Saturday 31 October 2020

Purple Sand and Yank Wigeon

The first returning Purple Sandpiper was back on Maer Rocks this afternoon. Earlier a Great Skua off there and a passage of Kittiwakes but nothing more unusual.

On Orcombe - 4 Stonechat and at least one adult Mediterranean Gull. Late this afternoon the drake American Wigeon was again off Mudbank with a large Wigeon and Pintail flock. Otherwise a lone Shoveler, adult Mediterranean Gull and at least 4 Pale-bellied Brent Goose.

Thursday 29 October 2020

American Wigeon

Another wet and gloomy late October day, but brightened by the discovery of this male American Wigeon off Mudbank, emerging from eclipse plumage. I first clapped eyes on it off Mudbank, around 1440 and it remained until sometime after 1515, when it took off and flew towards the Warren, apparently flushed by a couple in brightly coloured jackets that popped up beside the viewing screen.

The last one off here was a first-winter drake in October 2016, that individual went on to winter at the north end of the Exe. I wouldn't be too surprised if this one does the same - see here.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Day Out

Lesser Yellowlegs - Aveton Gifford

A day of strong winds and heavy downpours but good to get out of Exmouth for a few bits and pieces. First stop was South Efford Marsh (never been there before) for the long-staying Lesser Yellowlegs - a species I've not seen in a long while. Good but brief views before the heavens opened. Two Fieldfare and Kingfisher there too.
I then decided to bird Slapton. Haven't been there since 2018. Lovely to bump into Alan Searle and the returning Ring-necked Duck. Also there - 33+ Tufted Duck, c30/40+ Greenfinch, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Stonechat and 4+ Cetti's Warbler.
Later on I tried Dawlish Warren for Lee's Baird's Sandpiper but no joy. Good to see drake Eider, Merlin, Little Stint, an apparent 3w Yellow-legged Gull, 34 Ringed Plover, small numbers of Sanderling and good numbers of Turnstone Dunlin and Grey Plover.

Yellow-horned Poppy - a new flower for me and not one I was expecting today.

Drake Ring-necked Duck - Slapton - Torcross end.

Mediterranean Gull - second-winter above and first-winter below.

Sea Campion

I enjoyed walking the length of Slapton Sands this morning. In the distance is Start Point.

Drake Eider - Dawlish Warren.

Little Stint - juvenile - Dawlish Warren. Haven't seen one of these for years.

Monday 26 October 2020


Two of four Greenshank - Mudbank - an increase!

Four Greenshank, 22 Redshank, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Whimbrel off Mudbank today, along with the usual other stuff. 

Earlier, on Orcombe, counts of overhead stuff included 120+ Chaffinch, at least 1 Brambling, c50 Jackdaw, 30 Skylark and 2 Swallow. Otherwise just 10 Stonechat and 2 Snipe.

One of 7 Bar-tailed Godwit off Mudbank.

Redshank - one of 22.

 Male Crossbill. One of 24 on Woodbury Common this afternoon. Also 4 Dartford Warbler, 3 Redpoll, 1 Reed Bunting and a Yellowhammer.

Saturday 24 October 2020

2cy Gull sp

Interesting gull on Exmouth beach briefly this evening. Presumably just a 2cy Lesser Black-back (lots around today) but heavily-streaked head (probably not enough of a 'hood'), pale iris, dark body and 'shin pads' apparently rare in combination on this species? Stocky build got me thinking of 'Azorean' Yellow-legged Gull but not sure whether it's worth considering?

Friday 23 October 2020

Another SEO

At least one, possibly two Short-eared Owls on Orcombe today.

Counts today included 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Brambling, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Snipe, 7 Stonechat, 3 Redpoll, 1 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Mallard, 35+ Skylark, 4 Goldcrest, 4 Coal Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 17 Curlew, 1+ Jay, 6 Starling, 90+ Chaffinch, c30/40+ Pied Wagtail, 5 Blackbird, 7 Song Thrush, 4+ Siskin, 3 Grey Wagtail and numbers of Goldfinch and Meadow Pipit.

Coal Tit - Orcombe Point.

Mediterranean Gulls on the Imperial rugby pitch - Tuesday.

Chiffchaff - Orcombe Point.

Saturday 17 October 2020


This short-tailed 'blob' is a Woodlark heading south-east, over the water treatment works, towards Sandy Bay - my first in Exmouth since March 2nd 2018, when the big freeze dropped five on Exmouth beach.

Today's Orcombe totals, in a light easterly, included 1 male Cirl Bunting, 1 Woodlark, 5 Redwing, 115+ Jackdaw, 45+ Pied Wagtail, 15+ Blackbird, 14 Chiffchaff, 30+ Robin, c160 Linnet, 85+ Goldfinch, 35+ Chaffinch, 3 Song Thrush, 2 Redpoll, 15+ Siskin, 2+ Reed Bunting, 1 Curlew, 2 Little Egret, 4 Brent Goose, 7 Swallow, 1+ Bullfinch, 10+ Stock Dove, c20/30+ Woodpigeon, 25 Starling, 7 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4+ Stonechat, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Common Scoter, a few Skylark and several Meadow Pipits.

This male and a female Kestrel are regularly seen hunting Orcombe at the moment.

At least 30 Robins recorded on Orcombe this morning.

Wigeon. I didn't time the tides right today but c300 Pintail and a small number of Teal were with big numbers of Wigeon and Brent Geese this morning.

Friday 16 October 2020


A busy week at work but good to get out this evening. A quick race around the usual spots produced Short-eared Owl, c10 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 50/60+ Goldfinch, 40+ Linnet, c20+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Song Thrush, 6 Stock Dove, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, several Blackbird and Robin and a fly-over Grey Heron.
Yesterday evening - 3 Stonechat, 15+ Greenfinch, 1 Blackcap, 1 Snipe and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.
14/10 - Yellowhammer, 17 Starling and 1 Coal Tit.

Meadow Pipit

Several Blackbirds were quietly gorging on berries this evening. This one a first-winter male.

The farmer has smashed up the hedges with his flail but this Robin sang defiantly this evening.

Wednesday's Yellowhammer was mobile.

Tuesday 13 October 2020


Reed Bunting - Orcombe Point.

A quick whiz round Orcombe, pre-work, produced a juvenile female Merlin, 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Snipe, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 9 Chaffinch, 20+ Goldfinch, 2 Redpoll, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Siskin, 9+ Chiffchaff, 45+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Blackcap, 5 Stonechat and 1 Coal Tit. Plenty of Meadow Pipits too but I didn't count them.

Sandwich Tern - Mudbank. Pintail below.