Tuesday 30 August 2022

Spot Red

Whimbrel (presumed juvenile) - Mudbank. At least six off Mudbank this morning.

Today's star bird was a Spotted Redshank - present early morning, off Mudbank,  as the tide crept in. I think I could be forgiven for thinking that last year's bird was a 'flash in the pan'. It was, after all, my first in sixteen years, so it was great to get my second in seventeen years today! Hope it returns...
Also off there today - 43 Wigeon, 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 23+ Cattle Egrets (perched on a wreck, just north of Starcross), 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Teal, 1 Kingfisher, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Greenshank and 2 Pintail.
A spell watching from the back garden, from mid-late morning (between strenuous bouts of gardening), produced 1 Osprey (1005), 1+ juvenile Goshawk, 3+ Sparrowhawks, 9+ Buzzards and a single Swift, south.
On Orcombe Point - 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 1 Wheatear and 2 Sand Martins. Lovely to bump into Roger and Liz.
Yesterday's sightings - Orcombe Point - 10+ Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtails, 1 White Wagtail and 2 Wheatear.
Mudbank - 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 46 Wigeon, 40+ Little Egrets, 3 Ringed Plovers, 3 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank. Also, at least 1, probably 2 Ospreys, 1 Kestrel and 1 Swift, from the back garden.

Yellow Wagtail - Orcombe.

Wheatear - Orcombe (with Dawlish Warren in the background).

Small Copper.

Sanderling - Exmouth Beach. Four Sanderling were feeding with 2 Dunlin this morning.

Adult Sanderling.

Juvenile Sanderling.

My 10th Pearly Underwing of the year. Also in the trap last night - 1 European Corn-borer, 32 Rusty Dot Pearl, 2 Rush Veneer, 1 Pale Mottled Willow, 1 Portland Ribbon Wave, 1 Coastal Pearl, 1 Small China-mark and 1 Pebble Prominent, amongst some other stuff.

Yesterday's catch included 30 Rusty Dot Pearl, 8 Rush Veneer, 3 Portland Ribbon Wave, 1 Silver Y, 1 Delicate, 1 Dark Sword-grass, 1 Pearly Underwing and 1 Turnip Moth.

European Corn-borer (female).

Coastal Pearl Mecyna asinalis.

Small China-mark (female) Cataclysta lemnata. Gorgeous hindwing!

Osprey - photographed from the back garden, yesterday. This is the lingering juvenile bird. Shortly after it had flown downriver, towards the Warren, I picked up what was presumably a second bird. It appeared very high up, over the Haldon Ridge, and gradually lost height before reaching the river, where it patrolled for a while, still quite high up, and then drifted off upriver.

Sunday 28 August 2022


Just three Wheatears on Orcombe Point this morning.

On Orcombe this morning - 40+ Yellow Wagtails, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Grey Wagtails, 3 Wheatears, 2 Sand Martins and a White Wagtail.
Off Mudbank - 1 Osprey, 1 adult Gannet, 2 Pintail, 31 Wigeon, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 11 Yellow Wagtails (south), 5 Teal, 22 Shelduck, 17 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel, 4 Grey Herons and 1 wader sp that I wish I'd had a better look at.

My first White Wagtail of the autumn, a juvenile, was on the dung heap this morning.

One of at least 40 Yellow Wagtails on Orcombe this morning. Nearby, at least 4 were in with cattle at Maer Farm.

Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella. Was chuffed to see this, this morning. A stunning species that, until now, has avoided my trap here in Exmouth. I used to catch them at my in-laws but that was years ago. Also last night - 19 Rusty Dot Pearl, 3 Silver Y, 2 Delicate, 1 Dark Sword-grass, 1 Pearly Underwing, 5 Rush Veneer and 2 Portland Ribbon Wave. Also - singles of Toadflax Pug, Small Blood-Vein and Green Carpet amongst a load of other stuff.

The Osprey spent a lot of time off Mudbank this morning, at one point sitting on Cockle Sands. Present 'til 1135 at least.

Saturday 27 August 2022

Pintail Back, Lapwing

The first returning Pintail was off Mudbank today. It put a huge smile on my face! It really feels like autumn now. One of the joys of local patch birding is these little landmark sightings. You surely miss that if you're forever chasing the next rarity or year-tick.

Mudbank counts included 26 Great Black-backed Gulls, 220 Curlew, 3 Whimbrel, 20 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 33 Little Egrets, 12 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plovers, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Lapwing and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

It's getting a little late now but a single Swift was hawking over the house this evening.

