Wednesday 30 September 2020

300 Teal

The Snow Goose was again off Mudbank, shortly after dawn this morning. Plenty of other wildfowl again today but only Teal counted with at least 300 present this afternoon. There are usually no Teal off Mudbank so clearly some kind of displacement/disturbance going on elsewhere. Whinchat and 11 Stonechat still on Orcombe late on.

Three Shoveler today. Different birds to yesterday.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Cattle Egret

This Cattle Egret was with 37 Little Egret off Mudbank this morning before flying downriver, just before 0830.

Mudbank today - 210+ Pintail, 248 Brent Geese (including a minimum of 6 Pale-bellied birds), good numbers of Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 56 Mute Swan, 100+ Shelduck, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Cattle Egret, 37 Little Egret, 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and 1 Swallow.

On Orcombe this evening - 1 Whinchat and 11 Stonechat. Yesterday - 1 Whinchat, 8 Stonechat, c15+ Chiffchaff (an increase) and a flock of 15 Greenfinch.

Fifty-six Mute Swan off Mudbank today - all adults. I've still only seen one juvenile this autumn.

Two Shoveler off Mudbank today - always a good Exmouth bird.

The long-staying Whinchat is still present this evening, keeping company with at least 11 Stonechat.

Sunday 27 September 2020


First-winter Yellow-legged Gull - Mudbank. I have to admit to feeling a little uneasy about the identification of this bird. As most features seem a good fit (scapulars, tail, inner primaries etc) I suspect it is one, but the nature and extent of head streaking is more than I'm accustomed to, and the tertials a little too worn to get the exact patterning.

Enjoyable birding this morning, from 0700 - 0910, in beautiful clear conditions, with the cool, fresh north-westerly continuing. Most interesting sighting was four Coal Tits that dropped out of the sky into clifftop scrub, before hurriedly moving on. Otherwise this morning's totals included 100+ Meadow Pipit (with much higher, uncounted flocks presumed to be this species too), 28+ Siskin, 4+ Skylark, 6+ Goldfinch, 1 Greenfinch, 11+ Chaffinch, 95+  Pied Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 4 Stonechat, 1 Snipe, 14+ Swallow, 37+ House Martin, c100/150+ hirundine sp, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 11+ Starling, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, c50+ Black-headed Gull, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, and 1 Sparrowhawk. The 42 Linnets logged all seemed to be moving east, in the opposite direction to everything else! 

Off Mudbank the Brent Goose flock has increased to 150 birds, at least 16 of which were Pale-bellied birds. On the wader front - 1 Grey Plover, 3 Greenshank, 3+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

Black-tailed Godwits - Mudbank.

Saturday 26 September 2020


On Orcombe today, in fine conditions with a northerly breeze - c50+ Meadow Pipit grounded, with many more overhead, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 4 Stonechat, 13+ alba wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6+ Chaffinch, 1 Blackcap, 6+ Chiffchaff, 7+ Siskin, 1 Jay, 2+ Redpoll, 1 Snipe, 1 Yellowhammer, 2 Common Scoter, 30+ Swallow, c20/30+ House Martin, lots of unidentified high-up hirundines and 7 Starling.

Off Mudbank - 123+ Brent Geese appeared to be mostly Dark-bellied birds, though at least 1 bird was a Pale-bellied. A flock of six Pale-bellied Brent Geese arrived a bit later on. Additionally - 6+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 13 Redshank, at least 64 Mute Swan, c8/900+ Wigeon, just 1 Pintail, 55 Shelduck, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Mediterranean Gull and a surprise Nuthatch briefly in the scrub.

I think this is Common Chickweed but despite a determined effort over summer to learn about flowers I never properly got to grips with this group. I'd appreciate any comments.

Female Small White

One of at least four Clouded Yellows on Orcombe this afternoon, one of which was the white 'helice' form - see below.

Clouded Yellow - 'helice' form.

Would have been nice to get this in focus - the two forms of Clouded Yellow side by side.

