Wednesday 31 January 2024

Late Shelly

The regular Great Northern Diver.

I've spent the last couple of evenings at Shelly Beach, watching the gulls come into roost and trying to count the Cattle Egrets as they fly to roost, north of Starcross. I've failed miserably to get accurate counts of anything but this evening I logged c50 Cattle Egrets (to roost at 1715), c30 Great Black-backed Gulls, just the one Lesser Black-backed Gull, c160 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Kingfisher.
Yesterday evening - c70+ Cattle Egrets (to roost at 1705), c35 Common Gulls, c150 Carrion Crows and 1 Great Northern Diver. I could only see 6 Eiders off the seafront.
On the 29th - c20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Bull Hill and 1 Great Northern Diver.

It's not even easy counting Cattle Egrets from a photo when it's taken in near darkness from about a mile away. How many birds is a white blur? This was yesterday's flock which I estimated was about 70+ birds.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Eighty-two RtDs

Four of this morning's Red-throated Divers. Several small flocks were noted flying quite high up, the largest of which consisted of twelve birds.

I wasn't expecting much from this morning's sea-watch but it was surprisingly good. A cool, light southerly obviously does the trick at this time of year. I scoped the bay from up on Foxholes and, between 0745 and 0930, logged an impressive 82 Red-throated Divers flying west. Only two diver sp went east, one of which was a possible Black-throat. Otherwise - 2 Fulmars, just 5 Gannets, small numbers of auks, 8 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 17 Common Scoters and a flock of 14 Pintail.
Nothing out of the ordinary off Mudbank but it was really good to catch up with Josh Marshall who I haven't seen for years! Counts included 1 male Goldeneye, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 59 Wigeon, 8 Pintail, 35 Mallard, c55 Bar-tailed Godwits, c150 Knot, c75 Grey Plovers, 6 Great Crested Grebes and 1 Chiffchaff.
Otherwise, it's been a quiet week bird-wise (but not work-wise). Yesterday - the 8 Cirl Buntings were again by the slurry pit on Orcombe Point and a single Redpoll was noted on Withycombe Raleigh Common.
On the 25th the female Goldeneye was off Mudbank and on the 24th I counted 165+ Curlew and c20+ Sanderlings on Cockle Sands, along with 7 Eiders in the estuary off Bull Hill.
Finally, a count of 50 Great Black-backed Gulls roosting on the Imperial rugby ground was noteworthy on the 23rd.

One of nine Redwings feeding on cotoneaster berries at the end of our road. I'm praying they leave enough for any Waxwings that happen to be passing through...

Male Cirl Bunting - one of the eight-strong flock that's wintering around the slurry pit on Orcombe Point.

Monday 22 January 2024

Egyptian Goose

Following an early morning sea-watch I decided to photograph a lone Sanderling on the beach. Whilst
getting some shots I glanced up to see this Egyptian Goose powering towards the river mouth. 
The sea-watch had earlier revealed another big movement of auks heading southwards, but all were too far out to identify. Otherwise - 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver and 3 diver species (including a possible Black-throat) were noted, along with a single Common Scoter. I would probably have given it longer had the light not been so bad.
The only other snippets from today was the 4 Cirl Buntings still ' present and correct' on the Imperial recreation ground and the 9 Eiders still loafing off the Warren, viewed from opposite the Pavillions.

Sanderling - Exmouth beach.

Sunday 21 January 2024

First-winter Caspian Gull

This first-winter Caspian Gull was off Mudbank on the incoming tide this morning. Present for a couple of hours at least. Relatively small, I guess it's a female. Little else noted but 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were further signs of some gull movement. Really good to catch up with Tom, as always.

Earlier, an hour's 'raised beach hut' sea-watch, from 0815, produced 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Red-throated Divers, 1 Shelduck, 2 Fulmars, 27 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Turnstone, 65+ Gannets, just 1 Kittiwake and 23 Common Gulls. Only a handful of auks moving unlike yesterday. Four Redwings flew out of scrub behind the raised beach huts.

Saturday 20 January 2024


A cold sunrise this morning with the wind really freshening up. A look at the sea for an hour, from 0810, produced 10 Red-throated Divers, 21 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 90+ Gannets, lots of auks, 14+ Common Gulls, 11 Common Scoters, 2 Fulmars and 12+ Kittiwakes.
Mudbank totals included the 2 juvenile Spoonbills, c300 Wigeon, 78 Mallard, 5 Pintail, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 5+ Great Crested Grebes, c120 Curlew, c130 Knot, c65+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 65+ Common Gulls and 1 Cetti's Warbler.

The 2 Spoonbills were again present on the rising tide this morning, from 0930.

Curlew - Mudbank.

Friday 19 January 2024

Gadwall, Goldies and Goosanders

Bar-tailed Godwit - Mudbank.

A beautiful day today. Cold but beautiful. I counted the Goosanders on Blackhill Quarry pool at first light - 23 birds, all leaving before 8am.
It was good to see 3 Gadwall off Mudbank having recorded none in Exmouth last year. Additional counts off there included 40 Redshank, 6 Pintail, 2 Teal, c250 Wigeon, c75 Mallard and just 1 Red-breasted Merganser. Also there - 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Peregrine, 1 Ringed Plover and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits.
Orcombe Point - 19 Golden Plovers, 3 Snipe, 1 Fieldfare, 1+ Redwing, 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Rock Pipits.
A single Firecrest and 5 Redwings were in gardens along our road and at least 4 Eiders were off the seafront. The 4 Cirl Buntings were in the hedge that separates the Imperial recreation ground from the rugby ground.

Two drake Gadwall, either side of a female.

Drake Gadwall.

 Golden Plovers - cold weather movers on Orcombe Point.

Thursday 18 January 2024


Good views of two juvenile Spoonbills off Mudbank this afternoon. On Orcombe Point - 5 Chiffchaffs on the dung heaps and 8 Cirl Buntings near the slurry pit. My first Lapwing of the year flew north and at least 2 Redwings were knocking around, along with 8+ Song Thrushes. The four Cirl Buntings were still on the Imperial recreation ground. Otherwise - 6 Eider off the seafront and 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose with 102 Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the rugby ground.

Sunday 14 January 2024


Greenshank in the brook.

A male Goldeneye was in Duckpond early this morning. Orcombe Point was quiet with just a couple Redwings, a Great Northern Diver offshore, 1 Kestrel, 21 Meadow Pipits and 35 Skylarks. A look at the back of the beach, in Sandy Bay, revealed a couple Chiffchaffs, with a third bird in the caravan park.
Mudbank was only given a cursory look with c50/60+ Redshank, 10 Pintail, 2 Greenshank and c70 Shelduck the only species noted.
A quick look at woodland, along Castle Lane, paid off with c20+ Siskins and 4 Lesser Redpolls located. Both species have, until today, been conspicuous by their absence.
Yesterday - 2 Red-throated Divers off the seafront and 3 east past Orcombe Point. Additionally - the female Goldeneye in Duckpond along with 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Kingfisher. A single Pale-bellied Brent Goose was on the rugby ground with 158 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Kestrel - Orcombe Point.

Kingfisher - Duckpond.

Friday 12 January 2024

Purple Sand, Goldeneyes

Just a single Purple Sandpiper with 9 Turnstones this morning. It was on rocks below Orcombe Point. They've fallen out of favour with Maer Rocks at the moment but hopefully it's just a temporary blip. Also recorded - 1 Red throated Diver, 4 Chiffchaffs, 1 Redwing, 1 Snipe, 1 Little Egret and 1 Kestrel.
Off the seafront - 2 Great Northern Divers, 7+ Great Crested Grebes and at least 7 Eiders.
Imperial rec - 2 Goldeneyes (male and female), c120 Wigeon, 1 Great Northern Diver (later off Shelly Beach), 1+ Meadow Pipit, 4 Cirl Buntings and just 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose with Dark-bellied birds on the rugby ground.
Selected Mudbank counts included 110+ Knot, 50 Pintail, 70+ Bar-tailed Godwits, c90 Grey Plovers and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers. The Common Sandpiper was again nearby, in the brook.
Otherwise today, in Exmouth - 1 Dartford Warbler on Withycombe Raleigh Common along with c20/30+ Fieldfares and c10/20+ Redwings feeding on Holly berries.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Spoonbill, Cetti's Warbler

This Spoonbill was off Mudbank late this afternoon.

A late look off Mudbank revealed a juvenile Spoonbill, at least one Cetti's Warbler, 2 Greenshank, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 1 Great Northern Diver and c100 Curlew. Lots of other stuff not counted. The Common Sandpiper was nearby in the brook, along with 2 Redshank.
Yesterday evening - the four Cirl Buntings still on the Imperial recreation ground.
Otherwise, on the 8th, Mudbank counts included 66 Mallard, c50 Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 63 Wigeon, 3 Shoveler (2 males and a female), 1 Pintail and 1 Red-breasted Merganser.
7/1 - 7 Eiders off the seafront, the Great Northern Diver off Shelly Beach and a drake Shoveler off Mudbank.

Cirl Bunting - Imperial recreation ground. The four birds were still present yesterday evening at least.

Great Northern Diver off Shelly Beach.