Tuesday, 23 October 2018


Woodpigeons - 22 smallish flocks totalling c2000+ birds moved west early morning.
A flock of 19 Cossbills was the highlight on Orcombe this morning. Finches were a feature with c30/40+ Linnet, c15+ Goldfinch, 45+ Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 17+ Siskin and 12 Redpoll logged. Also - 6+ Song Thrush, 1 Blackcap, 1+ Goldcrest, 8+ Pied Wagtail, 40+ Meadow Pipit, 8+ Reed Bunting, 7+ Blackbird, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Kestrel, c2000+ Woodpigeon, 20+ Stock Dove, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Snipe, 1 Jay, 2 Coal Tit, 4 Jackdaw and 1 Grey Wagtail.

A well-marked Rusty Dot Pearl was next to a light in the Bristol Schools field.

Black-tailed Godwit - at least 65 off Mudbank this afternoon. Two Greenshanks were also noted but I didn't count anything else.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Moths and Osprey

I suspect that Martin is right and this is indeed an Autumnal Moth but I've never been brave enough to identify the ' Epiritta' species to form and some online research so far hasn't boosted my confidence. Any comments appreciated.
Orcombe - 0725 - 0930 - 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Yellowhammer, 1+ Goldcrest, 3+ Song Thrush, c15+ Pied Wagtail, 4+ Siskin, 15+ Meadow Pipit, c20+  Goldfinch, c40+ Linnet, c350+ Woodpigeon, 10+ Chaffinch, 5 Redpoll, 2 Grey Wagtail, 10+ Skylark, 1 Stonechat, 1 Coal Tit, 6 Snipe, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 6+ Starling.
Martin popped over mid-morning with some moths, and from the back garden we recorded 3 Coal Tit and the Osprey fishing the lower reaches of the Exe.
A quick look off Mudbank late afternoon revealed 124 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Redshank, 1 Greenshank and 270+ Curlew.

Satellite - an absolutely gorgeous moth. This individual's 'satellites' are orange instead of white but it's never-the-less a beauty. Thanks Martin. I think this is my new favourite species.

Chestnut - a nice fresh 'white-dusted' example of this variable species.

The many Grey Squirrels at Mudbank have a penchant for Hawthorn berries.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

YBW and Merlin

Nick and I wandered around Orcombe for the first couple hours of daylight. A bit of overhead movement included 3500+ Woodpigeon (all west) c25+ Pied Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 1 Curlew, 1 Little Egret, 10+ Siskin, 3 Redpoll, c20+ Goldfinch, 12+ Chaffinch, 10 Jackdaw, 2 Stock Dove, 2+ Reed Bunting and a Yellowhammer. Also 1+ Bullfinch, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Kestrel, 5+ Song Thrush, 4+ Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Turnstone and small numbers of Linnet, Skylark and Meadow Pipit.
I popped back up to Orcombe mid-afternoon and saw nothing extra apart from a Merlin which shot into an ash tree above me as I walked up Gore Lane.
Off Mudbank this afternoon - 110+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 2 Dunlin, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Kingfisher, 14 Great Crested Grebe and 6 Red-breasted Merganser. Just as the sun was setting I decided to have a quick look at the Warren View sallows just behind our house. A Yellow-browed Warbler called once, then after a few minutes a couple times more before popping up in to view and promptly disappearing again. It was with a Chiffchaff and will presumably roost in the immediate area tonight.
Yesterday I spent a few minutes from dawn counting stuff from the back garden, before a football match with Joel out at Hemyock. Jackdaws were the most notable species with c350+ moving south west with a few relatively small flocks of Woodpigeon. Four Song Thrush, 1+ Siskin and an adult Mediterranean Gull were also logged.
Off Mudbank later on I had my largest ever Exmouth count of Black-tailed Godwit - 155 in total. Also 2 Greenshank and 12 Red-breasted Merganser.

A last minute decision to search the scrub bordering the playing fields at the back of our house, just before dark,  paid off with this brief Yellow-browed Warbler. My first of the autumn.


Very much a record shot of a Merlin but they're not even annual for me here in Exmouth, so each one is a bit special. I'd love to have had a proper look at it but it spent just a second or two in the tree before flying off.

Kestrel soaking up the early morning sun.

Coal Tit photographed from the back garden.

Common Darter - a few of these around Orcombe this afternoon. Also several Red Admirals and 3 Clouded Yellows (including a 'helice').

Jackdaws passing over the house early yesterday morning.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Short-eared Owl and Redstart

A Redpoll over the garden whilst I opened the moth trap this morning hinted at it being a good day, so I spent eight hours at work wondering what I was missing. I could even hear Skylarks going over as I was supervising miscreants in the 'Time Out' room, which didn't help! Texts from Lee and Keith confirmed there was lots turning up locally so I shot up to Orcombe as soon as work finished.
Best bird was a beautiful Short-eared Owl that was hunting the top fields for at least two hours until dusk. Also recorded was 1 Redstart, 1 Wheatear, a high count of 11+ Stonechat, 1 Siskin, 70+ Woodpigeon, c20+ Skylark, c50+ Meadow Pipit, 15 Starling, 1 Grey Wagtail and 6+ Chiffchaff.
Off Mudbank - 67+ Black-tailed Godwit, 57+ Redshank, 4 Dunlin and c80+ Turnstone with high and uncounted numbers of wildfowl. Yesterday there were 4 Greylag Geese off there.
An early morning pre-work spell on Orcombe on the 16th produced 2 Goldcrest, 6+ Song Thrush, 1 Lapwing, 1 Snipe and 3 Wheatear amongst a few other bits and pieces.

