Thursday 30 January 2020

Thursday 30th January


Today Ken Andy and myself made our first trip down to Cornwall of the year and we started the day off at the Lelant Salting on the Hale Estuary and I was amazed to see so many Lesser Black-Backed Gulls gathered in one place as there were hundreds of them , we searched through them for reported Caspian Gull and Ring-Billed Gull but the best I could find was an adult Yellow-Legged Gull .
We then went to the jubilee pool area in Penzance where we saw 8 Purple Sandpiper , a Rock Pipit and a male Black Redstart .
On then to Sandy Beach to look for the Black Guillemot that has been there for quite a while but after a good search we could not find it anywhere and the best we had was a Great Norther Diver , so we then went to have a look in Newlyn Harbour and we saw a male & female Common Eider , a European Shag , then the bird that we were looking for showed itself the Black Guillemot but it was very illusive . Ken had brought some tubs of fish guts and he started to throw them out to attract the gulls and in came this 1st winter Iceland Gull , a great end to a good days birding .

Iceland Gull ( Larus glaucoides ) . Newlyn Harbour . Cornwall

Tuesday 28 January 2020


This morning I went down to Madeira Walk in Exmouth to look for Firecrest and I was only there a few minutes when I managed to see one in the tree in front of me , that one flew off and another one came in after a short while , so two birds is a possibility .
I then went to a spot where I could scan Lyme Bay as I was looking for a Common Eider but I spent about an hour looking for it but all I saw was a few European Shag , and on Maer Rocks there was 5 Ruddy Turnstone and a single Purple Sandpiper .

Firecrest ( Regulus ignicapilla ) . Madeira Walk . Exmouth . Devon

Monday 27 January 2020

Long Distance

Here are a couple of long distant record shots of the Red-Necked Grebe that was found this evening by Exmouth birder Matt Knott , the bird always stayed very distant out in the middle Exe Estuary making it very hard to get any shots at all of this very hard bird to see around our local area .

Thanks for the call mate !

Red-Necked Grebe ( Podiceps grisegena ) . The Exe Estuary . Exmouth . Devon

Saturday 25 January 2020


The previous post was for Friday the 24th ,

The Somerset Levels

Another trip out today with Andy and Ken on a dull overcast day that saw us heading for the Somerset Levels with our first stop at New Bridge to look for some Whooper Swans and after a bit of a search we managed to see 5 of them . we then went to Aller Moor where we saw a few Reed Bunting and after a bit of a search 4 Common Crane .
We then spent quite a bit of time searching for some reported Bewick`s Swan but we could not locate them anywhere and the best we saw were a few Common Snipe and a Common Kestrel .
Our last stop of the day was at Ham Wall where I saw a male Western Marsh Harrier , 2 Common Buzzard and 80+ Cattle Egret .

Common Kestrel ( Falco tinnunculus ) . The Somerset Levels

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Tuesday 21st January

A day out with my mate Andy saw us heading for Cheddar Reservoir in Somerset to look for a female Smew that has been there for quite a while . We arrived to find the reservoir shrouded in mist so we thought that we would have no chance at all of finding it , but we walked along the edge for a bit when Andy shouted out I got it , I ran over to where he was and looked out in the mist to the far side and said to him that I could not see it and he laughed and said it here right in front of us so we spent quite a bit of time just enjoying this bird .
We then went on to Maiden Castle in Dorset where we saw 400+ European Golden Plover , 5 European Skylark and a single Corn Bunting .
Our last stop was at Radipole Lake in Weymouth where we saw 5 Mediterranean Gull in the car park , and in the reedbed outside the center there were 3 male and 2 female Bearded Reedling showing very well in deed , was super little birds these are .

Smew ( Mergellus albellus ) . Chard Reservoir . Somerset

Bearded Reedling ( Panurus biarmicus ) . Radipole Lake . Weymouth . Dorset

Sunday 19 January 2020

Saturday 18th January

I put out some fresh food for the birds this cold and frosty morning and in no time at all the garden was full with birds with . European Green Woodpecker , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Song Thrush , Blue Tit , Great Tit , Coal Tit , Common Chaffinch , European Goldfinch & European Greenfinch .

European Green Woodpecker ( Picus viridis ) . Topsham . Devon

Friday 17 January 2020

The Exe Estuary

A look around the Exe Estuary this morning started at Darts Farm in Topsham where I saw 3 Great Cormorant and a Green Sandpiper . I then went over to the other side of the Estuary and walked up from Powderham corner to Turf Locks and I saw 1000+ Brent Geese , a female Red-Breasted Merganser , a Little Grebe , 300+ Eurasian Oystercatcher , 200+ Black-Tailed Godwit , 2 Meadow Pipit and 4 Common Stonechat … my first of the year .

