Saturday 23 April 2016

Common Whitethroat

On another late afternoon walk around Hackney Marshes, the year's first Sedge Warbler gave a short burst of song from one of the reedbeds. No sign of yesterday's Lesser Whitethroat, but a Common Whitethroat was briefly in the same bush. Eight Common Sandpipers were at Passage House.

Friday 22 April 2016

Lesser Whitethroat

A Lesser Whitethroat was feeding in bushes in the south west corner of Hackney Marshes this afternoon, remaining there for the next couple of hours at least. The pollen around the base of its beak suggest it's a recent migrant, but hopefully it may stay to breed. Also, around the marshes were a Blackcap, three Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest, however still no Reed or Sedge Warblers.

Also no Wheatears on the racecourse, but good numbers of hirundines, with c.50 Swallow, c.25 Sand Martin and c.10 House Martin.

Kev had 12 Common Sandpipers and four Whimbrel at Passage House at high tide.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Wheatears and House Martins

Hackney Marshes was devoid of new migrants this morning so I was glad that the adjacent racecourse provided some interest with four Wheatears - two males and two females - and the first three House Martins of the year on patch. Laurie later saw seven of the latter from the railway station.

Yesterday I was working to the west of Newton Abbot, just outside the patch boundary and recorded two reeling Grasshopper Warblers and a Swift, with plenty of Swallows moving through.

Thursday 14 April 2016


An early walk around Bundle Head didn't really deliver the hoped for fall. The 15 or so Blackcaps and 10 Chiffchaffs seemed to be predominantly resident birds, and the visit was eventually rescued by two Redstarts. One gave good views before flying off out of view...

... unfortunately my camera couldn't focus!
The only real 'vis mig' bird was a Swallow. A quick look out to sea saw six Sandwich Terns and a single distant wader sp., with the size and feel of a Redshank, flying high to the south.

Monday 11 April 2016


With the overnight wind and rain clearing to leave a calm, overcast dawn, I nipped into Hackney Marshes before work and it was soon evident that an arrival of migrants had occurred. As I walked along the cycle path beside the racecourse almost every bush had a warbler in it; I barely covered the western half of the reserve yet recorded 20+ Chiffchaffs (some territorial birds), 7+ Willow Warblers, 6 phyllosc sp, 12+ Blackcaps and a Goldcrest. The racecourse produced the first two patch Wheatears of the year plus a mixed flock of seven Swallows and nine Sand Martins, and on the rising tide at Passage House three Whimbrel and seven Common Sandpipers suggested spring wader passage is now properly underway.

Sunday 10 April 2016


Seawatching from 9:30-13:00 today, joined for a while by Will, was tricky at first, with lots of glare, and spray getting blown up onto the seafront.

Totals were 25+ Manx Shearwaters, 20+ Fulmars, 13 Great Northern Divers, 15 Common Scoter, three Great Crested Grebe, 30+ auks, one 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull, 27 Common Terns, five 'commic' terns, 20+ Sandwich Terns. Most of the Common Terns came through in flocks at about 12:30, with a possible Arctic Tern passing by earlier in the morning.

Saturday 9 April 2016


Early April is not a great time for wetland birds on the Teign - many of the wintering species have departed and it's a bit early for passage waders such as Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit. This morning's totals were typically unexceptional but included 82 Oystercatchers, six Curlew, three Turnstones, a Common Sandpiper, two Teal, 23 Shelducks, 14 Little Egrets and three Sandwich Terns. A brief look at the racecourse produced nothing other than eight Skylarks and this Roe Deer.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Passage at High Tide

A quick post work look at Passage House showed just two waders but one was the first Black-tailed Godwit of the year, a smart summer plumaged individual; the other was a Redshank. Also there squealing Water Rail but none of the hoped for summer migrants.

Saturday 2 April 2016

Willow Warblers

The first Willow Warbler of the year was heard singing from by my house in Newton Abbot this morning, and later at Bundle Head, another was present along with 8+ Chiffchaffs. Two Sand Martins flew through, and two Sandwich Terns were out at sea.

Will also counted nine Sand Martins, eight Chiffchaffs and three Blackcaps around Hackney Marshes and the racecourse this morning.