Monday, 11 December 2017


About a dozen Redwing feeding on Holly berries at the end of our road. I managed to spend a short while watching and photographing them in the last few minutes of daylight. Lightly marked beneath so Scandanavian birds rather than Icelandics. One of my favourite birds.


Sunday, 10 December 2017


Dawn - looking out from Maer Rocks. Good numbers of Gannet in the bay but little else.

Not too much to report today but great to be out and about in the windy weather. I love Exmouth on stormy days. Highlights were 18+ Common Scoter off Maer Rocks, a Red-throated Diver off the docks, before flying in to the estuary, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose in the 'Gut' and a Guillemot in the marina - present for its third day.

Redshank - Mudbank

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

Turnstone - Shelly Beach

Guillemot - Exmouth Marina

Saturday, 9 December 2017


Greenshank - Mudbank
Some nice bits of pieces off Mudbank and some decent counts. Totals included the wintering Long-tailed Duck, 4 Goldeneye (all female types) a Guillemot paddling purposefully upriver (probably the individual that Terry saw in the marina yesterday afternoon), 230+ Pintail (the highest number I've had for some time), 1 Greenshank, c120+ Redshank, c100+ Dunlin, several Turnstone, 7+ Ringed Plover, 35 Grey Plover, 3 Knot, 10+ Great Crested Grebe, 4 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 4 Teal, 12+ Red-breasted Merganser, several Wigeon, a few Shelduck and Brent Geese and a Kingfisher.
Dunlin - one of a number off Mudbank today.

Drake Red-breasted Merganser - Mudbank

Pintail - great to see 230+ gathered off Mudbank today.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Chasing Crossbills

Dawn on Bicton Common - below Woodbury Common.
Nick and I were on Bicton Common for dawn yesterday, hoping to find Crossbills. Within about 10 minutes we had three fly over, but their calls were a bit different - a bit deep! All three headed towards the plantation at the bottom of Woodbury Common so we gave chase. An hour or two later we'd drawn a blank. I managed to get back up there in the afternoon and I eventually located a feeding flock of eight birds, but I couldn't get anything on them before they flew off 'chupping' as they went. Again the calls sounded interesting but I'm not at all familiar with Parrot Crossbill calls.
Nick and I tried the plantation again this morning but we could only find ones and twos of Crossbills, all just flyovers and all sounding Common Crossbill-like.
The plantation in question is the rectangular plantation below Woodbury Common (it's actually part of Bicton Common) called Upham's Plantation, accessed from the road down to Yettington - the next carpark down from the model aircrafraft carpark.
Other species recorded up there this weekend include, c100+ Linnet, 100+ Pied Wagtail (over to roost site somewhere), 8+ Dartford Warbler, c20+ Brambling, c5/10+ Siskin, c10+ Redpoll, 3+ Mistle Thrush, c20/30+ Redwing, 7+ Fieldfare, c5+ Bullfinch, 2+ Reed Bunting and c20+ Goldcrest.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Big Brambling Count

Woodbury Fort was heaving with finches this afternoon. I reckon c200+ Brambling (just 4 in the above photo) and c150/200+ Chaffinch but it wouldn't surprise me if there were more. As well as a big flock exploding off the forest floor, there was a seemingly endless movement of birds through the tree tops and the majority of calls I was hearing were of Brambling, not Chaffinch. Also 8+ Redpoll, Nuthatch, 2+ Redwing and a number of Coal Tit.
Off Maer Rocks this morning were the regular 13 Common Scoter, female-type Eider and 1 Red-throated Diver. Counts off Mudbank included 112+ Pintail, 5 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 2 Greenshank, c130+ Redshank, 9 Grey Plover, 11 Sanderling, 8+ Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 3 Goldeneye, 9+ Great Crested Grebe, the regular Long-tailed Duck, 9+ Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Peregrine, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Reed Bunting and 2+ Meadow Pipit.
Off Shelly Beach - 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 19+ Ringed Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Kingfisher.

Kingfisher - Shelly Beach

Little Egret - Shelly Beach

Saturday, 25 November 2017

This Week's Exmouth Stuff

Common Gull - Mudbank
Maer Rocks today - 13 Common Scoter, 1 Eider, 3 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 6+ Turnstone, 1 Little Egret and at least 7 Purple Sandpiper. Off Mudbank there was a good count 0f 110+ Redshank and c2/300+ Dunlin. Also 3 Grey Plover, 3+ Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 25+ Little Egret, 1 Kingfisher, 4 Pale-bellied Brent Goose and 1 Greenshank, as well as the usual stuff.
Yesterday there was a Red-throated Diver off Maer Rocks, along with the 13 Common Scoter. The Maer carpark held a female Blackcap and 6 Redwing.
On the 23rd there was a single Great Northern Diver off Maer Rocks and on the 21st an early evening look off Maer Rocks produced a skua sp which was almost certainly a Pom, 10 Common Scoter, 1 Eider, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Dark-bellied Brent Goose and 1 Little Egret.


Purple Sandpiper - Maer Rocks - at least 7 on the rocks this afternoon.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Selected Counts

Guillemot - Maer Rocks
Maer Rocks - 1 Eider, 10 Common Scoter, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Guillemot, 7 Turnstone, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Sanderling and 1 Rock Pipit.
Mudbank - a high count of 23+ Great Crested Grebe, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Goldeneye, c60+ Redshank, 13 Black-tailed Godwit, 140+ Shelduck, 2 Teal, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Goose and good numbers of Wigeon, Brent Goose and Pintail.


