Thursday 29 September 2022

Balearic Mass

 Black-tailed Godwit - Mudbank.

A really big flock of Balearic Shearwaters was swirling around off the seafront first thing - a restless mass of birds that was really hard to count, but I think a minimum of 200 birds was present, although I wouldn't be too surprised if it was nearer to 300. The flock dispersed and small groups were still whizzing around the bay mid-morning.
On Orcombe Point - c25 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Tree Pipit, c30 Meadow Pipits, 1+ Siskin, 3+ Swallows and c50+ House Martins. A Great Northern Diver plummeted down from a height, into the bay and a flock of 20 Ravens flew west.
Off Mudbank - 10 Sandwich Terns, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 287 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Black Swans, c1000+ Wigeon, 8 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 16 Grey Plovers and 4 Dunlin.

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Balearic Flock

Balearic Shearwaters - part of a flock of 54+. Good scope views but too far for photos.

A flock of at least 54 Balearic Shearwaters joined a large conglomeration of feeding gulls, off the seafront, this afternoon. Also 1 adult Mediterranean Gull and at least 12 Sandwich Terns off there. Nearby on Orcombe Point - at least 2 Yellow Wagtails still, and a flock of c60+ Linnets.

A couple quick looks off Mudbank produced 247+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 3 Shoveler, 11+ Teal, 19 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Redshank, 2 Greenshank and the three Black Swans still.

On Monday, counts from Mudbank included 1 Greylag Goose, 190 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 100+ Shelduck, 3 Dunlin, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 1 Redshank and 1 Sandwich Tern.

On Orcombe Point - still 8+ Yellow Wagtails and my first 2 Golden Plovers of the autumn. Nearby in Maer Valley - 1 Firecrest, a flock of 150+ Jackdaws and 3 Ring-necked Parakeets.

Juvenile Stock Dove - one of a small number of birds with a flock of c60+ Woodpigeons.

Chiffchaff - Orcombe Point.

Sunday 25 September 2022

Weekend Stuff

Wheatear - Orcombe Point.

Orcombe from 0710 - a single Reed Bunting, 1 Snipe and 1+ Redpoll were all firsts for the autumn, on what was a cold and clear morning. Also 3 Siskins west, and c40 Meadow Pipits. Otherwise it was one of those tricky mornings, where counting was difficult, as lots of Linnets, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits were generally milling around. Other records included 7 Chaffinches west, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Tree Pipit, 15+ Chiffchaffs, 20+ Pied Wagtails and 2 or 3 Grey Wagtails. A high flock of c40 hirundines east were probably all House Martins. Otherwise - 2 Sand Martins, 10 House Martins and 17+ Swallows were logged, and 3 Mute Swans flew east.
Off Mudbank - counts included c130 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, c1000 Wigeon (a very rough estimate), 26 Little Egrets, 4 Sandwich Terns, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 150+ Mallard, 2 Kingfishers, 1 Osprey and decent numbers of Pintail. The three Black Swans and the Snow Goose were present early on.
Off Mudbank yesterday  - c200 Pintail was the highest count so far this autumn. Also 110 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 28 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 6 Redshank, 1 Whimbrel and 32 Teal.
Yesterday on Orcombe - 6 Ringed Plovers east, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Wheatear, 2 Stonechats and 40+ Pied Wagtails.

Still six Yellow Wagtails with the cattle on Orcombe.

Black-tailed Godwits are a daily feature off Mudbank at the moment.

 The juvenile Osprey showed well this morning.

Thursday 22 September 2022

Odd Wildfowl

The Exe's resident Snow Goose was off Mudbank first thing.

Off Mudbank today - 29+ Black-tailed Godwits, 17+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 101 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Snow Goose, 3 Black Swans, 1 immature Spoonbill, 1 Kingfisher, 1 or 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Greenshank, 8 Redshank, 12 Pintail, 1 Osprey, 6 Sandwich Terns and 2 Grey Plovers.
On Orcombe Point - 80+ Meadow Pipits west, 1 Tree Pipit, 2 Goldcrests, 4 Swallows, 18+ alba wagtails, 9 Chiffchaffs, 2 Grey Wagtails and 6+ Yellow Wagtails.
Blackhill Quarry - 1 Great White Egret, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Greylag Goose and a Kingfisher.

