Sunday 30 April 2023

Cuckoo, LRP

One of three Whinchats, together on Orcombe Point this morning. I was hoping for a shot of the pristine male that was present, but it was always one step ahead of me.

A thoroughly enjoyable spell of birding on Orcombe this morning, from 0620 - 0920. It's not often a spring morning produces any numbers or variety but it kind of happened today. Overnight rain, a warm, overcast dawn with a whiff of easterly wind are conditions I never usually experience at this time of year. Best bird was a Little Ringed Plover that flew over north, calling 'piu' at 8am. Additionally, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Tree Pipit, 2 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears, 3 Sedge Warblers, 12+ Whitethroats, 6 Willow Warblers, up to 14 Swallows, 5 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 1 Reed Bunting and 4 Meadow Pipits were logged. Also noted - 3 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Bullfinches, 2 Shelducks, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Fulmar and 3 Red-legged Partridges.
The earlier Little Ringed Plover was, believe it or not, only my second ever in Exmouth, so imagine my surprise to find 2 Off Mudbank this afternoon. Also off there - 74 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Greenshank, 18 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 6 Turnstones, 6 Common Gulls, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 8 Mute Swans.
Orcombe yesterday, late morning - 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Snipe and 1 Willow Warbler. Offshore - 1 Common Tern, 6+ Sandwich Terns, 4+ Guillemots and a flock of 39 Shags.
On the 28/4 - a late look off the seafront produced 50+ Sandwich Terns and a drake Tufted Duck.

This smart, male Reed Bunting was a surprise on Orcombe this morning. It's a species I'm used to seeing in the autumn but not at this time of year.

This Cuckoo perched and showed well for a few seconds, down near Orcombe Point. Unfortunately it soon slipped away and I tracked it moving up the hill, dashing between trees, before it headed off, purposefully east. I was very lucky to get this shot for posterity. I later bumped into a couple locals who both said that a singing male had moved through Maer Valley early on. Later, Lu and I walked the dog around Bystock and we heard another singing, which I'm pretty sure is the one I had the other day. So at least three Cuckoos in Exmouth today which is just brilliant!

This 'rough' camper could have picked a better place to stay the night. I wonder how many flat Green-winged Orchids I'll find tomorrow?!

First-summer Mediterranean Gull - Mudbank.

I would love to have photographed today's LRPs but they were way out on the mud so I had to make do with a field sketch - keen to get some sort of record of what is an extremely difficult bird to see in Exmouth. Just one previous record before today.

Male Tufted Duck - Bystock. One of a pair on there today, which is not unprecedented at this time of year.

Sedge Warbler - West Lodge - yesterday.


  1. Hi Tom - yes, by Orcombe standards. It very rarely happens. All the best. Matt.