Tuesday 31 October 2023


A dreadful record shot of this evening's Merlin on Orcombe Point - a juvenile found in torrential rain and near darkness, after work. Not ideal but it's a lot better than not seeing a Merlin!

Yesterday, early doors on Orcombe Point - 1 Whitethroat, 3 Snipe, 4 Redpoll, 1 Yellowhammer, 3800+ Woodpigeons, 30+ Chaffinches, 50+ Goldfinches, 5 Song Thrushes, 12+ Pied Wagtails, 8+ Goldcrests, 7 Chiffchaffs, 26+ Jackdaws, 5+ Siskins, 19 Starlings, 1 Blackcap, 12 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Ring-necked Parakeets, 5 Stonechats and 18+ Skylarks.

Mudbank - the Red-throated Diver and female Common Scoter still, 18+ Great Crested Grebes and 1 Red-breasted Merganser.

Sunday 29 October 2023


 Fieldfare - Orombe Point 27/10.

Today's highlight was a Red-throated Diver off Mudbank. A first for me there. A quick dash back to the house and I was soon watching it from the back garden. Listing is such a ridiculous pursuit. I haven't the first clue what my British list is, but I still keep track of what I see from the house. Very little counting done as the tide dropped, but 57 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 6 Knot, 1 Rock Pipit, 80+ Jackdaws, c40 Black-tailed Godwits and 17 Great Crested Grebes noted. A quick look at Duckpond revealed 1 Ringed Plover and 11 Common Gulls. The continuing south-westerly breeze has ruined any chance of 'viz mig' on Orcombe. All I managed to log this morning was a single Firecrest, 1 Redwing, 5 Song Thrushes, 10 Blackbirds, 4 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests and the lingering Whitethroat. A thirty minute look at the sea produced 8 Common Scoters, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Red-throated Diver, 85+ Gannets and 25+ Kittiwakes.

Yesterday - Orcombe Point from 0740 - quiet, with the Whitethroat still, 2 Cirl Buntings, 1 Snipe, 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese (cutting over Gore Lane/Bristol Schools, which is most unusual), 13 Siskins and just c700 Woodpigeons.
Mudbank - 105 Pintail, 16 Great Crested Grebes, 340 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 4 Knot and 35 Bar-tailed Godwits (Cockle Sands).

27/10 - Orcombe from 0855 - 1045 - a late start - 1 Fieldfare, the lingering Ring Ouzel and the Whitethroat still, plus c3000 Woodpigeons, 2 Reed Buntings and 2 Bullfinches of note.
Mudbank - wader counts included 4 Knot, 6 Greenshank, 1 Grey Plover, c100 Turnstones, 27 Dunlin, 65 Redshank, 6 Bar-tailed Godwits and c80 Black-tailed Godwits. Also - 35+ Little Egrets, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and 90+ Pintail amongst the usual stuff.

Hoping this Whitethroat stays into November.

An odd gull off Mudbank this evening. Possibly hybrid Caspian x Herring but way too much wrong with it for pure Caspian.

Ringed Plover - Duckpond.

Thursday 26 October 2023


A good movement of Woodpigeons west this morning - c10,000+ I think but it's so difficult to be sure. The largest flock I estimated to be c1500 birds, stretched out high over the sea. At one point, following a Peregrine attack, hundreds of birds dropped from the sky and rocketed past, feet away, at head height in a bid to escape. The loud 'WHOOSH' as they did so was utterly breathtaking. Birds were still on the move when I left at 11am. The total could be significantly higher but I'm a cautious counter, preferring to count minimums rather than over-count. Also this morning, from 0740, in fine conditions - 1 Ring Ouzel (yesterday's bird, and quite likely the bird first noted on the 22nd), 2 Cirl Buntings, 4 Redwings, 260+ Jackdaws, c25 Pied Wagtails, 70+ Chaffinches, 7 Song Thrushes, c20+ Meadow Pipits, 27+ Siskins, 9+ Goldcrests, c40 Robins, 2 Grey Wagtails, 8+ Blackbirds, 18+ Stock Doves, up to 36 Starlings, 4 Reed Buntings, 3+ Redpolls, 90+ Goldfinches, 7 Stonechats, 1 Rook, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 8 Chiffchaffs, 1 Kestrel, 2 Peregrines, 5 Red-legged Partridges, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets and 1 Coal Tit.

Mudbank - 1 juvenile Spoonbill, 1 Shoveler, c130 Pintail, c45 Redshank, 11 Great Crested Grebes, 13 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Greenshank, 133 Shelduck, 20 Turnstones and 5 Dunlin.

The Ring Ouzel was again present this morning - vocal and mobile, ranging from the top of the lane that leads down to the Bristol Schools camp, all the way down to the south east corner of the Bristol Schools field.

Cirl Bunting

I normally see the rear end of the 5 Red-legged Partridges as they explode from cover, so it was quite nice to get close views today. Credit to this Rabbit that unsettled them and flushed them towards me.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Black Red

 This Black Redstart popped up on a roof (as they tend to do) along Halsdon Avenue, as Lu and I walked the dog this afternoon. My first of the autumn.

Orcombe Point early on - was hoping for a clear start but it rained for the first hour of daylight - scuppering any early overhead movement whilst simultaneously failing to drop anything! Noteworthy sightings included yesterday's Whitethroat again, 1 Blackcap, 1 Ring Ouzel, 5 Stonechats, c10 Chiffchaffs, 9+ Goldcrests, 17+ Chaffinches, 6+ Song Thrushes, 12+ Blackbirds, 1200+ Woodpigeons, 9+ Stock Doves, 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Siskins, 2 Reed Buntings, 1 Redpoll and at least 24 Skylarks. Two Peregrines were showing considerable interest in the Woodpigeons.
Mudbank on the incoming tide - 1 juvenile Spoonbill, 7 Greenshank, 15+ Redshank, 22 Black-tailed Godwits and 12+ Teal. I didn't count the numerous Wigeon and Dark-bellied Brent Geese but there were a few Pintail present, and still good numbers of Pale-bellied Brent Geese, way out on Cockle Sands. Nearby, on Halsdon Avenue - a Black Redstart.

One of this morning's Woodpigeon flocks heading out over the bay above Orcombe Point.

The Whitethroat was again at the top end of the weedy field - feeding amongst the weeds and flushed up into the hedge.

So difficult to photograph today's Ring Ouzel. This was the best I could do. I'm sure it's lovely joining the crowds, chasing flocks of these around Dartmoor, but to hear that 'tack' from a hedgerow, on your local patch, on a grey autumnal day, takes some beating.

The juvenile Spoonbill was off Mudbank again today.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Late Whitethroat


I wasn't able to get up to Orcombe 'til late in the morning so must have missed a lot of stuff. Paul had a Merlin chasing Linnets and pipits in the top fields but it was gone by the time I got up there. Woodpigeons were still moving west with c900+ noted. Otherwise the best bird was a late Whitethroat. Also noted - c60 Starlings, 6 Stonechats, 2 Reed Buntings, 1 Redpoll, 2 Siskins, 69 Jackdaws (all west) and a Redwing along with a few other bits and pieces.
Mudbank late pm - 40 Redshank, 3 Greenshank, c80 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Knot, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 1 Kingfisher and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull.

Orcombe yesterday  - a nice walk around with Libby  but it was too blown out to be any good. A Snipe flushed from the weedy field and a flock of c80+ Jackdaws the only things of any note.
Mudbank late afternoon - 1 juvenile Spoonbill, 4 Greenshank, 12 Redshank, 42 Black-tailed Godwits, 210+ Dunlin, 4 Teal, c30 Turnstones and 1 Knot. The Brent Geese and Wigeon weren't counted.