Always nice to see a Spoonbill off Mudbank. Not really up to speed with how many are on the Exe at the moment.

Three Black Swans off Mudbank today. The first I've seen in Exmouth this year. I think these birds spend most of their time at the north end of the river.

A fog bank, rolling out of the Exe, into the bay, is a familiar sight, from Orcombe Point, at this time of year. 

One of at least 6 Yellow Wagtails remaining on Orcombe Point. It'll be sad to see them go...

Pink-barred Sallow.

The Great White Egret was again showing well in Blackhill Quarry.

Monday 19 September 2022

Migrant Firecrest

 Yellow Wagtail - Orcombe Point.

Another cold and clear dawn but far fewer Meadow Pipits through today. This morning's Orcombe Point list included 15 Chiffchaffs (an increase), 1 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrests, 10+ Swallows, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Siskin and c70 Meadow Pipits.
Mudbank - 47 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, c4/500 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 33 Pintail, 17 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Knot, 5 Greenshank, 7 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 14 Bar-tailed Godwits, 23 Black-tailed Godwits and 11 Sandwich Terns.
Yesterday on Orcombe - c250 Meadow Pipits (225 west before 0730), 7 Chiffchaffs, 2 Tree Pipits, 5 Yellow Wagtails and 1 Jay
Off Mudbank - 33 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Greenshank, 19 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel and a Tree Pipit over. At least 24 Cattle Egrets were amongst cattle in a field somewhere behind Starcross. An hour or two spent watching from the back garden produced 2 Ospreys and 3 Goshawks.

Saturday 17 September 2022


This Great White Egret provided some nice novelty value on Blackhill Quarry this afternoon - the first one I've seen on the Pebbled Heaths. It was first reported yesterday.

An afternoon stroll, starting from Blackhill Quarry, produced 1 Great White Egret, 2 Tufted Ducks, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Osprey and 11 Dartford Warblers. A flock of 15 House Martins, small numbers of Swallows and a few Meadow Pipits were moving, as well as one really big flock of hirundines that flew south-east as I was watching the Osprey.

Earlier, off Mudbank, counts included 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 34 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 118 Shelduck and a juvenile Osprey. Later, a look from the back garden produced 2 Ospreys together, flying really high at times and covering a lot of ground, over the river.

Orcombe was pretty quiet first thing but counts included 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Little Egret, 1 Wheatear, 150+ Meadow Pipits (including 35+ grounded), 7 Chiffchaff, 18+ Pied Wagtails, at least 1 White Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtails, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Tree Pipit, 15+ Swallows, 9 Starlings, 8+ Chaffinches and c40/50+ Linnets.

This tiny, second brood Holly Blue was a weak flyer and quite happy to rest on my hand.

Eleven Dartford Warblers were noted on a walk from Blackhill onto Woodbury Common. Some, like this bird, were in song.

This Osprey was circling Blackhill Quarry at 1pm, before heading rapidly east. At least two others were on the river today.

Thursday 15 September 2022

Acleris logiana

Grey Birch Button Acleris logiana 12/9.  Also trapped on Sunday night - 27 Rusty Dot Pearl, 5 Rush Veneer, 1 Silver Y, 2 Dark Sword-grass, 1 Delicate, 2 Turnip, 1 Portland Ribbon Wave, 4 L-album Wainscot, 1 Small Blood-vein and 1 Flame Shoulder, in with the regulars. On Monday night - an increase in immigrant numbers with 11 Rusty Dot Pearl, 3 Pearly Underwing, 1 Rush Veneer, 1 Dark Sword-grass, 2 Turnip, 1 European Corn-borer and 1 White-point. Other notables included 1 Pinion-streaked Snout, 5 L-album Wainscot, 1 Old Lady and 1 Feathered Ranunculus.

Mudbank today - 29 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, c30 Sandwich Terns, 3 Common Terns and 3 Redshank. Really good to catch up with Keith this morning. A spell looking from the back garden produced a Red Kite west across the river at 1145, Osprey at 1125 and 1156, 1 Kestrel, 1 Raven and a flock of c60 Cattle Egrets that appeared high above Cockwood before dropping down somewhere behind Starcross. Small parties were then seen flying back to a cattle herd behind Cockwood.

