Sunday 29 September 2019


Pale-bellied Brent Geese - Mudbank - still at the very least thirty amongst 205 Brents.
A good sea-watch by Exmouth standards. I scanned from the raised beach huts from 0700 - 0900 and recorded 10 Arctic Skua, 6 Great Skua, 4 skua sp, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 12 Common Scoter, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 29 Sandwich Tern, 2 Balearic Shearwater, 9 Swallow and a number of small passerines that were presumably Meadow Pipits. A constant stream of Gannets was passing along with smaller numbers of Kittiwake. At 0824 a probable Long-tailed Skua went west but it was just too far out for me to be 100% happy with it - grey above, pale rump, white belly, pale head and noticeably less hurried flight than all the Arctics, with more shearing and even a 'tower' into the air before briefly alighting on the water and continuing.
Off Mudbank - 77 Mute Swan (4 juvs), a 'sinensis' Cormorant, 1 Greenshank and 205 Brent Geese along with the usual assortment of (uncounted) wildfowl. On a windy Orcombe Point - small numbers of Meadow Pipit, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull.

'Continental' Cormorant - Mudbank.

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull over Gore Lane, Orcombe Point.

Saturday 28 September 2019

Garganey Number Three?

Garganey (female or juvenile) - Mudbank - could be the third of the autumn - definitely not the eclipse drake that was present earlier in the week. This one was present late this afternoon with two Mallard, in heavy rain.
Not a great deal to report today - best bird a Garganey off Mudbank. Otherwise a flock of c170 Brent Geese included at least 30 Pale-bellied birds. Also - Turnstone, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, two or three Bar-tailed Godwit,  adult Mediterranean Gull, 1 Common Tern and c30+ Pintail amongst a good number of Wigeon.
Orcombe was pretty crappy first thing, with small numbers of Meadow Pipit, Swallow and alba wagtail moving west, and Stonechat and 3+ Chiffchaff grounded. Off the seafront - lingering Arctic Skua, good numbers of Black-headed Gull, 2 'commic' terns and at least one first-winter Mediterranean Gull.
Yesterday there were a couple Wheatears on the dung heap late afternoon and a Yellow Wagtail was on the cricket pitch. Off the seafront - a 2w Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua (different to today's bird). The Mute Swan flock numbered a pretty impressive 76 birds, eight of which were juveniles.

Common Gull - a smart first-winter bird off Mudbank.

Mediterranean Gull - Mudbank

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Long-billed Dowitcher

Bowling Green is just ten minutes up the road for me so I didn't think twice about going to look at this little beauty. It spent most of its time asleep,  facing towards the growing audience, which wasn't terribly helpful, but eventually it moved enough to reveal nice plain juvenile tertials. I'm guessing it's the same bird that has recently been at Lodmoor. It will be interesting to see if that is indeed the case as much better photos than this have been taken.
This is my third in Devon. The first was at Fremington Pill on 19/2/91 and the second on Bowling Green on 24/10/07.
Also of note this afternoon - Avocet, Ruff and Common Sandpiper. It's looking good there at the moment. Thanks to Keith for finding it and getting the news out, and thanks to Mark for the text.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Another Garganey

Unpleasant birding conditions the last couple of days with the highlight being another Garganey off Mudbank - this time a drake, with nice light grey forewing patches, standing out amongst the 35 Teal present. Also a high count of 69 Mute Swan, 190 Brent Geese (with Pale-bellied birds still present), good numbers of Wigeon and Pintail, and 3 Greenshank.
Yesterday, despite howling wind and heavy rain, a late afternoon look at Orcombe produced 1 Sand Martin, c30+ Meadow Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtails moving between cattle herds.

The Pintail are showing well off Mudbank at the moment.

Only one Mediterranean Gull off Mudbank today.

Three juveniles amongst the 69-strong Mute Swan flock today.