Roe Deer

This Sparrowhawk was heading high east over Orcombe yesterday morning. Presumably just looking for high-flying migrants as opposed to migrating anywhere?

This juvenile Spoonbill was off Mudbank yesterday afternoon but it soon moved out onto the estuary as the tide dropped.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Woodpigs, SEO, GWE

A beautiful morning this morning. Woodpigeons featured with c3500 west between 0735 and 1050. Largest flock size c500 birds. Also this morning - 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Brambling, 1+ Golden Plover, c65+ Chaffinches, 13+ Reed Buntings, 9+ Redpolls, c40 Pied Wagtails, 10+ Blackbirds, 12+ Song Thrushes, 25+ Siskins, c60+ Goldfinches, 40+ Meadow Pipits, c30/40 Linnets, c10 Greenfinches,  3 Stonechats, 2 Swallows, 8+ Goldcrests, c10 Chiffchaffs, 40+ Jackdaws, 20+ Skylarks, 1 Bullfinch, 2 Coal Tits, 13+ Starlings, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 or 3 Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel

Mudbank on the dropping tide - not much counted but a Great White Egret, upriver at 2pm, was the highlight. Otherwise - 2 Grey Plovers, 40+ Turnstones, 144 Shelduck, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Redshank.

This morning's Ring Ouzel before it plunged into deep cover.

 Great White Egret - upriver at 2pm.

Meadow Pipits

Friday 20 October 2023

Jack Snipe, Radford's Flame Shoulder

Radford's Flame Shoulder. Other migrant species, trapped last night, included 1 Pearly Underwing, 2 Olive-tree Pearl (Palpitta vitrealis), 1 Rush Veneer and c15 Rusty Dot Pearl.

I almost trod on this morning's Jack Snipe - my first in Exmouth this year. It flushed from the weedy field and landed somewhere the other side of the hedge. Other records this morning included the autumn's first Fieldfare, 2 Cirl Buntings, 10+ Pied Wagtails, 30+ Meadow Pipits, 1+ Redpoll, 2+ Siskins, 2 Reed Buntings, 30+ Chaffinches, 30+ Goldfinches, 100+ Woodpigeons, 2 Stock Doves, 1+ Swallow, 3 Stonechats, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2+ Skylarks, 1 Grey Wagtail, 10+ Chiffchaffs,  and 4 Goldcrests.

Mudbank, shortly after high tide - the autumn's first Red-breasted Merganser, a female Common Scoter, c135 Pintail, c700 Brent Geese, 32+ Turnstones, 3 Redshank, 1 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Dunlin and 1 Sandwich Tern. I didn't count the Wigeon but somewhere between 500 and 1000 would seem a reasonable estimate.

 Pearly Underwing

Thursday 19 October 2023

Crimson Speckled, SEO, Spoonbill

Crimson Speckled - Orcombe Point. Found in the big weedy field this afternoon. All three that I've found in Exmouth have been disturbed during the daytime.

Orcombe Point - mid pm, after work - At least 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Stonechats, 1 Chiffchaff, c100 Linnet and 16 Great Black-backed Gulls in the top fields.
Mudbank - 1 Spoonbill, following 4 seen by Rupert a little earlier in the afternoon. Thanks for the text Rupert!

Following an influx on the east coast, this afternoon's bird was entirely expected.

Spoonbill - Mudbank. The other three had clearly moved to pastures new...

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Oleander Hawkmoth!!!

I got home from work to a text that, quite frankly, stunned me. My good mate Paul Gosling, head of Exeter Road primary school, had this incredible moth, resting on the side of a school building. I'm hugely grateful to Paul for letting me see it, and for letting me take it home to photograph. It's one of those species you just never think you're going to actually see in the UK. Breathtakingly beautiful in the flesh and, of course, uber-rare. Thanks again Paul!