On Orcombe first thing - 5 Grey Wagtails, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Wheatear, 1 Goldcrest, c30 Meadow Pipits and c40+ Linnets. Three Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew towards the river.

Off Mudbank on Monday - 22 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 juvenile Osprey, 1 juvenile Little Gull, 10 Great Crested Grebes, 50+ Sandwich Terns, 4+ Common Terns, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 13 Black-tailed Godwits, c260 Wigeon, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 2 Redshank, 16 Pintail, 13+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Kingfisher and at least 1 Siskin over, north.

Orcombe Point was quiet first thing. Two Tree Pipits the best of it.

 Osprey and Powderham Castle.

This well-marked Delicate, my 8th this year, was the best of it last night. Diminishing returns at the moment with just 9 Rusty Dot Pearl, 1 European Corn-borer, 5 L-album Wainscot and 1 Mecyna asinalis amongst the usuals.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Brents Back, Little Gull

One of two Whinchats on Orcombe Point, early this morning.

Orcombe Point - 17 Meadow Pipits, 7 Chiffchaffs, 5 Grey Wagtails, 2 Wheatear, 37+ Swallow, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Pied Wagtails, 2 White Wagtails, 2 Whinchats and the first Goldcrest of the autumn, sneaking through cliff-top scrub.

There were thousands of gulls off the beach again but I just couldn't pick out anything unusual. Nearby, off Mudbank - 7 Dark-bellied Brent Geese (six new in), 1 Osprey, a juvenile Little Gull, c30+ Sandwich Terns, c5/10+ Common Terns, 1 juvenile Arctic Tern, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Pintail and c200+ Wigeon, though lots of wildfowl were missing whilst I was there, after high tide.


Horse Chestnut. Also last night - 26 Rusty Dot Pearl, 3 Rush Veneer, 1 European Corn-borer, 1 Dark Sword-grass, 1 Old Lady, 1 L-album Wainscot, 1 Common Wainscot and a Green Carpet amongst the other usual stuff. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was nectaring in a garden, just up the road, yesterday and on Orcombe today - good numbers of Rush Veneer and Red Admiral.

 A nice fresh Green Carpet.

Saturday 10 September 2022


For some reason there has been a roost of Sandwich Terns, beneath the seawall, over the last few days. It's not normal for them to gather off Mudbank in numbers but it's very welcome. Today, at least 50 gave fabulous views on the deck, as the tide started to drop.

Off Mudbank today - at least 1 juvenile Arctic Tern and 15+ Common Terns, along with 70+ Sandwich Terns. Also - 1 Osprey, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 6 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1+ Kingfisher, 4 Grey Herons, 2 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Bar-tailed Godwits, 310+ Teal, 1 Pintail x Wigeon hybrid and 2 first-winter Mediterranean Gulls. I didn't count the Wigeon or Pintail today.

Earlier, on Orcombe Point - 5+ Yellow Wagtail, 2 or 3 Tree Pipits, 7 Grey Wagtails, 8 'alba' Wagtails, 2 Wheatear, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Whinchat, 10+ House Martins, 20+ Swallows, 4+ Chiffchaffs, 5+ Blackcaps, 20+ Meadow Pipits and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Offshore, at least 6 Balearic Shearwaters and 60+ Gannets along with a large feeding flock of gulls, that were presumably after whitebait. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach and a Wheatear was on the cricket pitch.

Thursday 8 September 2022

First-winter Caspian Gull

Another Caspian Gull off Mudbank this afternoon, shortly before 4pm. Difficult to photograph in heavy rain, and it wasn't around long before a train passed and it headed upriver. Best described as in first-winter plumage - this individual has many more new, grey mantle and scapular feathers than the last one.

Off Mudbank today - duck numbers continue to rise with c6/700+ Teal, 104 Pintail, 420 Wigeon, 48 Shelduck and good numbers of Mallard. Amongst the masses were 2 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler, as well as the Pintail x Wigeon hybrid and single Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Also of note - first-winter Caspian Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 8 Common Terns, 17+ Greenshank (a record count for me, here in Exmouth), 9 Redshank, 12+ Knot, a very probable Curlew Sandpiper (unfortunately too distant to be sure, on Cockle Sands with 5 Knot), 13+ Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel and 5 Ringed Plovers.

