Saturday, 15 February 2020

Another Firecrest

A check of Rackerhayes before work on Friday produced a Firecrest on the edge of the woods, the male Scaup still, 24 Tufted Ducks, a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes, two Shovelers and two Roe Deer.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020


A break in the weather this morning allowed for a thorough count of the estuary between Passage House and Salcombe Dip, though there was nothing unusual of note. Totals included 232 Oystercatchers, 81 Curlew, 30+ Redshanks, six Ringed Plovers, three Greenshanks, two Common Sandpipers, 54 Shelducks (including 50 together on Flow Point), 27+ Red-breasted Mergansers, nine Mute Swans, two Little Grebes, 14 Cormorants, six Little Egrets and singles of Grey Heron and Kingfisher.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

The calm before the storm

In sharp contrast to today, Saturday morning was sunny and calm and there was a notable increase in birdsong locally, including two Skylarks high above the racecourse and three Reed Buntings at Hackney Marshes.

On Friday the Scaup was still on Rackerhayes with 29 Tufted Ducks, and a Firecrest was around the Hackney Marshes car park.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Scaup relocated

A male Scaup - presumably the Decoy bird - was present on Rackerhayes first thing on Monday morning alongside 30 Tufted Ducks, enjoying the peace and quiet and lack of watercraft. No sign of the Goldeneye but Shoveler numbers had increased to eight, and there were three Great Crested Grebes.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Around patch

Five Great Northern Divers were offshore at Teignmouth this morning with two Great Crested Grebes, 30+ Common Scoter and six Razorbill. Five Red-throated Divers also flew south.

At flow point, a pair of Teal flew up on arrival and eight Ringed Plover roosted with the Oystercatchers.

No sign of the Scaup on Decoy now, where Tufted Ducks numbered just nine; likely as a consequence of the boating that was taking place on the lake.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Pochard Pair

A pair of Pochard was a nice surprise on Decoy Lake this morning, this species being an irregular visitor, the last record being a few winters ago I believe. The male Scaup was still with the Tufted Duck flock that seemed to have reduced in number to around 17, but an accurate count was not possible due to birds roosting behind cover.


Monday, 20 January 2020

WeBS & Goldeneye

Counts from the estuary on a glorious winter's day on Sunday included 263 Oystercatchers, 93 Curlew, 71 Redshanks, 13 Avocets, nine Ringed Plovers, five Greenshanks, two Common Sandpipers, 42 Shelducks, 36 Red-breasted Mergansers, 10 Mute Swans, two Little Grebes, five Little Egrets and eight Cormorants (including one sinensis).

On Saturday afternoon a check of Rackerhayes produced a fine male Goldeneye along with nine Tufted Ducks, six Gadwalls, a Great Crested Grebe and at least one Marsh Tit.


Friday, 10 January 2020

Nice Ice Baby

A first winter  Iceland Gull was a welcome find on The Salty this afternoon, arriving with other gulls pre-roost. Also from the window today at lest four male Blackcap in the garden and the Black Redstart put in one of it's intermittent appearances.  

The drake Scaup was reported as still present on Decoy Lake. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

New Year's Day

Will and I were out all day on patch and managed to amass a very respectible total of 85 species.

First off, a walk around Decoy produced the male Scaup, a Firecrest showing excellently in a bush around the far side, a couple of Marsh Tits and a Treecreeper.

A Water Rail and Reed Bunting were heard calling from Hackney Marshes, a Chiffchaff was seen in the bushes and a Siskin flew over. The low cloud and drizzle made observing birds on the estuary very difficult over the high tide, but the 10 Avocet were roosting on the islands at Passage House and four Dunlin flew in from further down river.

On to Teigngrace, and three Green Sandpiper were on the flooded fields to the north-west of the Exeter Road along with large numbers of Pied Wagtails and a Little Egret. A Stonechat was on nearby fenceposts and a Kingfisher perched over the small stream that runs through the fields.

Two Dippers and a Grey Wagtail were on the River Lemon running through Newton Abbot.

A quick look in at Rackerhayes fishing lakes gave three useful additions to the day's tally; a male Shoveler, six Gadwall (scarce elsewhere on patch of late), and two Great Crested Grebe.

The next stop was Teignmouth where at least 34 Common Scoter were offshore. Close inspection of the flock revealed a male Wigeon which was surprisingly inconspicuous until the scoters dived. Three Great Northern Divers were also offshore with two 1st winter Mediterranean Gulls in a distant flock of Kittiwakes, and 17 Fulmars flew around the cliffs off to the north. A final stop off at Passage House saw 10 Snipe flying around and a Common Sandpiper.


A male Blackcap and imm Black Redstart were present in a Teignmouth garden early morning.