Saturday, 1 October 2022

Whooper, RND

 This adult Whooper Swan flew low north, over top fields on Orcombe Point, at 1042 this morning. My first in Exmouth and my first self-found. It drew attention by uttering a single 'honk' and was already well past me by the time I got the camera out. It headed towards the town and presumably, after that, the river, although I couldn't relocate it off Mudbank.

Mudbank early morning, on the rising tide - 47 Little Egrets, 1 Osprey, c240 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Black Swans, 10 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 1 Knot, c20 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone and 3+ Sandwich Terns.
On Orcombe Point - 1 Whooper Swan over and 11 Swallows, but not much else. Six Sandwich Terns were off the seafront and singles of Stonechat, Whinchat and Peregrine were at West Lodge.
Blackhill Quarry - nice to relocate the juvenile Ring-necked Duck this morning. It was first discovered in Shutterton Creek, by Kev, on Wednesday. Also there - 3 Tufted Ducks and a Kingfisher.

Juvenile Whinchat - West Lodge. Discovered in the company of a Stonechat on this afternoon's dog-walk.

The lack of a white band on the bill presumably makes this a juvenile bird. This is the third Ring-necked Duck to have graced the quarry this year!

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Balearic Mass

 Black-tailed Godwit - Mudbank.

A really big flock of Balearic Shearwaters was swirling around off the seafront first thing - a restless mass of birds that was really hard to count, but I think a minimum of 200 birds was present, although I wouldn't be too surprised if it was nearer to 300. The flock dispersed and small groups were still whizzing around the bay mid-morning.
On Orcombe Point - c25 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Tree Pipit, c30 Meadow Pipits, 1+ Siskin, 3+ Swallows and c50+ House Martins. A Great Northern Diver plummeted down from a height, into the bay and a flock of 20 Ravens flew west.
Off Mudbank - 10 Sandwich Terns, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 287 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Black Swans, c1000+ Wigeon, 8 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 16 Grey Plovers and 4 Dunlin.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Balearic Flock

Balearic Shearwaters - part of a flock of 54+. Good scope views but too far for photos.

A flock of at least 54 Balearic Shearwaters joined a large conglomeration of feeding gulls, off the seafront, this afternoon. Also 1 adult Mediterranean Gull and at least 12 Sandwich Terns off there. Nearby on Orcombe Point - at least 2 Yellow Wagtails still, and a flock of c60+ Linnets.

A couple quick looks off Mudbank produced 247+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 3 Shoveler, 11+ Teal, 19 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Redshank, 2 Greenshank and the three Black Swans still.

On Monday, counts from Mudbank included 1 Greylag Goose, 190 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 100+ Shelduck, 3 Dunlin, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 1 Redshank and 1 Sandwich Tern.

On Orcombe Point - still 8+ Yellow Wagtails and my first 2 Golden Plovers of the autumn. Nearby in Maer Valley - 1 Firecrest, a flock of 150+ Jackdaws and 3 Ring-necked Parakeets.

Juvenile Stock Dove - one of a small number of birds with a flock of c60+ Woodpigeons.

Chiffchaff - Orcombe Point.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Weekend Stuff

Wheatear - Orcombe Point.

Orcombe from 0710 - a single Reed Bunting, 1 Snipe and 1+ Redpoll were all firsts for the autumn, on what was a cold and clear morning. Also 3 Siskins west, and c40 Meadow Pipits. Otherwise it was one of those tricky mornings, where counting was difficult, as lots of Linnets, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits were generally milling around. Other records included 7 Chaffinches west, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Tree Pipit, 15+ Chiffchaffs, 20+ Pied Wagtails and 2 or 3 Grey Wagtails. A high flock of c40 hirundines east were probably all House Martins. Otherwise - 2 Sand Martins, 10 House Martins and 17+ Swallows were logged, and 3 Mute Swans flew east.
Off Mudbank - counts included c130 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, c1000 Wigeon (a very rough estimate), 26 Little Egrets, 4 Sandwich Terns, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 150+ Mallard, 2 Kingfishers, 1 Osprey and decent numbers of Pintail. The three Black Swans and the Snow Goose were present early on.
Off Mudbank yesterday  - c200 Pintail was the highest count so far this autumn. Also 110 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 28 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 6 Redshank, 1 Whimbrel and 32 Teal.
Yesterday on Orcombe - 6 Ringed Plovers east, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Wheatear, 2 Stonechats and 40+ Pied Wagtails.

