Tuesday 26 February 2019

HH 'n' SEO

The River Exe from up high this evening.
Despite a heavy military presence on the Commons late this afternoon, which included repeated Chinook landings and take-offs, and the sound of gunfire, both ringtail Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl were seen. Both made appearances once the Meadow Pipits started piling in to roost.
The best I could do with the rapid-moving Hen Harrier in low light.
Short-eared Owl - prolonged scope views this evening but always distant.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Pebbled Heaths

Spent about four hours raking around the local heathland this afternoon. The weather was glorious. Pity the same can't be said about my photographic efforts!

At least 16 Brimstones counted around woodland edges this afternoon. Also two Peacock and a Red Admiral.

Saturday 23 February 2019

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis - five minutes up the road at Exton - lovely bird - many thanks Dave!

Friday 22 February 2019

More Firecrests

 I pulled back the curtains this morning to be greeted by this juvenile Peregrine on a fresh Black-headed Gull kill. What a bird!
A few bits and bobs around Exmouth today - Razorbill off the seafront, Slavonian Grebe from Shelly Beach (off Starcross) and off Mudbank - c80+ Grey Plover, c40+ Knot and high numbers of Dunlin in a large and 'difficult to count' mixed flock on Cockle Sands. Also 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Pintail and a Mediterranean Gull.
In Liverton Copse - 2+ Firecrest, Grey Wagtail and several Goldcrest. The Ring-necked Parakeet was at Maer Farm along with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Egret and Sparrowhawk.

Liverton Copse - a rarely visited area of Exmouth but packed with potential. Two Firecrests together was the highlight this morning, but I may have had up to four.

Almost every tree in the copse is wrapped in ivy and in the bottom corner there are numerous Holly trees - Firecrest heaven!

One of two birds feeding around the entrance to the copse, which is just off Dinan Way. What may well have been two different birds were watched at the lower edge of the copse but I can't rule out the possibility that I saw just one wide-ranging pair. At one point the male of the pair burst into song. 

Mediterranean Gull - Mudbank

Little Egret - Mudbank

Ring-necked Parakeet - the least subtle bird in Exmouth - in her usual spot at Maer Farm. I can't work out why such a garish bird, that sits out in the open screaming, hasn't been predated. At least one Sparrowhawk flew through in the 20 minutes I was watching it!

Meadow Pipit

Thursday 21 February 2019

Short-eared Owls

Two Roe Deer and two Short-eared Owls on the Commons this afternoon.

Wednesday 20 February 2019


Greenshank - Mudbank

A brief fly-by redhead Goosander was the highlight at Mudbank this morning. They're less than annual for me here in Exmouth. Also present today -  3 Goldeneye, 8 Pintail, c300+ Common Gull, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 15+ Great Crested Grebe and the three Eider.
Earlier, off Maer Rocks (0745 - 0815) - 18 Red-throated Diver past and two Common Scoter.
Yesterday there were eight Goldeneye together (including the two displaying drakes) off Mudbank - my highest count this winter. Two of the three Eider and a Greenshank were also off there, and earlier I watched a single Cirl Bunting leave the comfort of its hedge along Gore Lane, before heading high north towards Exmouth town. I hasten to add that it wasn't flushed, nor did it appear to loop back. I'm still assuming it's one of the three birds present earlier in the winter.

Common Gull - one of at least 300 off Mudbank this morning, the majority roosting on Cockle Sands as the tide dropped. Clearly a heavy passage of these at the moment. Only two Lesser Black-backed Gulls recorded though.
Here's my laughable attempt at photographing the Goosander. I noticed it a little bit late!

Pintail - eight birds off Mudbank this morning. The bulk of the Pintail flock is spending its time further upriver but a small group has remained faithful to Mudbank this winter, which isn't always the case. Beautiful birds!

Monday 18 February 2019

Colour-ringed Dartfords

Does anyone know who colour rings Dartfords? This pair both sported light blue plastic rings on their left legs. Otherwise very little news, though 19 Red-throated Divers past Maer Rocks first thing was noteworthy, as was 3 Common Scoter.  The latter have been very thin on the ground of late.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Some Movement

Rock Pipit - dung heap.
I got more than I bargained for on Orcombe this morning. West-bound flyover flocks of 8 Golden Plover and 5 Crossbill were totally unexpected, as was the appearance of a single Cirl Bunting. It's been over a month since I last saw the trio that were apparently wintering in the hedge along Gore Lane, but the bird photographed below is presumably one of them. Also on Orcombe - singles of Peregrine, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, plus c200+ Linnet.
Off Mudbank were 85+ Common Gull, 1 Greenshank, 20 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Goldeneye, 1 Eider, 4 Shoveler, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull.
A quick check of the Shelly Beach area produced 1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 7 Teal, 2 Eider and the male Black Redstart.
Lastly - c15+ Great Crested Grebe and a Great Northern Diver off the seafront.

Cirl Bunting - Gore Lane

Shoveler - Mudbank

Saturday 16 February 2019

Quiet Still

Little Egret - Maer Lane - through a gap in the hedge. Love the powder-blue lores.
I've done very little birding this week. Not much seen today either but the three Eider were off Mudbank though distant, hauled out on Cockle Sands. Also off there - 2 Goldeneye, 80+ Wigeon and an adult Mediterranean Gull. The Lesser Black-backed Gull count remains steadfastly on nine birds.
A pre-football 'glance' off Maer Rocks revealed 1+ Purple Sandpiper, 6+ Turnstone and 80+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Knot - Mudbank - earlier in the week.

Dunlin and Turnstone - Mudbank

Red-breasted Merganser - Mudbank

Sunday 10 February 2019


A frisky party of half a dozen Goldeneye off the Imperial this morning. Pity about the poor light and poor weather but an absolute joy to watch the males in full-on display mode.