Sunday, 12 July 2020

Juvenile Meds and LRP

A juvenile Little Ringed Plover was a nice surprise to find at Passage House this morning, loosely associating with a group of six Dunlin. A Whimbrel and three Black-tailed Godwit also suggested the beginning of return wader passage.

As the tide rose, Mediterranean Gulls kept appearing in the Black-headed Gull flock, with a total of nine (3 ad., 2 2S, 3 1S and 3 juv.) eventually being seen.

A juvenile Water Rail also busily fed on the edge of the reedbed.

Dunlin and Little Ringed Plover
Mediterranean Gull
Mediterranean Gull and Little Egret
Black-tailed Godwits
Black-tailed Godwits

Monday, 6 July 2020

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

A classic juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at Passage House was the standout bird of this morning's WeBS count; it may be the first juvenile to be recorded in Devon this year. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls were roosting with c.200 Black-headed Gulls at Flow Point although no terns could be picked out. Other totals included 84 Canada Geese, 38 Mute Swans, 10 Little Egrets, 31 Curlew, 15 Oystercatchers and two Common Sandpipers. Plastic waterfowl included presumably the same Bar-headed Goose seen in April back at Passage House.

Yellow-legged Gull

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Late to the party

Arriving at Teignmouth at 9.30am, having seen a surprisingly good haul of seabirds up the coast at Dawlish Warren, I knew that the majority of passage would already have passed. Over the following 1.5 hours, six Balearic Shearwaters, six Arctic Skuas, one Fulmar, 10 'commic' terns, six Common Scoter and a Swift flew south, and a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull showed close off the seafront.

Sunday, 7 June 2020


A typically quiet June count this morning produced 81 Canada Geese, 35 Mallards, 22 Mute Swans, 16 Little Egrets, 150 Herring Gulls, 53 Black-headed Gulls, two Great Black-backed Gulls, five Cormorants,10 Oystercatchers and a Ringed Plover. Shelducks appear to be having a mixed breeding season; there was just one chick alongside 14 adults at Flow Point, whereas at Passage House a single pair was accompanied by no fewer than 19 young! Typical clutch size is 8-10 although Shelducks are known to leave their offspring to be supervised by other parents.

A visit to Rackerhayes last Monday for the first time since pre-lockdown produced three Tufted Ducks, five Sand Martins, a Kingfisher, numerous Coots with chicks and a pair of Mute Swans with seven young.

Just before midnight a vocal Bar-tailed Godwit was flying over the Salty at Teignmouth, presumably a new arrival as not picked up on the count.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Back to work benefits

The first day back at the laptop provided a long awaited patch tick, when a female type Marsh Harrier was found flying low north over Teignmouth beach early afternoon, presumably driven into the coast by the foggy conditions.

More surprises followed after dark when in the space of 15 minutes a Common Sandpiper, a Little Ringed Plover and a Greenshank flew over after 10pm.

Monday, 18 May 2020


Despite the large number of people milling around the estuary it felt good to be out doing the WeBS count yesterday afternoon, after the April survey was suspended due to Covid-19. Totals included 23 Oystercatchers, 28 Mute Swans, 36 Shelducks, nine Mallards, eight Canada Geese, seven Cormorants, 12 Little Egrets, 70 Herring Gulls, 10 Great Black-backed Gulls, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Common Gull (unusual for May) and a Ringed Plover.

After the wintering population has departed, small numbers of Ringed Plovers 
stop by on passage during May.

On 12th May Alan Ford remarkably heard a Cuckoo calling from the middle of Teignmouth. Although regularly recorded only a few miles away, it is an exceptionally scarce bird around the estuary.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Red Kites

Two separate Red Kites flew south over Kingsteignton at 09:45 and 10:30 this morning; a bigger movement was anticipated but did not materialise with no further sightings by 13:00. Several Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and small parties of Swifts and House Martins were also noted overhead before the cold front pushed through this afternoon. Yesterday's walk around Hackney Marshes and Passage House was uneventful with a very high tide pushing most birds off the estuary, although an increased number of invertebrates were on the wing including this female Orange-tip.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Swifts return

Five Swifts were foraging over Fore Street in Kingsteignton yesterday morning, forming a mixed flock with at least a dozen House Martins and one or two Swallows. Nearby an adult Grey Wagtail was feeding a juvenile in the churchyard, and on Sunday nine Reed Warblers, two Sedge Warblers and two Ravens were around Hackney Marshes and the racecourse.

Another garden first

A further addition to the Teignmouth garden list with a Little Ringed Plover calling over the estuary early on Monday morning. Recently a flock of 20 Whimbrel on the Salty on 2nd May were notable with birds heard most nights,  33 Manx Shearwater south offshore in half an hour late on 1st May and up to seven Sandwich Tern around the estuary mouth throughout.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Sedge Warblers

A Sedge Warbler was performing its display flight over an isolated patch of reeds on the racecourse this morning, and presumably a different bird was singing on the northern side of Hackney Marshes on Wednesday. Sedge Warblers are scarcer than Reed Warblers locally and also seem to arrive later, so these may still be birds passing through rather than establishing territories. Other sightings today included five Shelducks flying high west, a Common Sandpiper and a Whitethroat, and up to three pairs of Reed Buntings (male below) between Hackney Marshes and Passage House.