Saturday, 25 March 2017

YBW and Gadwall

The sunrise on a chilly Orcombe Point was well worth the 6am start, but bird-wise I'd have been better off staying in bed. Just half a dozen singing Chiffchaffs and the regular pair of Mistle Thrushes made the notebook.
The morning was spent watching Joel play football but this afternoon I was able to spend a bit of time in the back garden. I'm glad I did as at around 330pm a Yellow-browed Warbler started calling from the front of the house! I couldn't locate it initially but after a few minutes it gave an odd weak 'sip' call from a magnolia in Neil's garden, on the opposite side of the road, and I got on it briefly before it flew into the garden adjacent to Neil's back garden. It's only a couple hundred yards away from where I saw one at the end of February - almost certainly the same bird that's staying well hidden in local gardens. Also from the back garden this afternoon - 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 Gadwall (my first in Exmouth this year), 3 Wigeon, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Great Crested Grebe, Green Woodpecker, c20+ Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Canada Geese, c20+ Brent Geese and 1 or 2 Peregrines.

Raven dwarfing 2 Carrion Crows - Exmouth Lifeboat Station.

Friday, 24 March 2017


I had a very brief look off Maer Rocks at first light this morning. Along with a handful of Turnstones there was a single Purple Sandpiper present and an adult Mediterranean Gull dropped in briefly before heading towards the mouth of the river.
Later this afternoon after work, following a tip-off from Terry, I nipped up to Orcombe Point. There was a minimum of 8 Wheatears present (but perhaps up to 15) with birds moving between the orchid field, next to the Geoneedle, and the Bristol Schools field. Not a lot else up there on a brief visit but at least 8 Chiffchaff recorded and c30+ Linnet.
The Imperial/Mudbank end of the estuary produced the Long-tailed Duck, 16 Sanderling, 2 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 3 Grey Plover and another Wheatear.

The view this evening from Exmouth Quay, looking across to Cockwood, with Bull Hill exposed as the tide drops.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

LTD and Little Gull

A quick look off the imperial late afternoon was better than usual. A Long-tailed Duck was out on the river and a first-winter Little Gull was with a small group of Black-headed Gulls. Additionally there was 1 Goldeneye, 13 Wigeon, 72 Brent Geese, 5 Grey Plover and one or two Sandwich Terns.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


In the absence of any other photos here's another shot of one of three Rock Pipits that have been frequenting the dung heap at the top of Gore Lane.
An early morning look off Mudbank, in uncomfortably cold conditions, produced an Osprey a fair way upriver. It had already caught a fish and was lugging it towards Powderham Park. I lost it from view as it lost height and disappeared behind the trees. I'm guessing it arrived late yesterday and have no doubt that it hasn't wasted any time continuing northwards. Also off Mudbank today - 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye, 90+ Curlew, 2 Sanderling, just 5 Red-breasted Merganser and 23 Brent Geese. At least 4 Sandwich Terns were off the seafront late afternoon.

Sunday, 19 March 2017


presumed sinensis or 'continental' Cormorant - Mudbank
Six Sandwich Terns off the seafront mid-afternoon and the two Slavonian Grebes off Cockwood (from Shelly Beach), with a couple likely intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Bull Hill late afternoon. Otherwise Exmouth felt pretty bird-less today.

I haven't measured the gular angle of this bird but my feeling is that it's more sinensis than carbo.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Brief Update

Rock Pipit - one of up to three birds feeding on the dung heap this week.

Barely any birding done this week so very little to report. On Monday (13th) I saw my first Sandwich Tern of the year off the seafront. The following day there were two birds together off the seafront. On Thursday evening there were 7 or 8 Goldeneye upriver from the Imperial. This morning a brief sea-watch from the raised beach huts produced 2+ Red-throated Divers, 1 Common Scoter and 3 Meadow Pipits. This afternoon  I had the 2 Slavonian Grebes from the Imperial and a site on the edge of Exmouth produced 1 Jack Snipe and 3 Common Snipe. Two pairs of Tufted Duck were on Bystock pools late afternoon.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

A Few Migrants

Rock Pipit - Imperial - the grey bird again.

A stroll around Orcombe Point from first light produced 12+ Chiffchaff, 11+ Meadow Pipit, 12+ Blackbird, c15+ Robin, c20+ Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Wagtail and 2 Mistle Thrush.
Mudbank wasn't quite as good as yesterday but still produced 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 48+ Pintail, 1 Goldeneye and c20+ Wigeon.
I got my first Exmouth Sand Martins this afternoon, with 3 skimming past Warren Point into a strong headwind.

Straight Point Kittiwakes

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Little Gull

Rock Pipit - Imperial - a grey and white individual.

I managed to see just 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Stonechat, 1 Curlew and 10+ Meadow Pipit on Orcombe this morning. A bit quiet to say the least.
We then went up to Tiverton to watch Joel play football against Moors Hawks (Brixington won 2-1). Lu and I walked our hound along the river whilst we were waiting for kick-off, and managed to see 2 Dippers, 5 Redwing 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Siskin. I only ever see Dippers these days when at football matches!
Late this afternoon I had a quick look off Mudbank and was pleased to see 1 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 2 Pintail, 1 adult Mediterranean Gull (in full summer plumage), 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and, best of all, a first-winter Little Gull - the first I've had in Exmouth for a while.
The Pale-bellied Brents flew towards the estuary mouth and the Little Gull was dip-feeding in the river before it gained height and flew over Shelly Beach towards the Warren.
I got my first Sand Martin this afternoon - one over the lower part of Bicton Common whilst I was out for a run. Still no Wheatears yet though.

 Rock Pipit - one of at least 3 on Orcombe Point.
Rock Pipit - I suspect this would be claimed as a littoralis if it was feeding on an east coast beach but it was song-flighting and apparently on territory on Orcombe Point so presumably petrosus.

Dipper - one of two seen along the river Exe next  to Tiverton High School. The photo is dreadful but the chances of one turning up in Exmouth are extremely slim so I've included it.

Thursday, 9 March 2017


Redshank - Imperial
Five Goldeneye and a Long-tailed Duck upriver from the Imperial this evening. Also 28 Pintail and 2 Mediterranean Gulls (first and second winters) off there. Had my first quick look on Orcombe but could do no better than a Green Woodpecker. It felt easily warm enough for at least a Wheatear.

Sunday, 5 March 2017


This is the first 2cy Lesser Black-backed Gull that I've seen in ages. Adult birds have been trickling through Exmouth in reasonable numbers for quite some time now.
Virtually nothing to report this weekend but not much time spent out and about. A brief sea-watch from the raised beach huts produced just 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Divers and a Fulmar. At least 5 Purple Sandpipers were on Maer Rocks and good numbers of Herring Gulls were scattered along the beach between the lifeboat station and Sandy Bay.

 Exmouth Beach late afternoon. Gale force wind and strangely devoid of people.