Wednesday 20 May 2020

Back to work benefits

The first day back at the laptop provided a long awaited patch tick, when a female type Marsh Harrier was found flying low north over Teignmouth beach early afternoon, presumably driven into the coast by the foggy conditions.

More surprises followed after dark when in the space of 15 minutes a Common Sandpiper, a Little Ringed Plover and a Greenshank flew over after 10pm.

Monday 18 May 2020


Despite the large number of people milling around the estuary it felt good to be out doing the WeBS count yesterday afternoon, after the April survey was suspended due to Covid-19. Totals included 23 Oystercatchers, 28 Mute Swans, 36 Shelducks, nine Mallards, eight Canada Geese, seven Cormorants, 12 Little Egrets, 70 Herring Gulls, 10 Great Black-backed Gulls, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Common Gull (unusual for May) and a Ringed Plover.

After the wintering population has departed, small numbers of Ringed Plovers 
stop by on passage during May.

On 12th May Alan Ford remarkably heard a Cuckoo calling from the middle of Teignmouth. Although regularly recorded only a few miles away, it is an exceptionally scarce bird around the estuary.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Red Kites

Two separate Red Kites flew south over Kingsteignton at 09:45 and 10:30 this morning; a bigger movement was anticipated but did not materialise with no further sightings by 13:00. Several Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and small parties of Swifts and House Martins were also noted overhead before the cold front pushed through this afternoon. Yesterday's walk around Hackney Marshes and Passage House was uneventful with a very high tide pushing most birds off the estuary, although an increased number of invertebrates were on the wing including this female Orange-tip.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Swifts return

Five Swifts were foraging over Fore Street in Kingsteignton yesterday morning, forming a mixed flock with at least a dozen House Martins and one or two Swallows. Nearby an adult Grey Wagtail was feeding a juvenile in the churchyard, and on Sunday nine Reed Warblers, two Sedge Warblers and two Ravens were around Hackney Marshes and the racecourse.

Another garden first

A further addition to the Teignmouth garden list with a Little Ringed Plover calling over the estuary early on Monday morning. Recently a flock of 20 Whimbrel on the Salty on 2nd May were notable with birds heard most nights,  33 Manx Shearwater south offshore in half an hour late on 1st May and up to seven Sandwich Tern around the estuary mouth throughout.

Friday 1 May 2020

Sedge Warblers

A Sedge Warbler was performing its display flight over an isolated patch of reeds on the racecourse this morning, and presumably a different bird was singing on the northern side of Hackney Marshes on Wednesday. Sedge Warblers are scarcer than Reed Warblers locally and also seem to arrive later, so these may still be birds passing through rather than establishing territories. Other sightings today included five Shelducks flying high west, a Common Sandpiper and a Whitethroat, and up to three pairs of Reed Buntings (male below) between Hackney Marshes and Passage House.