Tuesday 30 April 2019

Common Sand, Cuckoo, Hobbys

My first Common Sandpiper in Exmouth this year was off Mudbank this afternoon.
Orcombe - early morning - 1 Yellow Wagtail (west), 1 Willow Warbler, 1  Great Northern Diver, 10 Sandwich Tern and the drake Common Scoter.
Off Mudbank late this afternoon - 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Common Sandpiper, 30 Dunlin, 3 Black-headed Gull, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 10 Whimbrel.
Yesterday on Orcombe - 1 Yellow Wagtail (east), 1 Willow Warbler and 20 Common Scoter (flock of 19 plus the regular drake).

First-summer Mediterranean Gull

This evening's local dog-walk produced 2 Hobby, 1 Cuckoo and a Wheatear.

Looking back at Exmouth Beach from Orcombe Point yesterday evening.

Sunday 28 April 2019

Red-throated Diver

It's  exceedingly rare that Red-throated Divers are less than about half a mile offshore in Exmouth, so to have this adult winter-plumaged individual loafing just a few yards off Maer Rocks was an absolute joy. The drake Common Scoter also performed well just a couple hundred yards along the beach.
Not a lot doing this morning but a cessation  in the wind at least made it more pleasant to be out. Orcombe/Maer Rocks produced just 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, the drake Common Scoter, 1 Little Egret, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Turnstone, 5 Sandwich Tern and 14 Whimbrel.
Off Mudbank - 4 Pale-bellied Brent Goose (present for their second day), 35 Whimbrel, 3+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Dunlin and 1 Sandwich Tern. Nearby - a flock of 80+ Starling on Warren View playing fields.

Pale-bellied Brent Geese facing into a blasting north-westerly off Mudbank yesterday. They are still present today.

Saturday 27 April 2019

Dark-eyed Junco

A huge thank you to the owners of 79 Atlantic Way, Westward Ho!

Friday 26 April 2019

Common Scoter

The drake Common Scoter continues to languish just off the beach this evening, between Maer Rocks and Orcombe Point. It's lovely to watch this species close-up.
Yesterday morning I had a quick look at the sea before work and logged as many as 6 Great Northern Diver (although I'm not convinced a couple weren't doing laps of the bay), 1 Red-throated Diver, the male Common Scoter, female Eider, 5 Manx Shearwater and a flock of c30+ Bar-tailed Godwit.
On the evening of the 24th - off Mudbank - c35 Sandwich Tern, 19+ Black-headed Gull, 5 Whimbrel and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit. Just a single Wheatear on Orcombe Point.

Tuesday 23 April 2019


Fourteen Bar-tailed Godwits with c20/30+ Whimbrel off Mudbank early this morning

Monday 22 April 2019

Red Kite


A single Tree Pipit on Orcombe first thing was the only notable migrant and my first this spring. Otherwise the drake Common Scoter and an Eider were offshore and a flock of 14 Brent Geese off Mudbank included 11 Pale-bellied birds and 3 Dark-bellied.
The highlight of this afternoon's lengthy dog-walk on the commons was a Red Kite.

This female Eider was off Maer Rocks. The drake Common Scoter was still showing well a hundred yards or so down the beach towards  Orcombe.

At least 22 Whimbrel off Mudbank today.

First-summer Mediterranean Gull - over the house, east.

Speckled Wood

Loads of Holly Blues in the garden today.

Sulphur Tubic - Esperia sulphurella - a common micro.

Garden Blackcap.

Holly Blue - mating pair.

Sand Martins - Blackhill Quarry - apparently good numbers up at the quarry at the moment. Fingers crossed for a good breeding season.

Red Kite - Bicton Common

Sunday 21 April 2019

Easter Sunday

Today's only noteworthy avian sighting - a passage Cuckoo on Woodbury Common early this morning.


Saturday 20 April 2019


Drake Common Scoter - not far off the beach between Maer Rocks and Orcombe Point, for its second day, and a rare opportunity for a photograph.
No Willow Warblers this morning, for what feels like the first time in weeks! Great to be out birding with Paul early on, and although it was fairly quiet we managed a Serin flying purposefully east at 0650, calling as it went but showing no sign of stopping. Otherwise - 2 Chiffchaff, 4  Blackcap, 4 Canada Goose, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Swallow, 2 Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Scoter and a handful of Linnet and Goldfinch apparently moving through, but difficult to separate from resident birds. Paul had a very likely Garden Warbler moving rapidly through the cliff-top scrub, in subsong, before we met up.

 Large Long-horn Nematopogon Swammerdamella - Lympstone Common

Friday 19 April 2019

More Bad Photos

Whitethroat - Orcombe Point
A quick look at a very quiet Orcombe at dawn, before heading up to Dartmoor with Lu and the dog. I recorded just 3 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, up to 7 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Wheatear and a drake Common Scoter.

Cuckoo - Dartmoor - photographed at extreme long range before it flew directly towards us, passing a few feet over our heads - one of two seen. Also plenty of Meadow Pipits, Wheatears, Stonechats, a Redstart and a Curlew.

Thursday 18 April 2019

Nuthatch, Whitethroat, Hobbys

My laughable attempt at photographing  Hobby! At least two were hunting the commons this afternoon whilst I walked Coco.
Orcombe's highlight this morning was my third record of Nuthatch. It was in the top fields along Gore Lane, making its way along a hedgerow calling a repeated, forceful 'sit' as it went. Otherwise, my first Whitethroat of the year gave quiet sub-song from deep in cover, showing only occasionally. They become far more brazen when back on territory. Also this morning - 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 3+ Meadow Pipit and 1 Swallow. Offshore - 14 Sandwich Tern, 2 Guillemot, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Black-headed Gull and 3 Shelduck.
A quick look off Mudbank revealed 43 Whimbrel.
This afternoon I went for a long walk on the commons with the dog. The standout highlight were at least two Hobby that seemed to be in view for much of our route. Actively hunting, they covered huge amounts of ground in seconds and proved an absolute nightmare to photograph. At one point they engaged in some high-speed chasing around, perhaps indicating an intention to breed? Also recorded - at least 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Wheatear and 15 Crossbill.

Green Tiger Beetle - lots of these out at the moment. A number of Emperor Moths were seen today and I saw my first Common Heath of the year yesterday.

Exmouth's only breeding Canada Geese are found on Bystock Pools.

This Wheatear was on the commons this afternoon. A number of hirundines were moving through too.

Conditions were perfect for soaring Buzzards this afternoon. I estimate between 10 and 20 were seen on this afternoon's dog walk.

Wednesday 17 April 2019

More WWs

Willow Warbler - another little fall of these this morning.
Foggy and quite chilly on Orcombe this morning. I recorded 7+ Chiffchaff, 12+ Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 7+ Whimbrel, c20+ Swallow, 4+ House Martin, 1 Sand Martin, 1 Wheatear and 5 Meadow Pipit.
This afternoon I was pleased to find a male Dartford Warbler back on its traditional Exmouth territory. Also present - a singing male Yellowhammer, at least one Kestrel and 3 Jays.

Brown-tail Moth web.

The fog kept a nice little flock of hirundines low down around the Geoneedle. I reckon around 10 Swallow, at least 4 House Martin and 1 Sand Martin were zooming around in the gloom. Impossible to count accurately though as birds veered in and out of view along the cliff edge.

Today's only Wheatear didn't pause long.