Tuesday, 18 September 2018

YLG


First-winter Yellow-legged Gull - Mudbank - a different bird to the one two days ago with exceptionally broad white tips to the tertials and apparent gap in the tail band. Each one is so different which is a part of what makes them so fascinating.

Nick and I had a look at the sea from dawn but it was really, really quiet. We just about scraped 1 Balearic Shearwater, 3 shearwater sp (probably also Balearics), 1 auk sp (my first for what feels like months), 1 Fulmar and 4 Common Scoter.
Mudbank was better today with two quick scans producing Osprey, Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Mediterranean Gull.



 

Monday, 17 September 2018

Orange Sallow


Orange Sallow - supposed to be a common species but this one, discovered late this afternoon beside a Bristol Schools Camp light, was my first ever.  Like all the Sallows it's a beautiful species and a real sign of autumn.
Bird-wise - 2 Sand Martin, 6+ Swallow, 2 Wheatear and c10+ Meadow Pipit was, if anything, a little more than I was expecting.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Balearics and YLG

 
Unfortunately this juv/fw Yellow-legged Gull was always distant off Mudbank. It looked like a real beauty.
 
Not a lot today. A quick look at the sea, early on, revealed single flocks of 6 Balearic Shearwater and 5 Common Scoter. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew along the beach.
Off Mudbank today were 1 Redshank, 68+ Pintail, c250+ Wigeon, 2 Teal, 4 Turnstone, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, c12+ Sanderling and a Yellow-legged Gull.
A bit of movement on Orcombe Point yesterday morning included my first Reed Bunting of the autumn, 3+ Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 6+ Swallow, 4+ House Martin, 130+ Meadow Pipit, 8+ Chiffchaff, 1 Wheatear, 1 Curlew, 4 'alba' Wagtail, 6 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 5 Skylark.
 
 
Meadow Pipit - Orcombe Point
 

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Pallid Harrier

 
A late afternoon dog-walk on Woodbury Common went a bit pear-shaped when I bumped in to this juvenile Pallid Harrier. I did the usual 'shake and panic' routine before securing this shot which seems to show everything. Mindful of hybrids, and having never seen Pallid Harrier before,  I texted out the news that I thought I had Pallid Harrier, but I was massively relieved when Paul Gosling and Chris Townend showed up to reassure me I wasn't going mad! The bird showed several times around the heathland surrounding the grenade range on Colaton Raleigh Common, and was last seen around 1910 as it was starting to get a bit darker. It will obviously roost in the area and will hopefully be seen again tomorrow. Please stick to the footpaths and bridleways.
 
 
Note the dark boa, broad pale collar, pale area below the eye, orange underparts, broad arm and narrow hand (showing 4 primaries), and dark secondaries contrasting with pale-edged inner primaries. The pale 'boomerang' is present at the base of the primaries. The bird looked buoyant and agile in flight, and was incredibly fast and low, covering large areas of ground quickly. A really good tip for locating it is to look for the alarm-calling Meadow Pipit flocks which the bird was clearly hunting.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

White Wag



A juvenile White Wagtail was with a single Wheatear on Maer Rcks this evening. Nearby on Orcombe Point - a sizeable flock of c60/70+ Meadow Pipit and 12 Yellow Wagtails.
Early yesterday morning - a pre-work sea-watch produced 10 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Manx Shearwater and c60+ Common Scoter south. Also a first-winter Mediterranean Gull.
On Monday - 3 Gadwall off Mudbank.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Another Garganey and YLG

 
Garganey - my second in four days. This one was in with a flock of 200+ Wigeon. I managed this record shot but would have loved it to come closer. Sadly, despite a great new initiative, disturbance is still a big problem off Mudbank (click on image to enlarge).
 
Orcombe was all but bird-less this morning, with just 1+ Grey Wagtail, 1+ Yellow Wagtail, 26+ Meadow Pipit and 3 Chiffchaff recorded. There are still at least a dozen Yellow Wagtails in with cattle off Maer Lane, but it was down to Mudbank to rescue an otherwise very forgettable morning.
In with 200+ Wigeon was my second Garganey in four days. I was at least able to enjoy prolonged scope views of this individual, but the flock was disturbed and I couldn't re-find it. Also 6 Pintail, 2 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Peregrine, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 3 Great Crested Grebe off there.
There was a little bit more happening on Orcombe yesterday morning - c110+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Wheatear, 7+ alba Wagtail, 2 Whitethroat, 8+ Grey Wagtail, 6 Chiffchaff, 11+ Yellow Wagtail, 1 Swallow and 2 Blackcap. A Tree Pipit flew over the cricket pitch and off Mudbank - 2 Greylag Goose, c160+ Wigeon, 44+ Pintail, 9 Sandwich Tern, 3 Black-tailed Godwit,  and a Mediterranean Gull.
 
 
Garganey
 
 
Wheatear - dung heap. Taken a couple days ago.
 

Unfortunately, despite the massive yellow buoys with clear lettering on them, many people still haven't got the message, or they're choosing to ignore the signs.

 
This paddle-boarder succeeded in flushing a large flock of wildfowl this morning. He's just  inside the yellow buoys at the moment but he came in close to the shore shortly afterwards.
 

Some people will go to extreme measures to avoid paying for parking.

 

Centre-barred Sallow. The bulk of last night's catch was made up from Vine's Rustic, Large Yellow Underwing and Square-spot Rustic. Other species included Mullein Wave, Small Blood-vein, Small Dusty Wave, Treble Brown Spot, Garden Carpet, Cypress Pug, Double-striped Pug, Brimstone Moth, Early Thorn, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald, Heart and Dart, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, L-album Wainscot, Old Lady, Angle Shades, Flounced Rustic, Pale Mottled Willow, Burnished Brass and Snout.


