Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Velvet Scoters

Two Velvet Scoters were with a small group of six Common Scoter off Spray Point this afternoon in fairly choppy seas. It looked as if there was one female and one 1st winter male, although it was hard to tell due to the distance and conditions.

Also on the sea were 12 Red-throated Divers, one each of Great Northern Diver, Eider, Guillemot and Razorbill, and two Great Crested Grebe.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Racecourse birding

There was little evidence of any cold weather movement around the racecourse and Hackney Marshes on Saturday morning, with the former producing 14 Lapwings, a dozen or so Fieldfares, three Skylarks and a female Stonechat, and the latter 13 Reed Buntings. The best news of the morning was the cutting of the hedge alongside the foot/cycle path, allowing clear views across the racecourse once more.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Turnstones in a row

Alan Ford captured these 13 Turnstones roosting off Polly Steps, Teignmouth last weekend.

Thursday, 24 January 2019


A fairly unremarkable count this morning with some wader numbers lower than average. Totals included 346 Oystercatchers, 70 Curlew, 41 Redshanks, 11 Turnstones, nine Dunlin, eight Ringed Plovers, five Greenshanks, three Common Sandpipers, the female Goldeneye, 20 Red-breasted Mergansers, 44 Shelducks and four Little Grebes. A look off Teignmouth seafront revealed the five Eiders, a couple of Razorbills and a pod of 6-7 Common Dolphins.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Firecrest, Goldeneye, Eiders and divers

A few bits and pieces from various sites today included a Firecrest and 16 Tufted Ducks at Decoy Country Park, the wintering female Goldeneye at Passage House, a Peregrine over Coombe Cellars and close views of a Water Rail at Hackney Marshes. A look at the sea off Teignmouth yacht club around noon was quite productive with the five Eiders, 13 Common Scoters, 14+ Guillemots, three Great Northern Divers and a good total of 13 Red-throated Divers, eight of which arrived in a single flock.

Decoy Country Park

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Velvet Scoter

A Velvet Scoter was with 10 Common Scoter off Sprey Point this morning with singles of Great Northern Diver and Guillemot, with a distant feeding flock of Gannets and Kittiwakes far offshore.

On the estuary, 270+ Oystercatcher were roosting at Flow Point with eight Dunlin and a lone Red-breasted Merganser out on the water. At least 37 Curlew were at Passage House.

On Decoy Lake, the Tufted Duck count has increased to 15 with the Great Northern Diver having seemingly departed.

The Green Sandpiper was still present at Teigngrace in the exact same spot.

Green Sandpiper

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Green Sandpiper

A Green Sandpiper was present on the flooded field at Teigngrace late this afternoon with 11 Teal and a Stonechat.

Teal with Green Sandpiper (right)

Friday, 4 January 2019

Welcome to 2019

Happy New Year to all. There are few observers around the patch as we start off 2019 but still a few good birds to be found. Lingering scarcities from 2018 include five Eider off Teignmouth, the Great Northern Diver on Decoy Lake and the Goldeneye on the upper estuary.

A morning around the patch on the 2nd saw four Mistle Thrush on the racecourse, 10 Golden Plover over Hackney Marshes where two Water Rail and a Cetti's Warbler showed well, 10 Tufted Duck with the diver at Decoy and on the estuary from Lower Netherton four Avocet with 84 Curlew, 56 Redshank, 11 Lapwing and six Greenshank.

A colour-ringed Black-headed Gull (yellow TJ3A) seen by Dave Smallshire at Decoy Lake coming to bread on 1 January was ringed as a chick at a lake in SW Poland, Zalew Mietkowski (SW of Wroclaw) on 11 June 2017, and was seen by Nick Potter at Bowling Green Marsh on 19 June 2018.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Marsh Tit

On a fine winter's morning the woods at Decoy Country Park held plenty of birds including at least one Marsh Tit, a Treecreeper, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and three Nuthatches. On the lake the Great Northern Diver was still present alongside just four Tufted Ducks; one wonders what has caused the latter to decline from a regular wintering flock of 30+ just a few years ago.

A late afternoon look from the yacht club at Teignmouth saw two Great Northern Diver, four Eider, 13 Common Scoter and an adult Mediterranean Gull with two Great Skua sat further offshore.  

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Little Gulls

Three first-winter Little Gulls appeared along Teignmouth seafront on Monday, and one of them had the courtesy to stay until the weekend to allow myself and Kev to catch up with it yesterday. Although it went missing for short periods, it spent the majority of the time foraging along the shoreline either side of the pier, giving exceptional views in flight. Two Eiders were still present on the rocks at the foot of the Ness, and four Great Northern Divers, two Red-throated Divers and nine Common Scoters were offshore towards Holcombe.

Elsewhere, 15 Lapwings at Passage House was the highest count this month of this declining winter visitor. On Friday the female Goldeneye was still in the channel there at high tide alongside the female Wigeon, a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and Little Grebes, four Greenshanks and three Common Sandpipers.

A Great Northern Diver was still on Decoy Lake with a lone Tufted Duck having first been reported a week ago.