Tuesday 21 November 2023

WeBS, Spotted Redshank

Blustery, drizzly weather and a low spring tide did not make for ideal counting conditions on Sunday morning, but the Spotted Redshank was picked up off Passage House as it came to roost with c.50 Redshanks. At the other end of the estuary 45 Turnstones were split between the Shaldon bridge (21) and the pontoon off Teignmouth back beach (24). Other totals included 205 Oystercatchers, 74 Curlew, 27 Dunlin, 13 Greenshanks, three Ringed Plovers, 12 Shelducks, five Little Grebes, nine Cormorants, eight Shags and one Great Crested Grebe.


Thursday 16 November 2023

Marsh Tits

Rackerhayes was good value for passerines on Wednesday morning, the highlight being three Marsh Tits - my best count for the site. Also one Firecrest, one or two Chiffchaffs, 20+ Siskins, two Treecreepers, two Nutchatches and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers among the more common residents. Tufted Ducks have finally started to return with four birds present on the main pond.

Monday 13 November 2023


The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of Firecrest sightings around the patch, to the point now where they are almost expected in the right habitat on a late autumn or winter's day, and it is likely that breeding will be proven in the next few years. Over the weekend I came across three separate individuals at Bundle Head, The Ness and Decoy; at the latter site they are often found in the holly understorey of the woodland south and west of the lake. Not a lot else was noted; many thousands of Woodpigeons were picked up distantly from Bundle Head on Saturday morning but most appeared to head inland following the estuary rather than the coast.

Tuesday 31 October 2023

The tide is high

Sunday morning saw one of the highest spring tides in recent years, resulting in the usual estuary roosts becoming almost completely submerged. Consequently many of the waders were flighty and unsettled, especially the Redshanks which prevented an accurate count but a minimum of 100 were scattered about between Salcombe Dip and Passage House. Also noted 208 Oystercatchers, 28 Curlew, seven Ringed Plovers, six Greenshanks, five Dunlin, one Black-tailed Godwit, three Kingfishers, 21 Little Egrets, three Little Grebes, two Wigeon and a Teal. A flock of 16 Shags floating downriver was an odd sight, but the most unusual record of the morning was a Kestrel that flew over Passage House; this species is now very scarce locally away from the coast.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Happy hour

I could only manage 60 minutes on Bundle Head this morning but it proved to be an hour very well spent. In clear, calm conditions passerines were on the move before sunrise, with pigeons joining the party shortly afterwards. From 07:45 - 08:45 I logged 4,150 Woodpigeons, 210 Goldfinches, 169 Meadow Pipits, 95 Chaffinches, 91 Linnets, 53 Siskins, 19 Pied/White Wagtails, 17 Swallows, seven Stock Doves, six Bullfinches, three Song Thrushes and singles of Redpoll, Skylark and Great Spotted Woodpecker all heading south. The Woodpigeons attracted the attention of a couple of Peregrines which succeeded in splitting up several large flocks without reducing any in number. 

Elsewhere this afternoon Kev found a 1cy Caspian Gull on The Salty, and on Thursday a Little Gull showed well to several observers off the Point car park in Teignmouth.

Woodpigeons at Bundle Head (Hope's Nose in the background)

Monday 2 October 2023

Cattle Egret

Mild, murky conditions at Bundle Head first thing on Sunday morning were not conducive to overhead passage, but two Grey Wagtails and 11 Siskins went south along with c.150 hirundines (mainly House Martins). The bushes weren't much better although four Firecrests was a decent total, and a pair of Kestrels was lurking along the cliffs. 

Onto Flow Point, where a very high spring tide had submerged most of the saltmarsh and concentrated roosting birds on the far ridge. Quality was provided by a Cattle Egret in with the Little Egrets, the first patch Grey Plover for a couple of years, and a Spotted Redshank (possibly the returning bird from last winter). Also present 61 Curlew, 17 Redshanks, five Greenshanks, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone.

Cattle Egret

Sunday 24 September 2023

Great Shearwater

An evening seawatch off Teignmouth in the wake of ex-hurricane Nigel saw a single Great Shearwater head south along with five more distant large shearwater sp. Also passing six Balearic Shearwater, eight Sandwich and a Common Tern and an Arctic Skua with a Great Northern Diver on the sea.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Cory's Shearwater

With news of large shearwaters off Budleigh Salterton first thing (thanks Laurie for the text) I headed to Teignmouth after the nursery run for a 1hr 20 minute pre-work seawatch. Despite the stormy conditions visibility was pretty good (at least initially) and I immediately picked up on a steady stream of Balearic Shearwaters heading south - 142 were logged in total, including a couple of groups of 20+. No sign of any large shearwaters for over half an hour when I eventually picked up a Cory's Shearwater in the middle distance at 09:00, an extremely satisfying patch tick for me having missed out on the epic seawatch of July 2017! Four Storm Petrels also went through, with one only a few hundred metres offshore, along with five Arctic Skuas, three Sandwich Terns, numerous Gannets and Kittiwakes and just a handful of Manx Shearwaters.

Monday 18 September 2023


Ten species of wader on the estuary on Sunday morning but nothing unusual noted. Totals were 341 Oystercatchers, 40+ Curlew, 17 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plovers, eight Common Sandpipers, five Greenshanks, two Turnstones, two Whimbrel and singles of Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit. Also noted 36 Canada Geese, 25 Mallards, 10 Mute Swans, 26 Little Egrets, 12 Cormorants, a Kingfisher and a Sandwich Tern.

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Osprey double act

Great to see two Ospreys circling over the upper estuary on Tuesday morning; there were subsequent sightings of at least one bird from Passage House later in the day, and presumably one of the two drifted over Kingsteignton at 10:30 this morning (my second sighting from home this year). Waders between Flow Point and Passage House on Tuesday included 58 Curlew, four Whimbrel, 16 Greenshanks, six Common Sandpipers, four Dunlin, two Ringed Plovers and a Black-tailed Godwit.