Presumed first-winter male Redstart - my first on Orcombe this autumn and a bit of a late one.

Meadow Pipit


Green-brindled Crescent

Large Wainscot

Vestal - other immigrant species were 1 Rush Veneer, 2 Rusty Dot Pearl, 2 Silver Y and a Dark Sword-grass.

Pine Carpet

Chestnut - other species trapped last night included L-album Wainscot, Black Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Angle Shades, Red-line Quaker, Barred Sallow, Feathered Ranunculus, Lunar Underwing, Double-striped Pug, Common Marbled Carpet, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Light Brown Apple Moth and a very late Apple Leaf Skeletoniser.

Song Thrush - part of a small arrival on Orcombe on Tuesday morning.

Plenty of stuff to see off Mudbank at the moment....
The Short-eared Owl was still hunting the top fields at dusk.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Sinensis Cormorant

A 'sinensis' Cormorant off Mudbank today, but little else noted other than the now regular flock of Black-tailed Godwits, which numbered 32.
A quick look at Orcombe late afternoon produced 5+ Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and c30+ Meadow Pipit. The Linnet flock has increased in size to 340+.
340+ Linnet on Orcombe today.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

This Week

A very quick look at the sea 'pre-football' revealed the two Eider, 6 Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Scoter and a south-bound Great Northern Diver, but otherwise it was very poor.
Orcombe was blown out in the gale-force southerlies this afternoon, but I still managed to log 2 Stonechat, 2 Snipe, c100+ Linnet, 1 Blackcap and c50+ Meadow Pipit.
Off Mudbank there was a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, c25+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Greenshank, 5+ Redshank, c10+ Great Crested Grebe and c450+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose.
Late yesterday afternoon a 'commic' tern was battling against the wind off Starcross and on the 11th - 52 Black-tailed Godwit, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern were off Mudbank, with 2 Mediterranean Gulls (adult and first-winter) on Warren View playing fields.
On the 10th two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in with the dark-bellied birds off Mudbank, and 3 Song Thrushes dropped from high in the sky as I walked to work in the morning. 
At the start of the week my morning walk to work produced my first Redwing of the autumn.

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull - Mudbank

 Kingfisher - Mudbank

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Orcombe 'Overheads' and 180 Pintail

I spent the first couple of hours of daylight (0705 - 0905) on Orcombe. Overhead stuff was tricky to count with birds flying east, against the majority heading west, and many flocks too high up to identify. I ended up with the following totals: c110+ Meadow Pipit, c100+ 'alba' Wagtail, 1 Redpoll, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Grey Wagtail, 9+ Chiffchaff, 1 Kestrel, 58+ Linnet, c35+ Chaffinch, 7 Reed Bunting, c40+ Skylark, 3 Greenfinch, 6 Swallow, 2 Raven, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3+ Blackcap.
A high count of 180 Pintail was made off Mudbank, along with 52+ Black-tailed Godwit, 160+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 130+ Curlew, 1 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 92 Shelduck, 2 Greenshank, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit.
Possible Box Bug? Edit - Coreus marginatus or Dock Bug - thanks to Tim for the id.

It's an absolute joy to be able to watch Black-tailed Godwits off Mudbank at the moment. They are normally only occasional visitors to this end of the river but the feeding seems to be to their liking at the moment, and numbers have built to at least 52 birds this afternoon.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Red-crested Pochard

Red-crested Pochard (third from right) with Pintail and Wigeon. It looks essentially like a female with a darker crown and paler cheeks, but the black breast and under-tail coverts make it a male. Not quite sure if its an immature bird or a bird coming out of eclipse.
I picked this Red-crested Pochard up in with the Wigeon this evening. Unfortunately the bird was always in silhouette so I haven't got any decent photos, and I haven't quite sussed its age. An unseen shooter forced every duck and goose in to the air with a single shot, and I was unable to re-find it. Half the flock had headed towards the Warren and indeed it was picked up there this evening by Kev. Otherwise c40+ roosting Black-tailed Godwit and 7+ Redshank were the only birds of note, though I had my first Redpoll of the autumn fly over as I walked to school this morning.

Red-crested Pochard - top right. The bird appears to show black breast and grey bill so presumably a
first-winter male?
This is my third record in Exmouth following an eclipse male on 20/9/97 and a first-winter male on 9/1/10

Pink-barred Sallow - a nice variety of moths trapped last night included Cypress Carpet, Cypress Pug, Double-striped Pug, Common Marbled Carpet, Willow Beauty, Rusty Dot Pearl (3+), Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Silver Y (2), Coastal Pearl, Feathered Ranunculus, Barred Sallow, Sallow, Pink-barred Sallow, Lunar Underwing, Beaded Chestnut, Red-line Quaker, Vine's Rustic, Black Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Treble Brown-spot, Pale Pinion, L-album Wainscot, Long-horned Flat-body, Blood Vein, Light Brown Apple Moth, Southern Bell, Square-spot Rustic and Angle Shades.


Pale Pinion

Red-line Quaker

Barred Sallow

L-album Wainscot

Feathered Ranunculus

Black Rustic