Monday 13 May 2024


Totals from around the estuary on Sunday morning included 47 Oystercatchers, 17 Turnstones, five Whimbrels, two Common Sandpipers, 14 Little Egrets, 30 Mute Swans, 10 Shelducks, six Cormorants, 100 Herring Gulls, three Great Black-backed Gulls and one Lesser Black-backed Gull. Later in the day a Red Kite flew over Kingsteignton at 17:45. 

Saturday 11 May 2024

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Arctic Skua

A fairly productive seawatch (by Teignmouth spring standards) from 07:30 - 08:30 this morning, although there was a sense that a lot more was passing just beyond view. Auks were constantly streaming south in loose flocks, with around 250 recorded in total; those close enough to identify were all Guillemots. Kittiwakes also just about made three figures, with a couple being harassed by a dark phase Arctic Skua. Also noted 50+ Gannets, 21 Manx Shearwaters, five Great Northern Divers, four Red-throated Divers, four diver sp., nine Fulmars, five Common Scoters and three Whimbrel

Sunday 14 April 2024

Birds of prey

Bundle Head was largely devoid of passage migrants on Saturday morning, but four species of raptor were noted including Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and this male Kestrel; also c.15 Linnets, a Willow Warbler, a Green Woodpecker and a Stock Dove. Not much at Passage House either with high tide approaching but six Common Sandpipers were on the spit. Later in the afternoon a Red Kite flew low over my house in Kingsteignton, the first of the year and making it a rare five-raptor day on patch.

Sunday 7 April 2024


Totals from around the estuary this morning included 105 Oystercatchers, 45 Turnstones, 11 Redshanks, two Greenshanks, two Common Sandpipers, one Black-tailed Godwit, just one Curlew, 22 Shelducks, 10 Mute Swans, seven Red-breasted Mergansers, one Great Crested Grebe, eight Little Egrets, 10 Great Black-backed Gulls and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The blustery conditions encouraged Sandwich Terns into the estuary, with at least eight noted including two as far up as Passage House. A couple of Swallows and Sand Martins were also seen battling the headwind up river.

Elsewhere a 45-minute seawatch from Teignmouth produced seven Fulmars (probable local breeders), two Great Northern Divers (one in full summer plumage), one Red-throated Diver, five Common Scoters, five Guillemots, three Sandwich Terns, one Great Crested Grebe and a couple of dozen Gannets and Kittiwakes. There had clearly been a bit of a fall of Willow Warblers at Rackerhayes with seven singing birds present, and at last a Wheatear (a male) was on the racecourse.

Turnstones (Alan Ford)

Sunday 31 March 2024

Spotted Redshank lingers

I figured the racecourse would be a good bet for a Wheatear on Saturday morning, but half an hour scanning revealed just two Stonechats and two Reed Buntings. Onto Passage House where the Spotted Redshank finally did the decent thing and allowed good views from the car park, in the company of four Redshanks and not a lot else. Rackerhayes was also quiet but three pairs of Great Crested Grebes, two Willow Warblers and a leucistic Greenfinch were noted. Lastly a scan of the estuary from Flow Point produced another Great Crested Grebe and at least six Red-breasted Mergansers still.

Redshank (l), Spotted Redshank (r)

Monday 25 March 2024


Showery weather attracted good numbers of Sand Martins to Rackerhayes over the weekend, with c.50 on Saturday and 30+ on Sunday. Single Willow Warblers were present both days but likely to be different individuals, alongside 5+ Chiffchaffs and 3+ Blackcaps. One of the two pairs of Great Crested Grebes already has three fledged young, which seems rather early; there are a further two non-paired adults so six in total. Other waterfowl included just a single Tufted Duck and the Bar-headed Goose still.

Willow Warbler


Great Crested Grebes

Monday 11 March 2024


The tide was so high on Sunday morning that a couple of Shags were able to dive over a flooded Flow Point. The one stretch of vegetation that hadn't been submerged was crowded with waders, with 71 Oystercatchers, 45 Dunlin, 33 Curlew, 15 Redshanks, 11 Turnstones, two Greenshanks, a Grey Plover and the Spotted Redshank jostling for space. Another 65 Oystercatchers and 18 Dunlin were roosting on the railway wall, and a further 45 Turnstones were at Teignmouth. Other totals from the wider estuary included 38 Shelducks, 21 Red-breasted Mergansers, 10 Mute Swans, two Mandarins (between Passage House and Netherton), six Little Egrets, 45 Common Gulls, two Kingfishers and single Little Grebe and Snipe. A scan from the top of Teignmouth yacht club revealed at least eight Great Northern Divers on the sea between Holcombe and Shaldon.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Siberian Chiffchaff

Rackerhayes delivered this morning with a Siberian Chiffchaff that showed extremely well by the main pond. Also three Blackcaps (one in song), six Tufted Ducks, five Great Crested Grebes and the Bar-headed Goose.

Monday 26 February 2024

Spot Red pinned down

Since its arrival the wintering Spotted Redshank has proved difficult to catch up with, making sporadic appearances at Passage House and Flow Point at high tide only. Its favoured foraging areas had remained a mystery, but earlier this month it was seen between Coombe Cellars and Shaldon, feeding around the old oyster beds. On Saturday Mark Bailey located it on the south side of the estuary east of Arch Brook, where it showed well (both photos below are Mark's). It has been known to roost just west of Arch Brook Bridge from time to time, so this is likely the best area to try and see it as the tide rises or falls (there's a small car park at SX909720).