This morning began with a short seawatch from Teignmouth from 06:45-08:00 which yielded a Balearic Shearwater, five Knot and a Wigeon all heading north. Next I tried my luck at Newton Abbot Racecourse where a vocal Green Sandpiper was seen in flight briefly before dropping into a ditch. Moving on to Flow Point, a fresh juvenile Little Stint was roosting with the Dunlin flock; other waders included 12 Ringed Plovers, 5 Black-tailed Godwits and 3 Common Sandpipers. Finally I spent an hour at Bundle Head where my second Garden Warbler of the autumn there showed well and even sang a few phrases.
I arrived at Teignmouth at 6:30 full of anticipation after the overnight wind and rain. The first scan over the sea showed a strong passage of Sandwich Terns (150+ for the whole 2 hours 30 mins), with these were four Common Terns. An adult Arctic Tern lingered fairly close in to shore landing on the sea for a while, and a Black Tern flew south fairly distantly at 7:30. Later on, 15 'commic' tern and 25 distant tern species flew south.
Skuas seen included four Great Skua, one Pomarine Skua, one Arctic Skua and two other small skua sp., one of which was mobbing one of the distant Great Skuas.
I had to wait almost an hour until I saw my first shearwaters - totals included 10 Balearics and 11 Manx with a further 20+ which were too far away to identify. One flock of six Balearics passed fairly close at 8:45, swiftly followed by another single.
Other birds included 140+ Gannet, 41 Fulmar, 62+ Kittiwake, 13 Common Scoter and another probable juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. A Harbour Porpoise surfaced once but there was still no sign of the Bonaparte's Gull.
Despite several efforts I failed to find a BB rarity on patch today, must try harder. A moulting adult Knoton The Salty was the first record of the year for this less than annual visitor, also there on the rising tide a couple of Turnstone, a Whimbrel and an unseasonal Lapwing.
Elsewhere on patch there were five Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank at Passage House but back in Teignmouth there was no sign of the Bonaparte's Gull and very little passing offshore
After what turned into a failed seawatching attempt by myself and Will at Teignmouth this morning, things took a turn for the better as I looked down to find that the Bonaparte's Gull had returned for another winter, perching on the same pipe as I first found it in 2013. It remained in the area for the couple of hours we were there, ranging between the Yacht Club and the groynes north of the pier giving stunningly close views.
Out to sea, the best bits were three Common Terns which flew south, five Common Scoter, a flock of c.20 Whimbrel, and about a dozen each of Gannet and Sandwich Tern.
The next bit of excitement came when Will called an Osprey making it's way north over the pier, circling it's way slowly over our heads and off towards the Exe where it was later picked up at the Warren 15 minutes later.
Earlier at Flow Point there were c.10 Dunlin and two each of Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and Whimbrel.
An hour watch from the yacht club where a small feeding group of Gannet and Sandwich Tern just offshore revealed the presence of a couple of Bottle-nosed Dolphin. Over the next hour a couple of Balearic Shearwater and at least 15 Common Tern flew south, with some of the Common was a single juvenile Arctic Tern, a good patch bird, joining the 20+ lingering Sandwich Tern.
Seawatching from Teignmouth Yacht Club from 10:45 - 15:15 produced two new birds for the year. Five Balearic Shearwaters passed south; a close flock of three briefly landing near a fishing boat at the beginning of my watch, the other two passing just before 3pm.
Other birds included 124 Manx Shearwater (majority passing as the drizzle cleared around midday), 17 Common Tern, 125 Gannet, 145 Kittiwake, 130 Sandwich Tern, 13 Fulmar, four Common Scoter, five Whimbrel, a Curlew and five small wader sp.
Four juvenile Mediterranean Gulls lingered offshore, and a probable juvenile Yellow-legged Gull followed a fishing boat in from the sea but remained too distant for me to be absolutely sure.
A stunning adult Spotted Sandpiper was at Flow Point from 11:25 this morning until at least 11:50 when I lost it over the back of the point. Initially I chose not to release full details of its location as Flow Point is privately owned and the landowner requested that the bird's whereabouts was not disclosed, but access was agreed this evening on the condition that birders stick to the path and do not stray on to the saltmarsh; access instructions are here. Unfortunately there was no sign of it this evening but hopefully it's still around. Other counts from a belated WeBS included 283 Oystercatchers, 71 Curlew, 20 Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plovers, 4 Whimbrel, 5 Redshanks, 8 Common Sandpipers, 4 Turnstones, 42 Little Egrets, 2 Kingfishers and 2 Little Grebes.
While attempting to relocate the Spot Sand at Passage House this evening Kev and Laurie had a flyover Green Sandpiper; Laurie also saw a Whinchat and a Wheatear on the racecourse.
Today comprised of two fairly short visits to the patch followed by successful twitches for the White-winged Black Tern and Baird's Sandpiper elsewhere in Devon. I began up on Bundle Head shortly after 6am where perseverance working the hedgerows was rewarded with a Garden Warbler, a long overdue patch tick for me. Also present between here and The Ness were 14+ Blackcaps, 9+ Chiffchaffs, 6+ Willow Warblers and a Green Woodpecker. Later on in the morning I called in at Flow Point where 14 Dunlin and 12 Ringed Plovers represented a modest but welcome increase in small wader numbers, 50+ Sandwich Terns were roosting and a Wheatear was on the saltmarsh.
At least 75 Sandwich Terns were in the middle part of the estuary this morning; 60+ were roosting on Flow Point with another 15 or so fishing or sat on buoys. Around half were juveniles, several of which were still being fed by their parents. Waders present included 12 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers and this Dunlin.