Friday, 21 July 2017

Great and Cory's Shearwaters

Seawatching from 05:45 - 11:45 with Kev watching from 12:20 - 13:20.

On arrival, it was clear there was an exceptional passage of Manx Shearwaters with several birds streaming south. At 45 minutes, I picked up a large bird shearing with some distant Manx Shearwater, and after following it for a few minutes, tentatively identified it as a Cory's Shearwater. It was then that I found out that eight had already passed Dawlish Warren! What followed was incredible, with 22 large shearwaters seen throughout the watch (seven definite Cory's Shearwaters and five definite Great Shearwaters). I never thought it possible to see these sorts of numbers from Teignmouth. Here is a timings log in case anyone wants to try and match their sightings...

1 Cory's (6.33), 1 Cory's (6.41), 1 large shear sp. (6.58), 3 Cory's (7.05), 1 Cory's (7.20), 1 probable Cory's (7.27), 1 Cory's (9.05), 1 probable Great (9.16), 3 large shear sp. (9.30), 1 Great (9.44), 3 Greats (10.24), 3 probable Greats (10.33), 1 Great (10.50), 1 large shear sp. (10.55).

Manx Shearwater passage was huge. A total of 1297+ birds passed south during the seven hours. One Great Skua flew south at 6.50, three Arctic Skuas flew south at 8.15 (25 minutes after passing Dawlish Warren), and another Arctic Skua lingered shortly after, chasing terns. Other birds included 16 Common Tern, 46 Kittiwake, 88 Common Scoter, six Whimbrel, c.30+ Sandwich Tern, c.25+ Fulmar and c.200+ Gannet. Kev had a Storm Petrel during his early afternoon watch.

The flock of three Cory's Shearwater at 7.05 passed the closest out of all the large shearwaters (c.0.75-1 mile)...

Compared to a Manx Shearwater
A "close" flock... as you can see, ID is a little more challenging here than at Berry Head!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Returning waders

After a typically waderless June numbers are beginning to build up again on the estuary. This morning there were 23 Curlew, four Common Sandpipers and a Greenshank at Passage House, with two Whimbrel and 52 Oystercatchers at Flow Point. On Sunday afternoon three Dunlin, two Greenshanks, a Common Sandpiper and an Oystercatcher were at Passage House (thanks Cilla Ingram).

Other counts from today included 24 Little Egrets, 24 Canada Geese, 35 Mute Swans, c.450 Black-headed Gulls and a pair of Shelducks with seven young.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

July update

A quiet start to the month at the east end of the estuary with the first juvenile Mediterranean Gull on the Salty this morning. No Yellow-legged Gulls yet but fledged Herring Gull are starting to increase.

Other records included a nocturnal migrant Moorhen and the flying ant days have seen up to 40 Swift over Teignmouth.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The first summer Med

A 1st summer Mediterranean Gull was roosting at Passage House today over high tide with 160+ Black-headed Gulls, a Common Sandpiper and a few Curlew.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Midsummer Kites

Two recent Red Kite over the patch - one flying east over Bishopsteignton at 5pm on 21st June with a second bird NE over Newton Abbot the next day - the latter at least in heavy wing moult.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Waderless WeBS

No waders whatsoever seen on yesterday's WeBS count. Other birds included 18 Little Egret, 24 Shelduck, 11 Cormorant, five Grey Heron, 26 Mute Swan and six Black-headed Gull.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

10 minute Seawatch

A very quick look offshore before 8pm saw a single Storm Petrel and 27 Manx Shearwater head south, along with a drake Mallard -  a rare bird at the eastern end of the patch the last couple of years.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Evening Storm Petrel(s)

Seawatching from 18:45 to 20:30 was productive in strong southerly winds. Manx Shearwater passage (totalling 115+) remained steady for the whole watch, with the majority passing very close for Teignmouth standards. This boded well for my chances of seeing Storm Petrels, and sure enough, at 19:10, one flew south giving fairly good views. At 19:45, it or another flew quickly north at a much closer range, and hence I only managed to follow it for a few seconds. A flock of four Pomarine Skuas took off from the sea at 19:50, and remained in the area chasing Kittiwakes for the following 30 minutes. A small skua sp. also flew south along with 20+ Fulmar and 20+ Kittiwakes.

Robin Shute watched from 07:40 to 12:05 and counted 16 Common Scoter, 250 Gannet and 266 Manx Shearwater, bringing the day's total for this species up to 381+; a record count for Teignmouth.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Orchids

With the only birds of note at Passage House over at high tide being a brood of 10 newly fledged Shelduck, I thought I'd continue the recent theme of orchids, with these Bee and Pyramidal Orchids at Aller Brook LNR.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Red Kite

A Red Kite was picked up circling to the north of Newton Abbot late this morning before gaining height and heading off to the west.