On the 2nd both grebes were seen again but the highlight was a Woodcock flushed from woodland along Castle Lane.
On the 5th three Razorbills and two Guillemots were feeding off Orcombe Point and at least 130 Kittiwakes were back on their Straight Point ledges. A count of 65 Pied Wagtails was made from cattle fields along Gore Lane but the wintering Skylark flock numbered just c20.
Storm Ciara hit on the weekend of the 8/9th and the following weekend storm Dennis, but neither delivered anything of note. On the 8th the most noteworthy sighting was 21 of the Starcross Cattle Egrets, viewed from Mudbank.
On the 19th a good late winter count of c600 Brent Geese was made from Mudbank and the female Eider was again seen off the Warren. The following day 48 Fieldfares flew over Withycombe Raleigh Common and on the 21st a juvenile Pale-bellied Brent Goose was with Dark-bellied birds off Mudbank.
On the 23rd fourteen Fulmar flew south past Orcombe Point and a male Gadwall was displaying to a female just north of West Lodge. Overall it was an incredibly wet and windy month.
My first Yellowhammer of the year in Exmouth was a male on Withycombe Raleigh Common on the 14th. In the afternoon I couldn't resist travelling down to a Plymouth for a gorgeous adult Ross's Gull.
On the 15th the first 2 Wheatears of the year were on Orcombe Point and 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were off Mudbank. For the second day in a row I left Exmouth to twitch! Drake Surf Scoter, Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck in Labrador Bay proved too big a draw, and the long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher was seen again at Bowling Green.
On the 17th a flock of 60+ Pale-bellied Brent Geese was off Mudbank and the following day I went for the drake Green-winged Teal on Powderham Marsh. A single Wheatear was on the dung heap along Gore Lane.
Four Pale-bellied Brent Geese were off Mudbank on the 19th and the following day a flock of 197 Curlew contained a single Whimbrel.
A flock of 30 Linnet was in Littleham stubble fields on the 21st.
The 23rd produced 6 Eider off the Lifeboat Station, my first Sandwich Tern off Mudbank, a Red Kite over the river and a Little Grebe on Bystock Pond.
On the 24th, the first day of Corona virus 'lockdown', my first Osprey of the spring was hunting the lower Exe for 40 minutes, mid-morning. Viewed from the back garden. Garden highlights in the last week of March included 7 Red Kites, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Redwing, 3 Teal and maximum counts of 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Sandwich Terns, 31 Cattle Egrets and 79 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.
Totals from the garden included 10 Meadow Pipit, 32 Cattle Egret, 5 Knot, c170 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 120+ Lesser Black-backed Gull (migrating north or east with a peak of 65 on 5/4), 8+ Ringed Plover, 2+ Osprey, 9 Red Kite, c45 Linnet, c65 Swallow, 3 Wheatear, 4 Siskin, 3 Tufted Duck, up to 80 Whimbrel, pretty much daily sightings of Sandwich Tern (with peak of 30 on 7/4), 1 Avocet, 1+ Common Tern, 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Sand Martin, 34 House Martin, 3+ Mediterranean Gull, 1 Fulmar, 9 Sanderling, 7 Grey Plover, c200 Dunlin, 4 Yellow Wagtail, up to 80 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Hobby, 5 Swift, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Tern, 4 Greylag Geese and 1 Bar-headed Goose.
Very limited coverage of Orcombe Point produced 12 Willow Warbler, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Cuckoo (18/4), 6 Wheatear, 1 Blue-headed Wagtail (18/4), c50+ Swallow, 2 White Wagtail, 1 House Martin, 1 Tree Pipit, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Lesser Whitethroat (27/4), 2 Great Northern Diver and decent numbers of Whitethroat and Blackcap.
Both Little Tern and Great Northern Diver were seen from the back garden on the 1st. The following day 2 Great Northern Divers and a Hobby were observed on a visit to Orcombe Point, but a singing male Garden Warbler in scrub at the back of our garden was a bigger surprise.
A Fulmar flew downriver on the 3rd and on the 4th Orcombe produced both Garden Warbler and Arctic Skua. Two Little Tern, 10 Sanderling and 40+ Sandwich Tern were seen from the back garden.
Orcombe Point on the fifth produced 1 Eider, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Manx Shearwater, 50+ Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern and 4 Arctic Skua.
