Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Honk Honk, patch tick

...of sorts! A single Bar-headed Goose was heard calling over Teignmouth on the night of the 4th June, heading west amongst Canada Geese. Presumably the long-stayer from the Exe.

A Bar-tailed Godwit flew over early morning on the 2nd June, with a second calendar year Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrid on the Salty the next day. 

Saturday, 3 June 2023

More rare herons

26th May saw the appearance of another two rare herons on the patch. Lee Collins had a Great White Egret at Passage House during the morning, last seen flying off in the direction of Flow Point. Having been absent prior to 2021, this species has now been recorded annually since. In the evening a Purple Heron flew in off the sea at Teignmouth and continued up the estuary (per Birdguides) but wasn't seen again unfortunately.

Late raptor news - a Red Kite was over Kingsteignton on 19th May.

Monday, 8 May 2023

Whimbrels, Yellow Wagtail

Five Whimbrels were at Flow Point over high tide on Sunday morning. Few other waders present; just one Curlew and 41 Oystercatchers. As I was walking back to the car an unseen Yellow Wagtail called overhead.

Monday, 1 May 2023

Firecrest, Wheatear

After missing out on yesterday's action I was keen to get to the coast this morning, but a strengthening north-westerly breeze and clear conditions no doubt contributed to Bundle Head being virtually devoid of migrants, except for a flighty male Wheatear and a skulking Firecrest. I was hoping for a Whinchat on the racecourse but it too was disappointing, with just two male Stonechats and 25 Linnets of note.

Monday, 24 April 2023


Thick fog first thing on Sunday morning thwarted early attempts to cover Passage House, although a Whimbrel was heard and a male Mandarin was an unexpected flyover. Once visibility improved it was clear most birds were roosting at Flow Point, where totals included 41 Oystercatchers, 10 Curlew, 13 Shelducks, six Little Egrets and one Common Sandpiper. Another Common Sandpiper was at Polly Steps in Teignmouth, and six Turnstones were along the Back Beach. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

Black Redstart

A smart male Black Redstart was the pick of the migrants on the racecourse this morning, viewed distantly from outside the Leisure Lounge Cafe. Also noted one Wheatear, one Whitethroat, two Swallows and 4+ Stonechats. Next door at Hackney Marshes two Reed Warblers and two Willow Warblers.

Saturday, 15 April 2023

Night Heron

Reports of a Night Heron at Jetty Marsh on Thursday were confirmed on Friday lunchtime when an adult bird was located in willows behind B&Q. Luckily for me it stayed put until I finished work and was able to get there, although by the evening it wasn't showing as well as earlier in the afternoon (Mark Bailey has posted some decent pictures and a video on Twitter - thanks Mark for the updates). It was still present first thing this morning but flew off north at 08:00; there is plenty of suitable habitat in the area but unfortunately not all of it is accessible.

It has been an excellent spring so far for rarities around the Teign, and I've got a feeling we're not done yet!

Sunday, 9 April 2023

Bonaparte's Gull

Really pleased to find an adult Bonaparte's Gull in near-full breeding plumage at Passage House today. I initially picked up the bird from the southern side of the estuary, where it was relatively distant but good light meant I was able to confirm the key ID features - black hood with no hint of brown, a fairly thin black bill, short bubblegum-pink legs, noticeably smaller - and with slightly darker grey upperparts - than nearby Black-headed Gulls. I waited until I'd driven round to Passage House and relocated it before I put the news out, since access to the southern side is limited at best. Unfortunately it was now dipping in and out of sight, and facing south the hazy sunshine bleached the colours, therefore it took a little while before everybody was able to get satisfactory views. Nice to bump into some familiar faces who managed to arrive quickly. It flew off down the estuary at 1pm but was relocated shortly before 6pm on the rising tide.

There have been quite a few records of Bonaparte's Gull on the Teign Estuary over the last decade, although most (if not all) sightings related to the same returning individual seen at several South Devon sites between 2011 and 2018. The last patch record was in March 2018

Tuesday, 4 April 2023


On Newton Abbot Racecourse this morning one male Wheatear, four Stonechats (two pairs) and several singing Skylarks. The central barrier, much loved by passage Wheatears and Whinchats, has unfortunately been removed but the hedge along the cycle path has been cut, enabling better views of the racecourse.

The two Alpine Swift continue to roost each night at St Michael's Church, Teignmouth, now present for 16 days!

Yesterday the first Swallow over the year flew over Kingsteignton, whilst overnight a flock of Common Scoter were heard flying over Teignmouth.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

The swifts that keep on giving

It has been over a week now since the Alpine Swifts first appeared, and as of last night at least one was still roosting at St Michael's Church (picked up on thermal imaging scope). This has given the opportunity for birders from across Devon and further afield the opportunity to catch up with them as they return each evening to roost. The swifts have been harder to track as they emerge each day, but John Walters has posted a couple of excellent slow-motion videos on his Youtube channel showing one bird leaving the church tower on Sunday morning. With the unsettled weather continuing there is every chance the swifts will remain at least until the end of the week and perhaps for longer.

The swifts haven't appeared over the north side of Shaldon since their arrival, but the first two Sand Martin of the year were present this afternoon.