Sunday 22 September 2019


One of two Feathered Ranunculus trapped last night. Also - Large Ranunculus, 3 Delicate, 15 Rusty Dot Pearl, Portland Ribbon Wave, 2 Four-spotted Footman, at least 10 L-album Wainscot, 3 Silver Y, 1 or 2 White-point, 1 Diamond-back Moth, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Lunar Underwing, Vine's Rustic, Square-spot Rustic, Willow Beauty, Garden Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Light Brown Apple Moth, Garden Rose Tortrix, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Gold Triangle, Angle Shades, Small Dusty Wave, Double-striped Pug, Brimstone Moth, Mother of Pearl, Snout, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Vapourer, Rosy Rustic, Narrow-winged Grey, Coastal Pearl, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer, Light Emerald, Southern Bell and Ruddy Streak. Thirty-seven species is not too bad for the time of year but I was kind of expecting a few more migrants, following the warm southerly breeze.
The rain doesn't appear to have dropped very much in the way of migrants, with just 4+ Chiffchaff, a couple Blackcap, c20+ Meadow Pipit and the Golden Plover on Orcombe Point between heavy showers. Nearby, off the seafront - 50+ Sandwich Tern.
Off Mudbank - c12+ Turnstone, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Mediterranean Gull, c30/40+ Pintail, c300+ Wigeon, 1 Greenshank and 162 Brent Geese, at least a quarter of which were Pale-bellied birds.
Good to bump in to Mike (Greylake Birder) today, and to meet Cilla doing the WeBS count.

Three Delicate trapped last night.

Rusty Dot Pearl - one of 15 trapped. An immigrant species.

One of two Four-spotted Footman trapped last night.

Lesser Yellow Underwing. I'm seeing quite a few of these at the moment but I rarely photograph them. This one was quite nicely marked.

Red Clover - I think.

The Golden Plover is still sneaking around the top fields on Orcombe Point.

Vapourer - I see these day-flying now and again but very rarely trap them.

Mother of Pearl

Saturday 21 September 2019

Delicate and Scarce Bordered Straw

Delicate. A nice selection of moths in the trap this morning included Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Box Tree Moth, Garden Pebble, Garden Rose Tortrix, Rusty Dot Pearl, Garden Carpet, Light Emerald, Snout, L-album Wainscot, Angle Shades, Heart and Dart, Small Blood-vein, Lunar Underwing, Scarce Bordered Straw, Brindled Green, Vine's Rustic and Setaceous Hebrew Character.
The Brent Goose flock numbered 148 this morning. I only had a brief look before football but a good proportion of the flock were Dark-bellied birds, although plenty of Pale-bellied birds were present too. Also noted - a couple Redshank and a Greenshank. The only bird of note on a windy Orcombe Point was a Yellow Wagtail, although quite a few hirundines and Meadow Pipits were flying into the wind too.
Yesterday on Orcombe - a Snipe flushed from the top fields late afternoon, and the first Dark-bellied Brent Geese amongst a flock of 75 birds off Mudbank.

An immaculate Scarce Bordered Straw. Surely hatched locally?

Lunar Underwing

Brindled Green

Redstart - Woodbury Common.

Kestrel - Woodbury Common. Had one on Orcombe Point this morning too.

Thursday 19 September 2019

Brindled Green Golden Plover

Really nice to trap this gorgeous Brindled Green after last week's Sombre Brocade. I'm pretty sure this is the first one I've had in Exmouth but it's by no means a rare species. Other species trapped last night included 5 L-album Wainscot and Pale Mottled Willow.
Stonechat, half a dozen Chiffchaff, c30/40+ Meadow Pipit, 1+ Yellow Wagtail and a Golden Plover on Orcombe Point late this afternoon. The somewhat diminished Swallow flock numbered c20+ birds.
Yesterday on Orcombe - Golden Plover, c50/100+ Meadow Pipit, a small number of Yellow Wagtail, c50+ Swallow, 14 Starling, 2+ House Martin and at least one Sand Martin.

Large Ranunculus

Turnip Moth

Nice to see this beautiful Golden Plover on Orcombe Point this afternoon.

Tuesday 17 September 2019


I found it so hard to describe the short rippled piping call of this evening's Dotterel but I've always been an advocate of immediate note-taking, no matter how poor it is. I was praying for the bird to land, but instead, after doing a couple high altitude laps of Woodbury Common, it headed west, gaining height all the time until it was a tiny speck in the sky. They're nocturnal migrants so I guess it was off!
I spent the last hour or so of daylight walking the dog across Woodbury, on to Colaton Raleigh Common. A beautiful clear evening with hirundines moving through and plenty of Meadow Pipits calling. As I walked along the ridge, parallel to the Grenade range, I picked up a fairly low key but distinctive wader call overhead, and fairly quickly got on to it as it headed towards the fort - a small plover with quick wing action, calling an oddly trilling or rippling 'pu', quite unlike any other wader call and spot on for Dotterel, although I have to admit I'm only familiar with it having listened to it numerous times on xeno-canto. I suspect it has been on the heathland all day somewhere and has now resumed its night-time migration. Although I'm chuffed to have seen it, it's very frustrating not to be able to enjoy good views of it up close, and get photographs. I'm forever hopeful of getting one on the deck on Orcombe.

