Tuesday, 22 August 2017


Four Wheatears were on the racecourse this morning, which is unfortunately becoming increasingly difficult to view from the foot/cycle path due to vegetation growth. Also six Mistle Thrushes and several mixed flocks of Swallows, Linnets and Goldfinches.

Sunday, 20 August 2017


An enjoyable late afternoon and early evening counting over the high tide. Wader numbers were up with a good mix of passage and returning birds: 363 Oystercatchers, 48 Curlew, 19 Redshanks, 14 Dunlin, 10 Greenshanks, nine Common Sandpipers, four Ringed Plovers and two Whimbrel. Other totals between Passage House and Flow Point included 33 Mute Swans, 26 Little Egrets, five immature Shelducks, five Little Grebes, two Water Rails and two Kingfishers.

Ringed Plover (juvenile), Passage House

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Black-tailed Godwits

Two juvenile Black-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel were with the Curlew flock at Passage House yesterday morning. Other waders included five Common Sandpipers and five Dunlin, and the first Kingfisher of the autumn was at Flow Point.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Juvenile YLG

No sign of the reported Great Northern Diver that has been present around Shaldon Bridge for tthe past two weeks, however the second juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the autumn was on The Salty. Six Sandwich Tern were are fishing by the bridge with a Black-tailed Godwit and a juvenile Lesser-black Backed Gull the best of the rest of the estuary.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Stormie, Balearic, Pom...

Seawatching this morning from 05:50 - 09:05 featured up to five birders huddled under the yacht club, a Teignmouth record. The birding didn't quite reach the highs of 11 days ago, with a grand total of just six (small) shearwaters, but there was a good number and variety of other seabirds with the majority of passage occurred between 06:30 and 08:00 (bar a late flurry of skuas):

European Storm Petrel - 1 (fairly close but frustratingly brief)
Balearic Shearwater - 1 (excellent close views)
Manx Shearwater - 5 (!)
Pomarine Skua - 1 (again close, probable 3cy)
Arctic Skua - 6
Unidentified skua sp - 2
Arctic Tern - 1
Common Tern - 22
Sandwich Tern - 245
Kittiwake - 118
Common Scoter - 79
Mediterranean Gull - 1 juv.
Fulmar - c.10
Gannet - c.200
Dunlin - 3
Turnstone - 1

Late news for July 31st - a good count of 90 Shags on the sea off Teignmouth.

Composite photo: Arctic Skua (top), Pomarine Skua (bottom).

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


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.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Bundle Head

Very quiet along the coast yesterday morning - just a handful of Linnets and Whitethroats, the resident raptors overhead and a Shelduck that flew into the estuary from the direction of Torbay. So quiet that I took to photographing the scenery and botany with this Early Purple Orchid (left) the highlight.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Warblers and WeBS

Plenty of birdsong at Hackney Marshes this morning including ten Reed Warblers, three Sedge Warblers, five Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps and two Reed Buntings; futher Sedge Warblers were singing on the racecourse and at Passage House. On the estuary between here and Flow Point there was little to get excited about: 46 Oystercatchers, three Whimbrel, one Curlew, five Sandwich Terns, 11 Little Egrets, 17 Shelducks, 24 Mute Swans and a female Mallard with five young.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Sandwich Terns

At least ten Sandwich Terns were between Passage House and Flow Point this afternoon. Waders included two Whimbrel, two Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank and nine Oystercatcher.

Sunday, 30 April 2017


Seawatching from 07:00 - 11:00: The first hour saw the majority of passage, with four Great Northern Divers, two diver sp. (possibly Black-throated Divers) and a Great Skua flying south. A possible Sabine's Gull was picked up fairly distantly offshore at 7:20, before flying in a direct line out to sea. It was smaller than nearby Kittiwakes, having a bouyant tern-like flight style, but lacked the agility and wingbeat speed of Little Gull. An immature pale morph Pomarine Skua later flew south at 9:10, followed by a dark morph Arctic Skua at 10:40. Four Manx Shearwaters were also seen distantly on the horizon.

Other counts included; three Eider (one immature male and two females), 30+ Sandwich Tern, 29 Common Scoter, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese, two Great Crested Grebe, one male Red-breasted Merganser, 200+ auks, 5+ Fulmar, 40+ Kittiwake , three Common Gulls and 24 Black-headed Gull.

