Friday, 15 January 2021

Sibe Chiff

Siberian Chiffchaffs are inexplicably scarce in Exmouth, so I was delighted to find this one on Orcombe Point this afternoon. It was feeding with two collybita Chiffies in the hedgerow bordering the turnip field, along Gore Lane.

I managed to get out during a short break from work this afternoon. I was a bit taken aback at how good the top fields of Orcombe were. In the brief time I was there I recorded 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 2 Chiffchaff, 7+ Stonechat, 29 Snipe, 3 Curlew, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 15+ Skylark, 14+ Linnet, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel.

Off Mudbank - 3 Goldeneye (2 drakes), 9+ Great Crested Grebes, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 14 Pintail and 44+ Mallard.

One of seven Stonechats on Orcombe this afternoon. I don't remember a mid-winter count as high as this before.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Ring-necked Parakeets

Five Ring-necked Parakeets were showing off in Maer Valley, early this morning. Also there - 2 Firecrests, 1 Redwing, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Goldcrests, 5 Chiffchaffs and a flock of 14 Pied WagtailsA quick look off Maer Rocks produced 3 Red-throated Divers, small numbers of auks and just a single Purple Sandpiper alongside a Turnstone.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Black Redstart

Another early morning stroll around Bystock reserve, in frosty conditions, produced Dartford Warbler, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, 2 Siskins and just one Lesser Redpoll amongst a few other bits and pieces.

Not a lot to report today but off Mudbank - drake and female Goldeneye, 11 Red-breasted Mergansers, 13 Great Crested Grebes, 35 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 16 Pintail, 10 Wigeon, 1 Greenshank, c3/400+ Dunlin and 70+ Mallard. Nearby the male Black Redstart was in the Shelly beach area.

I relocated yesterday's Dartford Warbler in a different part of the reserve this morning. A second individual was across the road on the edge of Withycombe Raleigh Common.

One of four Mistle Thrushes on the archery club playing fields. Three Redwing were also present.

 The recent icy, cold weather has forced the Shelly Beach Black Redstarts down into gardens, and consequently made them much more difficult to locate. I was fortunate to bump into this male this afternoon but it soon disappeared.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Darts Black Brant

I stopped for a quick scan of the Darts Farm Brent flock, on my way to mum and dad's with Lu, and was chuffed to pick out the Black Brant (centre'ish) that I had in Exmouth the other day. I guessed it would be with this lot. It was still present when I stopped again on the way back, when these photos were taken.

The following photos were taken from the same spot on December 30th. The Brant wasn't in the flock then.

Note the pale (leucistic?) bird in the foreground.

Pale-bellied Brent.

A female Blackcap was lurking in Holly and Ivy at the end of our road this morning. Our neighbour, Neil, had a male in his garden this morning.

This Dartford Warbler was foraging in the Bystock reserve this morning. Note the colour rings. Also in Bystock this morning - 7 or 8 Lesser Redpoll, c30/40+ Redwing, 2 Nuthatch, 1 Sparrowhawk and a fly-over Yellowhammer.

Still only the one Marsh Tit on Wright's Lane but I love seeing it! I'd be interested to know if anyone sees more birds.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Great crested Grebe

This Great Crested Grebe has been hanging out in Exmouth marina for a while now. The reflections in the water offer the possibility of some lovely photos but a better camera is required...

Thursday, 7 January 2021


Greenshank - Shelly Beach. One of two present.

A count of 410+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese early this morning. No sign of yesterday's Black Brant. Also off there - 1 drake Teal, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Ringed Plovers, good numbers of Dunlin, Grey Plover and Turnstone, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 1 Rock Pipit and 3 Redwings.
Off the seafront this evening - the regular Great Northern Diver and lots of Common Dolphins, spread out in small groups across the bay - a glass-like sea and a bit of a gull feeding frenzy helping the cause. At least 4 Purple Sandpipers on Maer Rocks on a brief look.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Black Brant

A lightning-quick look off Mudbank, before starting work (from home now until half term at least), revealed this adult Black Brant. I was attempting to count the Brent Geese, which were in unusually good supply this morning, but was stopped in my tracks when I clapped eyes on this. I'm guessing it's probably one of the Fleet (Dorset) birds. It's certainly the first one I've had in Exmouth since the regular wintering bird, which I last saw on November 4th 2017. Also off there - 84 Shelduck, 16 Grey Plover, 1 Peregrine and a Bar-tailed Godwit amongst a few of the more regular species. Nearby, off the seafront this evening - the regular Great Northern Diver and a Kingfisher.

