Saturday, 25 March 2017

Gulls Aloud

The alarm calls of the local Herring Gulls revealed the second Osprey of the year which lingered over the Salty for 10 minutes late afternoon before heading north along the coast. On Thursday a Great Northern Diver was in the estuary at Teignmouth.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

LTDs and Eider

Today, four of the Labrador Bay Long-tailed Ducks were distantly visible from the bottom of the smugglers tunnel at Shaldon with c.130-140 Common Scoter. A female Eider was off The Ness before flying off unseen.

Yesterday, Will had the seven Cattle Egrets and 16 Little Egret at Teigngrace, with an impressive flock of 150+ Sand Martin hawking over the same fields.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Redpolls

Three Lesser Redpolls were feeding quietly in a silver birch alongside the cycle path by the racecourse this morning. The hoped-for Wheatear failed to show but there were a few more Meadow Pipits on the move and the resident male Pheasant has increased his harem of females to three.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Cattle Egrets at Passage House & WeBS

The discovery of two Cattle Egrets roosting with the gulls at Passage House was the surprise highlight of this morning's WeBS count. They stayed until 09:40 (allowing Kev and Robin to catch up with them) before flying south and appeared to land just beyond the sewage works; a brief search of the fields at Buckland drew a blank. Forty minutes later the five Teigngrace Cattle Egrets were in trees at Blatchford Farm; this site is approximately 1.5km to the north-west so the Passage House sighting almost certainly involved different birds.

Other counts around the estuary included a male Gadwall at Flow Point, three Teal, 38 Shelducks, 14 Mute Swans, 17 Red-breasted Mergansers, two Great Crested Grebes, 155 Oystercatchers, 47 Redshanks, 12 Snipe, eight Curlew and four Common Sandpipers. Gull passage continues with an impressive 144 Common Gulls at Passage House, which I understand is the highest count on the estuary for almost a decade. Kev also had a Great Black-backed Gull that had been ringed in Looe and was previously seen at Dawlish Warren in October 2016.

Yesterday there were four singing Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap at Hackney Marshes, and Robin had the first four Sand Martins of the year over Rackerhayes.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Early spring at Hackney Marshes

Signs of spring abounded during a couple of visits to Hackney Marshes this week, with many of the resident species now in song including Reed Bunting, Treecreeper and GoldcrestSkylarks have been audible over the racecourse and small numbers of Redwings have been passing through, one or two of which gave bursts of their rather uninspiring song. Nothing unusual has been noted although two Siskins overhead yesterday were my first there this year.

 This Robin at Hackney Marshes frequented an area where people regularly feed birds and was so bold it could be approached to an arm's length.

Monday, 27 February 2017

LBB gull passage

On Saturday afternoon there were 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the Passage House area, but few other large gulls. Wintering species still present included the four Wigeon, three Bar-tailed Godwits and two Greenshanks.

Yesterday five Cattle Egrets were still at Teigngrace and a Blackcap was in near-full song in Kingsteignton.

Monday, 13 February 2017

WeBS

Good numbers of birds on the estuary this morning but a very strong easterly wind and choppy water made viewing conditions a little challenging. There were close to a thousand gulls at Passage House including 16 Common Gulls and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls but unfortunately no white-wingers. Another two LBBs were at Flow Point, suggesting a light movement. Other counts between Passage House and Salcombe Dip included 18 Red-breasted Mergansers, 48 Shelducks, four Wigeon, 13 Cormorants, 380 Oystercatchers, 65 Curlew, 35 Dunlin, 24 Lapwings, just 10 Redshanks, seven Ringed Plovers, four Avocets, two Greenshanks and two Bar-tailed Godwits. Yesterday there were 23 Turnstones and three Cormorants off Teignmouth Back Beach, and a Peregrine flew low over the eastern side of Kingsteignton.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Super Saturday

Twelve Waxwings were reported flying north over the racecourse at 10:15 this morning; despite several checks of berry bushes around Tesco and the Kingsteignton retail outlets there was no further sign. These were presumably the Heathfield birds wandering as they were not reported there today to my knowledge. Also the Bonaparte's Gull made its first appearance of the year along Teignmouth seafront, but there was no sign soon after. Three Great Northern Diver and a female Eider were offshore.

This afternoon Mark Bailey had five Avocets and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Passage House, and I caught up with three of the Teigngrace Cattle Egrets in a field along the track to Blatchford Farm with 16 Little Egrets. Although not visible in the shot below, each Cattle Egret had begun to develop a hint of an orange crown.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January late news

Yesterday Cilla Ingram reported the Siberian Chiffchaff again present in trees at Cricketfield car park along with four collybita Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest still for company. Also a Grey Wagtail flew down the River Lemon and four Avocets, c.30 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper were seen from Passage House.

Monday, 30 January 2017

GND, GCG, LTD...

...or to put it another way, a brief look off Teignmouth late afternoon showed a Great Northern Diver, a Great-crested Grebe and five Long-tailed Duck. The latter were flying south presumably back to Labrador Bay. The Grey Seal was in the estuary with 11 Turnstone.