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.