Coastal Pearl - Mecyna asinalis

One of seven L-album Wainscot trapped last night. One of my favourite moths. Other species trapped included 2 Silver Y, White-point, a couple Rusty Dot Pearl, Southern Bell, Ruddy Streak, a couple Light Emerald, Rosy Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Snout, Garden Rose Tortrix, Vine's Rustic, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Square-spot Rustic, Double-striped Pug, Cypress Pug, Lunar Underwing, Willow Beauty and Small Dusty Wave.

Monday 16 September 2019

Garganey Duck Fest

Part of a flock of at least 40 Pintail off Mudbank this evening.
Challenging but rewarding birding this evening, just before dark, off Mudbank. A flock of wildfowl was quite mobile and mostly in silhouette, but with a bit of patience I managed to count 360+ Wigeon, 40+ Pintail, 14 Teal, 3 Shoveler, c10/20+ Mallard, a Tufted Duck and best of all a juvenile Garganey - my first in Exmouth this year and by no means guaranteed in any given year. The Brent Goose flock numbered 45 birds and were presumably all Pale-bellied birds. Four Yellow Wagtails few over north and Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and Dunlin were all heard but not seen.

Garganey - I've lightened this photo considerably to show the pale supercilium and pale loral spot but The square-shaped head and relatively long bill were clues to its identity even before these features were seen.

This very fresh-looking Common or Lesser Common Rustic was a surprise in the trap this morning as I thought they'd been off the wing for a while now.

Sunday 15 September 2019


Three Grey Herons over Orcombe before heading towards the river.
Another beautiful day with wall-to-wall sunshine and barely a breath of wind. I've been outdoors as much as possible, starting with a dawn walk around Orcombe Point. I recorded 8+ Blackcap, 2 Raven, 1 female Sparrowhawk, 10 Grey Wagtail, 1+ Goldcrest, 200+ Meadow Pipit, 16+ Chiffchaff, 20+ Swallow, 12+ Yellow Wagtail, 5 Tree Pipit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 9 alba wagtail, 1 Stonechat, 2+ House Martin, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Grey Heron.
Off Mudbank - 56 Pale-belied Brent Geese and from the back Garden - Osprey, Hobby and 1 Sand Martin.

It was lovely to see the Pale-bellied Brent Geese up close this morning. I counted 56, of which 27 were juveniles. The juveniles are dusky-flanked and easily confusable with Dark-bellied birds at distance and/or in unfavourable light conditions.

Lunar Underwing. Not much else in the trap last night but Old Lady and Small Square Spot of note.

Osprey from the back garden - seen making its way slowly upriver at 10am, and it or another again at 1435. A Hobby and a Sand Martin also put in appearances with small numbers of Swallow and House Martin on the move too.

Bar-headed Goose - Blackhill Quarry.

One of five Dartford Warblers seen on this afternoon's dog-walk.

Male Keeled Skimmer.

Small Heath and Grayling still on the wing this afternoon.

Saturday 14 September 2019

Pintail Sallow Lapwing

Yellow Wagtail - several birds stopping off to feed in with the cattle this morning.
A beautiful early morning on Orcombe this morning but had to leave prematurely for football. Great to see Ernie as always and no Meadow Pipit count as birds seemed to be heading in all directions with little purpose. This morning's counts included 1 Lapwing, c20+ Yellow Wagtail, 4+ alba wagtail, 8+ Grey Wagtail, 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, 2+ Tree Pipit, 5+ Wheatear, 1 or 2 Stonechat, 1 Whitethroat, 6+ Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest and c10/15+ Skylark - a marked increase.
My first Pintail of the autumn was off Mudbank this afternoon with 21 Wigeon, 24 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and 11 Great Crested Grebe.

First Lapwing of the autumn on Orcombe this morning.


This skinny young male Sparrowhawk gave the Meadow Pipits and Yellow Wagtails little chance of a rest this morning.

A Golden-ringed Dragonfly clings on to a Gorse flower - Woodbury Common.

Not sure what this is but I like it - Woodbury Common.

A very dark chocolatey-brown Square-spot Rustic. Not seen one this dark before. Otherwise 3 Silver Y, 1 Rusty Dot Pearl and a White Point following a clear, cool night.

Sallow. No words....