Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Patch mega... sadly now the status of Cuckoo on patch, one calling at dusk from Broad Meadow, Teignmouth on 2 May was just the third record in the last ten years. 

Nocturnal wader migration was also notable on the 2nd with a Whimbrel calling over Teignmouth early morning and a Bar-tailed Godwit over late evening. On the dropping overnight tide both Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit were vocal on or over The Salty with a couple of Dunlin and a Sanderling. The latter a scarce bird on the Teign, but the second this year after one at Passage House on 12 April. 

The bank holiday weather did not finish there, with the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year singing occasionally in Bitton Park, Teignmouth on the morning of the 3rd and the year's first Swift over the town

Saturday, 30 April 2022

LRP, Red Kite

A couple of patch scarcities from the past few days: on Tuesday Kev had a Little Ringed Plover at Passage House, and yesterday a Red Kite went south over Kingsteignton at 10:35 in the company of four Buzzards.

House Martins are back over the centre of Kingsteignton but no sign of any Swifts yet this morning around the church. Greenfinch numbers seem to be up slightly this year; hopefully the start of a recovery from their recent decline.

Monday, 18 April 2022

A darker shade of pale

The Spotted Redshank remains on the estuary and is moulting rapidly into breeding plumage. Its favoured area has seemingly been finally pinned down with it feeding on the north shore between Loxton's Steps and Passage House. 

A Red-legged Partridge at Netherton was a scarce patch bird although no doubt released; at least the Golden & Lady Amhurst's Pheasants had the presence of mind to escape!

Elsewhere Whitethroat and House Martin were at Coombe Cellars and a Great Northern Diver was off Teignmouth with at least 48 Manx Shearwater


Totals from Passage House, Flow Point and Teignmouth on a disturbance-affected Sunday morning count included 31 Turnstones, 12 Oystercatchers, five Greenshanks, four Redshanks, two Common Sandpipers, two Whimbrel, one Curlew, four Sandwich Terns, eight Little Egrets, 24 Shelducks, 24 Mute Swans and three Red-breasted Mergansers.

On Thursday a fine male Wheatear was around the car park at Passage House.

Grey Wagtail

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Migrants and raptors

Early rain dropped a small selection of summer visitors into Rackerhayes on Friday morning, with eight Sand Martins, seven Swallows and a House Martin over the main lake, and four Willow Warblers singing in the bushes alongside several (presumably now territorial) Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.

Brighter weather on Tuesday saw birds of prey take to the wing, with two Peregrines, a Sparrowhawk and several Buzzards high over Kingsteignton.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Team Osprey

An Osprey put up all the gulls on The Salty as it flew up the estuary past Teignmouth mid morning, disrupting a Teams call, almost simultaneously a Black Redstart popped up on a neighbouring roof top.

On Saturday the first Sandwich Tern of the year was off the Back Beach, Teignmouth and last Tuesday a Coot was a scarce nocturnal migrant over Teignmouth.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

White Wag

A smart White Wagtail was on Shaldon golf course this morning alongside two (presumably resident) Pied Wagtails. Under clear skies there was little at Bundle Head but singles of Stonechat, Kestrel, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch and Chiffchaff were noted.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Spotted Redshank, WeBS

A Spotted Redshank at Passage House was the undoubted highlight of this morning's count, although unfortunately it remained quite distant. It wasn't seen during the middle part of the day but appeared again this evening as the tide rose. Other waders were quite well represented with 78 Oystercatchers, 43 Curlew, 31 Redshanks, four Greenshanks, two Black-tailed Godwits and a Bar-tailed Godwit between Passage House and Flow Point, and 33 Turnstones at Teignmouth. Other totals included 19 Canada Geese, 18 Shelducks, 16 Mute Swans, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers, 10 Little Egrets, 11 Cormorants and eight Shags.

On Friday five Mandarins were at Rackerhayes along with two Blackcaps.

Spotted Redshank


Wednesday, 9 March 2022

PFG pics

The Pink-footed Goose is still present at Teigngrace and yesterday morning I managed to get a few shots of it from beside the level crossing. Also a Crossbill flew over.

Sunday, 6 March 2022


A Pink-footed Goose was with 180 Canada Geese at Teigngrace this evening, a great find by Tony Blunden. Presumably the bird from Exminster Marshes.

Update on the Netherton pheasants, 12 Golden and a Lady Amherst's Pheasant escaped locally six weeks ago, a couple have since been recaptured.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Siberian Chiffchaff

After giving me the run-around earlier this month, I finally got prolonged views of a Siberian Chiffchaff at Hackney Marshes on Wednesday afternoon. It is a strikingly pale bird, with almost white underparts and no warm brown or olive colouration except in the wings. Although it doesn't display warm buff hues around the ear coverts or supercilium, it appears to show many of the other characteristics of tristis (thanks Kev and Laurie for your thoughts). It spent most of the time silent but briefly uttered a slightly downward 'piiiiuu'. The bird seems to favour the vegetation by the stream behind Winners gym, viewable from the cycle path.

