Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Low tide diversion

A Black-throated Diver, the first of the year, was a surprise in the estuary. The bird was feeding in the southern channel off Shaldon on the dropping tide. On the Salty a total of 10 Shelduck with a Mistle Thrush on Teignmouth Rugby pitch.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Dodgy sandpiper and WeBS

The snow-dusted peaks of Dartmoor provided an aesthetically pleasing backdrop to Saturday morning's count of the upper estuary, which was partly delayed by the discovery at Passage House of a presumed Common Sandpiper showing some characteristics of Spotted Sandpiper. Though it was always alone it appeared somewhat smaller than a typical Common Sand, with a fairly short primary projection and rear end, bold eyestripe and plain tertials, though the bill was fairly uniform-coloured and the legs weren't as yellow as you might expect. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated (apologies for the picture quality).

Presumed Common Sandpiper, Passage House

Totals were generally down on what might be expected for December although the tides were lower than on most WeBS weekends. Fifteen Red-breasted Mergansers, 29 Shelducks, 60 Dunlin, 84 Redshanks, four Greenshanks, five Ringed Plovers and six Little Grebes were among the more notable counts.

Late news for Thursday: a Green Sandpiper showing no characteristics of Solitary Sandpiper was on the floods at Teigngrace south of the level crossing.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Nocturnal Calling

A Black-tailed Godwit flew over Teignmouth just before midnight, only the fourth record of the year on patch.

Sunday, 26 November 2017


Although sightings are on the increase a Firecrest will always brighten any day's birding. At least two were around Shaldon this afternoon, one in the Holm Oaks on the Ness and a second in vegetation above Ness Beach. Chiffchaffs were also in both locations and offshore at least 90 Common Scoter.

Sunday, 19 November 2017


The standout bird of this morning's survey was a female Goosander that was loafing about Passage House for the hour that I was there; the first on patch since 2014. An impressive total of 51 Snipe emerged from the reeds to forage as the tide dropped, and two Bar-tailed Godwits had joined up with the 90-strong Curlew flock. Other totals from the length of the estuary included 386 Oystercatchers, 81 Redshanks, four Greenshanks, 36 Dunlin, four Ringed Plovers, three Common Sandpipers, two Turnstones, 14 Little Egrets, 21 Mute Swans, 18 Shelducks, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers, two Wigeon, six Little Grebes and a Kingfisher.

Goosander, Passage House

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Another Firecrest

The first two Blackcap of winter and a Firecrest were found in the Holm Oaks at Milford Park, Teignmouth this morning, however no sign of the odd sounding phyllosc that had been glimpsed nearby. At Passage House at least one wintering Common Sandpiper.

Thursday, 9 November 2017


A walk around Decoy Lake revealed a Firecrest with a large flock of tits and Goldcrest. Another Firecrest was seen at The Ness on Wednesday. On the lake were 24 Tufted Duck and a Great Crested Grebe.

Catching up over the last couple of weeks; a Great White Egret was seen flying north-east over Bishopsteignton on the 28th October, likely the same bird that was seen flying up the Exe Estuary later in the day. Large numbers of Woodpigeon were migrating on the 27th and 28th October with c.15,000 per hour during the peak in passage.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

All at sea

Half an hour from Teignmouth Yacht Club early afternoon showed large feeding flocks to the North and East of the recording area with good numbers of Gannet, Kittiwake and Razorbill present. Closer in a flock of 63 Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Grey Plovers

Seawatching for an hour late this afternoon was fairly uneventful, with the highlight being a couple of flocks (36 and 14) of Grey Plover flying south far out to sea, these records being the first of the year of a species that is becoming increasingly uncommon on the estuary. Other birds included c.40 Kittiwake, c.30 auk sp., 50+ Gannet, two Fulmar and a distant small skua sp..

A check of Passage House as the sun was setting revealed the roost islands crawling in c.250+ Pied Wagtails, which subsequently made their way over to the reedbeds in small groups to roost.

Pied Wagtails

Sunday, 15 October 2017


Two Firecrests were in The Ness around lunchtime today along with c.10 Goldcrests and four Chiffchaffs. Passage House was quiet on the afternoon high tide but did produce a first-winter Common Gull, 24 Little Egrets and a Grey Seal. Elsewhere a distant Great Northern Diver was off Teignmouth seafront and 11 male Tufted Ducks were back on Decoy Lake.