Monday 15 July 2024


Sandwich Tern - Mudbank.

I was surprised to see 2 Wigeon on Cockle Sands this morning. Early returning birds or birds that have spent the summer somewhere a lot closer than Russia? Also off Mudbank - c145 Curlew, 21+ Whimbrel, 8 Sanderling, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a handful of Sandwich Terns and 4 Mallard. Nearby, off Shelly Beach - 7 Mediterranean Gulls, c85 Sandwich Terns, 11 Mute Swans and 6 Eiders.
A short sea-watch earlier on produced 22 Common Scoters, 3+ Mediterranean Gulls and 8+ Sandwich Terns. Three distant skuas went south at around 0845 but they were way too distant and out in the murk. They looked chunky so were presumably Bonxies or Poms.
Yesterday - Maer Rocks - 2 juvenile Ringed Plovers, 15+ Sandwich Terns, 1 summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver and 4 Mediterranean Gulls.
Shelly Beach - a flock of 5 Common Sandpipers, 1 Turnstone, c70 Sandwich Terns and 3 Mediterranean Gulls. The six Eiders were off the seafront.
13/7 - Mudbank - 10 Mallard, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 10+ Sandwich Terns and 27 Little Egrets (flew out of roost on opposite side of the river).

Marbled White on Sea Holly - The Maer.

The six Eiders off the seafront yesterday. This morning they were roosting on Warren Point.

A feature of any look off the seafront at the moment is the arriving Mediterranean Gulls - each one heading purposefully towards the river mouth. The odd one lands on the beach or loafs for a while offshore.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull - Mudbank.

Second-summer Mediterranean Gull - Exmouth beach (yesterday).

Friday 12 July 2024

3s YLG

A third summer (4th cal yr) Yellow Legged Gull off Mudbank this afternoon. Also 4+ Whimbrel, 1 Mallard and 2 Common Terns.

Thursday 11 July 2024

Silver-studded Blues

Female Silver-studded Blue.

A male Cirl Bunting, the male Nightjar and a Green Sandpiper on Bicton Common this afternoon, whilst looking for Silver-studded Blues.

Yesterday off the seafront - a quick and early look produced a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver, 5 Common Scoters and 2 Mute Swans.

Tuesday - Mudbank - a female-type Shoveler, 14+ Sandwich Terns, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 15 Whimbrel and 2 Great Crested Grebes. Off Shelly Beach - 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 33 Sandwich Terns and the 6 Eiders.

Male Silver-studded Blue.

Small Heath.

This male Cirl Bunting is still on Bicton Common. No sign of any juveniles yet...

Green Sandpiper - Bicton Common. A regular site for this species.

Mediterranean Gull.

Monday 8 July 2024

Long-tailed Skua

Caught up with the Long-tailed Skua late this evening, off Shelly Beach. It was always distant and the visibility was horrendous as the rain lashed down. Many thanks to Kev and Mark for the calls and to Ivan for finding it earlier this morning. A very unusual record both in timing and location. I'm useless with skuas and totally unfamiliar with this age class but am assuming it's near adult/sub-adult with relatively short  tail streamers and a hint of a dusky pec band. My appalling photos will give you some idea of the views I was getting but it's a fabulous record for Exmouth. Apologies for not texting or phoning anybody but my phone is completely out of credit.
Also of Shelly Beach today - 12+ Common Terns, c20 Sandwich Terns, 5+ Mediterranean Gulls, the 6 Eiders and 24 Shelduck.
Off the seafront - 7 Manx Shearwaters (east), 7 Common Scoters and 4+ Mediterranean Gulls.

Sunday 7 July 2024

Arctic Skuas

Off the seafront late this evening - 2 dark phase Arctic Skuas sniffing around a gull flock that included a number of Mediterranean Gulls and several Kittiwakes. All attempts at counting them were compounded by distance and tricky light conditions. At least one Common Dolphin was way, way offshore with a few Gannets in attendance.