Bush Vetch

Greater Chickweed - hope I've got this right. Ten pinkish stamens and long, drooping pedicels.

Meadow Vetchling

Field Penny-cress - thank you for the id Dave!

Common Vetch

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Corn Spurrey

Still poor on Orcombe with 1 Whinchat, 1+ Yellow Wagtail, 3 Stonechat, c40+ Meadow Pipit, 10+ Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2+ Siskin, 2+ Goldfinch, 20+ Swallow, 1 Wheatear, 1+ Chaffinch and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker (together high east).

Off Mudbank - a flock of 100+ Brent Goose was distant but appeared to consist largely of Dark-bellied birds, though a few Pale-bellied individuals were certainly present. Also 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sandwich Tern, 8 Redshank and a Whimbrel noted.

Yesterday on Orcombe - 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear and 12 Starling noted late afternoon. Also a Clouded Yellow.

Corn Spurrey - a small patch of this scarce arable flower was found in the top fields yesterday.

One of two Vestals found on Orcombe this afternoon. This one quite heavily marked. Otherwise one Clouded Yellow, one Small Copper and a Rusty Dot Pearl of note.

Sunday 20 September 2020

Labrador Bay Flowers

Field Woundwort - masses of this in the tiny stubble field.

Following Kev's 'Devon Birds' post I tootled down to Labrador Bay to try for some rare agricultural 'weeds'. Kev very kindly met me there and thanks to his eagle eyes was able to show me Sharp-leaved Fluellen and Small-flowered Catchfly. It's a brilliant site, custom-made for Cirl Buntings (double figures seen) and managed for the Small-flowered Catchfly. A flock of 25+ Siskin flew low east whilst we were there, along with a trickle of Swallows.

Bird-wise today - off Mudbank - 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 40 Shelduck, 12 Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, c6/700+ Wigeon 8+ Pintail and 39 Brent Goose (including at least 12 Pale-bellied birds).

Apart from small numbers of Siskin and Meadow Pipit, best on Orcombe was 1 Redpoll, c30 Linnet, 1 Whinchat and 6 Yellow Wagtail. An early morning flock of c100+ hirundines looked to be largely House Martin but at least one Sand Martin and a handful of Swallow were noted.

Radish - of sorts.

Viper's Bugloss

Sharp-leaved Fluellen - a new flower for me and way, way smaller than I was expecting. There's no way I would have found it without Kev's help.

Small-flowered Catchfly - another new one for me. Thanks Kev.

Field Pansy

Field Madder

Hedge Woundwort

Weasel's Snout - masses of this in the field too - a wonderful little corner of Labrador Bay.

Yellow Bristle-grass

Sharp-leaved Fluellen


Saturday 19 September 2020

Eider and R-b Merganser

One of three Sandwich Terns fishing off Mudbank this morning.

Mudbank today - a surprise drake Eider, my first Red-breasted Merganser of the autumn, 45 Shelduck, 9 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 2 juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose and a Kingfisher. At 0705 at least 90 Little Egret burst out of their roost on the opposite side of the river.

Black Rustic

Feathered Ranunculus


L-album Wainscot

Lunar Underwing

 Devil's-bit Scabious - lots of this seen on Woodbury Common whilst walking the dog with Lu and Maisie.

Friday 18 September 2020


Very little news this week. Quiet on Orcombe tonight. Wish I could say the same for work where covid-19 makes the school day more lengthy and complicated, and the policy for kids with persistent coughs is to check their temperature and send them back to a packed classroom!

The 16th wasn't bad but I only managed to get out late-on. Four Wheatear, 120+ hirundine sp (mostly Swallows but a few House Martins too), 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Grey Heron, 11 Meadow Pipit and 2 Whinchat. Off Mudbank - 31 Pale-bellied Brent Goose.

I'd really appreciate help with identifying this tiny flower. Lots of it on Orcombe.

Field Pansy

Clouded Yellow on Common Toadflax.

Two Yellow Wagtails still on Orcombe this evening. Otherwise 15+ Meadow Pipit and a Stonechat.

Small Copper