Sunday, 20 February 2022


Another disappointing count in terms of wader numbers, with species such as Redshank and Oystercatcher apparently deserting their usual high tide roosts. Just 135 Oystercatchers were huddled against the wind on Flow Point alongside 68 Curlew, 52 Shelducks and two Black-tailed Godwits, with four Ringed Plovers distantly towards Salcombe Dip. At Teignmouth, 44 Turnstones were roosting with 27 by New Quay Inn and 17 by Shaldon Bridge. Passage House was quiet but 54 Common Gulls and 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls indicated that late winter/early spring gull passage is underway.

Yesterday afternoon a brief flurry of raptor activity in Bishopsteignton included Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and a Kestrel, the latter increasingly scarce on patch, perched by the road opposite Jack's Patch. Last Wednesday the Tufted Duck party at Rackerhayes had reached 30 birds.

Turnstones (Alan Ford)

Friday, 18 February 2022

Fool's Gold

Two male Golden Pheasant just outside Netherton were unexpected, escapes or illegal releases doubt they'll last long. Also there nine Fieldfare and a couple of Redwing

At Decoy Great-spotted Woodpecker were drumming in the woodland with seven Tufted Duck, three Great-crested and a Little Grebe but just the one Coot on the lake.

Sunday, 6 February 2022


Pushed off by a very high spring tide, there were few waders at Passage House yesterday morning although singles of Dunlin and Common Sandpiper were on the spit and a Greenshank was heard. A scan of the racecourse produced two Stonechats, a Snipe, 17+ Pheasants, small numbers of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits and a couple of Foxes, with two female Blackcaps in some nearby scrub. There was a bit more waterfowl diversity at Rackerhayes with four Great Crested Grebes, four Teal, two Gadwall and a Shoveler with 12 Tufted Ducks still, and the nearby rugby pitches held c.150 Redwings and two Mistle Thrushes.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Signs of spring

With the mornings now just light enough to fit in a bit of birding before work, a visit to Rackerhayes yesterday morning yielded several vocal Nuthatches and a singing Treecreeper in the woods along with a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and couple of cooing Stock Doves. On the main lake a pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying but waterfowl numbers were still below par with just 12 Tufted Ducks and a Shoveler of note. Overhead a couple of Siskins and newly Red-listed Greenfinches were heard.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Back in Black

The overdue first Black Redstart of the winter, a smart male, was on roofs around the Point carpark and pier in Teignmouth. 

Monday, 24 January 2022


 A somewhat frustrating count yesterday with many birds scattered about the estuary and not in the usual high tide roosts - perhaps a sign of disturbance the previous day. Nevertheless, totals included 260 Oystercatchers, 73 Curlew, 20 Redshanks (almost certainly an undercount), 10 Greenshanks (on south side east of Coombe Cellars), 17 Turnstones, two Common Sandpipers, 62 Shelducks, 18 Red-breasted Mergansers, 10 Mallards, eight Mute Swans, five Little Grebes, four Wigeon, eight Cormorants, four Shags and singles of Avocet, Kingfisher and Great Crested Grebe.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Weekend Summary

An afternoon visit to Passage House saw the regular Common Sandpiper and Kingfisher with four Greenshank, three Wigeon and most surprisingly two female Pintail, a rare visitor to the estuary. 

A look at Decoy Lake saw a pair of Mandarin outcompeting the Mallard for bread but no Tufted Duck or grebes. 

On Saturday the immature Spoonbill around Teignmouth with all three regular divers off the mouth of the estuary and a Firecrest at Shaldon. On Friday a Cattle Egret was reported in Bishopsteignton, with 23 Avocet, Common Sandpiper, c30 Curlew, 10+ Snipe, c10 Redshank and a Kingfisher were at Passage House on the afternoon high tide. 

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Razorbill in estuary

Great Northern Diver was the most abundant species off Teignmouth mid-morning today, even though numbers were down compared with New Year's Day, with seven present along with five Guillemots, a Razorbill and a male Common Scoter. From Polly Steps a huddle of Turnstones on the port quay numbered at least 41 birds, a particularly high count, but more unusual was a Razorbill diving just a few metres away from the quay. Finally a check of the railway wall between Flow Point and Salcombe Dip revealed the roost of the estuary's tiny wintering population of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, with six and five present respectively.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

New Year's Day

A four hour (10:30 - 14:30), 10km walk from home in Kingsteignton produced a below-par 57 species, although the late start and low tide conditions combined with the absurdly mild weather did not help the total. Hackney Marshes was pretty quiet bird-wise although it was nice to hear two Song Thrushes in full voice and a Nuthatch showed well. Passage House produced three Lapwings, two Wigeon, a Kingfisher, a Common Sandpiper and a distant group of Red-breasted Mergansers. Waterfowl at Rackerhayes included singles of Gadwall and Shoveler, four Great Crested Grebes but just 10 Tufted Ducks, and the surrounding woodland held Chiffchaff, Redwing, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

At the other end of the patch, Keith Birchall recorded an impressive 18 Great Northern Divers off Teignmouth along with two Red-throated Divers, a single Brent Goose and small numbers of Gannets, Guillemots and Common Gulls.

Great Northern Diver (Alan Ford)