Monday 31 October 2022


 Mediterranean Gull - Imperial rugby ground.

A short sea-watch from 0715 - 0800 produced 2 Velvet Scoters (east), 1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Common Scoters, 1 Shearwater sp (possibly Sooty but too distant and too brief), 120+ Gannets and 38 Kittiwakes.
Off Mudbank - 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, c20 Teal and a Ruff (looked to be the large male that's normally with the Black-tailed Godwit flock). Other counts included 75+ Mallard, 36+ Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Grey Plovers and 60+ Turnstones.

Saturday 29 October 2022

Crimson Speckled

With so many turning up on these unrelenting southerlies, I decided to put some effort into finding my own Crimson Speckled. The Maer seemed like a sensible place to start looking and, sure enough, within a few minutes  I flushed this beauty from some rough grass. I found my first one back in October 2013, on Orcombe Point, and have since seen a couple abroad, but each one is a real treat.

Not much bird news today. It's too windy really. Orcombe Point was blown out but a late Whinchat was good to see. Otherwise - 6 Common Scoter offshore and a flock of c40 Skylarks in the top fields.
Off Mudbank - 1 juvenile Arctic Tern, 1 Sandwich Tern, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, 1 Grey Plover, 25 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Greenshank, 6+ Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover and c75 Turnstones. Still 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese in with the (uncounted) Dark-bellied birds.

A late Whinchat on Orcombe Point. Flighty in the strong wind.

Juvenile Arctic Tern - Mudbank. Not good photos but I very rarely get the opportunity with this species in Exmouth.

Friday 28 October 2022

Serin, White-speck

Hastily-scribbled sketch of this morning's Serin, drawn seconds after seeing it (with a bit of yellow added at home).

This morning's Serin was picked up thanks to its distinctive trill. At first I assumed it was flying around but it was actually hiding in a sallow clump, in the corner of the main big field, along Gore Lane. It was with a small group of Greenfinches and Goldfinches but I didn't actually see it until the flock burst from cover and flew towards Orcombe Point. I hoped to pick it up again but it wasn't to be, and not too surprising as small flocks of Goldfinches, Siskins and Linnets were clearly on the move. This is my second Serin in Exmouth this year, following a spring fly-over, and my seventh in Exmouth in total. Counts this morning included c4000 Woodpigeons (all west before 10am, with the largest groups numbering c300 birds), at least 23 Stock Doves, 2 Fieldfares, 3 Redwings, 1 Reed Bunting, 19 Jackdaws, 6+ Siskins, 1 Redpoll, 30+ Starlings, 3 Little Egrets, 4 Goldcrests and a Coal Tit. A gathering of 10 Great Black-backed Gulls was resting in the top fields and small numbers of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails were noted but not counted.

One of two Painted Ladies seen on Orcombe Point this morning.

Woodpigeons got properly going this morning. I'm used to seeing them on colder, clearer mornings, so they took me a little by surprise. Small numbers of Stock Doves snuck through with them.

This White-speck was only my second garden record. It's a really smart moth. Other immigrant species last night included 2 Dark Sword-grass, 2 Turnip, 1 Olive-tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis, 1 Silver Y, 2 Rush Veneer and 40+ Rusty Dot Pearl. Also 9 Box-tree Moths and a late Brimstone amongst the other bits and pieces.

Thursday 27 October 2022

Oak Rustic

My first garden Oak Rustic. This species is dependent on Holm Oak, which there's no shortage of in Exmouth. Oak Rustic is a relatively recent colonist in the UK. My first (and last) was trapped by Nick, in Budleigh, on November 16th 2018. Also trapped over the last two nights - 3 Silver Y, 2 Pearly Underwings, 1 Dark Sword-grass, 6 Rush Veneers, 1 Vestal, 1 Olive-tree Pearl Palpitta vitrealis, 1 Turnip and a heap of Rusty Dot Pearls. Also of note - 9 Box-tree Moths, 2 Blair's Shoulder-knot, and a couple Red-green Carpets.

A trip up to see Maisie in Cardiff yesterday, and Lu's birthday today, has meant very little birding. On Tuesday (25/10) - Orcombe totals included 9 Swallows, 4 Redwings, just 1 Chiffchaff, c100 Meadow Pipits, c30 Chaffinches,  2 Firecrests, 1 Cirl Bunting, 2 Reed Buntings, c50 Jackdaws, 37 Stock Doves, 10 Stonechats, 2 Siskins, 3 Rooks, 2 Mute Swans, c75 Woodpigeons, 1 Coal Tit and 1 Curlew.

Scarce Bordered Straw. Five trapped over the last couple of nights. I photographed four of them (one escaped). Note the lack of variation in the first three. The fourth is more richly-coloured and reddish-tinged.


Presumed Agnopterix heracliana Common Flat-body.

Box-tree Moth - one of nine trapped over the last two nights but my first Exmouth dark form.

Olive-tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis.

One of two Pearly Underwings (the second pictured below). It has been a brilliant year for this species.

Blair's Shoulder-knot.

Turnip Moth.

Blastobasis lacticolella. London Dowd.

Rosy Tabby Endotricha flammealis.

A worn Brindled Green. No sign of dark tornal spots so presumably not Southern Brindled Green.

Monday 24 October 2022

Cirl, Woodpigs

Cirl Bunting. Easy to keep track of as it never stopped calling.