The spot where the Oleander hawkmoth was found. Not far from a light but surrounded by school children running around, having fun. Amazing!

Sunday 15 October 2023

First Brambling and Woodpigs

 Firecrest. A little arrival of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests on Orcombe today too.

Clear skies, much cooler temperature and a barely perceptible breeze from the east produced the first Brambling of the autumn and the first movement of Woodpigeons (c150) and Jackdaws (23). Also, between 0730 and 10am - 33+ Chaffinches, 9 Song Thrushes, c100 Pied Wagtails, c30 Meadow Pipits, 62+ Siskins, 4+ Bullfinches, 16 Greenfinches, 2 Kestrels, 11 Reed Buntings, c20 Chiffchaffs (an increase), 6 Goldcrests, 1 Firecrest, 70+ Goldfinches, c60+ Linnets, 4 Redpolls, c30/40+ Skylarks, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Swallow, 1 Coal Tit, 8 Stock Doves, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Blackcaps, 5 Stonechats and the 5 Red-legged Partridges.
I missed the high tide at Mudbank but whilst walking the dog with Lu, logged c420 Black-tailed Godwits and c30 Knot, just opposite Lower Halsdon Farm.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Ring Ouzel

 Ring Ouzel heading inland having initially been heard 'chacking' in scrub, along the coast path.

Good again this morning on a cool, light north-westerly. I didn't have too much time so had to whiz around pretty quickly. Lots of stuff moving but most stuff too high to identify. Totals from 0730 - 17+ Reed Buntings (the highest total this autumn), 6+ Redpoll, 1 Tree Pipit, 95+ Meadow Pipits, 45+ Pied Wagtails, c80+ Skylarks, 1 Swallow, 2 Grey Wagtails, c30 Siskins, 6 Greenfinches, c50 Chaffinches, 1 Ring Ouzel, 6+ Blackbirds, 3 Song Thrushes, 2 Goldcrests, c65 Goldfinches, 6+ Chiffchaffs and just 1 Stonechat.
Lu and I went for a stroll along the seafront mid-morning. Redpolls and Siskins were still moving overhead and 4 Swallows sped low, towards the river mouth.
I had a look at the sea early yesterday morning but again no luck with large shearwaters. Hundreds of Gannets and good numbers of Kittiwake headed south but the best sightings were 2 Sandwich Terns, 4 Common Scoter, up to 11 Arctic Skuas, 6 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 2 drake Eiders.
Selected Mudbank counts - 150 Pintail, c70 Black-tailed Godwits, 22 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Greenshank, 1 Redshank and 1 Ringed Plover. The Brent Goose flock numbered c3/400 birds with at least 20 Pale-bellied birds still amongst them.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Moths, Tree Pipit

My first garden Blair's Mocha - trapped last night. Totally expected as this former rare migrant continues its spread in the UK. Additionally - 5 Olive-tree Pearl (Palpitta vitrealis), 13+ Silver Y, 30+ Rusty Dot Pearl, 47+ Box-tree Moth, 2 Delicate, 1 Scarce Bordered Straw, 1 Southern Bell (Crocidosema plebejana), 1 Merveille du Jour, 3 Red-line Quaker, 1 Sallow, 1 Blair's Shoulder-knot, 2 Angle Shades, 2 Green-brindled Crescent, 1 Black Rustic, 1 Snout, 2 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Square-spot Rustic, 1 Vine's Rustic, 2 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 1 Large Yellow Underwing and a heap of Common Marbled Carpet, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Feathered Ranunculus, Double-striped Pug and Light Brown Apple Moth.

Merveille du Jour

A nice fresh, and pretty dark, Scarce Bordered Straw.

Green-brindled Crescent

Beaded Chestnut


 Late autumn, fly-over Tree Pipits are often unchecked, so I was please to get eyes on this grounded bird, late on this evening, after work. It was on Orcombe Point, in the top fields. It's getting late for them.