This lone Goosander (with three Tufted Ducks) was on Blackhill Quarry pool when I arrived shortly after 4pm. By the time I left, at 1645, 19 birds (all redheads) had flown in to roost. The soundtrack to this evening's short vigil was mostly gunfire and shouting from the marines, interspersed with Dartford Warbler calls, the odd 'chack' from a Fieldfare and, latterly, several Snipe as they moved from daytime resting positions for their night-time feed.
Tuesday, 29 November 2022
Saturday, 26 November 2022
Six Ring-necked Parakeets were roosting in a tree opposite the entrance to the Maer long-stay carpark earlier in the week.
A strong southerly has been blowing again today, so I had a couple looks at the sea from the raised beach huts - from 0730 - 0830 and again from 1050 - 1245, so almost 3 hours in total. Highlight was a beautiful adult Little Gull that headed towards the river, close offshore, at 1210. I'd probably had another go east at 1128 but it was very brief and hampered by shaky scope views. Otherwise - c130 Black-headed Gulls east shortly after first light, 45+ Kittiwakes, 45+ Gannets, 2 diver sp, 2 Red-throated Divers, 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, 11+ Common Scoters, 1 Shelduck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 8 Dark-bellied Brent Geese. At least 8 Turnstones and 2 Purple Sandpipers were on Maer Rocks but I didn't see the Eiders today, and only 8 auks whizzed by, too far out to identify.
Little else to report this week but late news for the 21st concerns the 2 Eider still off Maer Rocks and hundreds of Kittiwakes close past the seafront during the latter part of the morning, and amongst them an adult Little Gull. Counts from Mudbank included 14 Great Crested Grebes, a white-ringed, adult Mediterranean Gull, c30 Redshank, c300+ Dunlin, 2 Knot, 2 Greenshank and 2 Grey Plovers. Six Ring-necked Parakeets were opposite the Maer long-stay carpark.
Sunday, 20 November 2022
Rock Pipit - dung heap.
The juvenile Cirl Bunting seems set to winter in the turnip field.
West-bound Woodpigeons yesterday morning.
Thursday, 17 November 2022
Another thoroughly enjoyable cycle ride, alongside the river, into Exeter to spend a bit more time with the juvenile Glaucous Gull. I have to say it looked a little perkier today.
Tuesday, 15 November 2022
With almost no time after work, and the tide right out, I focused on white dots in the gathering darkness. It proved quite good with Great White Egret finally making it onto the Exmouth year list. That's it, pretty much in the centre of the above photo. The white dot to its left is a Little Egret. I must have missed a load of 'fly-throughs' this year. Additionally - 38 Cattle Egrets were on two wrecks, north of Starcross, and 50+ Little Egrets were spread widely over the lower estuary.
Monday, 14 November 2022
Looking across the river towards Shelly Beach, from Lower Halsdon Farm.
Nearby, off Mudbank - 125 Pintail, 3 Shoveler, 18+ Great Crested Grebes, 2 Teal and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers.
Today's Cettis's Warbler (found on a dog-walk) was calling occasionally from this small clump of reeds below the railway line, at Lower Halsdon Farm. It's only my third Exmouth record, believe it or not, which is surprising given their relative abundance just a couple miles upriver. The challenge now will be to get a photo of it. I don't fancy my chances.
Four Black Reds in a day is good for me in Exmouth. A single female-type was on cliffs below the Geoneedle and three birds (including the adult male) were together on Shelly Beach rooftops, before dark.
Sunday, 13 November 2022
Orcombe from first light - 7500+ Woodpigeons west with a couple massive flocks of 1000+ early on. The passage ended quite abruptly, early on and for no apparent reason as conditions were quite fine. Also this morning at least 2, probably 3 Cirl Buntings, including a nice adult male. Additionally - 4 Reed Buntings, 1 Dartford Warbler (still in the turnip field), 1 Golden Plover, 1 Dunlin, 3 or 4 Bullfinches, 4+ Fieldfares, 5+ Redwings, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Song Thrushes, 5 Blackbirds, 75 Starlings, 17+ Chaffinches, 19+ Stock Doves, c50+ Skylarks, 2 Grey Wagtails, c20+ Meadow Pipits, c30+ Goldfinches, 5 Goldcrests, 22+ Long-tailed Tits, small numbers of Linnets and Pied Wagtails, 3+ Redpoll, 2+ Siskins, 6+ Stonechats, 3 Chiffchaffs and 10+ Greenfinches.
A fraction of a much bigger 'ribbon' of Woodpigeons heading west.
Reed Bunting. One of 4 birds this morning - the best count of the autumn.
Saturday, 12 November 2022
It's always good to see the first, chunky and characterful December Moth of the year. Immigrants last night included 30+ Rusty Dot Pearl, 1 White-point, 1 Silver Y, 1 Turnip and 1 Pearly Underwing.
I cycled to Exeter Quay to see the Glaucous Gull today. More for the exercise than the bird. I prefer to see Glaucous Gulls pointing their bills into an icy, finger-freezing, northerly blast, preferably on a sandbank in Exmouth, amongst a massive pre-roost flock of Great Black-backs. This bird didn't look at all right or at all well, loafing just feet away from a massive flock of feral pigeons, being fed by noisy kids and an old lady with one of those pull-along trollies. One of the weirdest birding experiences for a long time but a lovely bird despite the incongruous circumstances.
Monday, 7 November 2022
I found a tiny bit of shelter from torrential rain first thing, from the raised beach huts. Hundreds of Gannets moved south along with a fair few Kittiwakes and several flocks of auks. Not a lot else recorded but 1 Arctic Skua, 1 skua sp, 1 Pomarine Skua, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers and 5 Common Scoter made it into the notebook. Passage dried up quickly after the horizon cleared. Round the corner, in Sandy Bay - still 9 Common Scoter and the Eider. A quick, soggy walk around the top fields produced 1 Black Redstart, 2 Rock Pipits, 5 Stonechats and a handful of Meadow Pipits.
The male Black Redstart was in the Shelly Beach area, along with a Red-breasted Merganser, and off Mudbank - 3 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 14 Great Crested Grebes, 44 Redshank and 27 Common Gulls were the only things counted.
Family parties of Brent Geese were feeding in the 'Gut' this afternoon.
Sunday, 6 November 2022
Immature male Eider in Sandy Bay.
Orcombe, early doors - 1 Eider, 9 Common Scoters, 1 Dartford Warbler, 1 Cirl Bunting, 5 Stonechats, 3 Song Thrushes, 2 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs, c350 Woodpigeons, 1 Mistle Thrush, 3+ Siskins, c50 Redwings and c60 Chaffinches (west). In the top fields - c50+ Skylarks and a small number of Meadow Pipits.
A limited number of counts from Mudbank included 37 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, c40+ Black-tailed Godwits, c140 Dunlin, 62 Turnstones, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese. Other wildfowl were not counted. Nearby - 2 Cirl Buntings were along the cycle path near West Lodge, when Lu and I walked the dog, before lunch.
Yesterday, a short spell on Orcombe, in poor weather, produced c50+ Redwing, 1 Eider (Sandy Bay), 1 adult Mediterranean Gull and c275 Kittiwakes, about 175 of which were on the Straight Point ledges.
A flock of 25 Fieldfares was feeding on Rowan berries at the back of our house, on the Warren View pitches, and 2 Mediterranean Gulls were noted off Mudbank (adult and second-winter).
Friday, 4 November 2022
Rock Pipit - dung heap.
Top fields - late pm.