With lack of any seawatching photos, here are some Green-winged Orchids just off patch at Labrador Bay yesterday.

Monday, 24 April 2017

More migrants

Three female Wheatears were on the racecourse yesterday morning, visible from the path on the southern side. Nearby Hackney Marshes produced six Reed Warblers but still no Sedge Warblers. In the evening the first three Swifts of the year flew over my house in Kingsteignton along with five House Martins.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Grasshopper Warbler

An early morning walk around Bundle Head was initially quiet with just two Willow Warblers and 10 Blackcaps noted in the bushes, and three Sandwich Tern out at sea. That was until walking back along the golf course, when five Wheatears seemed to drop out of the sky, remaining very flighty until moving off north a few minutes later. After walking a few more metres across the golf course, a Grasshopper Warbler started to reel from the hedge bordering the road, remaining stubbornly hidden deep within cover. It stayed until at least 11am when Will and Kev both found it in the same hedge, with the first Yellow Wagtail of the year also flying over.

Cirl Bunting

Saturday, 15 April 2017


A quiet morning on the estuary with the best birds being four Whimbrel - two at Passage House and two at Flow Point, with the former joining the latter at high tide. Other counts included five Common Sandpipers, 74 Oystercatchers, three Redshanks, one Greenshank, 12 Little Egrets, 15 Mute Swans, 18 Shelducks and five Sandwich Terns. Despite the overnight cloud and rain few passerine migrants were evident with Laurie reporting just two Willow Warblers at Bundle Head.

The first Reed Warbler of the year appeared at Hackney Marshes on 12th April, when three House Martins were just outside the patch at Sandygate and 50+ Sand Martins were at Teigngrace the previous day (thanks Cilla Ingram). 

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Cattle Egrets remain

Despite the warm temperatures and sunshine of recent days the Teigngrace Cattle Egrets don't seem to be in any hurry to move on; four were still present at noon today, the first time I've seen them without any Little Egrets for company. Also three Stock Doves and c.20 Sand Martins.

The past week has been pretty quiet with just a handful of Willow Warblers at Hackney Marshes on a couple of mornings and two late Fieldfares over Netherton Park cricket ground on Thursday evening. Another Osprey was reported off Coombe Cellars yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Evening @ Passage House

An evening visit to Passage House was fairly quiet as the tide was still out but a pair of Teal, three Common Sandpiper and a dozen Redshank were present on the mudflats with a couple of Reed Bunting and Water Rail on the islands. At around 7.15 a group of four Little Egret flew over the A380 bridge and headed east up the estuary to roost, these were followed five minutes later by a 10 more egrets but eight of these were Cattle Egret. These birds are presumably the same ones seen on patch earlier this month now joined up as a single flock.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Gulls Aloud

The alarm calls of the local Herring Gulls revealed the second Osprey of the year which lingered over the Salty for 10 minutes late afternoon before heading north along the coast. On Thursday a Great Northern Diver was in the estuary at Teignmouth.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

LTDs and Eider

Today, four of the Labrador Bay Long-tailed Ducks were distantly visible from the bottom of the smugglers tunnel at Shaldon with c.130-140 Common Scoter. A female Eider was off The Ness before flying off unseen.

Yesterday, Will had the seven Cattle Egrets and 16 Little Egret at Teigngrace, with an impressive flock of 150+ Sand Martin hawking over the same fields.

Friday, 17 March 2017


Three Lesser Redpolls were feeding quietly in a silver birch alongside the cycle path by the racecourse this morning. The hoped-for Wheatear failed to show but there were a few more Meadow Pipits on the move and the resident male Pheasant has increased his harem of females to three.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Cattle Egrets at Passage House & WeBS

The discovery of two Cattle Egrets roosting with the gulls at Passage House was the surprise highlight of this morning's WeBS count. They stayed until 09:40 (allowing Kev and Robin to catch up with them) before flying south and appeared to land just beyond the sewage works; a brief search of the fields at Buckland drew a blank. Forty minutes later the five Teigngrace Cattle Egrets were in trees at Blatchford Farm; this site is approximately 1.5km to the north-west so the Passage House sighting almost certainly involved different birds.