Selected Orcombe totals - 90+ Woodpigeons, heading west, represented the first bit of movement for me this autumn. Additionally - 18 Stock Doves, 3 Swallows, 1 Cirl Bunting, 13 Stonechats, 2 Reed Buntings, 1 Bullfinch, 150+ Goldfinches, c55 Chaffinches, 18+ Greenfinches, 29+ Long-tailed Tits (in 3 flocks), 1 Snipe, 1 Little Egret, 2 Grey Wagtails, 20+ Pied Wagtails, 7 Song Thrushes, 9 Blackbirds, 26+ Robins, 5+ Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 30+ Meadow Pipits, 30 Jackdaws, 1 Kestrel, 6+ Siskins, 3 Rock Pipits, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, and small numbers of (uncounted) Linnets and Skylarks.
Nearby, a srtroll round Maer Valley produced 5 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Mistle Thrush, 7 Redwings, c70 Jackdaws, 7 Stock Doves, 10 Chaffinches and 4 Ring-necked Parakeets.
Very little counted off Mudbank but 6 Mediterranean Gulls and a Red-breasted Merganser were of note. Also - 18 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank, 46 Black-tailed Godwits and 17 Turnstones. Also, a flock of 14 Greenfinches at West Lodge.

Stonechats - thirteen recorded on Orcombe this morning.

Yellow-line Quaker.


Green-brindled Crescent.

Delicate. Other immigrant species trapped last night included a Silver Y and 4 Rush Veneers.

Spruce Carpet.

Feathered Thorn.

 November Moth agg.

Saturday 22 October 2022


This lone Fieldfare was in the Bristol Schools field. Another flock of c30 birds was over the top fields.

Oddly mild weather this morning, with a southerly breeze and increasing cloud cover, following some clear skies. Orcombe Point counts included 4 Little Egrets, c30 Fieldfares, 3 Redwings, 6 Goldcrests, 4 Chiffchaffs, 1 Reed Bunting, 10 Stonechats, 1 Dartford Warbler, 21 Stock Doves (the first movement this autumn), c90 Goldfinches, c25 Chaffinches, 1 Snipe, 16 Jackdaws, 20+ Pied Wagtails, c80 Meadow Pipits and a handful of Blackbirds, Robins and Song Thrushes.
Nearby, in Maer Valley - 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 5+ Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 6 Siskins, c40 Starlings, 1 Coal Tit and a Black Redstart.
Off Mudbank - a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Sanderling, 520+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 22 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 50+ Teal, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 24 Turnstones, 3 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 2 Ringed Plovers, 7+ Great Crested Grebes, 125+ Black-tailed Godwits and 235+ Curlew.

This Black Redstart popped up briefly on the roof of Maer Farm.

Yellow-browed Warbler - Maer Valley - another dreadful photo to add to my collection of 'dreadful Yellow-browed Warbler shots'. It was unbelievably hard to see in its chosen sallow clump, never daring to feed anywhere near the edge, but remaining deep in cover, in near darkness, giving itself away by occasional excitable bouts of calling.

 First-winter Yellow-legged Gull - Mudbank.

Friday 21 October 2022

Curlew Sandpiper

A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was off Mudbank, with 8 Dunlin, in dreadful weather today. Curlew Sands are very infrequent in Exmouth, certainly not a species I ever expect to see. Otherwise it was way too wet for counting stuff, but I managed to pick out 5 Pale-bellied Brent Geese amongst the Dark-bellied birds, and 2 Sanderling were on the beach by the lifeboat station. A flock of 42+ Great Black-backed Gulls was seeing out the storm in the top fields of Orcombe, along with 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a single Snipe.

This 1cy Lesser Black-backed Gull was on the Imperial rugby ground - notable for its (apparently) completely un-moulted scapulars.

Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Orcombe Point.

 Black-tailed Godwit - Mudbank.

Thursday 20 October 2022

Orcombe Point

My first Black Redstart of the autumn was on Foxholes rooftops - traditionally the best place for them on Orcombe Point.

Some really enjoyable birding today, on Orcombe, with singles of Merlin, Black Redstart, Dartford Warbler, Whinchat, Snipe, Bullfinch, Grey Wagtail, Little Egret, Fieldfare, Blackcap, Coal Tit and Swallow. In seemingly unfavorable conditions (low cloud/rain) I was surprised to witness an early, easterly passage of Meadow Pipits, with c160 birds logged, along with 20+ Pied Wagtails. Also today - 2 Firecrests, 6+ Goldcrests, 7 Chiffchaffs, 15 Blackbirds, 28 Robins, 30 Redwings, 10+ Song Thrushes, 2 Reed Buntings, 7+ Stonechats, 50+ Skylarks, c6+ Long-tailed Tits, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Turnstones, 1 Curlew, 16 Starlings, just 4 Chaffinches, c50/100+ Linnets, 1 Greenfinch and a handful of Goldfinches, but it clearly wasn't a 'finchy' kind of day!

Selected counts off Mudbank included 32 Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 1 Snipe, 100 Black-tailed Godwits, 32 Turnstones, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Dunlin, 2 Lapwing and 2 Shoveler.

A nice late Whinchat in the turnip field.

This rosy-flushed Vestal was disturbed from long grass, along with loads of Rush Veneers and a couple Silver Ys. Other signs of immigration included at least 3 Clouded Yellows and a number of Red Admirals. 

The Dartford Warbler is still shadowing Stonechats around the turnip field.

One of several Rush Veneers kicked up from the grass on Orcombe.

This Merlin flew high east after having a little dig at a local Peregrine. I saw one 'corkscrew' after a Meadow Pipit, a week ago on Lundy, but you can't beat one on your local patch.