Monday 27 March 2023


From first light - 2 or 3 Willow Warblers, at least 15 Chiffchaffs, 9+ Meadow Pipits, 5 Pied Wagtails, 1 White Wagtail, 8 Linnets, 1 Bullfinch, c10+ Greenfinches, 34 Woodpigeons, 2 male Stonechats, 1 Eider and a very brief but likely Serin that joined 3 other finches and flew high west before I could nail it. A loud 'tsooeet' initially made me think I'd heard a Brambling so I glanced skywards. Then a fairly flat, rippling 'trit lit lit' drew attention to a small finch as it shot out of a hedge and away. Frustrating but I've had a few Serins on Orcombe, over the years, so I'm sure there'll be more...
Mudbank - very few birds around but 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 4 Black-headed Gulls, c10 Common Gulls, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 18+ Turnstones, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Sandwich Terns, 6 Little Egrets and 2 fly-over Siskins made it into the notebook.

 White Wagtail - Orcombe Point.

Sunday 26 March 2023

WW, Iceland Gull

 This Willow Warbler, my first of the year, was singing quietly as it moved through Blackthorn scrub on Orcombe Point this morning. 

Orcombe Point this morning - 4+ Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 6+ Meadow pipits, 1 Stonechat, 6 Shelducks, 3 Sandwich Terns, 11 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, the 2 immature drake Eiders and 2 Red-legged Partridges.
Thanks to some very timely messages from Mark and Lee (thank you both), I was able to see the Warren's juvenile Iceland Gull as it circled with a large gull flock, disturbed from Finger Point. I watched it from the seafront before it flew off out to sea. It appeared to be of the lovely 'café au lait' variety - my first Exmouth record since December 13th 2021. See here.
Off Mudbank today - 22 Sandwich Terns, just 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 18 Turnstones, 55 Curlew, 2 Canada Geese, 2 Mute Swans, 3 Teal, 20+ Common Gulls and at least 14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
The only morsels of interest from yesterday included the female Cirl Bunting again at West Lodge, and an adult Kittiwake off Mudbank. I was chuffed to see 2 Moorhens back on Bystock Pool, after a complete absence last year.

Meadow Pipit.

First seen yesterday, this pair of Red-legged Partridges are frequenting the top fields of Orcombe.

Another chunk of cliff has slipped on Orcombe Point.

Thursday 23 March 2023

OT feather

I've been hoping to get a photo of the outer tail feathers but having had a quick look online I'm not actually  sure how helpful it is - an apparently variable feature on the various races? Still no call or DNA, but I'm still reasonably happy this Eastern Lesser Whitethroat best fits 'Siberianblythi. Thank you once again to Richard and Jo.
Otherwise, another very wet day. A bit of sky-watching from the back garden, when it wasn't tipping down, resulted in a single Cattle Egret (at 9am) that flew in from the east before heading upriver.
I got drenched walking the dog this afternoon, but managed to find a female Cirl Bunting at West Lodge (my sixth in Exmouth already this year), with 2 surprise fly-over Redpolls there and 3 Meadow Pipits.
Off Shelly Beach, late this afternoon - 5 Sandwich Terns, 25 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

Saturday 18 March 2023

Pale Stonechat

I followed this pale female Stonechat around the top fields this morning, hoping to get a good look at the rump. Unfortunately it was always one step ahead of me. Disconcertingly peachy below, in flat light, but not so arresting in the early morning sunlight. I'm sure it's just a light Common Stonechat, but I guess a Stejneger's wouldn't look massively different, though presumably pale-throated?
Otherwise, Orcombe totals included 2 Wheatears, 3 Cirl Buntings, 8 Chiffchaffs, 1 Snipe and 10+ Meadow Pipits.
Mudbank - 1 Spoonbill, c90 Carrion Crows, 85 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 first-winter Mediterranean Gull, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 15 Common Gulls, 38 Wigeon, 40 Shelducks, 24+ Turnstones, 6 Ringed Plovers, 1 Greenshank, 9 Great Crested Grebes, 55+ Dunlin, 10 Redshank, 31 Bar-tailed Godwits and 1 Kingfisher. Nearby, off Shelly Beach - 2 Sandwich Terns.
A very quick off Mudbank yesterday afternoon produced 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese. It was great to catch up with Derek.
On the 16th, a late afternoon look at Orcombe Point produced 1 immature male Eider, 3 Chiffchaffs, 6 Linnets, 4+ Fieldfares, 1+ Redwing and 2 Stonechats.

Three Cirl Buntings on Orcombe Point this morning - a pair near the Geoneedle and a singing male in the top fields.

One of two Sandwich Terns off Shelly Beach this afternoon.

This lovely female Wheatear popped up beside the Geoneedle this morning. A male was in the top fields.

Monday 13 March 2023

Pale-bellied Brents

Second-winter Mediterranean Gull - Mudbank.