Common Gull

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Today's Stuff

Tufted Duck - Mudbank
A few quick looks at places today - Mudbank - Tufted Duck, Long-tailed Duck (well upriver this afternoon), 6 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 10+ Red-breasted Merganser, c10+ Great Crested Grebe, 2 Peregrine, 25+ Redshank, 5+ Black-tailed Godwit and c2/300+ Dunlin.
Off Maer Rocks - 15 Common Scoter with a female-type Eider and off Shelly Beach - 1 Great Northern Diver with 6 Long-tailed Tits high over north-west.

Three of six Long-tailed Tits heading high across the river.
Terrible shot of yesterday's Firecrest

Friday, 17 November 2017

Firecrest and LTD

A Firecrest by the Mudbank viewing screen this evening. Also off there the Long-tailed Duck and 5 Red-breasted Merganser with the usual stuff. The only other minor oddity was a female Teal.
Yesterday I stood in the back garden for 10 minutes, before work, and noted my first Fieldfare, along with c25+ Redwing and 1 Siskin. The Long-tailed Duck was scoped along with 6 Black-tailed Godwit.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


Moorhen - Bystock
The female-type Long-tailed Duck was again off Mudbank this afternoon, along with my first returning Goldeneyes of the autumn - 2 female types actively diving mid-river. Also off Mudbank - 40+ Dunlin and 20+ Ringed Plover, with 4 Meadow Pipit over.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Long-tailed Duck

In the absence of LTD photo here's a Wigeon from Saturday.
Just a 5 minute look off Mudbank this evening. One Long-tailed Duck distantly off there, with 10 Red-breasted Merganser. Also 10 Ringed Plover roosting below the railway line. Maisie's 15th birthday today. No idea where the last 15 years have gone! Happy Birthday Maisie!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Italian Sparrow and Goosanders

Male Italian-type Sparrow (right) with House Sparrow - East Budleigh.
I didn't drop everything and rush to see this bird but I suppose deep down I was quite keen to see it all the same. It's one of those birds that's always there in the back of my mind (admittedly some way behind Spanish Sparrow) when I search through House Sparrow flocks, but I'm a reluctant twitcher and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to justify leaving my beloved Exmouth for stuff. Anyway I'm glad I've seen it, and it was great to meet Tom and see Steve Young, despite the freezing northerly, driving rain and stinging hail!
I'll leave the decision about whether it is one or not to those that know far more than me but it has to be said that plumage-wise there's not a lot wrong with it! The BBRC however have currently taken a stance that leaves little possibility of one ever being accepted. A big thank you to Chris for putting the news out and organising viewing. Great work!
At dawn I did Orcombe in a last ditch attempt to see some migration in action this autumn. In clear skies and a cold northerly I logged (all heading west) c120+ Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 1 Redpoll, 10+ Goldfinch, 2+ Linnet, 4+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2+ Siskin, 1 Starling and c50+ Finch sp (too high to suss). My sixth Cirl Bunting on Orcombe, this year, sang briefly from deep in a hedge before heading west and a Yellowhammer went over north. Also recorded - 3+ Goldcrest, 2+ Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 1+ Bullfinch and a Kestrel.
Only a couple quick looks off Mudbank today. Conditions were far from ideal but I still managed 2 Gadwall, 1 Teal and 1 Shoveler amongst the usual stuff. Best off all were 6 redhead Goosander that did a close fly-past before heading upriver - the first I've seen in Exmouth for a while, following a blank year last year.

This male Italian Sparrow was photographed in Corsica in July 2011. It won't add anything to the debate!
Whilst digging out the Italian Sparrow photo I came across this photo of Mediterranean Flycatcher - M.tyrrhenica, alongside a Cirl. Another species that has generated much recent discussion.
Pintail - Mudbank

An obliging Rock Pipit - Exmouth seafront. I stopped to photograph this beauty whilst we were on a family dog walk. Annoying for my family.


Saturday, 11 November 2017


Gadwall pair - Mudbank
Can't think of a more imaginative title. Best birds today were a pair of Gadwall off Mudbank and 6 Eider off Orcombe Point. It's really good to see that the Purple Sandpiper count on Maer Rocks has already risen to eleven birds - that's 3 more than last winter's maximum. Also on Maer Rocks c5/6+ Turnstone and 6 Common Scoter off there.
Off Mudbank - 21+ Turnstone, c60+ Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 2 Grey Plover, 8+ Black-tailed Godwit, c100+ Pintail, c1000+ Wigeon, c6/700+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose and c10+ Pale-bellied Brent Goose, though these weren't given much attention in terrible visibility. Also an adult Mediterranean Gull off there.

White-cheeked Pintail


Friday, 10 November 2017

This Week

A busy and difficult week at work but I always squeeze in a bit of birding, for my own sanity. Trouble is it's near enough dark by the time I get out. Nothing too exciting to report this week but the Purple Sandpiper count jumped to 7 on Tuesday evening, when there were also 2 Golden Plover on Orcombe Point, along with 2 Stonechat and 2 Song Thrush.
Yesterday there were just 2 Purple Sandpiper on Maer Rocks with a Great Northern Diver offshore.
This evening, again just 2 Purple Sandpiper along with 1 Little Egret and 4/5 Turnstone.

Little Egret - Maer Rocks this evening. Guess which way the wind's blowing!

One of two Rock Pipits on the dung heap this evening.

Kestrel - Orcombe Point this evening. Tail looks short. Would be nice to see a longer p10!

Golden Plover - Orcombe Point 7/11

Collared Dove - not a common sight on Orcombe Point. The best place in Exmouth, as far as I can tell, seems to be the Carter Park area, where good numbers of this species can be seen.