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.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Changing seasons

A vocal juvenile Green Woodpecker on the neighbour's roof in the middle of Kingsteignton was a surprise first thing this morning. Yesterday my first Kingfisher of the autumn flew over Hackney Marshes, and it seems the local Swifts have departed for another year, hopefully having had a successful breeding season.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Med Gulls galore, Storm Petrels, Balearics

Seawatching from the yacht club 05:50 - 12:10 failed to produce any large shearwaters but the variety was pretty decent by Teignmouth standards for late July. Totals were as follows:

Mediterranean Gull - 64+
Storm Petrel - 2 (one close in at 11:40, another briefly and more distant 10 minutes later)
Balearic Shearwater - 4 (all single birds)
Manx Shearwater - 51
Yellow-legged Gull - 2 (juveniles)
Arctic Skua - 10 (several very close in chasing Kittiwakes)
Whimbrel - 3
Common Tern - 6
'Commic' Tern - 9
Sandwich Tern - 50+
Kittiwake - 107

Plus a slow trickle of Gannets and Fulmars. Unfortunately the visibility was often poor so no doubt many birds were missed further out. The Med Gull total comprised approximately 80% juveniles and is almost certainly a record count locally.

Arctic Skuas
Storm Petrel

Sunday, 15 July 2018


A juvenile Little Ringed Plover at Passage House was the highlight of this morning's count. It took flight as the tide pushed it off, giving its distinctive call. Other totals from around the estuary included 41 Mute Swans, 31 Canada Geese, three adult Shelducks with a total of 13 young, 21 Little Egrets, c.500 Black-headed Gulls, one juvenile Mediterranean Gull, two Sandwich Terns, 69 Oystercatchers, 63 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 6 Common Sandpipers and singles of Redshank and Greenshank.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The ants are back

The first large emergence of flying ants this saw hundreds of gulls hawking offshore and over the estuary at Teignmouth, including three Mediterranean Gull, two adults and a first summer. Also feeding high above the estuary a flock of at least 95 Swift, a very welcome sight although sadly very few of them will have been local birds.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Et 2 brute

The second juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the Salty this evening, this one a beast of a bird dwarfing adjacent Herring gulls.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Autumn arrivals

The birding seasons are changing even if the weather isn't. The first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the year was on the Salty, fresh in from continent. The other sure-fire sign of autumn was a returning Common Sandpiper also at the east end of the estuary.