At least 12, probably 14 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, in with c100 Dark-bellied Brent Geese distantly off Shelly beach this evening. A nice bit of early movement for a species I normally associate with April. Also off there - 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, c35 Great Black-backed Gulls and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers. Not much else today but a short sea-watch (0640 - 0725) in a strong south-westerly,  from the raised beach huts, produced 24 Gannets, 4 Kittiwakes, 4 Fulmars, 1 Common Scoter and the 2 immature drake Eiders.
Off Mudbank - just 9 Redshank, 28 Wigeon, 53 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Common Sandpiper and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull of any note. Otherwise - a Mistle Thrush on Warren View playing fields and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull moving between the Imperial rugby ground and adjacent Duck Pond.
Yesterday - 75 Wigeon and an adult Mediterranean Gull off Mudbank. Off the seafront - 12+ Great Crested Grebes, 2 Eiders and 1 Red-throated Diver. Orcombe Point - 3 Chiffchaffs, c30+ Common Scoters (off Straight Point) and the 2 Eiders.

Common Sandpiper - Mudbank.

First-winter Mediterranean Gull - Duck Pond.

Wigeon - Mudbank.

Saturday 11 March 2023

Sandwich Terns

 Grey Plover - Mudbank.

Three Sandwich Terns off Mudbank this morning - fishing in the river and resting on Cockle Sands. Other counts included 24+ Wigeon, 3 Sanderling, 5+ Red-breasted Mergansers, 36 Shelduck, 9+ Great Crested Grebes, 18 Knot, 73 Bar-tailed Godwits, 72+ Grey Plovers and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull.
A soggy trudge round Maer Valley this afternoon revealed c100+ Jackdaws, c20 Linnets, c10 Redwings and 8 Ring-necked Parakeets (Prattshayes Farm). The only other snippet of news from today - a Kestrel hunting over the Maer early on.
Late yesterday afternoon - 36 Common Scoters off Straight Point and the 2 immature drake Eiders off the seafront.

Thursday 9 March 2023


Singles of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Snipe on Orcombe Point this morning. The 2 immature drake Eiders were offshore and 2 Chiffchaffs, along with 3 Stonechats, were noted.

The Red-necked Grebe was again off the seafront, but pretty distant and very challenging in choppy conditions .

Evidence of some gull passage today with 5 Mediterranean Gulls off Mudbank and 36 Great Black-backed Gulls, with 14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, on Bull Hill. Otherwise today - 43 Wigeon and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers off Mudbank, and the Cetti's Warbler again showed briefly there. The Eastern Lesser Whitethroat continues its residence around the corner.

This beautifully pale Golden Plover is no doubt itching to make its way north. Today's miserable, wet and windy weather isn't really conducive for such a journey.

 The two immature drake Eiders remain between Orcombe Point and Straight Point.

Second-winter, adult and first-winter Mediterranean Gulls (with Black-headed Gulls) - Mudbank.

Monday 6 March 2023


Terrible record shots of this afternoon's juvenile Glaucous Gull. It was on a shrinking Cockle Sands (viewed from the Imperial rec) as the tide crept in. Many thanks to Mark for the text. This is my first in Exmouth since March 22nd 2018 and is presumably the bird reported in Topsham, a week ago. Also on Cockle Sands - 204 Curlew. Off Mudbank a bit earlier - 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Cold Stuff

Orcombe Point first thing - Peregrine, 2 immature drake Eider, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Stonechats, 240+ Kittiwakes (on Straight Point ledges) and c40 Shags.

The Red-necked Grebe was off the seafront this afternoon (many thanks for the text Tom) and earlier I counted 45 Great Crested Grebes, 27 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 8 Curlew, 4 Common Scoters and 4 Teal. Oddly, the Teal were still off the seafront this afternoon, just resting on the sea.

Otherwise today - a single juvenile Spoonbill off Mudbank this afternoon and c260 Dunlin. Just upriver, off Sowden Lane, the female Scaup still.

My first Exmouth Moorhen of 2023 was in the overgrown pond along Castle Lane

 Scarlet Elf Cup. Masses of these in woodland along Castle Lane.

Saturday 4 March 2023

Red-necked Grebe

I was really pleased to finally clap eyes on the Red-necked Grebe today. It was visible from the seafront, shortly after midday. Unfortunately it was always distant  but I'm not complaining. My last in Exmouth was in February 2020 - the bird that wintered off Shelly Beach. Also off there - c10 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Common Scoters.

Orcombe Point was predictably quiet - just 3 Chiffchaffs logged but really nice to catch up with Dave Boult.

Mudbank counts included c450 Dunlin, c100 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 96 Wigeon, 2 Greenshank, c160 Curlew, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers and the female Scaup.

The Scaup had earlier been off Sowden Lane with 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and 15 Great Crested Grebes. It was great to bump into Tim and Carolyn.

A late look off Mudbank yesterday revealed my first 3 Shovelers of the year - 2 drakes and a female. Also off there - 100+ Wigeon, 57 Shelduck, 3  Red-breasted Mergansers and 10 Great Crested Grebes. The Cattle Egret flock, on the wreck across the river, numbered just 11 birds.