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.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Totals between Passage House and Salcombe Dip this morning included 55 Canada Geese, 22 Mute Swans, 21 Mallards, four immature Shelducks, five Little Grebes, 10 Shags, 27 Little Egrets, 61 Curlew, six Greenshanks, six Common Sandpipers, five Ringed Plovers, three Dunlin, three Redshanks and singles of Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit. Only 78 Oystercatchers were noted; presumably the rest had chosen to roost elsewhere, possible due to disturbance or the very high tide.

Yesterday morning a juvenile Whinchat was on the central barriers on the racecourse.

Sunday, 2 September 2018


Bundle Head was pretty quiet this morning; 10+ Blackcaps, 7+ Chiffchaffs and a couple of Whitethroats in the hedges, two vocal Kestrels and two Grey Wagtails south. On the way back I stopped at Passage House and noted 25 Little Egrets, and a check of Birdguides revealed an Osprey reported between Wear Farm and Coombe Cellars. I got round to the latter at 10:45 where there were a couple of other birders searching but after half an hour there was no further sign, possibly because most of the estuary was now covered by dinghies, jet skis and other watercraft. Ten Wigeon circling overhead were evidently struggling to find somewhere quiet to land.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Spot Flys, Tree Pipits, Yellow Wag

A decent scattering of migrants at Bundle Head this morning, the pick being two Spotted Flycatchers (in bushes by the golf course before moving into the valley), five Tree Pipits (including four together in trees by the road) and a Yellow Wagtail (heading north!). Also in the hedgerows at least a dozen Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, two Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler, and overhead c.50 House Martins.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Slow seawatching

From Teignmouth yacht club 09:00 - 11:10: Two Arctic Skuas, one Great Skua, one skua sp, seven Manx Shearwaters, eight Common Scoters, c.50 Common Terns (in two flocks of c.30 and 20), 34 Sandwich Terns, 61 Kittiwakes, two Med Gulls and a Whimbrel. The late arrival meant I missed any chance of catching the Velvet Scoter and scarcer terns that passed Dawlish Warren before the rain arrived.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Bar-tailed Godwit, Wheatears

The first Bar-tailed Godwit of the year was with the Curlew flock at Passage House this morning along with a couple of Dunlin and Common Sandpipers. Two Whimbrels remained at Flow Point with a further six Common Sandpipers. Elsewhere two Wheatears were on the central barriers at Newton Abbot Racecourse around midday.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Pom skuas

Short seawatch from Teignmouth yacht club 09:55 - 11:45. On arrival the rain had cleared and the light was was pretty good, and I almost immediately picked up a couple of adult / near-adult Pomarine Skuas powering their way south albeit fairly distantly. Had the skuas passed five minutes later I would have missed them as the low cloud soon rolled back in, dramatically reducing visibility just as news of three large shearwater sp. passing Dawlish Warren came through. At about 10:05 I got very brief views of two large shearwater sp. before they disappeared back into the murk, never to be seen again. Things were pretty quiet thereafter, with just a lone Balearic Shearwater, two Arctic Skuas and a skua sp. lingering offshore and finally a Great Skua through at 11:15 shortly after the visibility had begun to improve. In stark contrast to a fortnight ago, no Med Gulls.

Saturday, 11 August 2018


Totals between Passage House and Flow Point on a grey and drizzly morning included five Grey Herons, 23 Little Egrets, 25 well-grown juvenile Shelducks, 38 Mute Swans, seven Sandwich Terns, 600+ Black-headed Gulls, two Shags, one Little Grebe, 268 Oystercatchers, 65 Curlew, eight Common Sandpipers, three Redshanks and two each of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Whimbrel.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Sofa seawatching

A 10 minute look off Teignmouth this evening coincided with two Balearic Shearwater heading south close inshore with 30+ Manx Shearwater and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull doing the same further out. On the Salty two Redshank were amongst the more usual Oystercatcher.