Monday, 24 April 2017

No Hoopoe

No sign of a Hoopoe reported at Lower Halsdon Farm (early morning only) but a look off Mudbank after work produced my first 2 Common Tern of the year, with 25+ Sandwich Tern, 90+ Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and a flock of c70/80+ Pale-bellied Brent Geese that were flushed downriver by a helicopter before I could count them properly.

Sunday, 23 April 2017


Streamer - a beautiful moth with a combination of colours and markings to rival any butterfly.
Twenty-one moths of 13 species after a clear cold night last night - 1 Streamer, 1 Brimstone, 1 Angle Shades, 1 Oak-tree Pug, 1 Double-striped Pug, 1 Early Grey, 1 Lunar Marbled Brown, 1 Muslin Moth, 1 Flame Shoulder, 1 Small Quaker, 3 Common Quaker, 4 Shuttle-shaped Dart and 4 Hebrew Character.
Orcombe Point was again quiet with 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Wheatear and a couple Willow Warblers the only evidence that anything at all was moving.
Off Mudbank the Whimbrel count has risen to 80+ but just 3 Greenshank remain. Also 1 Grey Plover, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 5 Dunlin on a very quick afternoon visit.
This evening there were 115+ Black-headed Gull and 8+ Common Gull off Mudbank - a big increase in recent weeks.

Muslin Moth

Lunar Marbled Brown

Oak-tree Pug - big thank you to Lee and Nick for ID.

Angle Shades

Early Grey

Hebrew Character

Flame Shoulder

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Small Quaker
Common Quaker - this small individual was very similar in size to the above Small Quaker.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Whimbrels and White Wag

At least 70 Whimbrel off Mudbank this afternoon. Some showing really well from the viewing screen. Also 5 Greenshank and my first White Wagtail of the spring.
I did Orcombe before breakfast, noting 6 Whitethroat, 4 or 5 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler and my fifth Grasshopper Warbler of the spring - a reeling bird in the hedgerow bordering the second orchid field up. Also 15+ Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Turnstone, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Guillemot and 2 Common Scoter.

Bee sp - Edit - Common Carder Bee - thanks Nick.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Slim Pickings

Better than usual for waders off Mudbank this evening. Six Greenshank, 50+ Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone and a Black-tailed Godwit were all good indicators of some wader passage happening. Also off there - 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Sandwich Tern and 5 Black-headed Gull.
I raced around Orcombe at first light before work this morning but could only muster 2 Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Swallow and a Lesser Whitethroat. The latter a singing male and my first this year. Offshore just 3 Great Crested Grebe and a tardy Dark-bellied Brent Goose.
Yesterday afternoon 4 Bar-tailed Godwit were noted off Mudbank and on Wednesday evening a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling near the top of the lane down to the Bristol Schools camp.
Running a blog makes me very lazy. Apologies but I'd appreciate some help with the identification of a couple bees and a micro moth..........

Edit - Vestal Cuckoo Bee - thanks Nick.

Edit - Grey Gorse Piercer - Cydia ulicetana - Withycombe Raleigh Common - many thanks for the ID Nick.

Edit - Buff-tailed Bumblebee - thanks again Nick

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Groppers and Redstarts

Female Redstart - one of at least 4, probably 5 Redstarts on Orcombe today. The rest were males but none stayed still long enough for me to get a decent photo. This female was in the Bristol Schools camp. I had males on the dung heap, near the Iron shelter and around the top flat field. The latter almost certainly with a fifth bird.
I almost didn't go out this morning but, as usual, I was wide awake at 6am and it seemed a shame to waste an hour before getting ready for work, so I zipped up to Foxholes. As I opened the car door I was greeted with the reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler. It was singing from one of the gardens right next to where I park the car. A Willow Warbler burst in to song and I cursed the fact that I had so little time. Fortunately however, despite a meeting after work, I was able to pop back up late this afternoon and give the area a little more coverage. Totals included 3 reeling Grasshopper Warbler, 4+ Redstart, c50+ Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 8+ Blackcap, 3 Swallow and 10 Wheatear.
A very decent fall by Orcombe standards but I guess it's a bit disappointing not to get more variety, though Terry Smith scored a couple Sedge Warblers this morning - a species I've yet to see in Exmouth this year.
A late look at the river from the back garden produced a flock of c25+ Pale-bellied Brent Geese flying upriver.

Willow Warbler - the stars today - the coastal blackthorn was heaving with birds feeding up. c50+ is probably a conservative count with many more seen this evening than early this morning and every patch of scrub harbouring birds. Really good to see after last autumn's poor showing.
 Only a handful of Chiffchaff noted - most apparently on territory.

Green-winged Orchid - I think....

Monday, 17 April 2017

Common Sand and Little Terns

Common Sandpiper - Maer Rocks - I don't usually expect to see Common Sandpiper in Exmouth until late summer so it was nice to get this spring bird.
Orcombe Point/Maer Rocks - 0605 - 3+ Blackcap, 4+ Chiffchaff, 9+ Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Meadow Pipit, 8 Swallow, 7+ Wheatear, 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 12+ Sandwich Tern, 2+ Great Crested Grebe, c15+ Common Scoter, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Turnstone.
Mudbank - 42+ Whimbrel, 7+ Ringed Plover, c12+ Sanderling, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Knot, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12+ Dunlin, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wheatear, c6+ Sandwich Tern  and best of all 6 Little Tern.
I picked the Little Terns up as they headed upriver past Cockwood. There were 5 at first, later joined by a sixth individual. They then spent a good while fishing up and down the river between Cockwood and Starcross before powering upriver in a tight bunch. It was good to be able to forewarn Mark and Bob Bailey of their imminent arrival as they waited upriver at Turf. Apparently all six disappeared high over Topsham. It would be interesting to know exactly what they did after that!
Little Terns are pretty regular off Exmouth in the spring and summer but you can never tire of watching them. These birds have been around for a couple of days now.
Yesterday, Easter Sunday, Nick and I did Orcombe at dawn but it was terrible. Just 1 Whimbrel the only bird of note. I popped back up to Gore Lane mid-morning and was rewarded with my first Yellow Wagtail of the year, along with 2 Wheatear and 2 Willow Warbler.
The river produced just 1 Red-breasted Merganser and at least 37 Whimbrel late evening.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Bits and Bobs

Whitethroat - singing male back on territory on Orcombe Point.

Yet another early morning whiz around Orcombe and an all too familiar lack of birds. I was there at 0615 and recorded 8+ Blackcap, 6+ Chiffchaff, 10+ Willow Warbler, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Collared Dove, 1+ Meadow Pipit and 3 Sandwich Tern.
Off Mudbank today - 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Sandwich Tern and 6 Great Crested Grebe
The Yellow-browed Warbler is still belting out its song from the front garden of number 35, so much so that one of the local Starlings has taken to mimicking it!
This afternoon, with the family all doing other stuff, I popped up to the heathland that sits just within the parish boundary and was pleased to finally see my first House Martins of the year - 6 birds in total. Also recorded were 6+ Redpoll, small numbers of Siskin,  1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Stonechat, 2+ Yellowhammer and my first  Exmouth Dartford Warbler of the year - a singing male.
Finally - a 20 minute scan off the seafront, late afternoon, produced 6 Sandwich Tern, 11 Whimbrel and c15+ Common Scoter.

Chiffchaff - a nice bright individual.

Holly Blue

Tufted Duck - one of four (2 pairs) on Bystock Pool. .

Eleven Whimbrel pass over Warren Point into the estuary late afternoon.