Sunday 27 October 2019

Cold and quiet

The first morning of the autumn where the de-icer was required. I was expecting a fair bit of viz mig along the coast after two consecutive days of heavy rain and gales, but in fact overhead migration was almost non-existent with just a trickle of alba Wagtails, Goldfinches, Meadow Pipits and a Stock Dove moving south, and three Siskins heading north. A saunter around Bundle Head and The Ness produced 12 Linnets, 12 Goldcrests, six Jays, two Chiffchaffs and singles of Blackcap, Stonechat, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Thursday 24 October 2019

Ring Ouzel

A band of light rain cleared to the east early this morning, and there were more birds in the bushes than on Tuesday. The highlight was a first-winter Ring Ouzel in clifftop scrub at Bundle Head; it called three or four times and showed its tail-end briefly before disappearing into dense blackthorn. Also noted were 20+ Robins, 18 Goldcrests, nine Song Thrushes, six Redwings, six Chiffchaffs, four Bullfinches and a Green Woodpecker. Long-tailed Tits seemed to follow me everywhere, with at least three parties of birds roaming between The Ness and Bundle Head. Overhead passage was limited to just 12 Meadow Pipits, 10 Goldfinches (plus 45 in trees by Shaldon Zoo), 10 alba Wagtails, four Linnets, four Chaffinches and a Skylark.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Big Woodpigeon movement

Plenty of birds on the move this morning between The Ness and Bundle Head. From 08:00 - 09:00 some 4,500 Woodpigeons flew south, the majority about 500m inland but some (including the largest flock of 1,000) following the coastline. In amongst them were an absolute minimum of seven Stock Doves although I'm certain I overlooked many while frenetically counting dots in the sky. Six Golden Plovers circling to the north over Teignmouth were also noteworthy. Other birds overhead included 20 Redwings, 24 Meadow Pipits, 43 Goldfinches, four Linnets and a handful of Chaffinches and Pied Wagtails, while the bushes held nine Song Thrushes, eight Goldcrests, three Chiffchaffs, three Bullfinches and a Stonechat.

Sunday 20 October 2019

WeBS & probable Otter

The almost-highlight of Friday morning's count was a probable Otter that swam around some reeds and into a hidden channel at Passage House, disappearing before I could get my scope set up. I'm sure they occur in the area but I've yet to see one in almost seven years of watching the estuary on a regular basis.

After that the rest of the survey was somewhat of an anticlimax. Totals included 326 Oystercatchers, 83 Curlew, 36 Redshanks, nine Ringed Plovers, seven Common Sandpipers, seven Little Egrets, eight Shags, six Cormorants, 15 Teal, 12 Mallards, eight Mute Swans, four Little Grebes and singles of Greenshank, Shelduck, Moorhen, Water Rail and Kingfisher. The lack of Shelducks and Red-breasted Mergansers suggests that a significant proportion of wintering waterfowl is yet to arrive.

Elsewhere, at Teigngrace there were 13 Little Egrets and a good count of 31 Pheasants, and last Sunday at least 22 Turnstones were roosting on the harbour master's boat at Teignmouth.