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Friday, 14 December 2018

A Good Morning

I was out looking around the cemetery grounds in Topsham early this morning as I have been doing for a while now , and this morning it paid off as I saw my first returning Hawfinch of the winter but before I could get anywhere near it off it flew towards the Clyst Marshes . I also saw 14 Redwing , 20+ European Goldfinch and 7 European Greenfinch .
Yesterday there was a Great White Egret seen on the Exminster Marshes so I went over to see if it was still around but there was no sign of it today . But I did see 4 Barnacle Geese , 4 Greylag Geese , a Snow Goose ( Perhaps a new one or the one from earlier in the year...but where has it been all this time ?? ) , a large flock of European Golden Plover and Northern Lapwing kept on being spooked and after a search I found the culprits...not 1 but 2 Short-Eared Owls that were flying up and then dropping to the ground again and it was great to see these birds back on the marshes again , also seen was a male Peregrine Falcon , a Common Buzzard , 2 Common Raven and a Eurasian Bullfinch .

Barnacle Goose ( Branta bernicla ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Greylag Goose ( Anser anser ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Snow Goose ( Anser caerulescens ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Thursday, 13 December 2018


On a cold and desolate Bowling Green Marsh this morning all the usual wildfowl were on show with the best of them being a male and female Common Pochard , also seen were numerous Black-Tailed Godwit , 50+ Common Redshank , 22 Northern Lapwing and a single Pied Avocet .
I then had a look at the Exe Estuary at Exmouth where I saw 20+ Dark Bellied Brent Geese , 3 Common Shelduck and a close in Great Crested Grebe but out in the cold wind finally got to me so I then headed for home .

Great Crested Grebe ( Podiceps cristatus ) . The Exe Estuary . Exmouth . Devon

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Red-Rumped Swallow

Amazing news for this time of year of a Red-Rumped Swallow found yesterday at Torpoint saw my mate Andy and myself making the trip down to Plymouth and catching the car ferry across to Torpoint , we had our fingers crossed that it would still be there but there was no worry about that because as we were driving down the road the bird flew right over the car .
We then parked up and the bird was just flying up and down the road and sometimes it was just a few feet above our heads , what an absolute privilege it was to be able to take in the features of this bird at close quarters .

Red-Rumped Swallow ( Cecropis daurica ) . Totpoint . Cornwall

Monday, 10 December 2018

Little Bunting

1st thing this morning I had 12 Fieldfare , a Mistle Thrush and 11 Rook in the cemetery grounds in Topsham . I then had a quick look at Bowling Green Marsh where I saw a Ruff and 2 fly through Black Swan .
I then met up with my mate Andy and we went up to Chiswell on the edge of Portland to look for a Little Bunting that has been showing there for a few days , we arrived to find out that the bird had gone missing but after about half an hour it was re-found and showed very well indeed , also seen was a Black Redstart . We then had a look at Radipoll Lake in Weymouth where we saw a Western Marsh Harrier , 11 Mediterranean Gull , and Cetti`s Warbler & Water Rail were heard on call .
Our last stop of the day was near the Abbotsbury Swannery where we saw 21 Cattle Egret a Common Kestrel and a Short-Eared Owl .

Little Bunting ( Emberiza pusilla ) . Chiswell . Portland . Dorset

Black Redstart ( Phoenicurus ochruros ) . Chiswell . Portland . Dorset

Mediterranean Gull ( Larus melanocephalus ) ( 1st winter ) . Radipoll RSPB . Weymouth . Dorset

Short-Eared Owl ( Asio flammeus ) . Nr Abbotsbury . Dorset

Tuesday, 4 December 2018


I had a walk around Topsham this morning and the first bird that I saw was a Grey Wagtail near the Exe Estuary , I then walked down beside the estuary to Bowling Green Marsh where I got todays photo of a Common Starling , a bird that we just take for granted but as you can see looks fabulous in its winter plumage . Also seen were 13 Greylag Geese , numerous Eurasian Wigeon , Common Teal and Northern Shoveler , a Common Buzzard , 2 Redwing and a male and female Eurasian Bullfinch .
I then took a quick look at Goosemoor but the only bird there was a Common Chiffchaff but then again it was at low tide .

Common Starling ( Sturnusvulgaris ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Topsham Rec

A morning look at the Topsham Recreation Ground didn`t turn up much at all with only 4 male and 3 female Red-Breasted Merganser , 6 Common Redshank , 2 Pied Avocet , a Common Sandpiper , 2 Great Black-Backed Gull`s , a Common Gull and a very late Red Admiral Butterfly .