A very quick look at Orcombe produced 1 Tree Pipit, 2 Willow Warblers, 6+ Yellow Wagtails and 1 Grey Wagtail. Up to three Great Spotted Woodpeckers have been knocking around Orcombe of late. Just the one this morning though.

Friday 26 August 2022

Avocets, Osprey

 Believe it or not, this Shoveler is the first I've seen in Exmouth this year. A good day for ducks today with 1 Gadwall, 29 Teal, 20 Wigeon and a Tufted Duck, in with c370+ Mallard.

Lots to see off Mudbank over the last couple of days. The Osprey put everything into the air at 1350 before heading upriver. More unexpected was a flock of 17 Avocets that flew upriver at 0650. Also off there today - 26 Common Terns, 1 Kingfisher, 7 Dunlin, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 juvenile Knot, 8 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 20 Wigeon, 1 Gadwall, 1 Shoveler, 1 Tufted Duck c370+ Mallard, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit.
Yesterday - 3 redhead Goosanders flew upriver at 0645 and 1 Cattle Egret was in with 39 Little Egrets. Also - 2 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Wigeon, 1 Kingfisher, 40+ Common Terns, 2 Stock Doves, 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gulls, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 7+ Ringed Plovers, 1+ Dunlin and c260 Mallard.

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Black Tern, Y Wags

One of at least 16 Yellow Wagtails on Orcombe this morning - mobile between cattle herds.

A good little spell of birding continued today, with my first Black Tern of the summer. A juvenile was with c50+ Common Terns, sat on Cockle Sands around 7am. Shortly afterwards, the whole flock was spooked by a Peregrine and they shot off towards the Warren. Also off Mudbank today - at least 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 260+ Curlew, 9 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 30 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Stock Doves, 19 Whimbrel, 1 Redshank and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose. A juvenile Hobby was chasing Swallows over the house at 1725. At least 30 Sandwich Terns were on Bull Hill.
A quick look at Orcombe produced at least 16 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit, Thirteen juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were on Maer Rocks.

White-pont. Last night's moths included 3 Rush Veneer, 30 Rusty Dot Pearl, 3 Silver Y, 10 Portland Ribbon Wave, 3 Pearly Underwing, 2 White-point and 3 Pale Mottled Willow.

Pearly Underwing.

Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella.

Delicate - trapped yesterday, as was the L-album Wainscot below.

Tuesday 23 August 2022

Juvenile Caspian Gull

Juvenile Caspian Gull on the left, with a juvenile Herring Gull - a beautifully pale, frosty-plumaged bird. Not terribly big so presumably a female? Almost two years ago, to the day, since my last Caspian, which was also a juvenile, but a more sepia-toned individual. See here

No contest for today's highlight - a gorgeous juvenile Caspian Gull off Mudbank, from 1345-1445 at least. Tricky getting the news out as I've just taken ownership of Maisie's old phone (so I can FaceTime her when she's at university - thank you Maisie). This means I haven't transferred all my contacts across yet, and I haven't quite grasped how to text when I'm not at home. Luckily I was able to contact Mark who stuck the news out for me. Many thanks Mark! Also off Mudbank today - the long-staying Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Redshank and 18 Whimbrel. Great to see Martin, as always, who happened to be on Orcombe when the news went out.
Earlier, on Orcombe Point - 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipits. Off Maer Rocks - 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 juvenile/first-winter Mediterranean Gulls.

The identification features of juvenile Caspian Gull have been covered a million times, on innumerable blogs, but I'll whiz through them in case anyone is interested - small white head with beady eye placed centrally, parallel-sided bill with weak gonydeal angle, high chest, hanging rear-belly, long, stilt-like legs and long wings. I won't pretend any of these structural features are obvious, and they can change, depending on posture, but together they can add up to give a very distinctive jizz if you're used to looking at gulls. And that's the key - you've got to really look at gulls. A lot! Plumage-wise - dark bases to intricately 'freckled' greater coverts , pale-tipped tertials (without notches cf Herring Gull) and a nice white tail with neat, black tail band. There are other subtle features to look out for such as the spotty 'necklace', whitish underwing and pattern of inner primaries - all of which are visible on the accompanying photos...

A subtly different profile when swimming - low in the water, flat-backed and long-winged compared to the surrounding Herring Gulls.