Monday, 10 December 2018

Goldeneye & WeBS

A female Goldeneye in the channel off Passage House was the standout bird of this morning's count, which was postponed by a day after a wet and very windy weekend. This is the first Goldeneye on patch since January 2013, up until which time it was a regular wintering bird on the estuary. Other totals included 302 Oystercatchers, 86 Curlew, 72 Redshanks, 32 Dunlin, four Greenshanks, three Common Sandpipers, three Ringed Plovers, 25 Red-breasted Mergansers, 15 Shelducks, eight Mute Swans, seven Little Egrets, five Little Grebes and a female Wigeon.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Mazy Sunday Afternoon

Spent the afternoon checking various sites around the Teign with varying rewards. Starting at the east of the patch in Teignmouth there was still no sign of any wintering Black Redstart and a no show from the Firecrest along the railway. Viewing from the Yacht Club three Eider were offshore, an immature male of Sprey Point and a female and a second immature male almost under the pier. Also on the sea 67 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver.

Next stop was Teigngrace at the far western end of the patch, here the flooded fields held six Little Egret, 90+ Mallard and two Teal but nothing could be unearthed in the tit flock along the Templar Way. A quick stop at Hackney Marshes revealed another couple of warblerless roving tit flocks.

A final low tide stop at Passage House saw a Water Pipit and half a dozen Snipe flushed from the Saltmarsh by a couple of dogs, two Common Sandpiper in the channel and 13 Little Egret heading downriver to roost.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Bold Brent Goose

No luck with finding a Black Redstart around Teignmouth port this morning, but a juvenile Dark-bellied Brent Goose foraging around the foot of the slipway was a belated first for the year. Initially it appeared to be hanging its right wing slightly, suggesting an injury, but after waddling up to the Polly Steps car park it readily took flight and landed randomly in a park on the opposite side of the railway. After almost being attacked by a dog it clearly thought better of it and flew back to the estuary, where it was still present on the Salty this afternoon. Also around Polly Steps today 10 Turnstones and a Firecrest in the scrub by the railway.

 A couple of shots I forgot to post from Passage House last weekend, in between the downpours

Monday, 12 November 2018


In between the torrential showers counts from the estuary over the weekend included 269 Oystercatchers, 74 Curlew, 51 Redshanks, 10 Greenshanks, eight Ringed Plovers, seven Dunlin, six Lapwings, four Common Sandpipers, 36 Mallards, 30 Mute Swans, 23 Shags, 19 Red-breasted Mergansers, six Little Grebes and a Kingfisher.

Elsewhere the floods at Teigngrace held 12 Little Egrets, three Teal, 95 Canada Geese and 500+ Black-headed Gulls on Sunday morning. No Cattle Egrets in the cattle fields - yet.

Sunday, 11 November 2018


A quick afternoon look from Teignmouth Yacht Club showed a raft of 34 Common Scoter and two Great Northern Diver. More unexpected though were three immature Velvet Scoter, the first of the year, they kept separate from the scoter flock being closer in off Sprey Point.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Roost reward

The timing of the dropping tide and sunset was ideal for checking gulls pre-roost on the Salty, especially with the windy conditions. The wind meant no birds were roosting offshore so numbers where much higher than normal. I had intended to count the roost but my second scan through the birds scuppered this plan.

The distraction was a smart first winter Caspian Gull, only my second on the estuary. Almost as soon as I found it all the birds were flushed by a helicopter, but they soon settled back down and the bird was easily picked up a second time. although distinctive, refinding was helped but it coming closer and roosting separately from the majority of other larger gulls.

Also on the Salty seven Turnstone and the white-headed Oystercatcher.

Late news for Thursday - an immature Eider was off Teignmouth per Devon Sea Safaris

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Returning waterfowl

In a bitterly cold northerly wind this morning, the sheltered southern side of the Ness still held two Firecrests but the bushes between there and Bundle Head were blown out and very little was moving overhead bar a few finches. A scan of the estuary towards Flow Point from Salcombe Dip layby at high tide produced four female Red-breasted Mergansers, four Wigeon and 23 Shelducks - all recent arrivals - plus at least 274 Oystercatchers and 31 Redshanks roosting up against the railway.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Yellow-browed Warbler

A Yellow-browed Warbler was around the fringes of Shaldon golf course this morning, initially heard in the hedge by the road before moving to sycamores on the north side where it showed well on and off. Also at least 5,000 Woodpigeons flew south though no doubt I missed more whilst tracking the YBW.

Monday, 15 October 2018

WeBS, Firecrests and Spoonbill

An early morning visit to the Ness today produced at least two Firecrests on the south side with a couple of Blackcaps and Goldcrests.

Some respectable counts from the estuary this morning although Oystercatchers were again conspicuous by their near-absence. Totals between Passage House and Salcombe Dip included 17 Little Egrets, 10 Shags, four Cormorants, 25 Mute Swans, 38 Mallards, five Little Grebes, 78 Curlew, 21 Oystercatchers, 39 Redshanks, 11 Greenshanks, eight Ringed Plovers, eight Dunlin, three Black-tailed Godwits, two Common Sandpipers and singles of Wigeon, Snipe and Kingfisher. At Flow Point, two Rock Pipits had returned and there was a light northbound passage of Swallows and Meadow Pipits.

Elsewhere yesterday seven Turnstones were on the lower estuary and a Spoonbill was seen at Rackerhayes; unfortunately this is an area with no public access so hopefully it will relocate to the estuary. Finally a Green Sandpiper appeared on the floods at Teigngrace on Friday afternoon.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Decoy Country Park

A mid-morning wander around Decoy yesterday produced seven Tufted Ducks, three Swallows, a Great Crested Grebe, a Grey Heron and a Sparrowhawk. The expected woodland species showed well including several each of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Jay. A possible Firecrest was heard among a loose group of Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits.