No Golden Oriole

Squabmoor and Dalditch, Devon
I had a 2 hour stake out for the Golden Oriole this evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. No sight nor sound of the bird so I am a bit perplexed by a report that came out 2 minutes after leaving stating it's there singing!?

Anyway, an enjoyable evening with 2 Eurasian Hobby, 3 Eurasian Jay, numerous Yellowhammer and a single Dartford Warbler.

Yellowhammer (Male)

Yellowhammer (Male)

European Stom Petrel

Otterton, Devon
I went for my daily exercise from Stantywell Farm to the coastal path near the sewage works this evening. In one of the fields just down from the farm were, 2 Red-legged Partridge and 2 Brown Hare.

A further 2 Brown Hare were seen further along. At the feeder at the sewage works was a stunning male Cirl Bunting and along the path to the coastal path was a nice female Common Whitethroat.

At the coastal path I scanned the sea. A few Northern Gannet and Northern Fulmar were far out and then whilst tracking a Black-legged Kittiwake, I picked up a small black bird just above the surface. It was initially heading straight towards me so my initial thought was Common Murre. However, the jizz was all wrong. The bird then tracked west and it because immediately obvious I was watching a European Storm Petrel. Not too shabby for a lockdown tick.

European Bee-eater

White Bridge, Budleigh Salterton, Devon
After seeing a report of 7 European Bee-eater in Exmouth. I hoped that they would be relocated. This species is a UK lifer for me and I've missed a few chances at seeing this superb species.

A text from Matt Knott advising me that they were at the white bridge on the river Otter. Got me off on a mad rush to get there. I parked the other side of the bridge and followed the path north on the east side of the river. Several birders advised they were mobile. I staked out a location with a few birders including Dave Boult and Dave Stone. 

I had my 11 year old daughter with me as this is her favourite bird from her book and she has longed to see one. She proved rather useful as her young eyes got us all on to a number of birds. The most I saw at one time was 6 bit there were numerous sightings.

On leaving, Dave Boult had come back to the bridge as he and others had counted 15 birds. I saw a further 2 birds as they went to roost near the bridge.

Bystock Pools, Exmouth, Devon

Bystock Pools, Exmouth, Devon 
I had to run an errand to my in laws today so I had a cheeky stop off at Bystock pools on the way home.

A pair of Tufted Duck were on the main pool. I've not seen any here for ages and sounds wierd to be pleased to see as I've not seen any since way before lockdown. A pair of European Stonechat were about and a nice Yellowhammer.

A few dragonflies were out too with Common Darter and Large Red Damselfly

I was amazed at how clean the water was in the pool. I could see how deep it actually is and the fish were as clear as day. Perhaps this lockdown has had an effect with less air pollution? Any way, it was nice to visit a familiar site.

Nice clean water

Nice clean water 

Common Swift

Cadhay bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 
The whole family took a walk to the bridge and back today. I'm rather blessed with where I live to be able to go for nice walks and see next to no one.

On today's walk were my first Common Swift of the year. 2 individuals flew south and kept going. Also a few Eurasian Skylark flight displaying.

Also of note was a Eurasian Blackcap in my garden the other day. Took me totally by surprise and had gone by the time I grabbed my phone for a photo.

Common Whitethroat

Taleford, Devon
We have had several walks since my last post but nothing interesting to report on the bird front. However, today we walked from Cadhay House to Taleford and near a Farm just passed Ottery motor services was my first Common Whitethroat of the year.

A few Butterflies seen to including, Holly Blue, Orange-tip and Common Blue.

Common Blue

First Common House Martin Of The Year

Cadhay bridge to Feniton, Devon
Took the same walk as yesterday but headed further north, almost to Feniton. Not a great deal to add but did get my first Common House Martin of the year. There we now 4 Mandarin Duck as opposed to the 2 I saw yesterday. Also nice to see more Barn Swallow around the farmland. A few Butterflies seen with Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.

I cant wait for Dragonflies as I've found a few good spots.

A New Location

Footpath North From Cadhay Bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 

The family have done the walk in my last post a few times this week. However, there was nothing worth mentioning.

Today though, we tried a new footpath and managed to add a few species to my lockdown list. Grey Heron, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Black (pair) Common Merganser (pair) and unexpectedly a pair of Mandarin Duck. Also worthy of a mention were the vast amount of Common Chiffchaff.

A Nice Long Walk

Ottery St Mary Area, Devon
The whole family went for a long walk after home schooling. We followed public footpaths from the bottom of Butts Road. Through the farm fields towards Fairmile Lane to the Otter River. We then followed the Ottery up to Cadhay Bridge and back home.