On 4/1 - c200 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover and 130+ Knot off Mudbank. The Knot flock was on Cockle Sands.

I always think Black Brants stand out more at a distance. As well as the blacker under and upperparts, note the contrasting white flank patch and thick white neck collar. As with the last bird we had in Exmouth, it looks noticeably smaller than the Dark-bellied Brents.

Greenshanks - Mudbank 5/1/21.

Dunlin and Grey Plover - Mudbank 4/1/21.

Sunday, 3 January 2021


A bitterly cold sea-watch off Orcombe Point, early this morning, revealed lots of auks feeding offshore and moving east in 'strings'. A very rough estimate of 2-300 Razorbills in the time I was there. I managed to pick out just 3 Guillemots, through watery eyes, but there were presumably more. Also off there - 2 or 3 Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver and 4 Common Scoters with small numbers of Kittiwakes and Gannets.

Off Mudbank today - 130+ Grey Plover, 14 Sanderling and small numbers of Knot (all on Cockle Sands). Wildfowl counts included 70+ Shelduck, 34 Pintail and c40 Brent Geese. A group of c50/60+ Brent Geese were in the 'Duckpond'.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Green-winged Teal

Drake Green-winged Teal with Wigeon - Matford Pools.

Was over that way so popped in for a look at the Green-winged Teal that has been seen on and off at the north end of the Exe for a while now. I'm guessing it's the one I saw on Powderham Marshes just before lockdown. It showed well in lovely light. Good to see Brian with his family, along with Dave Boult and Charlie. A massive thank you to Dave and Charlie for looking after my scope, which I somehow managed to leave behind! Hugely appreciated.
Very little time spent looking locally but a Great Northern Diver and 30+ Common Scoter were off the seafront this afternoon..

Brian initially picked the Green-winged Teal up amongst a little group of its Eurasion cousins, all full of the joys of spring and engaging in a little bit of courtship. I've seen a few 'GWTs' in Devon now - all, of course, drakes - Starcross on 28/3/96, presumed same on Bowling Green on 4/5/96, Powderham Corner on 8/3/00, Exminster Marshes on 27/3/04 (and subsequently), Exminster Marshes on 20/1/07 and Powderham Marshes on 18/3/20.

Friday, 1 January 2021

New Year's Day

I managed to check a few sites around a very cold and icy Exmouth today:-

Mudbank - 45 Mallard, 24 Pintail, 150+ Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 2 Grey Wagtail and 1 Kingfisher along with a few other, regular bits and pieces.

Bystock - 1 Firecrest, 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Nuthatch, 1 Moorhen, 1 Mistle Thrush, c30/40+ Redwing 1 Green Woodpecker and a Stock Dove.

Maer valley - 2 Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 21 Curlew 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, and 4+ Ring-necked Parakeet.

Orcombe Point - 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Stonechat, 1 Kestrel, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 22+ Skylark and 3 Snipe.

Maer Rocks - 11 Purple Sandpipers (lovely to bump into Carl and Jane).

Shelly Beach - 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 1+ Greenshank, at least 1 Shoveler, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 1 Little Grebe.

An estimated 30-40+ Redwings were feeding in Bystock reserve this morning. They're remarkably adept at concealing themselves in Holly. Also on the reserve - 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Firecrest and a Treecreeper amongst a few other bits and pieces.

A male and female Shoveler were in with a small group of Pintail, off Mudbank, this morning. Perhaps the same male was later distantly off Shelly Beach with what appeared to be two females. They were miles away though.

Gadwall is a very infrequent visitor to Exmouth. I'm guessing it took a bit of ice to force these three to move. Two drakes and a female were with other wildfowl off Mudbank this morning.

 Two Chiffchaffs were discovered on Orcombe Point (along Gore Lane) this afternoon.