Tuesday, 19 November 2019


Nothing outstanding to report on the estuary on Monday morning, though there were some good counts with 109 Redshanks and 74 Great Black-backed Gulls being most notable. Other totals between Passage House and Salcombe Dip included 320 Oystercatchers, 62 Curlew, 14 Dunlin, seven Greenshanks, seven Lapwings, six Ringed Plovers, four Common Sandpipers, two Turnstones, two Snipe, 21 Shelducks, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers, 10 Mute Swans, four Little Grebes, 12 Shags, eight Cormorants and singles of Kingfisher and Water Rail. A further 11 Turnstones were at Teignmouth on Sunday.

A check of other sites around the patch turned up a few bits and pieces. Off Teignmouth a Brent Goose on the sea towards Holcombe was a belated first for the year; also present four Common Scoters, a Red-throated Diver and a Mediterranean Gull. A vocal Firecrest was in the woods at Decoy Country Park, with 16 Tufted Ducks on the lake. Finally two Green Sandpipers were still hanging about at Teigngrace along with eight Lapwings.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019


First reported yesterday, this Spoonbill was on the estuary a few hundred metres east of Passage House first thing this morning, although it wasn't seen during the afternoon. Yesterday while scanning for the Spoonbill Kev had a Firecrest opposite the Salcombe Dip layby.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Green Sandpipers

Three Green Sandpipers were in one of the flooded fields at Teigngrace this afternoon; this is my first record of multiple individuals of this species on patch. Also noted were six Little Egrets, three Lapwings, two Mute Swans, two Grey Wagtails and a Stonechat. Earlier a walk around the edges of Teignmouth port failed to produce any Black Redstarts but a Firecrest was heard calling from vegetation on the opposite side of the railway.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Cold and quiet

The first morning of the autumn where the de-icer was required. I was expecting a fair bit of viz mig along the coast after two consecutive days of heavy rain and gales, but in fact overhead migration was almost non-existent with just a trickle of alba Wagtails, Goldfinches, Meadow Pipits and a Stock Dove moving south, and three Siskins heading north. A saunter around Bundle Head and The Ness produced 12 Linnets, 12 Goldcrests, six Jays, two Chiffchaffs and singles of Blackcap, Stonechat, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Ring Ouzel

A band of light rain cleared to the east early this morning, and there were more birds in the bushes than on Tuesday. The highlight was a first-winter Ring Ouzel in clifftop scrub at Bundle Head; it called three or four times and showed its tail-end briefly before disappearing into dense blackthorn. Also noted were 20+ Robins, 18 Goldcrests, nine Song Thrushes, six Redwings, six Chiffchaffs, four Bullfinches and a Green Woodpecker. Long-tailed Tits seemed to follow me everywhere, with at least three parties of birds roaming between The Ness and Bundle Head. Overhead passage was limited to just 12 Meadow Pipits, 10 Goldfinches (plus 45 in trees by Shaldon Zoo), 10 alba Wagtails, four Linnets, four Chaffinches and a Skylark.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Big Woodpigeon movement

Plenty of birds on the move this morning between The Ness and Bundle Head. From 08:00 - 09:00 some 4,500 Woodpigeons flew south, the majority about 500m inland but some (including the largest flock of 1,000) following the coastline. In amongst them were an absolute minimum of seven Stock Doves although I'm certain I overlooked many while frenetically counting dots in the sky. Six Golden Plovers circling to the north over Teignmouth were also noteworthy. Other birds overhead included 20 Redwings, 24 Meadow Pipits, 43 Goldfinches, four Linnets and a handful of Chaffinches and Pied Wagtails, while the bushes held nine Song Thrushes, eight Goldcrests, three Chiffchaffs, three Bullfinches and a Stonechat.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

WeBS & probable Otter

The almost-highlight of Friday morning's count was a probable Otter that swam around some reeds and into a hidden channel at Passage House, disappearing before I could get my scope set up. I'm sure they occur in the area but I've yet to see one in almost seven years of watching the estuary on a regular basis.

After that the rest of the survey was somewhat of an anticlimax. Totals included 326 Oystercatchers, 83 Curlew, 36 Redshanks, nine Ringed Plovers, seven Common Sandpipers, seven Little Egrets, eight Shags, six Cormorants, 15 Teal, 12 Mallards, eight Mute Swans, four Little Grebes and singles of Greenshank, Shelduck, Moorhen, Water Rail and Kingfisher. The lack of Shelducks and Red-breasted Mergansers suggests that a significant proportion of wintering waterfowl is yet to arrive.

Elsewhere, at Teigngrace there were 13 Little Egrets and a good count of 31 Pheasants, and last Sunday at least 22 Turnstones were roosting on the harbour master's boat at Teignmouth.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

WeBS & White Stork

Totals from Saturday morning's count included a Green Sandpiper, five Common Sandpipers, 315 Oystercatchers, 75 Curlew, 11 Redshanks, 10 Turnstones, six Ringed Plovers, five Greenshanks, two Dunlin, 31 Little Egrets, 16 Mute Swans, eight Cormorants and three Shags. Migrant passerines included single Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail at Flow Point and another White Wagtail on the spit at Passage House.

Remarkably a White Stork was seen perched on buildings in Teignmouth yesterday lunchtime!

Sunday, 8 September 2019

White Wagtail

The birds were keeping a low profile on the racecourse this afternoon, possibly on account of the model aircraft being flown overhead, but a bit of perseverance eventually yielded a smart male White Wagtail along with eight or nine Pied Wagtails, two Wheatears, two Stonechats and a Mistle Thrush. 

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Double Osprey Madness

Will and I watched at Flow Point this morning, where three juvenile Black-tailed Godwits and a flyover Yellow Wagtail were the picks of the bunch. There was no sign of any small wader flock, however, two Common Sandpipers fed on the marsh, and a couple of Redshank were amongst the usual flock of Curlew and Oystercatcher.

Just as we were contemplating leaving around 10am, the gulls and waders took to the air and two Ospreys flew in high from the north-east. They both circled for about 10 minutes, seemingly investigating the estuary, before gaining height again and flying off independantly of each other to the west.

Osprey (adult)
Osprey (juvenile)