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.


  1. Envious of your Portland Ribbon Wave, Matt-smart moths. My local trapping session this morning was a paltry 24 moths of 9 species.

    I missed a Spoonbill at Rainham on Friday but 3 egret species there. Almost like being in southern Europe especially with the soundscape of Cetti's Warblers & Marsh Frogs. No Glossy Ibis though.

  2. Hi Neil - good to hear from you. Portland Ribbon Wave is well established down here - I've seen several now. Poor migrant-wise though although I'm seeing a fair few migrant species out and about. All heron species apart from Grey and Little Egret are very noteworthy in Exmouth, and this September has surpassed all other months for me for numbers and variety of species. Hoping it'll continue but that's highly unlikely! Didn't realise you had Marsh Frogs up your way - fantastic! All the best and good luck with the autumn birding. Matt