Other counts around the estuary included a male Gadwall at Flow Point, three Teal, 38 Shelducks, 14 Mute Swans, 17 Red-breasted Mergansers, two Great Crested Grebes, 155 Oystercatchers, 47 Redshanks, 12 Snipe, eight Curlew and four Common Sandpipers. Gull passage continues with an impressive 144 Common Gulls at Passage House, which I understand is the highest count on the estuary for almost a decade. Kev also had a Great Black-backed Gull that had been ringed in Looe and was previously seen at Dawlish Warren in October 2016.

Yesterday there were four singing Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap at Hackney Marshes, and Robin had the first four Sand Martins of the year over Rackerhayes.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Early spring at Hackney Marshes

Signs of spring abounded during a couple of visits to Hackney Marshes this week, with many of the resident species now in song including Reed Bunting, Treecreeper and GoldcrestSkylarks have been audible over the racecourse and small numbers of Redwings have been passing through, one or two of which gave bursts of their rather uninspiring song. Nothing unusual has been noted although two Siskins overhead yesterday were my first there this year.

 This Robin at Hackney Marshes frequented an area where people regularly feed birds and was so bold it could be approached to an arm's length.

Monday, 27 February 2017

LBB gull passage

On Saturday afternoon there were 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the Passage House area, but few other large gulls. Wintering species still present included the four Wigeon, three Bar-tailed Godwits and two Greenshanks.

Yesterday five Cattle Egrets were still at Teigngrace and a Blackcap was in near-full song in Kingsteignton.

Monday, 13 February 2017


Good numbers of birds on the estuary this morning but a very strong easterly wind and choppy water made viewing conditions a little challenging. There were close to a thousand gulls at Passage House including 16 Common Gulls and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls but unfortunately no white-wingers. Another two LBBs were at Flow Point, suggesting a light movement. Other counts between Passage House and Salcombe Dip included 18 Red-breasted Mergansers, 48 Shelducks, four Wigeon, 13 Cormorants, 380 Oystercatchers, 65 Curlew, 35 Dunlin, 24 Lapwings, just 10 Redshanks, seven Ringed Plovers, four Avocets, two Greenshanks and two Bar-tailed Godwits. Yesterday there were 23 Turnstones and three Cormorants off Teignmouth Back Beach, and a Peregrine flew low over the eastern side of Kingsteignton.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Super Saturday

Twelve Waxwings were reported flying north over the racecourse at 10:15 this morning; despite several checks of berry bushes around Tesco and the Kingsteignton retail outlets there was no further sign. These were presumably the Heathfield birds wandering as they were not reported there today to my knowledge. Also the Bonaparte's Gull made its first appearance of the year along Teignmouth seafront, but there was no sign soon after. Three Great Northern Diver and a female Eider were offshore.

This afternoon Mark Bailey had five Avocets and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Passage House, and I caught up with three of the Teigngrace Cattle Egrets in a field along the track to Blatchford Farm with 16 Little Egrets. Although not visible in the shot below, each Cattle Egret had begun to develop a hint of an orange crown.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January late news

Yesterday Cilla Ingram reported the Siberian Chiffchaff again present in trees at Cricketfield car park along with four collybita Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest still for company. Also a Grey Wagtail flew down the River Lemon and four Avocets, c.30 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper were seen from Passage House.

Monday, 30 January 2017


...or to put it another way, a brief look off Teignmouth late afternoon showed a Great Northern Diver, a Great-crested Grebe and five Long-tailed Duck. The latter were flying south presumably back to Labrador Bay. The Grey Seal was in the estuary with 11 Turnstone.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Sibe Chiff still

One Siberian Chiffchaff showed well in the trees at Cricketfield car park, Newton Abbot this morning alongside four collybita Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest. On the adjacent River Lemon a Dipper was singing under the bridge by Albany Vets.

Off Teignmouth seafront single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, 20 Common Scoter, 10 Great-crested Grebe and a Grey Seal. South of the recording area six Long-tailed Duck, 50+ Common & two Velvet Scoter and around a dozen Eider were off Labrador Bay. 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Small is beautiful

Three Dark-bellied Brent Geese, two ads and a juv, were on The Salty late afternoon with 284 Oystercatcher and three Shelduck, Also in the estuary single Razorbill and Teal - the latter a rare bird in Teignmouth.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Siberian Chiffchaffs

Two Siberian Chiffchaffs, two collybita Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest were in the line of trees bordering the Cricketfield Carpark by Albany Vets, Newton Abbot this morning. The second seemed to arrive in a tit flock about an hour after I found the first, but then remained with the other Chiffchaffs for the following half an hour I watched them, giving good views down to a couple of metres.