Little Grebe ( Tachybaptus ruficollis ) . Turf Locks . Devon

Thursday 16 January 2020

Wednesday 15th January

Out today with Andy and Ken on our first trip out this year . And we started out on the Plym Estuary where we saw 2 male and 2 female Goosander , 2 male and a female Mandarin and 4 Little Grebe , we then went to Wilcove in Cornwall to look for a reported male Green-Winged Teal and we got good views of it , also seen was a Great Northern Diver and a Common Sandpiper .
On then to Chapel Amble to look for Water Pipits and we saw a few of them , also seen was a Green Sandpiper and a few Common Chiffchaff and in with them was one of the Siberian Race ( Tristis ) .
Our next stop was at Lower Tamar Lake to look for some reported Ring-Necked Ducks but we were told that they had moved to the Upper Lake . But still we managed to see 6 male and 5 female Goosander , a Marsh Tit and 3 Willow Tit .
So we went up to the Upper Tamar Lake and after a long walk right to the far end of the marsh we managed to see the 3 male and a female Ring-Necked Ducks … A good end to a great day out .

Willow Tit ( Poecile montanus ) . Lower Tamar Lake . Devon

Siberian Chiffchaff ( Phylloscopus collybita tristis ) . Chapel Amble . Cornwall

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Rain Rain & More Rain

Another days birding from the hide at Bowling Green Marsh due to the terrible weather and there was nothing different on show but still some nice birds to see with . 20+ Northern Pintail , 4 Common Pochard , 2 male and a female Tufted Duck , 50+ Pied Avocet , 2 Common Greenshank , the American Long-Billed Dowitcher and this female Eurasian Sparrowhawk that kept most of the birds spooked with a couple of passes over the marsh .

Eurasian Sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon

Monday 13 January 2020

Spot Red

A morning look at Bowling Green Marsh from the hide today because of the bad weather . Got me 30+ Northern Pintail , 2 male and 2 female Common Pochard , a female Tufted Duck and lots of Eurasian Wigeon , Northern Shoveler and Common Teal .
On the wader front a first Spotted Redshank of the year was very welcome even though it stayed quite distant for most of the time , also seen were 4 Dunlin , a Common Snipe and the long staying 1st winter Long-Billed Dowitcher and my 1st Little Grebe of the year was also seen .

Spotted Redshank ( Tringa erythropus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon

Sunday 12 January 2020

Jack Snipe

A trip over to the Exminster Marshes this morning to look for Jack Snipe and I went to my usual spot where I have had them for a few years now . And my luck was in as I had only just entered the sedges when one shot up in front of me and its always a joy to see these dainty birds , also seen were 2 Common Snipe .
I then had a look around the rest of the Marshes and I saw 1000+ Canada Goose , 3 Barnacle Goose , 2 Egyptian Goose and around 50+ Eurasian Curlew . A look then at the Exe Estuary from Turf Locks got me numerous Pied Avocet , a large flock of European Golden Plover , around a dozen Grey Plover , 5 Common Ringed Plover and a single Sanderling .
Today was not a good day for photography as everything was quite distant , so todays shot is of the much maligned Canada Goose .

Canada Goose ( Branta canadensis ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon

Friday 10 January 2020

Aylesbeare Common

This morning I spent a couple hours trudging around Aylesbeare Common and the bird of the day for me was a Merlin that shot across the Common like an overland express and headed for Hawkerland Common lol , I also managed to see 6 Dartford Warbler , a European Green Woodpecker , 6 Mistle Thrush , a female Eurasian Bullfinch and a couple of Reed Bunting .
A bad point today was after much searching I could not find any Eurasian Woodcock the bird that I had come looking for !

Dartford Warbler ( Sylvia undata ) . Aylesbeare Common . Devon

Thursday 9 January 2020

Black Redstart

Out around the Exe Estuary this morning with my first stop at the Maer Rocks to look for Purple Sandpiper but I could not find any at all but there was a few Ruddy Turnstone . I then went to Orcombe Point but I only saw 1 Black-Legged Kittiwake and 2 Common Raven .
On then to another area of Exmouth to look for Rose-Ringed Parakeets and I managed to see 5 of them , if you don't see them you sure hear them lol . The day was finished off around the flats at the Shelly Beach area where I saw a male and female Black Redstart , always a nice bird to catch up with .

Black Redstart ( Phoenicurus ochruros ) . Shelly Beach Area . Exmouth . Devon

Wednesday 8 January 2020


I had a look around the Ludweel Valley Country Park again today but the birding was a bit slow with only 4 Grey Wagtail and singles of Great Spotted Woodpecker , Song Thrush , Common Chiffchaff and a male Eurasian Bullfinch .
A quick look at Bowling Green Marsh got me a Ruff . I then went to Darts Farm in Topsham and checked out the small finch flock but all I could see were Common Chaffinch . From there I went across to Tremlett`s Marsh to look for Common Kingfisher and as I was driving in along the small road a  Great White Egret flew across the marsh in front of the car and carried on up to the far end of the Clyst Marshes towards Clyst St Mary . There has been one in the area for a few days around the Exe Estuary so perhaps this could be it !