Red-Breasted Merganser . The Topsham Recreation Ground . Devon

Saturday 1st December

I had a look for any returning Hawfinch in  the cemetery grounds in Topsham today but again there was no sign of any , but a small finch flock is starting to build up with a  few European Goldfinch and Common Chaffinch and 12-15 European Greenfinch .
Also seen was a Common Buzzard , a Eurasian Nuthatch , 20+ Redwing , a Fieldfare and 3 Mistle Thrush .

European Greenfinch ( Chloris chloris ) . The Topsham Cemetery Grounds . Devon

Friday, 30 November 2018


This morning saw me on Colaton Raleigh Common as I had heard that a Hen Harrier had been seen on the commons but I spent quite a while looking for it but had no luck again , I think that you need some luck and just jam in on these birds . There was not a lot else to see with 28 Carrion Crow , 2 Common Raven , 4 Common Skylark , 3 Dartford Warbler and a male and female Common Stonechat .
My next stop was at Woodbury Castle where there was a flock of Common Chaffinch and in with them were 2 male and 2 female Brambling but I expect that there are more . Also seen was a European Green Woodpecker , 2 Eurasian Nuthatch and a Eurasian Treecreeper . My last stop of the day was a quick look at Bowling Green Marsh where there was quite a rare bird for the marsh a Great Crested Grebe and it was only my 3rd on here in over 30 years of covering it .But the highlight of the day was an Otter seen on the far side of the marsh in front of the reedbed and only my second one seen on here .

Dartford Warbler ( Sylvia undata ) . Colaton Raleigh Common . Devon

Eurasian Treecreeper ( Certhia familiaris ) . Woodbury Castle . Devon

Great Crested Grebe ( Podiceps cristatus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Winter Moth

No birding done today but overnight I caught my first ever Winter Moth and I was quite pleased with that as I thought that I would not get anymore new ones this year , also caught was a November Moth .

Winter Moth ( Operoophtera brumata ) . Topsham . Devon

Monday, 26 November 2018

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Hume`s Warbler

A trip down to Berry Head this afternoon to look for a Hume`s Warbler that was found this morning and on arrival there were two other birders already there and they told us that the bird was still around but out of view at the moment . But after about 10 minutes we could here the bird calling and then all of a sudden it popped into view in the tree in front of me , we managed to get good views of the bird but I had no chance at all of getting a photo of it as it was there and gone in a flash .

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Bearded Reedling

On a frosty morning I decided to have a look around the Cemetery Grounds outside of my house in Topsham and the first birds that I saw was a large flock of Redwing and a couple of Mistle Thrush were in with them .
I then went to the old sludge beds at Countess Wear as I thought that the Pallas`s Leaf Warbler may have ended up in there but there was no sign of it today . But I did see a few Long-Tailed Tit , 3 Coal Tit , 2 Goldcrest , a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Eurasian Treecreeper , I then walked along the path beside the Exeter Canal to look out at the Exe Reedbeds and I had 2 sightings of a female type Bearded Reedling but it may have been just the one bird , I have had them at this site a few times before but this was my first for quite a while .

Mistle Thrush ( Turdus viscivorus ) . The Topsham Cemetery Grounds . Devon

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The Exminster Marshes

I spent an hour and a half looking for the Pallas`s Leaf Warbler at Milbury Lane in Exminster this morning but there was no sign of it again today , and all I saw was a Common Chiffchaff , 20+ European Goldfinch and a female Eurasian Bullfinch .
I then took a look at the Exminster Marshes but not a lot was seen with only large flocks of  Redwing , 50+ Fieldfare , a Cetti`s Warbler and a Common Raven .

Redwing ( Turdus iliacus ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Fieldfare ( Turdus pilaris ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Pallas`s Leaf Warbler

An update on the warbler that was seen on the Exminster Marshes on Sunday . Local birder Dave Boult had taken a video of the bird that clearly shows a central crown stripe and a pale yellow rump and the bird has now been Re-Identified as a Pallas`s Leaf Warbler.....a first for the Exminster Marshes .

Many thanks to the finder James Diamond and to Matt Knott who was the first to query the bird from my photo ...

Monday, 19 November 2018


I had a look at the Cemetery Grounds in Topsham this morning and I saw 30-40 Redwing , 13 Fieldfare and this male Eurasian Sparrowhawk that was eyeing up its breakfast .
I then went over to the Exminster Marshes to have another look for yesterdays Yellow-Browed Warbler but there was no sign of it today . But I did see the 4 Barnacle Geese again , a male and female Common Stonechat , 2 Common Raven , a large flock of 300+ Redwing and 50+ Fieldfare .

Eurasian Sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus ) . The Topsham Cemetery . Devon

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Pallas`s Leaf Warbler

Today I went over to an area of the village of Exminster called Milbury Lane where you follow the lane right to the end and reach the Exminster Marshes as a Yellow-Browed Warbler was found in the small copse there this morning . At first there was no sign of it since the first sighting  and I had only just managed to hear the bird on call , but after about an hour I managed to refind it and called out to the other birders there and we all managed to get nice views of it up in the top of the trees ...

The bird has now been re-identified as a Pallas`s Leaf Warbler .

Pallas`s Leaf Warbler ( Phylloscopus proregulus ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Red-Legged Partridge

On the Exminster Marshes this afternoon there were 6 Cattle Egret in with the cows near Lyons Rest and a bit further up road the 4 Barnacle Geese were in with Canada Geese by the middle car park and a they were a bit closer than when I saw them last week , and on top of that the female Western Marsh Harrier was showing very well at times .
Up till now I had not seen Red-Legged Partridge in Devon this year so I decided to try and put this right , so my first stop to look for them was in the fields near Kenton close to the Powderham Sawmill and my luck was in as I found a flock of 20-30 of them making it a nice end to the days birding .

Western Marsh Harrier ( Circus aeruginosus ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Cattle Egret ( Bubulcus ibis ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Barnacle Goose ( Branta leucopsis ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Red-Legged Partridge ( Alectoris rufa ) . Nr Kenton . Devon

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Bowling Green Marsh

My daily look at my local patch Bowling Green Marsh didn`t turn up anything different today but there was still some nice birds seen , with numerous Black-Tailed Godwit , 3 Red Knot , 5 Northern Lapwing , a Grey Heron , a Common Chiffchaff , a flock of 30-40 Redwing , 4 Eurasian Jay , 20+ European Goldfinch , a male European Greenfinch , and a male Eurasian Bullfinch .
I then had a look at the Clyst Estuary from the viewing platform and added these birds to the day list , a male and 2 female Red-Breasted Merganser , a male and female Northern Pintail , 10 Bar-Tailed Godwit , a Common Gull and a Common Kingfisher .... So not to bad a days birding .

Eurasian Jay ( Garrulus glandarius ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon

Monday, 12 November 2018

Western Marsh Harrier

Around an hour and a half spent on Bowling Green Marsh this morning got me . All the usual wildfowl plus a male Northern Pintail and a male Gadwall , 100+ Pied Avocet , 8 Common Greenshank , a Common Snipe , a female Western Marsh Harrier , 10 Goldcrest , 2 Common Chiffchaff , 2 Redwing and 5 Eurasian Jay all seen in between the very heavy showers .

Western Marsh Harrier ( Circus aeruginosus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Barnacle Goose

A quick trip over to the Exminster Marshes this morning as I had got a phone call telling me that there was 4 Barnacle Geese on the marsh close to the road just south of the Fishermans car park , but by the time that I had got there they had moved quite a way out onto the marsh .
The marsh was full of wildfowl with numerous Canada Geese , Eurasian Wigeon and Common Teal and a Cetti`s Warbler burst into song where I was stood .

Barnacle Goose ( Branta leucopsis ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Purple Sandpiper

I again popped down to Exmouth this morning and my quarry today was Purple Sandpiper . As I made my way to Maer Rocks to look for them I just could not miss this photographic opportunity of this Herring Gull feeding on a Starfish , I then made my way out on the rocks right to the very end and managed to find 2 very conspicuous Purple Sandpiper...mission accomplished for the day .

Purple Sandpiper ( Calidris maritima ) . Maer Rocks . Exmouth . Devon

Herring Gull ( Larus argentatus ) . Exmouth . Devon

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Black Redstart

I went down to the Sailing Club at Exmouth this morning to look for a female Black Redstart that was reported yesterday and I managed to see one as soon as I arrived but as I was trying to get a shot of it another female bird landed quite close to it but it was soon chased off by the other one and they were chasing each other around all the time that I was there .
A look out at the Exe Estuary got me 6 Dark Bellied Brent Geese , 100+ of Eurasian Curlew and Dunlin and a Mistle Thrush flew past calling .

Black Redstart ( Phoenicurus ochruros ) . Exmouth . Devon