Thursday 30 September 2021

Pale-b Brents


This darkish Lesser Black-backed Gull is possibly an intermedius. Compare with the colour of the Great Black-backed Gull on the right.

Off Mudbank this evening, after work - 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese in with c270+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 6 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 1 Shoveler and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull. The Wigeon flock was big, and I didn't attempt to count them, but there must have been well in excess of 1000 birds. Nearby 5 Sandwich Terns, 35+ Great Black-backed Gulls and 15 Turnstones were off Shelly Beach, and a Great Northern Diver was off the seafront.
Yesterday selected counts included 11 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Redshank, 2 Teal, 280+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and 71 Shelduck. A single Golden Plover was the only bird of note on Orcombe.

Monday 27 September 2021


Pectoral Sandpiper - Bowling Green. Another one of those species that I haven't seen in ages so thought I should make the effort to reacquaint myself. It reminded me how much I hate being in a busy hide but it was a smart bird, albeit too far away to photograph. I've seen Pectoral Sandpipers in Cornwall and Essex but my first Devon 'Pec' was at Portworthy Dam on 2/9/99. Shortly after I found my own, at Matford Marsh, on 11/9/99. Next was a juvenile at Bowling Green on 24/8/02 (and seen again the next day) and the last was 3 juveniles, again on Bowling Green, on 12/9/03. So an eighteen year gap since my last, which makes me feel slightly less guilty about the twitch, even though it was just ten minutes up the road. I guess Pec Sand is a species I could get off Mudbank but they have a penchant for freshwater marshes, so I'm not holding my breath...

Sunday 26 September 2021

Jay Flocks

Immature Spoonbill off Mudbank this morning.

Lots of good birds in Exmouth still, but the most unusual thing was probably the movement of Jays on Orcombe Point. Twelve birds in total were noted including a flock of eight. By no means my biggest Exmouth count but the first flocks I've seen in a few years. Also on Orcombe c2/300+ Meadow Pipits with a light trickle overhead and good numbers of grounded birds. Additionally -  3 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Reed Bunting, 4+ Chaffinch, 1 Siskin, 6+ alba wagtails, 9+ Chiffchaffs, 1 Grey Wagtail, 14+ Linnets, 7 Swallows, c20 hirundine sp, 3 Blackcaps and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Mudbank was really good again with counts that included 1 Glossy Ibis, 1 Spoonbill, 41 Little Egrets, 235+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 305 Canada Geese, 1 Snow Goose, 30 Mute Swans, 130 Mallard, 40+ Pintail, c500+ Wigeon, 1 Spotted Redshank, 6 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Grey Plovers, 25 Black-tailed Godwits, 8+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Turnstone and the Yellow-legged Gull.

The Spotted Redshank was much closer than usual but I failed to get a decent photo in the early morning gloom.

Jays are funny things. They look like they're flapping past slowly but are surprisingly quick. By the time I'd got my camera out they'd almost gone, hence this ropey shot of the tail-end of the flock, which consisted of eight birds.

Female Blackcap.

Despite the large numbers of Meadow Pipits on Orcombe, this is the only one that stayed still long enough for me to photograph.

Portland Ribbon Wave. Two trapped last night.

Pink-barred Sallow.

Box-tree Moth.

If moulting out of eclipse were a race this Pintail would probably be winning. Only 40 present off Mudbank this morning which means the majority must be elsewhere on the Exe.

Great Crested Grebes.

The Glossy Ibis circled several times over Mudbank at midday, whilst Lu and I were walking the dog. It headed upriver after a short while.

The long-staying first-winter Yellow-legged Gull. It's a distinctive individual with nice gingery scaps.

Saturday 25 September 2021


This Red-veined Darter on Orcombe was difficult to photograph - low light levels and drizzle were bad enough but it was also difficult to track, and it was inevitably lost before I could get a better image.

Not much doing in the bird department on Orcombe this morning. The best I could manage was 1 Snipe, 1 Wheatear, 1+ Yellow Wagtail, c80+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail and a handful of Chiffchaffs.
Mudbank, by way of contrast, was heaving with large numbers of Canada Geese, 285 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, c7/800+ Wigeon, small numbers of Pintail and Mallard, 1 Teal, several Mute Swans, 9+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 21 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Snow Goose, 4 Redshank, the presumed Wigeon x Pintail hybrid, 1 Peregrine, 1 Sandwich Tern and the lingering first-winter Yellow-legged Gull.

Sallow. Some classic autumnal moths were trapped last night but there was little evidence of any immigration - just a couple Rusty Dot Pearls and a Silver Y. A Speckled Wood butterfly was unusual, but otherwise no surprises. A Painted Lady was on garden Buddleia this morning.

Spruce Carpet.

Brindled Green.

Feathered Ranunculus.

Black Rustic.

Large Ranunculus.

The feral Snow Goose was again off Mudbank this morning. I heard it for the first time too - similar to Canada Goose but more trumpeting to my ear.

Friday 24 September 2021

GWE and Lesser Whitethroat

Brown Argus and Small Copper are still going strong on Orcombe...

A stroll around Orcombe this evening, with little expectation, revealed c30/40+ Swallows lingering and 2 Sedge Warblers, zipping between docks in the top fields. A mixed tit flock along Gore Lane contained c10+ Chiffchaffs and, most unexpectedly, a Lesser Whitethroat - only my second in Exmouth this year, following a single spring bird. Also of note - at least 1 Jay and the three Red-legged Partridges.
A very brief look of Mudbank, early this morning, produced good numbers of Wigeon, the Spotted Redshank and 5 Redshank. This evening the highlight was a Great White Egret. Also noted were c180 Brent Geese and 57 Shelducks.

This Great White Egret was distantly off Mudbank this evening. I'm guessing it has moved from Powderham because of all the shooting going on across the river. There was definitely a palpable sense of nervousness amongst all the wildfowl on the river tonight, as the shots rang out. This is only my fourth record in Exmouth, which seems way too low for a species that's breeding in numbers not too many miles away, in Somerset. I couldn't resist watching it from the house when I got home - my second record from here.

 Rush Veneer. Other immigrant moths flushed from the top fields this evening were a couple Rusty Dot Pearls and a small number of Silver Ys.

Wednesday 22 September 2021


Buff-tip caterpillar.

Off Mudbank this evening - Spotted Redshank, Snow Goose, 1 Spoonbill, 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Tern, 160+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese and 5 Redshank, alongside a few other bits and pieces.
Just 3 Wheatears on a quick Orcombe visit and at Blackhill/Woodbury - 13 Tufted Ducks, 3 Little Grebes, 6 Dartford Warblers, 1 Whinchat, 1 Siskin and 11 Swallows through.

Wigeon - Mudbank.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

More Spoonbills

Orcombe after work this evening - 20 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 4 Chiffchaffs, c100+ Meadow Pipits, 1 Whitethroat and the three resident Red-legged Partridges. Also - up to 3 Clouded Yellows whizzing around. 
Off Mudbank this evening - 5 Spoonbills (adult and 4 juvs) flew downriver before doubling back and landing off Mudbank. I've been truly spoiled with this species this autumn. They're not even annual in Exmouth. Also off there today - 190+ Brent Geese, c6/700+ Wigeon, a Wigeon x Pintail hybrid, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Redshank, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits and 1 Greenshank. A Goldcrest was calling from the scrub.
Yesterday off there - 64 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and 3 Black-tailed Godwits.

Small Coppers on Ragwort.

Crap photo but two of this evening's twenty Yellow Wagtails. A similar number was present yesterday evening too.

Harvest Moon from Mudbank at dawn this morning.