L-album Wainscot

 
Spindle Knot-horn - Nephopterix angustella - by far the best of the micros. Garden Pebble was also recorded.
 

 Burnished Brass - beautiful and a master of autumn camouflage!
 
 
Little Egret
 

Lots of Common Darter up at Blackhill Quarry this afternoon. A dog-walk also produced Painted Lady, several Red Admiral, Small Heath, Grayling, Speckled Wood and a Green Sandpiper.

 

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull - heavily anchor-marked scapulars and a more streaky head than normal, but classic YLG in all other respects.



Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull

 
A Peregrine carries a wader away - it was still very  much alive at this point and was possibly one of two Greenshank present.
 
 
Mediterranean Gull - un-ringed!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Garganey and Ruff

 
Pintail - Mudbank
 
Two quick looks off Mudbank today (one before work and one after) produced some surprisingly good birds. This morning produced a juvenile Ruff, 1 Greenshank, 6 Knot, 1 Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Kingfisher, c50+ Wigeon, 1 Pintail and c150/200+ Teal.
An Osprey was fishing off Mudbank at 1705 and it caused havoc amongst the various duck flocks, but thanks to a c100+ Teal flock becoming airborne I was able to pick out a Garganey - the light grey forewing standing out a mile amongst the dark of the Teal. Otherwise off there - 2 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Tern, c10/20+ Sandwich Tern, 7 Pintail and c30+ Wigeon.
 
Still at least 25 Yellow Wagtails in with cattle on Orcombe. Three Chiffchaff and a flock of c20+ Meadow Pipits were also noted, but very little else on a lightning-quick whiz round the top fields this afternoon. On the beach was a small wader flock comprising 10 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling and a Ringed Plover.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Evergestis limbata

 
Dark Bordered Pearl - Evergestis limbata - I've wanted to see this stunning species for a long time. Formerly a real rarity, it appears to be establishing itself in Devon, and presumably elsewhere along the south coast. According to Nick there were seven records in Devon last year, and Nick trapped this one in Budleigh, on his first trapping session at his new house! Many thanks Nick.
 
 
A quick stop off at the top fields revealed the continuing presence of the c50+ Yellow Wagtails that are commuting between cattle herds, either side of Gore Lane. Also at least 1 Tree Pipit buzzing around up there, but I didn't have time to cover it properly. A quick scan of the river from the garden, before work this morning, produced the Osprey but it was a bit murky to see much else. 

Sunday, 2 September 2018

More Migrants

 
Juvenile Sedge Warbler - the feathers are just so fresh on this little beauty. Only my third in Exmouth this year.
 
On the face of it - very quiet today, but some searching eventually paid dividends with the following logged: 1+ Whitethroat, 2+ Chiffchaff, 1 Sand Martin, c15/20+ Swallow, 1+ Wheatear, c10+ House Martin, 1 Whinchat, c50+ Yellow Wagtail, 1 Dartford Warbler, 2+ Tree Pipit, 1 Starling, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 fw Mediterranean Gull and 2 Kestrel.
Off Mudbank - 1 Osprey (caught fish and headed upriver @ 0935), 3 Wigeon, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Redshank, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, c70+ Sandwich Tern, 2 Common Tern, 1 Greenshank and c10+ Ringed Plover.
 

Juvenile Whinchat


Juvenile Dartford Warbler - my earliest autumn Dartford on Orcombe. Previous records have been in March or late autumn.


Portland Ribbon Wave - Bristol Schools - beside a light. Other species found included Single-dotted Wave, Small Blood-vein, Light Emerald, Flounced Rustic, Common Wainscot, Common Carpet, Dingy Footman, Double-striped Pug, Lime-speck Pug and Chinese Character.


Juvenile Yellow Wagtail - c50+ birds moving between cattle either side of Gore Lane.

 

Juvenile Tree Pipit

 
Another angle on the pristine juvenile Sedge Warbler

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Dartford Success


I'm pleased to report that Exmouth's Dartford Warblers appear to have had a successful breeding season. A close-knit party of four birds included this lovely peachy-toned juvenile.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Returning Ducks

 
Blackcap - Orcombe Point
 
Not so much happening on Orcombe today but I managed to record 45+ Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 4+ Meadow Pipit, 2+ Wheatear, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 6+ Tree Pipit, 1 Chiffchaff, 6+ phyllosc sp (probably all Chiffies), 1 Starling, 3 Blackcap, 1 Sand Martin, 2 Swift and small numbers of Swallow and House Martin.
It was good to see some Wigeon back today with 6 off Mudbank and 4, later on, at Bowling Green. Also off Mudbank - 135+ Mallard and 14 Teal.
I spent some time at Bowling Green over the high tide, having dropped Maisie off to work, and was chuffed to see 3 Avocet, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Knot, 2 returning Pintail, 1+ Tufted Duck 2+ Gadwall, 1 Kingfisher, the highly suspect Snow Goose and decent numbers of Redshank amongst a few other bits and pieces.
Really nice to meet Richard Price and Isaac Firth, and it's always good to see Chris Lee who does a great job volunteering for the RSPB.
 

 
It's getting a little late for Swift but it's not 'Pallid late' yet!


The two Kestrels on Orcombe Point at the moment are incredibly approachable. It's an absolute pleasure to get such good views of this declining species.


Horse Chestnut - the best of a tiny selection of moths attracted to the Bristol Schools lights.


Wonderful to watch my first returning autumn Wigeon off Mudbank. There were 2 Pintail on Bowling Green and 14 Teal off Mudbank too.


Three adult males and 2 females or juveniles.


Avocet - Bowling Green