Grey Wagtail ( Motacilla cinerea ) . Ludwell Valley C P . Exeter . Devon

Tuesday 7 January 2020

Blue-Winged Teal

A trip down to Mansands in South Devon today in bad weather and light to look for the over wintering American Blue-Winged Teal and after a bit of a wait the bird showed quite well , getting shots of it was a bit of a challenge but I`m pleased with what I got as last year I didn`t manage to get any shots at all . We then went to the Brixham Harbour area where we saw a Great Northern Diver and 4 Purple Sandpiper .
We finished up at Broadsands and we saw 2 more Great Northern Diver,s , 2 Yellowhammer and a male Cirl Bunting .

Blue-Winged Teal ( Anus disors ) . Mansands . Devon

Great Northern Diver ( Gavia immer ) . Brixham Harbour . Devon

Monday 6 January 2020

Year Listing

Another day out today to see what I could add to my yearlist . And I started the day off at the Exe Estuary in Topsham where I saw 100+ Pied Avocet , 100+ Bar-Tailed Godwit , 30+ Red Knot , 1000+ European Golden Plover and the 1st winter Long-Billed Dowitcher and this is only the 2nd time I have seen it away from Bowling Green Marsh . I then went to another area of Topsham where a female Goldeneye was also on showing the Exe .
I then met up with my mate Andy and went to Brandy Head near Otterton to do a sea watch but it started to rain just as we got there but we did see 5 Northern Fulmar , 4 Common Scoter , a Razorbill and a Red-Throated Diver before dashing back to the car a bit soaked lol .

Northern Fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis ) . Brandy Head . Devon

Sunday 5 January 2020

The Ludwell Valley Area

I took a look around the Ludwell Valley / Northbrook Golf Course area this morning and I managed to see a White-Throated Dipper as it flew past me , I then went up to the Wonford flood relief area where I saw 2 Green Sandpiper , also seen were 5 Grey Wagtail and a few Goldcrest .

Goldcrest ( Regulus regulus ) . Northbrook Golf Course . Exeter . Devon

Saturday 4 January 2020

Haldon Forest

I took a trip up to the Haldon Forest this morning in hope of seeing Hawfinch , I arrived and walked down the cycle path to the area where they have been see and settled in to for a wait . And after a while I picked up my first bird of the day a Northern Goshawk that was being mobbed by a couple of Common Raven , the next bird I saw was a bit strange for the area a fly through Grey Heron , also recorded were Great Spotted Woodpecker , Song Thrush , Coal Tit and Eurasian Jay .
The day was moving on and I was thinking that my luck was out when all of a sudden around a dozen Common Crossbill flew in and landed in one of the tall trees and there with them for a short while was a single Hawfinch the bird that I had come looking for .

Common Crossbill ( Loxia curvirostra ) . Haldon Forest . Devon

Friday 3 January 2020

Great Bittern

Today was a bit of a red letter day for me as I saw only my second ever Great Bittern on Bowling Green Marsh after 35 years of covering it , my only other one was back on the 13th of October 2014 .
I also found my first Otter of the year on the far side of the marsh but it only showed for a brief spell before vanishing into the reeds . Also seen was a male and female Greater Scaup , a Ruff , and the 1st winter Long-Billed Dowitcher .
I then went to the Otterton Sewage Works where I saw 3 male and 4 female Cirl Bunting`s

Sorry about the spelling of Bittern but still having trouble on this set up !

Great Bitern ( Botaurus stellaris ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon

Cirl Bunting ( Emberiza cirlus ) . Otterton Sewage Works . Devon

Thursday 2 January 2020

Slav Grebe

A look around the Exe Estuary today got me a few more year ticks with the best being a long staying Slavonian Grebe seen from the steps at Cockwood , also seen were 3 male and a female Red-Breasted Merganser and a Rock Pipit , nearby there were also 20+ Cattle Egret in with the cows .
I then had a look at the Exminster Marshes where I saw a Western Marsh Harrier , 2 Common Kestrel and a flock of 200+ European Golden Plover .
The day was then finished off with 3 male Bearded Reedling in the Exe Reedbeds by Topsham lock .

Slavonian Grebe ( Podiceps auritus ) . The Exe Estuary . Devon

Cattle Egret ( Bubulcus ibis ) . Nr Cockwood . Devon

Wednesday 1 January 2020

A Birding New Year !

Bowling Green Marsh in Topsham was my birding venue of the day and I managed to start the year off with a few good birds with the main bird being the long staying Long-Billed Dowitcher that took a bit of time to catch up with but I got good views of it in the end .
Also seen was a Pale-Bellied Brent Goose , a male Common Pochard , numerous Northern Pintail ,  a flock of 40+ European Golden Plover , 20+ Pied Avocet , a single Ruff and in the trees outside of the hide there was a calling Eurasian Treecreeper a very good bird for the marsh .

Long-Billed Dowitcher ( Limnodromus scolopaceus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon