Tuesday 28 May 2024

Local Bits and Bobs

Shelducks - Blackhill Quarry.

Still ever so quiet but there's always plenty to enjoy locally at this time of year. Today off Mudbank - just 11 Whimbrel logged.
26/5 - Mudbank - 38 Sanderling, 1 Ringed Plover, 25 Canada Geese, 2 Grey Plovers, 6 or 7 Dunlin, 8 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Curlew.

Spotted Flycatcher.

Privet Hawkmoth - spotted on a dog-walk on a neighbour's wall.

Sanderlings - Mudbank. Part of a 38-strong flock on Sunday.

Bar-tailed Godwits (with Oystercatchers and a Whimbrel) - Mudbank.

Curlew - Mudbank. One of only 3 present on Sunday.

Heath Spotted Orchids.

Meadow Pipit.

Willow Warbler.

Early Marsh Orchids are properly out now.

Exmouth's Bee Orchids aren't in the best condition this year.

 Lots of Coal Tit activity on the commons at the moment, as juvenile birds (like this one) beg the adults for food.

Friday 24 May 2024


Osprey - Mudbank. My first in Exmouth this year but a long way off.

An Osprey was on a catch, off Mudbank, at 5pm this afternoon. Soon pushed off by the rising tide, it flew upriver. Also off there - 10 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits. The Reed Warbler and a Whitethroat were in song when I cycled past West Lodge earlier.
Yesterday off Mudbank - 1 Redshank, 1 Knot, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 Whimbrel and c30/40+ Sanderling.
On the 19th - a passage Reed Warbler singing on Orcombe Point and 2 Red Kites seen from the back garden. Off Mudbank - 16 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin and 2 Swifts.
May 18th - a/the singing male Cirl Bunting on Orcombe Point and a Little Egret over. On Cockle Sands - 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Knot, 2 Common Gulls, 4 Grey Plovers and c40 small wader sp. A search of the local heathland revealed 2 'new' Firecrest territories and a new Spotted Flycatcher site. Heath Spotted Orchids are now out in force.

Male Cirl Bunting - Orcombe Point 18/5/24. A breeding Exmouth bird!

Brown Hare - at a survey site near South Molton on Monday.

Friday 17 May 2024

Early Marsh Orchids

Won't be long now before theses Early Marsh Orchids are blooming...

It feels like spring migration is well and truly over in this neck of the woods. Off Mudbank today - just 12 Bar-tailed Godwits and 8+ Whimbrel.
15/5 - 5 Dunlin, 15 Sanderling, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Grey Herons and the leucistic Herring Gull again.
On the 13/5 - an early morning sea-watch from the raised beach huts produced 8 Great Northern Divers, 5 Sandwich Terns, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Red-throated Diver and 2 lingering Arctic Skuas.

A few strolls on local heathland, over the past week, have provided some nice sightings...

Saturday 11 May 2024

Red Kites

This pair of Red Kites was heading west over Exmouth at 0950 this morning. Lu and I were walking down to the seafront and I stopped to look at the handful of gulls in the recycling centre. One of them tilted its head to look up and I followed its gaze skywards...

This afternoon Lu and I went for a lengthy stroll on the commons where a further three Red Kites were seen over Woodbury Common and another over Bicton Common. Off Mudbank early on - 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Dunlin, 13 Whimbrel, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Turnstone and a Mallard. Also a Whitethroat back on territory there. The Cuckoo was again singing this morning - over on Withycombe Raleigh Common.

 Adela reamurella - Green Longhorn. Lovely to see these 'lekking' in the sunshine.

Friday 10 May 2024

Nightjars, Spot Fly

As I got out of the car, first thing this morning, I could hear a Spotted Flycatcher calling - my first in Exmouth this year and a bird back on its regular territory beside Bystock Pool. Whilst trying (unsuccessfully) to photograph it I picked up this day-roosting Nightjar - high up in a pine, so very difficult to photograph. Also at Bystock this morning - 1 Cuckoo calling, 8 Tufted Ducks, 1 Moorhen, 15 drake Mallard, 2 Canada Geese, 1 Stock Dove, 1 singing Willow Warbler and 1 singing Firecrest amongst the commoner stuff.
Not a lot else today but a Red Kite low east over Orcombe at around 3pm and a female Kestrel hunting the top fields.
On the 8th - 2 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and a flock of c50+ Linnets being harangued by a Sparrowhawk. The Reed Warbler was still singing from West Lodge reedbed.
On the 7th - off Mudbank - 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 37 Whimbrel.

The Tufted Ducks seem to be enjoying Bystock pool this year. Eight birds again this morning (5 males, 3 females). Fifteen mallard too.

The Terrapins were removed from Bystock pool a while back but at least one has since been introduced.

Nightjar - day-roosting male - Bicton Common. Good to locate a Tree Pipit on territory nearby. Lets hope it breeds successfully. There should be loads up on the pebbled heaths but most years I don't see any. No shortage of Meadow Pipits up there though.

My first Heath Spotted Orchids of the year. A little earlier than I usually see them.

My initial view of Tuesday's Black-tailed Godwit in terribly harsh light. It's elegant silhouette suggested Black-tailed Godwit but I had to wait for it to move to confirm. Its shape made me wonder if 'limosa' should be considered, and once in better light its light orange colouration raised my interest a bit more. Assuming it's in first-summer plumage I don't think there's any sure way of telling.

Monday 6 May 2024

Garden Warblers

One of two Garden Warblers feeding quietly together at the top end of Bystock reserve this morning.

Orcombe Point first thing - fog and a cold northerly breeze - 1 singing Lesser Whitethroat, 5 singing Whitethroats, 7 singing Blackcaps and 9 singing Chiffchaffs. The two Red-legged Partridges are still there but no young in tow yet. Two Whimbrel were on the beach by the lifeboat station. Off Mudbank this afternoon - 67+ Whimbrel (an increase), 9 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Dunlin (plus more small waders on Cockle Sands) and a flock of 11 Swifts east just before 4pm. A Reed Warbler is singing in West Lodge reedbed for its third day at least.
Bystock - 8 Tufted Ducks (5 drakes, 3 females), 3 singing Firecrests, 2 singing Willow Warblers and 2 Garden Warblers. I'm sure I'd have seen more stuff if I'd covered the whole reserve.
Yesterday - very little but 1 Wheatear and a singing Sedge Warbler on Orcombe Point were noteworthy. Five Black-headed Gulls flew past the point and headed towards the river. Mudbank - 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, c25 Whimbrel, 18 Dunlin and 3 Sandwich Terns.

Whimbrel - numbers up on yesterday.

Bar-tailed Godwit.

Friday 3 May 2024


Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel - Mudbank.

An Avocet was on Cockle Sands this afternoon as the tide dropped. Also off there - c25 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16+ Common Gulls, 4 Dunlin and 6 Great Crested Grebes.