Saturday 24 December 2022

Better Scaup

It was still pretty much dark when I looked off Mudbank this morning but I'm glad I did because the Scaup was fairly close-in, revealing itself to be a nice adult female with broad, clean white facial patch and ashy-grey flanks. As a train passed, blasting its horn, it took flight and landed much further out in the middle of the river. Not much else off there but a Kingfisher flashed past and the Cetti's Warbler burst into song, further upriver towards Lower Halsdon Farm. 
Nearby, 120 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were feeding on the Imperial rugby ground. I counted 27 juveniles amongst them which was 22.5% of the flock. I don't think that's reflective of the overall breeding success though, as family parties seem to have slightly different feeding preferences. In Exmouth, juvenile birds are often found in the quieter corners as opposed to with the big, noisy congregations.
As it was so calm I had a quick scan off Orcombe Point but could only muster 2 Common Scoters and 2 Great Crested Grebes.
A stroll around the block this evening produced a Common Sandpiper and Redshank, in the brook, near the end of Exeter Road. I can't remember seeing a wintering Common Sand in Exmouth before.


  1. Great pics! Hopefully we will catch up the Scaup! Happy Christmas to you all. Clare and Rick

  2. Thanks Clare, thanks Rick - will be looking for the Scaup again tomorrow. they used to be fairly frequent winter visitors in Exmouth, but have become pretty scarce. Hope you've had a a good Christmas. Best wishes. Matt.

  3. Nice bird. Not a duck I see a lot of, but had a close smart drake at Staines at the start of the year.

    Wishing you &your family a Happy New Year! Hope plenty of excellent fauna/flora sightings to come in 2023!

  4. Many thanks Neil - Scaup has sadly become much more scarce down here, along with all the other diving ducks. It's really sad to see.
    Thank you so much for all your comments and for reading the blog. It means a great deal to me. Have a really happy New year and good birding (plus everything else!) in 2023. All the best. Matt.