In the moth trap last night - 33 Rusty Dot Pearl, 1 White-point, 1 Rush Veneer, 2 Turnip, 1 Dark Sword-grass, 1 Silver Y and 1 Delicate, but not too much else.

Off Mudbank yesterday afternoon - c390 Wigeon, 11 Sandwich Terns, 3+ Common Terns, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, just 5 Pintail and a Little Tern.

Juvenile Common Tern off Mudbank.

Tuesday 6 September 2022

YLG, Two Ospreys

Another Gannet was in the estuary this afternoon. The third in a week, assuming they're all different.

I finally got a juv/fw Yellow-legged Gull this afternoon, after work. It was on Cockle Sands on the dropping tide. I'm normally well into double figures at this time of year, but this season has been really poor. Also this afternoon - 2 Ospreys, 5 Common Terns, c60 Sandwich Terns, 1 Peregrine, 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 13 Grey Plovers, 4 or 5 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, c160 Wigeon, 6 Pintail, c60/70+ Teal, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Gannet, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 40 Shelduck.
One of the Ospreys appeared mid-river just before 5pm and shortly afterwards a second bird was circling over the Powderham estate. Both birds were on view simultaneously. The first bird spent a long time feeding off Starcross and the second bird eventually drifted off.
Yesterday - 20 Sandwich Terns, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Redshank, 1 Osprey (1545), c40/50+ Teal and the Pintail x Wigeon hybrid. Really nice to catch up with John.

Sunday 4 September 2022



What is presumably the same juvenile Spoonbill that has been at the north end of the river, appeared, as if by magic, off Mudbank at 1453. It's always annoying when you don't notice large white bird fly in!

A couple looks off Mudbank, either side of high tide, produced 1 Spoonbill, 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Teal, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Greenshank, 1 Mediterranean Gull, c125 Wigeon, 3 Pintail, 7 Gadwall, 26 Knot (flocks of 8, 17 plus 1), 3 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15+ Sandwich Terns, 1 Little Tern, 1 juvenile Common Tern, 1 Grey Plover, 49 Shelduck, 1 Yellow Wagtail over, 7+ Ringed Plover, 1+ Osprey (on Cockle Sands at 0958 and upriver with a fish at1506). An adult Gannet was with a small group of Herring Gulls, in pursuit of the Osprey this afternoon. A peculiar sight indeed!
Earlier - a sea-watch from the raised beach huts was ultimately pretty fruitless but it was good to see Dave back in action. The only birds to make the notebook were 3 Arctic Skuas, 9+ Common Scoters, 2 Kittiwakes and 10 Sandwich Terns.

Saturday 3 September 2022

First Stonechat and Mipits

Yellow Wagtail - Orcombe Point.

My first Stonechat of the autumn was on Orcombe Point this morning, along with 16+ Yellow Wagtails and a couple Grey Wagtails. A count of 11 Skylarks is indicative of some breeding success.
Off Mudbank - 8 Black-tailed Godwits, 14 Teal, 110+ Wigeon, the returning Wigeon x Pintail hybrid, 1 Greenshank, 2 Grey Plovers, 39 Shelduck, 30 Little Egrets, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Pintail, 4 Sandwich Terns and 2 juvenile Common Terns.
Yesterday off Mudbank - 1 Tree Pipit over, 9 Teal, 30+ Cattle Egrets (on a wreck north of Starcross), c100 Wigeon, 50 Pintail (another increase), 1 Greenshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 215+ Curlew, 1 juvenile Knot, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Kestrel (flying downriver) and c7/800+ Oystercatchers (roosting on Cockle Sands, having presumably been disturbed from the Warren).
Orcombe was again quiet, but it was nice to log my first 3 Meadow Pipits of the autumn. Also - 9+ Yellow Wagtails, at least 1 Clouded Yellow, 3 Wheatear and a Vestal.

 Riband Wave. I see masses of first-brood RWs but very few second-broods like this one, which was trapped the night before last, along with 35 Rusty Dot Pearl, 3 Portland Ribbon Wave, 2 Rush Veneer, 2 Pearly Underwing, 2 Turnip, 1 Pale Mottled Willow, 1 L-album Wainscot, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 1 Old Lady, 1 Maiden's Blush and a few other 'usual suspects',

Vestal - Orcombe Point - doing a pretty good job at hiding in the dry grass.