Off Mudbank on this morning's rising tide - 11+ Whimbrel, 145+ Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin, 2 Mallard, 70+ Carrion Crows, 1 Sandwich Tern and 1 Mediterranean Gull.

Saturday 6 July 2024


I could only find one Broad-leaved Helleborine along Wright's Lane this afternoon.

Too much west in the wind for it to be any good for sea-watching  today but a Little Ringed Plover was on the beach, by the lifeboat station, shortly after 530am. Frustratingly I didn't actually see it until it took off, calling. They breed just beyond the Exmouth parish boundary but this is only my third record within Exmouth itself. Otherwise a single Mediterranean Gull off there, along with 3 Common Scoters, 1 Curlew, 3 Sandwich Terns and 2 Black-headed Gulls.
On Cockle Sands - on the tiniest patch of mud as the tide dropped - 2 Common Terns and 9 Sandwich Terns. Also a single Mediterranean Gull on a very brief look.

Friday 5 July 2024


A nice close encounter with this male Sparrowhawk down at the marina this morning.

I looked at the sea from 0530 - 0635 this morning. Nothing out of the ordinary but 9+ Sandwich Terns, 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Common Scoters, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Manx Shearwaters and 1 Black-headed Gull scraped into the notebook. Two Great Crested Grebes flew in from the east and settled offshore. Nearby, off the Imperial rec/Shelly Beach - 4+ Mediterranean Gulls, 5+ Sandwich Terns and the 6 Eiders (way over towards Cockwood Corner). A single Bar-tailed Godwit was the only notable sighting off Mudbank.
Yesterday off Mudbank - my first Common Sandpiper of the summer. Also 1 immature Peregrine, 1+ Mediterranean Gull, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 3+ Sandwich Terns and just 1 Whimbrel.
A late look off the seafront produced at least 1 Common Dolphin and 4 Manx Shearwaters.

Sunday 30 June 2024

June Juv YLG!

A brief juvenile Yellow-legged Gull off Mudbank today. Seen around midday, it's my earliest ever and first in June. It headed off in an easterly direction. Let's hope it's a good summer for them. Also off there - 52 Black-headed Gulls and 10 Sandwich Terns on the rising tide. A group of 6 Sand Martins headed upriver and a Goshawk circled high above the river. A productive forty-five minutes in contrast to the rest of the month!
Early morning off Maer Rocks - 10 Swift headed out across the bay and c85 Kittiwakes were feeding distantly offshore. Mediterranean Gulls totalled just 3 and the 6 Eider were further along the seafront, off the Warren.

Saturday 29 June 2024


These Eiders have been around for months but I haven't seen them for ages. Not that I've been trying. In fact, this morning was the first time I've looked off the seafront in ages. Summer apathy. Six birds in total - 3 females and 3 immature males. Also off there - a flock of 19 Sandwich Terns and 6 Curlew.
I cycled to Topsham after lunch, stopping off at Bowling Green for the Spotted Redshank. Not a lot else there with c50 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 1+ Lapwing and 310+ Black-headed Gulls logged, along with just 1 first-summer Mediterranean Gull.
Very little else to report but yesterday off Mudbank - 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Sandwich Terns and 1 Great Crested Grebe.
27/6 - 2 Mediterranean Gulls.
26/6 - c190+ Black-headed Gulls, 6 Sandwich Terns and 1 Mediterranean Gull.

The Spotted Redshank at Bowling Green.

Marsh Tit - South Molton yesterday. Exmouth is once again a Marsh Tit-free zone as far as I can tell. Really sad about that.

Pretty sure this is Water Shrew. Found whilst working in South Molton but sadly deceased.