Still six Yellow Wagtails with the cattle on Orcombe.

Black-tailed Godwits are a daily feature off Mudbank at the moment.

 The juvenile Osprey showed well this morning.

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Odd Wildfowl

The Exe's resident Snow Goose was off Mudbank first thing.

Off Mudbank today - 29+ Black-tailed Godwits, 17+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 101 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Snow Goose, 3 Black Swans, 1 immature Spoonbill, 1 Kingfisher, 1 or 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Greenshank, 8 Redshank, 12 Pintail, 1 Osprey, 6 Sandwich Terns and 2 Grey Plovers.
On Orcombe Point - 80+ Meadow Pipits west, 1 Tree Pipit, 2 Goldcrests, 4 Swallows, 18+ alba wagtails, 9 Chiffchaffs, 2 Grey Wagtails and 6+ Yellow Wagtails.
Blackhill Quarry - 1 Great White Egret, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Greylag Goose and a Kingfisher.

Always nice to see a Spoonbill off Mudbank. Not really up to speed with how many are on the Exe at the moment.

Three Black Swans off Mudbank today. The first I've seen in Exmouth this year. I think these birds spend most of their time at the north end of the river.

A fog bank, rolling out of the Exe, into the bay, is a familiar sight, from Orcombe Point, at this time of year. 

One of at least 6 Yellow Wagtails remaining on Orcombe Point. It'll be sad to see them go...

Pink-barred Sallow.

The Great White Egret was again showing well in Blackhill Quarry.

Monday, 19 September 2022

Migrant Firecrest

 Yellow Wagtail - Orcombe Point.

Another cold and clear dawn but far fewer Meadow Pipits through today. This morning's Orcombe Point list included 15 Chiffchaffs (an increase), 1 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrests, 10+ Swallows, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Siskin and c70 Meadow Pipits.
Mudbank - 47 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, c4/500 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 33 Pintail, 17 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Knot, 5 Greenshank, 7 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 14 Bar-tailed Godwits, 23 Black-tailed Godwits and 11 Sandwich Terns.
Yesterday on Orcombe - c250 Meadow Pipits (225 west before 0730), 7 Chiffchaffs, 2 Tree Pipits, 5 Yellow Wagtails and 1 Jay
Off Mudbank - 33 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Greenshank, 19 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel and a Tree Pipit over. At least 24 Cattle Egrets were amongst cattle in a field somewhere behind Starcross. An hour or two spent watching from the back garden produced 2 Ospreys and 3 Goshawks.

Saturday, 17 September 2022


This Great White Egret provided some nice novelty value on Blackhill Quarry this afternoon - the first one I've seen on the Pebbled Heaths. It was first reported yesterday.

An afternoon stroll, starting from Blackhill Quarry, produced 1 Great White Egret, 2 Tufted Ducks, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Osprey and 11 Dartford Warblers. A flock of 15 House Martins, small numbers of Swallows and a few Meadow Pipits were moving, as well as one really big flock of hirundines that flew south-east as I was watching the Osprey.

Earlier, off Mudbank, counts included 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 34 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 118 Shelduck and a juvenile Osprey. Later, a look from the back garden produced 2 Ospreys together, flying really high at times and covering a lot of ground, over the river.

Orcombe was pretty quiet first thing but counts included 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Little Egret, 1 Wheatear, 150+ Meadow Pipits (including 35+ grounded), 7 Chiffchaff, 18+ Pied Wagtails, at least 1 White Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtails, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Tree Pipit, 15+ Swallows, 9 Starlings, 8+ Chaffinches and c40/50+ Linnets.

This tiny, second brood Holly Blue was a weak flyer and quite happy to rest on my hand.

Eleven Dartford Warblers were noted on a walk from Blackhill onto Woodbury Common. Some, like this bird, were in song.

This Osprey was circling Blackhill Quarry at 1pm, before heading rapidly east. At least two others were on the river today.