Monday 21 March 2022


I 'pinged' awake just before 6am and decided to have a quick look off Mudbank, before getting ready for work. In the early morning gloom, I was chuffed to pick out two drake Garganeys - a rare sight in Exmouth, although autumn juveniles are relatively frequent, with one or two records a year as a rule. Having said that, last year was a blank one. 
As the tide pushed in the birds got closer and, to my delight, started to display to a female Mallard. This involved lots of Corncrake-like 'rattling' and lots of rapid head-popping between short, excitable flights. I was gutted to have to leave for work but I understand a number of people got down to see them and photos were taken that put mine to shame. One drake disappeared, but one remained and was still present when I checked later this afternoon. Also off there - 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, 9 Mallard, 4 Pintail and 3 Wigeon.
A quick late afternoon check of Orcombe revealed my first Wheatear of the year and c30+ grounded Meadow Pipits.



  1. Thanks so much for the tip off, gorgeous drake was much enjoyed as it preened and busied itself late morning.

    1. Hi Tom - a bit surprised it hung around but glad it did. Loved your photo and look forward to seeing the video footage. All the best. Matt

  2. Lovely to see the Garganey. I know Dungeness has had some amazing numbers passing through. Haven't caught up with any yet but reported from a couple of London sites.

    Weather's been too fine for many Wheatears to drop down here-hopefully soon.

  3. Hi Neil - yep too fine here too. Without looking back through all my own notes I'm pretty sure I've only ever had one previous spring drake. I remember watching a pair fly past Maer Rocks and settle on the sea for a while. Good luck catching up with some - I'm sure it won't be long. Good to hear from you. Matt. Oh, by the way - the Sand Crocuses are out on the Warren if you're still considering a trip down. Need a sunny day to see them at their best.

  4. Thanks Matt- I did see a couple of FB posts of the Sand Crocus at Dawlish Warren. Sadly weather gone into reverse now.