Thursday, 2 February 2023

1 Spoonbill

Just the one immature Spoonbill off Mudbank this afternoon but one is certainly better than none. Selected counts included 41 Wigeon, 39 Mallard, 150+ Curlew, 14 Redshank and 1 Greenshank. The female Scaup was again well upriver, with 13+ Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

Yesterday - a female-type Black Redstart moved rapidly through gardens along Belle Vue Road.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Dung Rockits

Two, presumably local, so presumably petrosus, Rock Pipits have been frequenting the dung heap all winter but in the last few days they've been joined by four more birds. The six birds now seem pretty tied to the dung and at least two of them seem to be candidates for the Scandanavian littoralis race, being noticeably grey-toned above and whiter below. Of course, it's possible that all six originate from Scandanavia, but according to the literature there's considerable overlap in appearance between the two races. They're a bit easier in the spring apparently...
I've enjoyed Gav's posts on Rock Pipits - see here for a really good one.

Shades of BBP to this one.

Presumed littoralis.

Some nice yellowish tones to this lovely individual.

A rusty-brown presumed petrosus.

This bird is a pale, grey-looking individual that, at times, had me checking I hadn't overlooked a Water Pipit. I'm assuming it's a reasonable candidate for littoralis.

At some angles the pale supercilium is strikingly strong.

Meadow Pipit.

One of 2 Chiffchaffs feeding on the dung. Along with the chiffies and pipits, up to 4 Pied Wagtails, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Dunnocks, a Wren and a Robin are spending time on the dung. Sometimes they're joined by a male Pheaseant and a Cirl Bunting or two!


Tuesday, 31 January 2023


Lu and I are both off work with Covid at the moment. Lu has the added pleasure of Shingles to contend with, so the house doesn't feel very healthy at the moment. As I write this, Joel is out in the kitchen, blowing his nose and coughing, so it's likely he's coming down with it too. After lunch, Lu and I wrapped up warm and took the dog round the block, in order to get some much-needed fresh air. I was a bit stunned to glance up (at 1338) and see a Short-eared Owl flying downriver, as we headed along the cycle path. I completely fluffed getting the camera out and switched on and, by the time I had, it had gone over Mudbank and was drifting towards town. I managed just a couple distant record shots as it was mobbed by crows, but at least you can see what it is. I failed to see SEO in Exmouth at all last year and I'm not aware of any birds locally, so goodness only knows where it's come from, or where it's going to! Otherwise off Mudbank - a quick scan revealed 1 Mediterranean Gull and 28 Wigeon.
Yesterday off Mudbank - selected counts included 15 Great Crested Grebes, the female Scaup, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers and 1 Siskin over. Three Eider were distantly off the seafront.

Comfortably the 'beefiest' Mediterranean Gull I've seen in a long while.

Little Egret - Mudbank.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Bull Hill Spoons

 The two Spoonbills were snoozing on Bull Hill early this morning. Viewed from Shelly Beach. Also off there - 5 Great Crested Grebes and 17 Lapwings, which is unusual.

Off Mudbank - c215 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 17 Great Crested Grebes and the female Scaup, which seems to be preferring things a bit further upriver of late.
Yesterday, counts included 170+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 64 Knot, c135 Grey Plovers, 23 Wigeon, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers, 42 Mallard, c130 Dunlin, 2 Goldeneyes and the female Scaup.
A quick look at the top fields, on Orcombe Point, revealed a sizeable flock 190+ Lapwings, and 3 Chiffchaffs were feeding on the dung heap, along with one of the Cirl Buntings.

Lapwings - Orcombe Point.

Cirl Bunting feeding on the dung heap.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023


The male Black Redstart was feeding around the sailing club this evening and, off Shelly Beach, c320 Carrion Crows on the mudflats. The 2 Spoonbills flew out of the estuary corner, at 1645, and landed at the entrance to Cockwood Harbour. Late news for Monday (23/1) - the Cetti's Warbler was singing in the hedge, between Mudbank and Lower Halsdon Farm, whilst Lu and I walked the dog (late afternoon).

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Goosander, Avocet

This Goosander was off Mudbank early this morning. Never an easy species to see in Exmouth.

Early morning and mid-afternoon birding today, with temperatures still  hovering not much above zero. Two looks off Mudbank (dawn and mid-afternoon) produced 1 Goosander, 1 Avocet, the female Scaup, 2 Great Northern Divers, 2 Pintail, 1 Goldeneye, 12+ Great Crested Grebes, 5+ Red-breasted Mergansers, c190 Wigeon, c50 Mallard, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Greenshank, 110+ Curlew, 7 Grey Plovers and c60 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.
On an icy Orcombe Point - 2 Cirl Buntings, 2 Chiffchaffs, c190 Skylarks, 15+ Redwings, 9 Snipe, 11 Lapwing, 74 Golden Plovers, 13 Meadow Pipits and 2 Song Thrushes. Nearby, a Black Redstart was on cliffs near Sandy Bay whilst Lu and I walked the dog, and the brook provided 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Black Redstart and 2 Grey Wagtails.
A female Blackcap was in gardens along Belle Vue Road along with a couple Redwings and a Fieldfare.

Another difficult species to catch up with in Exmouth - this Avocet showed well off Mudbank this afternoon. 

I was pleased to see this flock of c190 Skylarks on Orcombe Point today. The highest count in years. 

Cirl Bunting - dung heap. One of two birds wintering on Orcombe.

One of 2 Chiffchaffs on the dung heap.

The Orcombe Point Golden Plover flock numbered 74 birds today.

One of two Black Redstarts seen in Exmouth today. This one was in the brook, near Park Road. The other was on the cliffs between Orcombe Point and Sandy Bay.

Fieldfare - Belle Vue Road.

Redwing - Belle Vue Road.

Thursday, 19 January 2023


Golden Plovers - Orcombe Point.

Late this afternoon was the first chance I've had to check Orcombe since the cold snap started. Sixteen Golden Plovers were feeding in the top fields with 11 Lapwing, c75 Starlings and c100 Black-headed Gulls. Also noted - 1 Little Egret, 3 Stonechats, 15 Snipe, c25 Skylarks, c10+ Meadow Pipits,  1 Stock Dove, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Rock Pipit, 1 Peregrine, 1 Kestrel and the Cirl Bunting.

Yesterday, a flock of 10 Fieldfares flew over Belle Vue Road.


Cirl Bunting - dung field.