Tuesday, 24 April 2018


The first two Swifts for the patch flew over Teigngrace together yesterday. Will had five singing Reed Warblers at Hackney Marshes on Sunday, and a small flock of House Martin were over Newton Abbot on the 20th. A good passage of Manx Shearwaters was off Teignmouth on the 15th, with Kev also having an immature Iceland Gull on The Salty on the 13th, and a Red Kite over on the 8th.

Monday, 16 April 2018


A fog-affected survey on Saturday afternoon was pretty disappointing both in terms of numbers and variety, with a lack of migrants particularly evident. Totals included 71 Oystercatchers, 46 Shelducks, eight Curlew, six Mute Swans, four Lesser Black-backed Gulls (including an intermedius bird), two Red-breasted Mergansers and singles of Redshank and Common Sandpiper.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Sandwich Terns

Nine Sandwich Terns were fishing off Teignmouth this morning; the first of the year. A Green Woodpecker called in the woods above Shaldon, but no sign of any migrants along the coast. Ten Tufted Ducks were still on Rackerhayes.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


Totals from Passage House to Salcombe Dip this morning included 94 Oystercatchers, 54 Curlew, 23 Redshanks, 56 Shelducks, 25 Red-breasted Mergansers, three Little Grebes and and singles of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper. The pick of the gulls was a second-summer Mediterranean Gull at Passage House, where a solitary Fieldfare performed well.

A couple of bits from the weekend: Alan Ford recorded an impressive 38 Turnstones at Teignmouth on Sunday, and I had a pair of Pintails near Flow Point from the train on Saturday.


A Hawfinch was in attendance at the feeding area in the south-west corner of Hackney Marshes this morning. It gave great close views, coming down to eat the seed put out on the wooden fence before perching up in the surrounding trees and scrub.


Sunday, 11 March 2018


A Scaup was found on Rackerhayes by Robin Shute today, which I believe is a 1st winter female, however please let me know if I've got it wrong. Also there were 10 Tufted Duck and a pair of Great Crested Grebe, the later of which made repeated aggressive attempts to see the Scaup off when it approached too close, diving under the water and swimming up from beneath the Scaup to peck its underside!

Tufted Duck (left), Scaup (right)

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Many Meds

No sign of either the Iceland or Glaucous Gull this morning in a large gathering of gulls around the estuary mouth and on The Salty, however Will counted an impressive 18 Mediterranean Gulls (14 adults, two second-summers and two first-winters) on the southern side of The Ness along with 380 Common Gulls and 67 Lesser Black-backed Gulls suggesting spring gull passage is well underway. Two Great Northern Divers were also offshore.

A few of the adult Mediterranean Gulls briefly alighted on Ness Cove Beach

The now flooded racecourse continued to hold large numbers of birds, including 40 Black-tailed Godwits, 100+ Golden Plover, 130+ Lapwing, a Mediterranean Gull and many thrushes still.

The six remaining Avocet were roosting at Passage House and the Teal was still on Decoy Lake.

Golden Plover
Black-tailed Godwits

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Glaucous Gull

Large numbers of gulls continue to feed around the estuary mouth with the Bonaparte's Gull still present this morning alongside a welcome new arrival in the brutish form of a first winter Glaucous Gull, but the Iceland Gull could not be located today. also around Teignmouth still seven Golden Plover and three Dunlin on the Salty and a Redshank on the Rugby pitch with 20 Redwing and five Fieldfare.

Woodcock, Bramblings, Pintails

Another exceptional day on patch, with persistent rain and above-zero temperatures starting to thaw the snow and frozen ground. Early morning at Hackney Marshes was productive with a Woodcock flushed by a dog-walker and a pair of Bramblings by the feeding area near the second bridge. A dead Avocet floating in the main channel was a sign of just how hard things have been over the past few days.

Venturing out again after lunch, I stopped initially at Passage House car park where three very weak looking Golden Plovers were at least having some success pulling worms out of the thawed turf along with a couple of Snipe and Mistle Thrushes. Two Pintails flew over, briefly looking like they were going to drop in before continuing up river.

I then spent the next couple of hours focusing my attention on the racecourse which was crawling with birds. Totals of 'wetland' species included:

Lapwing - c.50
Golden Plover - c.50
Black-tailed Godwit - 29
Snipe - 8
Curlew - 1
Teal - 12
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 49

A group of approx. 25 Black-tailed Godwits were seen near Jetty Marsh yesterday, so the core of today's flock was almost certainly made up of those birds. It almost goes without saying that there were also hundreds of Redwings and Fieldfares on the racecourse. Finally on the walk back through Hackney Marshes a pair of Yellowhammers and presumably the same female Brambling from this morning were by the feeding area.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Feeding Fieldfares

I too was mostly restricted to occasional watches from the house today in Kingsteignton, where masses of Fieldfares were searching for any available food source. I chopped up an apple and sprinkled some suet on the pavement, then watched in awe as dozens of birds dropped out of the sky to feed. A 15-minute stroll to the Old Rydon Inn for some lunch produced at least 500 Fieldfares, mostly in people's front gardens where they were stripping berry bushes clean.