Garden watching on the 7th produced Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, 8 Pale-bellied Brent Goose and the long-staying 5 Dark-bellied Brent Goose. The following day - 1 Hobby, a first-summer Little Gull, 1 Red Kite and 2 Ring-necked Parakeet.
Orcombe Point on the 10th delivered a singing Reed Warbler and 3 Great Northern Diver. Back home I recorded my first Arctic Tern of 2020 along with 2 Red Kite.
Birding in a cold north-easterly on the 11th wasn't pleasant but 3 Tufted Duck, 1 Great Northern Diver and an Arctic Skua were recorded. A Gannet circling the lower estuary was the day's garden highlight.
On the 12th my 3rd Exmouth Barnacle Goose was watched from the garden, along with 4 Red Kite. In the evening at least 2 churring Nightjar were enjoyed on Exmouth territories.
A flock of at least 40 Sanderling were scoped from the garden on the 13th and on the 16th I twitched a flock of 13 Bee-eaters on the river Otter. Back on Orcombe a single Spotted Flycatcher and Great Northern Diver were the only birds of note.
On the 17th 50+ Sanderling were on Cockle Sands and another Spotted Flycatcher was recorded on Orcombe Point.
On the 21st a Red Kite and 50+ Black-headed Gull were recorded from the garden.
The 29th was the day a Marsh Warbler was discovered singing beside the river at Tipton St John. I spent the afternoon listening to its incredible song but getting just brief glimpses, but returned on the 31st to enjoy much better views. Later that afternoon Kevin Hale discovered a singing Blyth's Reed Warbler on Beer Head which resulted in me abandoning the patch once again!
The first returning Wigeon was off Mudbank on the 8th and the next day both Whinchat and Green Sandpiper were recorded on Orcombe Point.
On the 11th a juvenile Ruff was lovely surprise on the slurry pit. A Tree Pipit was also recorded on Orcombe, and 2 Common Sandpipers were off Mudbank.
My first and only Redstart of the autumn (a brief female-type) was on Orcombe Point on the 12th, along with 3 Tree Pipit.
On the 13th a Green Sandpiper was off Mudbank along with 2 Common Sandpiper and 3 Wigeon.
The 14th was a good day with the year's first Garganey and 2 Shoveler joining 265+ Mallard and 6 Teal off Mudbank. Two Greenshank were also present.
On the 17th my first Yellow Wagtail of the autumn was on Orcombe, and on the 19th the Mute Swan flock off Mudbank numbered 45 individuals - all adults though. Twenty-two Teal were off Mudbank on this date, along with 3 Common Tern.
On the 20th I recorded 8 Grey Plover off Mudbank and a Kestrel was patrolling the area. Twenty-two Whimbrel were counted off Mudbank on the 21st.
On the 22nd the Kestrel was again present, along with 2 fishing Osprey, my first Snipe of the autumn and the feral Snow Goose that's been accompanying Canada Geese on the upper Exe estuary for some considerable time.
I finally got Black-tailed Godwit on the Exmouth year list on the 23rd, with two birds on Cockle Sands. A Common Scoter was well upriver from there the same day.
On the 25th a Great Skua touched down briefly on Maer Rocks, sheltering from the ferocity of Storm Francis, Later in the day both Osprey and Caspian Gull were recorded off Mudbank.
On the 28th juveniles of both Black-tailed Godwit and Bar-tailed Godwit were off Mudbank. The following day an Osprey was fishing not far off Mudbank and the Wigeon count had risen to eleven. More surprising however was a count of 81 Mute Swan off there, with juveniles again being absent, along with a good count of 240 Oystercatcher. Nearby on Orcombe Point at least 30 Yellow Wagtails were in with cattle on Orcombe Point.
On the 30th a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was off Mudbank. A single Swift and the autumn's first Meadow Pipit were recorded on Orcombe, along with c30/40+ Yellow Wagtail.
Tree Pipit - Orcombe Point 14/8/20.
Garganey - Mudbank 14/8/20. The first of two autumn records.
Black-tailed Godwit - Mudbank 29/8/20. It took until 23/8 to record Black-tailed Godwit (2 birds) in Exmouth this year. This individual was the third.
Osprey - Mudbank 29/8/20.
Sand Martin - Mudbank 6/9/20.