So added to my lockdown list were the following species.

Coal Tit
Little Egret
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Barn Swallow
Stock Dove
Mistle Thrush
Eurasian Teal

Making The Most Of Lockdown

Butts Road and surrounding area, Ottery St Mary, Devon 
So, I have been in lockdown since Tuesday. I work for Devon County Councils Highways department and I am still working from home. Also juggling home schooling with my wife who also has to work from home.

These are scary times and we are trying to keep a routine and be as normal as possible. My youngest is autistic so this situation is very difficult for her comprehend.

Anyway, we are getting out for an hours exercise and keeping to the social distancing rules. So my birding is confined to these walks and my garden.

So, I have decided to keep a 'Lockdown List". Something to hopefully look back on in the future.

So my list at present consists of the following.

Common Pheasant
Indian Peahen (heard only not tickable)
Common Buzzard
Herring Gull
Rock/Feral Pigeon
Common Wood pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Tawny Owl (heard only)
Great Spotted Woodpecker
European Green Woodpecker
Eurasian Magpie
Western Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Northern Raven
Eurasian Blue Tit
Great Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Common Chiffchaff
Eurasian Wren
Eurasian Nuthatch
Common Starling
Common Blackbird
Song Thrush
European Robin
House Sparrow
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Meadow Pipit
Common Chaffinch
European Greenfinch
Common Linnet
Eurasian Goldfinch

Yesterday I also saw this nice Peacock butterfly. And today I saw a Small White.


2 Out Of 3 Ain't Bad

Labrador bay, Devon 
After a dismal week of dips I managed a few hours off family duties and decided to try to make amends. Very windy and choppy seas were the order of the day but I managed to find a sheltered spot and easily picked out the Surf Scoter and Velvet Scoter. PHEW!!

(Left) Surf Scoter and Velvet Scoter 

(Left) Surf Scoter and Velvet Scoter 

Powderham Marsh, Devon 
I moved on for the Green-winged Teal. At the platform I bumped into Dave Boult and we scoped the marsh together. The Snow Goose was present as were, Little Ringed Plover, the male Greater Scaup, a White Wagtail in amongst the many Pied Wagtail, several Sand Martin and the Ruff. Despite hanging around I still didnt get the Green-winged Teal. As Meatloaf said, "two out of three ain't bad". On the walk to the platform and back were, a single male Cirl Bunting, Cetti's Warbler and 2 Common Chiffchaff. 

A Week Of Dipping Ducks And A Surprise

16th March - Labrador Bay, Devon 
I popped here first thing. Bad idea as the sum was low and directly shining on the mussel beds. It was so bright I couldnt look through my bins. I was obviously hoping for the Surf Scoter, Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck. But I managed to dip all three species. A nice amount of Cirl Bunting around the car park area and a number of Great Crested Grebe in the parts of the bay I could scan without being blinded.

Cirl Bunting (Male)

Cirl Bunting (Male)

Orcombe point, Exmouth, Devon 

I popped here after work in the hope of a Northern Wheatear. None on site as it was a nice day so they perhaps just carried on through. Bumped into Matt Knott and as always, it was nice to have a quick chin wag. I did catch up with the Black-legged Kittiwake colony though.

17th March- Powderham Marsh, Devon 
I made a flying lunchtime visit to see the Green-winged Teal. It didnt show whilst I was there. Another dipped Duck. I did catch up with the Snow Goose and a couple of Cirl Bunting.

Butts Road, Ottery St Mary, Devon 
I couldnt sleep so I was in the back garden having a cigarette at 02:30 and heard a sistant strange call. I get Tawny Owl here most nights but this was different. After a few moments the call got nearer and I quickly realised it was a Little Owl. I'm going to have to check a few places in the area.

Today - Cadhay Bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 
Due to be advised to work from home and will be having the kids at home from Monday. I took a look here after work as I may not be out for a while. On the river were 2 White-throated Dipper, a Common  Kingfisher and Little Egret. No sign of any Common Merganser.

Around the trees in the area were a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Chiffchaff and Eurasian Nuthatch.

Some Good Garden Birds

Butts Road, Ottery St Mary, Devon 
Spent some time watching the garden today and had my first Eurasian Jay (also my first of the year surprisingly). A Eurasian Nuthatch pottered about for a moment as did a European Green Woodpecker.

Laughing Gull Dip

Chew Valley Lake
I had a look around for the Laughing Gull. This morning but despite trying several locations around the lake, I failed. Did see a female Western Marsh Harrier, 3 Great Egret, a pair of Common Goldeneye and good numbers of Mew Gull.

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