Monday 24 June 2024


Very little to report but no surprise there! Don't like going too long without updating. Off Mudbank today - 16+ Whimbrel, 3 Great Crested Grebes, c180+ Black-headed Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns, 3 Dunlin, c40 Carrion Crows, 1 Raven, 9 Shelduck and c110+ Curlew. A 'new-in' Stonechat at West Lodge.
23/6 - 1 Stock Dove, 5+ Swifts, 1 Grey Heron, 17+ Whimbrel, c105+ Curlew, 6 Sandwich Terns, c55 Carrion Crows, c210+ Black-headed Gulls and 1 Mallard.
22/6 - c95 Curlew, c65 Carrion Crows and 3 Shelduck.
21/6 - 6 Sandwich Terns, c40 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Common Gulls, 1 fs Mediterranean Gull, 7 Whimbrel and c25 Curlew.
20/6 - 30 Black-headed Gulls and 6 Curlew.

Red Deer - South Molton - a close encounter late, last Tuesday evening.

In excess of 70 Pyramidal Orchid spikes on Dinan Way - more than I remember seeing before.

Little Egret - Mudbank.

Sunday 16 June 2024

More Heath Cirls, Common Spotted Orchids

Lovely to see Common Spotted Orchids out now.

Still desperately quiet. A single Grey Plover on Cockle Sands with a smaller wader sp on this afternoon's dropping tide but that's about it.
Yesterday off Mudbank - 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel and 10 Curlew.

 Cirl Bunting - Bicton Common. Hot on the heels of a singing male on Withycombe Raleigh Common, this male was with a female. How long, I wonder, 'til there widespread on the Pebbled Heaths? Nearby - a Firecrest in song. It wasn't long ago (2017) that I recorded the first breeding birds for the Pebbled Heaths, now they're in every pocket of suitable habitat up there. Looks like Cirls are heading the same way...

Friday 14 June 2024


Yesterday - a forty minute sea-watch from the raised beach huts, after work, produced 105+ Manx Shearwaters and 2 Fulmars south. Visibility was dreadful though so I'm sure I missed stuff. 
The most Swifts I've seen together over the town in Exmouth, this summer, is six birds. On Monday a pair were inspecting our neighbours' roof and I enjoyed watching them whiz up and down our road at head height for several minutes. Three birds were then hanging around for a while afterwards. In the morning a flock of 23 flew west across the river, into a headwind - a significant number given the low number of local birds. Also on Monday - 3 Red Kites west. Two went really low over the river at 0840 and a single bird crossed at 1040. Otherwise just 5 Whimbrel off Mudbank, along with a hunting Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. A Peregrine was over the house.

Red Kite - Hurn, Dorset. I see Red Kites from the car pretty much every time I'm working up in Dorset.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Heath Cirl!

I'm used to seeing Cirl Buntings in heathland habitat around the Mediterranean but not in Devon, so this afternoon's singing male, on Withycombe Raleigh Common (against a back-drop of singing Yellowhammers), was a real surprise.

Yesterday off Mudbank - 103 Black-headed Gulls, 19 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Sandwich Terns.
June 4th - 95+ Black-headed Gulls and 6+ Sandwich Terns.
June 3rd - 19 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Mallard and 82 small wader sp, distantly on Cockle Sands.

Sunday 2 June 2024

More Bobs and Bits

Mudbank early this morning - c22+ Sanderling, c15+ Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Knot, 14 Ringed Plovers, 6 Curlew and 3 Black-headed Gulls. A bit more off there than I was expecting to be honest.
On 30/5 - 1 Whimbrel, 8 Canada Geese, 1 Swift and a Red Kite across the other side of the river, heading north.
On 29/5 - 64+ Canada Geese off Mudbank - a notable count for this time of year.

Herring Gulls are roof-top nesters in Exmouth but this bird is only 5 or 6 ft off the ground, on the side of a container/waste 'bay' in the Coastal Waste recycling centre.

Lu and I were cycling to Topsham but I stopped to photograph this Marsh Harrier, high over Bowling Green marsh.

This local adult Barn Owl is attending at least one chick.

Broad-bodied Chaser.

Green Hairstreak.

Lots of recently-fledged Dartford Warblers around at the moment and plenty of singing males too.