Friday 31 October 2014

Stock Doves Moving

Two visits today - a dawn til 0930 with Nick and a brief early afternoon visit to the top fields. There was plenty of overhead movement this morning but very little grounded. The feature of the morning was the movement of c1000+ woodpigeon (in flocks averaging c70 - c120) and, more notably at least 120 stock doves though I suspect many more sneaked through with the woodpigeon flocks. The main passage had eased by the time Nick and I left but a flock of 55 stockies was seen heading west on my afternoon visit. Other birds seen included c15+ song thrush, 19+ reed bunting, 4 goldcrest, c10/20+ pied wagtail, c20+ chaffinch, 22 dark-bellied brent goose, 5 turnstone, 4 redwing, c100+ starling, c200+ jackdaw, c20/30+ goldfinch, c25+ skylark, 2 redpoll sp, 3+ greenfinch, 1 bullfinch, 1 raven, 1 high-flying sparrowhawk, 1 chiffchaff, 8 rook, 1 raven, 1 snipe, 1 kestrel and low numbers of meadow pipit and linnet. The Maer long-stay carpark produced 1 water rail, 1 grey wagtail, 1+ coal tit, 2+ goldcrest and 3 chiffchaff.

Mixed Woodpigeon and Stock Dove flock. Most birds heading high north-west but some arcing back around and heading east.


Jackdaw flock. At least 200 birds on the move this morning. 56 in this flock.

Grey Wagtail - the Maer

Thursday 30 October 2014


Vestal - an immigrant species.
I ran the moth trap last night and got a nice selection of autumn species. Very few birds today but two water rail beside the Maer long-stay carpark were noteworthy and a close-in guillemot off Exmouth Docks was nice.

Silver Y

Angle Shades - several of these trapped last night.

Black Rustic

Green-brindled Crescent

Pyrausta Despicata?

Red-line Quaker

Silver Y - a second, paler individual

Grey Shoulder-knot

Large Ranunculus
Lesser Yellow Underwing

Double-striped Pug

Above and below - juvenile Shags - Exmouth Docks. I think the above individual has a fishing hook in its foot.

Winter-plumaged Guillemot - Exmouth Docks

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler
Only my fourth dartford warbler on Orcombe Point today. It seems to be sticking to the hedgerow along the footpath that links Gore Lane to the coast path. It keeps returning to some small clumps of gorse, but ranges along the hedgerow as far as the paddock area. I spent quite some time watching it but only heard it call twice. It did deliver a couple of seconds of sub-song, which makes it a male, but presumably a young one, judging by the subdued colour and brown-toned upperparts. My other records of dartford on Orcombe involve two late autumn birds and an early spring individual.
Also this morning, in very wet and unpleasant conditions, 1 little egret, 1 reed bunting, c20+ redwing, c15+ blackbird, 8+ song thrush, 1 blackcap, just 2 goldcrest and small numbers of pied wagtail, meadow pipit and chaffinch.
Late in the afternoon I nipped over to Budleigh to see Chris Townend's yellow-browed warbler - a relatively dull individual with an apparently weak call made it a tricky one! Also seen - 1 firecrest and 1 chiffchaff with an estimated 10/20+ goldcrest.

Above - Green-brindled Crescent and below a Rusty-dot Pearl. Both found beside a light in the Bristol Schools Camp.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Yank Wigeon Hybrid back?

Sunrise from Orcombe this morning.

Birds seen on Orcombe this morning included 25+ robin, 16+ blackbird, c50+ goldfinch, 3 chiffchaff, 5+ goldcrest, c50+ meadow pipit, 20+ chaffinch, 1+ sparrowhawk, c75+ woodpigeon, 2 stock dove, c150+ linnet, c60+ skylark, 14+ raven, 4+ reed bunting, c80+ jackdaw, 8+ greenfinch, c15+ starling, 4+ song thrush, 1 jay, 2 snipe, 2 rook, 2 grey wagtail and 4 turnstone. A quick look at the sallows in the Maer long -stay carpark produced a water rail and a couple goldcrests but still no yellow-browed.
I spent some time at Mudbank grilling what presumably has to be a hybrid drake wigeon x american wigeon hybrid. It looks remarkably similar to a bird I saw back in 2007 which I blogged about just the other day. This afternoon I took the dog for a walk around Woodbury Common where a female-type merlin was the highlight.
Yesterday I only managed about half an hour out in the evening but I managed to get my first purple sandpiper of the autumn on Maer Rocks.

42 Woodpigeon heading west. Doesn't feel cold enough for the big movements yet.
Two stock doves shortly afterwards headed straight out to sea.


Dark-billed blackbird.


Mixed Linnet and Goldfinch flock.

Meadow Pipits

Helice Clouded Yellow - one of three Clouded Yellows on the wing today. 4+ Red Admiral also seen.

Wigeon - Mudbank

Presumed hybrid Wigeon x American Wigeon hybrid. Looked so good at times and even has gleaming white axillaries! Mantle, scaps and some flank feathers undeniably grey though unfortunately!

Dung Field last night.

Last night's Purple Sandpiper on Maer Rocks - first of the autumn.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Ill Communication

Grey Phalarope - Budleigh.

I've been without a phone service now for over a week (steer clear of 'Go' mobile 'pay as you go'), so apologies if you've texted or phoned me and not got a reply. I finally got around to seeing the Budleigh Grey Phalarope this afternoon, cannily combining the twitch with a family dog walk. Well worth the effort if you've not already seen it. It was really nice to bump into Chris Townend and Helen and good to see Bob Bailey, back for his third helping of the phalarope!

Black-tailed Godwit - Budleigh.

Great Northern Diver heading east - Orcombe.

Derek, Nick and I covered Orcombe from first light this morning but it was disappointingly quiet. A few skuas were present, pretty distantly off the point, and they looked like mostly arctics (at least 2 nearer birds were definitely arctic skuas) though one clearly smaller individual was quite possibly a long-tailed (black juv type). Other birds seen this morning included 10+ robin, 6+ blackbird, 2 grey wagtail, 2+  goldcrest, 2 mediterranean gull, 2 mute swan, 1+ chiffchaff, c10+ meadow pipit, 8 pied wagtail, 4+ chaffinch, 13+ long-tailed tit, 1 reed bunting, 8 starling, 1 snipe, 3 bullfinch, 3+ song thrush, 1 great northern diver, c60+ jackdaw, 11 brent goose, 6 common scoter and 2 turnstone. Off Mudbank, as well as about 2000 wigeon, there were 3 shoveler, 2 teal, 6+ red-breasted merganser and good numbers of brent goose. An adult mediterranean gull and 70+ turnstone were also present.

Jackdaws heading west.

Common Marbled Carpet

Epirrita sp - November, Pale November or Autumnal Moth - not a clue!

Herring Gull

Brent Geese and standard disturbance off Mudbank (and many other sites on the Exe).