Saturday, 24 October 2020

2cy Gull sp

Interesting gull on Exmouth beach briefly this evening. Presumably just a 2cy Lesser Black-back (lots around today) but heavily-streaked head (probably not enough of a 'hood'), pale iris, dark body and 'shin pads' apparently rare in combination on this species? Stocky build got me thinking of 'Azorean' Yellow-legged Gull but not sure whether it's worth considering?

Friday, 23 October 2020

Another SEO

At least one, possibly two Short-eared Owls on Orcombe today.

Counts today included 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Brambling, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Snipe, 7 Stonechat, 3 Redpoll, 1 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Mallard, 35+ Skylark, 4 Goldcrest, 4 Coal Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 17 Curlew, 1+ Jay, 6 Starling, 90+ Chaffinch, c30/40+ Pied Wagtail, 5 Blackbird, 7 Song Thrush, 4+ Siskin, 3 Grey Wagtail and numbers of Goldfinch and Meadow Pipit.

Coal Tit - Orcombe Point.

Mediterranean Gulls on the Imperial rugby pitch - Tuesday.

Chiffchaff - Orcombe Point.

Saturday, 17 October 2020


This short-tailed 'blob' is a Woodlark heading south-east, over the water treatment works, towards Sandy Bay - my first in Exmouth since March 2nd 2018, when the big freeze dropped five on Exmouth beach.

Today's Orcombe totals, in a light easterly, included 1 male Cirl Bunting, 1 Woodlark, 5 Redwing, 115+ Jackdaw, 45+ Pied Wagtail, 15+ Blackbird, 14 Chiffchaff, 30+ Robin, c160 Linnet, 85+ Goldfinch, 35+ Chaffinch, 3 Song Thrush, 2 Redpoll, 15+ Siskin, 2+ Reed Bunting, 1 Curlew, 2 Little Egret, 4 Brent Goose, 7 Swallow, 1+ Bullfinch, 10+ Stock Dove, c20/30+ Woodpigeon, 25 Starling, 7 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4+ Stonechat, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Common Scoter, a few Skylark and several Meadow Pipits.

This male and a female Kestrel are regularly seen hunting Orcombe at the moment.

At least 30 Robins recorded on Orcombe this morning.

Wigeon. I didn't time the tides right today but c300 Pintail and a small number of Teal were with big numbers of Wigeon and Brent Geese this morning.

Friday, 16 October 2020


A busy week at work but good to get out this evening. A quick race around the usual spots produced Short-eared Owl, c10 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 50/60+ Goldfinch, 40+ Linnet, c20+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Song Thrush, 6 Stock Dove, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, several Blackbird and Robin and a fly-over Grey Heron.
Yesterday evening - 3 Stonechat, 15+ Greenfinch, 1 Blackcap, 1 Snipe and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.
14/10 - Yellowhammer, 17 Starling and 1 Coal Tit.

Meadow Pipit

Several Blackbirds were quietly gorging on berries this evening. This one a first-winter male.

The farmer has smashed up the hedges with his flail but this Robin sang defiantly this evening.

Wednesday's Yellowhammer was mobile.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020


Reed Bunting - Orcombe Point.

A quick whiz round Orcombe, pre-work, produced a juvenile female Merlin, 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Snipe, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 9 Chaffinch, 20+ Goldfinch, 2 Redpoll, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Siskin, 9+ Chiffchaff, 45+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Blackcap, 5 Stonechat and 1 Coal Tit. Plenty of Meadow Pipits too but I didn't count them.

Sandwich Tern - Mudbank. Pintail below.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Late Whinchat

Moody in Exmouth this evening. Cruise ships still moored up in the bay.

This Whinchat was with four Stonechat this evening - a new bird in and paler than the last one. Getting late for them now.

Odd to see Hawthorn flowering and fruiting at the same time, just like the Blackthorn I photographed the other day.

The Snow Goose was the closest it's been off Mudbank this evening, but not even the passing train would persuade it to raise its head.

Sunday, 11 October 2020


A Mistle Thrush pauses in cliff-top bushes at dawn, before heading inland. A morning of clear skies, brief showers and a gentle north-westerly.

Quite good on Orcombe today - the highlight being a Lapland Bunting that flew low west at 0854. It gave the repeated 't t tuk tu' and was flying alongside what I assume was another Lap, but I can't be sure as only one bird called. Also today - Merlin, Firecrest, 15 Coal Tit (including a flock of 8 that 'exploded' out of the water treatment works), 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Mistle Thrush, 65+ Pied Wagtail, 2 Reed Bunting, 45+ Goldfinch, 80+ Linnet, 15+ Siskin, 65+ Chaffinch, 10+ Chiffchaff, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4+ Goldcrest, 6 Swallow, 1 Starling, 2 Jay, 4 Stonechat, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Kestrel and 1 Stock Dove, along with several Meadow Pipits and Jackdaws. Numbers of Robin and Dunnock also appear to have increased.