Rear-end comparison - tristis left, collybita right
Gleaming white in the sunshine...
...looking a bit Red-breasted Flycatcher-like

Thursday, 19 January 2017

20 Eiders

A flock of seven Eider (6f, 1m) flew north early this afternoon, presumably the same birds that were later seen off Otterton. Six more Eiders (5f, 1m) were on the sea, and a further seven females flew in from the south to land distantly offshore making a total of 20.

Sunday, 15 January 2017


Totals this morning included 407 Oystercatchers, 64 Curlew, 52 Dunlin, 43 Redshanks, 19 Lapwings, five Ringed Plovers, five Common Sandpipers, three Bar-tailed Godwits, 17 Mute Swans, 50 Shelducks, 23 Red-breasted Mergansers, 20 Teal and 8 Wigeon. The Water Pipit remains at Flow Point. Gulls at Passage House comprised 370 Black-headed Gulls, 125 Herring Gulls, 20 Great Black-backed Gulls, nine Common Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Kev had a Great Skua off Teignmouth early afternoon.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Velvet Scoters

Four Velvet Scoters flew south past Teignmouth at 3:50 this afternoon; these were presumably the same birds seen flying off from Broadsands this morning. No divers on the sea but three Razorbills and a group of 6-7 Common Dolphins to the north looked like they were foraging. At Polly Steps 17 Turnstones was a good count around the slipway.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


Yesterday afternoon, the sea was quiet bird-wise, with four Red-throated Divers and three Common Scoter flying south, with another Red-throated Diver and three Great Northern Divers on the sea.

Most time was spent watching cetaceans however, with at least 10 Harbour Porpoises, and after closely inspecting my photos, what looks like c.20 Common Dolphins. They were in groups of c.12 and c.8, both around four miles out, and at the time I thought they were Bottlenose Dolphins as the distance made it hard to see the markings and beak length. They remained on view for the two hours spent watching, surfacing regularly and at times breaching and tail-slapping. Here are some photos:

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Coastal walk

A late morning stroll from Bundle Head to the Ness produced a Firecrest, four Goldcrests, two Stonechats, a Chiffchaff, three Ravens and a Kestrel. A check of arable fields around Combeinteignhead revealed several small parties of Cirl Buntings but few other farmland birds.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Single Firecrests were seen today at Decoy Country Park and Hackney Marshes. Tufted Duck numbers had increased to 27 on Decoy Lake, suggesting some cold weather displacement. This Buzzard kept watch over Hackney Marshes.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Water Pipit, Avocet, Med Gull

A decent half day out on patch helped boost the year list and turned up a number of local scarcities. The highlight was an elusive Water Pipit in the saltmarsh at Flow Point alongside three Rock Pipits. Nearby a Green Woodpecker was in a tree at Jack's Patch and c.50 Teal flew out from a lagoon behind the railway. The falling tide at Passage House revealed a good selection of waders including an Avocet, two Greenshanks, 30+ Dunlin and the three wintering Bar-tailed Godwits. A lone Cattle Egret was in the Teigngrace solar panel field at lunchtime with a second bird seen in flight; up to three were reported during the morning. Finally from Teignmouth yacht club early afternoon an adult Mediterranean Gull flew north, ten Eiders (three males, seven females) were bobbing about near the pier and a Peregrine was patrolling the cliffs towards Holcombe.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Years Day

Despite the bad weather, 72 species were recorded on the first day of the year. Five Eider were still off Teignmouth Yacht Club along with around a dozen Great Northern Divers, two Red-throated Divers and a Common Scoter, as well as the usual suspects. A pod of about 10 Harbour Porpoise was a nice surprise too.

On to the estuary, were 10 Snipe, good numbers of Dunlin, two Common Sandpiper, and Kingfisher were all recorded along with the common waders, although no godwits were seen. The highlight was a Brent Goose which Kev had on The Salty, before it headed up the estuary to join up with a large flock of Canada Geese.

Finally, a fairly unproductive visit to Decoy produce just a handful of Tufted Duck.

During the day, Kev also saw the Cattle Egrets at Teigngrace along with a Blackcap, and Will had a Chiffchaff in Kingsteignton.