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.
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.
Counts between Passage House and Salcombe Dip on a beautifully sunny and calm morning included 371 Oystercatchers, 70 Curlew, 64 Redshanks, 13 Greenshanks, eight Dunlin, seven Ringed Plovers, five Common Sandpipers, 19 Mute Swans, 18 Little Egrets, 84 Canada Geese, two Sandwich Terns, two Water Rails and a Kingfisher. Overhead there was a light passage of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Swallows, and the bushes around Flow Point held several small parties of Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits.
A possible Pectoral Sandpiper flew in and landed on the spit at Passage House this evening before quickly running behind vegetation. It had quite a strong supercilium, giving a Snipe-like impression when it landed, and was the same size as a nearby Common Sandpiper. After a couple of minutes it flew off again down river, having a slightly irrugular flight with fairly long rakish wings, and no wing bars.
The Little Stint was still present along with five Common Sandpipers. A quick check at Flow Point in the dark showed eight Dunlin and two Common Sandpipers, but no Pec.
Robin and I were watching from Passage House car park early evening, lamenting the relative lack of scarce waders this autumn, when a juvenile Little Stint appeared on the spit; the first patch record since 2015. It proceeded to show well and allowed Laurie and Kev to catch up with it, though none of us had working cameras to hand so the phone-scoped record shots below are the best that could be mustered. Also present were a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, at least one White Wagtail, 15+ Greenshanks, two Common Sandpipers, four Wigeon and singles of Water Rail, Kingfisher, Lapwing and Snipe.
Size comparison with Common Sandpiper
Earlier in the afternoon two Rock Pipits were back on Flow Point and one Sandwich Tern was still in the estuary. Nearby the footpath to Luxton's Steps produced two Kestrels, two Chiffchaffs, two Goldcrests and three Bullfinches, and a Little Grebe was on the pond.
A good count of 17 Greenshank were at Passage House over high tide, together with 50 Curlew, two Bar-tailed Godwit, one Dunlin, two Common Sandpipers, 18 Redshank, 41 Little Egret, two Wigeon and two Common Gulls. Just five Ringed Plover were at Flow Point, distantly on the railway wall.
It is rare to see Avocets on the Teign outside of the winter months, so two at Flow Point this evening were noteworthy. On a relatively low high tide other waders included six Ringed Plovers, five Dunlin and two Common Sandpipers.
Seawatching this evening from 17:30 - 19:30: One Great Skua, one Manx Shearwater, one auk sp., seven Common Tern, 48 "commic" terns (including a flock of 35), 273 Kittiwakes and a possible distant Little Gull.