning, in seemingly poor conditions. Low cloud and a stiff south-westerly. Between 0710 and 0910 I recorded c40+ 'alba' wagtail, c250+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Starling, 16 Swallow, 2 Jackdaw, c80+ Linnet, a couple Chaffinch and c20+ Goldfinch all west. Also today - 2 duck sp east (probably Shoveler), 3 Goldcrest, c10+ Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 10 Common Scoter and 1 Arctic Skua.
Off Mudbank - 2 Sandwich Tern, 9 Dunlin, 1+ Grey Plover, 16 Turnstone, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Redshank, 2 Peregrine, c7/800+ Wigeon, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 435+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose, c50+ Mallard and the White-cheeked Pintail. A Siskin and small numbers of Meadow Pipit passed west over the river.
White Wagtail - Exmouth Cricket Club - seen only briefly before flying off. Below a selection of Common Gulls - each with their own character. Lovely birds.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Autumnal Moths

Meadow Pipit - one of c100+ in the top fields late yesterday evening. Also yesterday, in the last hour of daylight, a Spotted Flycatcher and a small number of Chiffchaff. Tonight just a single Wheatear and a Goldcrest, with reduced numbers of Meadow Pipit.


Delicate - this and the Scarce Bordered Straw (below) were trapped by Martin last night. All I could manage, immigrant-wise, was a single Silver Y. A big thank you to Martin for bringing these to Exmouth!

Scarce Bordered Straw

Lunar Underwing

Feathered Ranunculus

Ruby Tiger


Black Rustic

Light Emerald

Flounced Rustic

Hummingbird Hawkmoth caterpillars - Exmouth seafront. I noticed a tweet from John Walters, on the 'Migrant Lepidoptera' twitter feed yesterday. A couple years ago I found a single caterpillar in what I guessed was the same spot. A quick check of the Lady's Bedstraw patch revealed 5 caterpillars this evening. I'm certain I could have found a load more. Great to see!