Another Great Spotted Woodpecker - this one making its way westwards along the cliff-top.

This Meadow Pipit flew out of the turnip field and straight into a hedge which, of course, made me think it might be something rarer. Then I remembered I was on Orcombe Point, and correctly guessed its identity before clapping eyes on it.

An increase in Dunnock numbers with several birds feeding in the turnip field. Stonechat numbers are down from 17 to just 4.

Saturday, 10 October 2020


Coal Tit. Four recorded on Orcombe this morning. This one at least was britannicus.

Nothing out of the ordinary on Orcombe this morning but plenty moving. The morning's totals included 45+ Chaffinch, 70+ Pied Wagtail, 20+ Goldfinch, 90+ Linnet, 40+ Siskin, 4 Swallow, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Redpoll, 7 Starling, c25 Skylark, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Coal Tit, 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4+ Goldcrest,  an adult Mediterranean Gull, lots of Meadow Pipits and a few Jackdaws.

At least 300 Pintail were off Mudbank but I couldn't face counting the numerous Wigeon or Brent Geese that were strung out on the estuary, though a good number of Pale-bellied birds were amongst them. Additionally - 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Redshank, 15+ Bar-tailed Godwit and a lone Whimbrel.

On the 7th a high count of 17 Stonechat was made on Orcombe, late on, after work. The following day the Snow Goose was again off Mudbank and yesterday a second-winter Mediterranean Gull was off there.

Four Great Spotted Woodpeckers was the most I've ever seen together on Orcombe.

Migrant Hawker

Red Dead-nettle

Tamarisk. I've been hoping to see this in flower all summer but spotted this small number of flowers as I was driving along the seafront. I'm guessing it flowers early and late.

Pintail - two of at least 300 off Mudbank this morning. Some of the drakes are just starting to smarten up. I also finally caught up with the presumed Wigeon x Pintail cross that Kev had a while back.

Sunday, 4 October 2020

House Martins

By the time I'd realised that House Martins were moving west (into the wind), following the coastline, at little above cliff-top height, it was gone 8am. I'd started birding at dawn in the top fields so may well have missed a load. Anyway I counted 475+ before the passage seemed to slow and I had to get back. Otherwise this morning - 6 Chiffchaff, 5 Wheatear, 11 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat, 45+ Meadow Pipit, 6 Pied Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 6+ Swallow, 1 Chaffinch and a Goldcrest. House Martins have been in evidence over the town all day and several were feeding just above ground height, in heavy rain, over Exmouth Town football pitch, whilst we were watching Joel play. A 7-1 win for Town U18s vs Copplestone with Joel scoring twice!

In the strong wind the Stonechats, and this Whinchat, had predictably vacated their preferred turnip field in favour of the sheltered side of a hedge. 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Ring Ouzel

This male Ring Ouzel betrayed its presence by giving its hard 'tak tak' from bushes in the Bystock reserve. I was just having a quick look round before Joel's football match kicked off, nearby at the archery club. I quickly fired off the above photo before it 'slunk' into deeper cover. Doubt it'll be going very far in today's torrential rain. Less than annual in Exmouth but I did have one on Orcombe last autumn. Otherwise just a fly-over Crossbill there.

Very little noted on a soggy whiz round Orcombe with just 3 Wheatear, 1 Goldcrest and 10 Swallow logged. Lots of Wigeon and Pintail still off Mudbank but nothing more unusual than 3 or 4 Shoveler and c10 Teal before rain stopped play.

Orcombe after work, late yesterday afternoon, was more productive than expected. Most notable was large numbers of House Martin (and smaller numbers of Swallow) but I couldn't properly establish if it was one large flock feeding widely out over Exmouth or birds just streaming through. One sweep with the bins picked up at least 160 birds but I reckon there were lots more. Otherwise 3 Wheatear, the Whinchat still with at least 11 Stonechat, 1 Snipe, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whitethroat and c15+ Meadow Pipit.

Field Woundwort in flower on Orcombe Point.

Grey Plover - Mudbank

 I was a bit taken aback to see quite a lot of Blackthorn in flower on Orcombe today.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

300 Teal

The Snow Goose was again off Mudbank, shortly after dawn this morning. Plenty of other wildfowl again today but only Teal counted with at least 300 present this afternoon. There are usually no Teal off Mudbank so clearly some kind of displacement/disturbance going on elsewhere. Whinchat and 11 Stonechat still on Orcombe late on.

Three Shoveler today. Different birds to yesterday.