My First Patch Cetti's Warbler

St Saviours Bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 

I haven't managed to get out since Sunday due to a terrible bad back. Its still rough but a gentle walk seemed to help today. Enough of me. I started off by parking at Handsford Way and walked by the scrubland at Finnimores industrial estate. Good to see a healthy population of House Sparrow. What surprised me most though was the unmistakable call of a Yellowhammer. I couldn't locate the bird and despite me waiting for 10 minutes it didn't call again. What an usual place to come across one though. Also on the farm opposite, in the tree line that boarders the main B road (Barrack Road) was a Male Eurasian Blackcap singing his heart out.

I crossed St Saviours Bridge and headed south on the east side of the river Otter. Lots of Song Thrush in the area but not much else of note. On the path from the open grass area to the farmland things got more interesting. 3 Eurasian Bullfinch showed beautifully (1 Male and 2 Females). 3 more Male Eurasian Blackcap in full song plus 2 Females. Best of all though was that call that often makes me jump when heard at close range, the Cetti's Warbler. What a loud call that is. After a little wait, the bird showed beautifully at close quarters. Oddly enough, this is my first record of this species on patch. 


Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Yarner Wood, Bovey Tracey, Devon

I had a bit of free time today so fancied venturing a bit further. I arrived and for the first 30 minutes the place seemed dead. I was feeling like this was going to be one of those days. However,  I eventually came across a Male European Pied Flycatcher that showed ever so briefly but nicely. I then heard that unmistakable drumming of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker followed by an alarm call. They gave me a bit of a run around but after a little while a Male and Female gave themselves up near the top entrance gate and showed lovely around the car park for Trendlebere Down. I couldn't get a decent phone to scope photo but heres a find the birdie sort of picture. 

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 

A New Site For Me

Mutters Moor, Sidmouth, Devon

I took a walk around this site early evening. I have never visited this site before but was very pleased with the amount of bird life. On arrival I was treated to several Yellowhammer. Further along a Male Dartford Warbler put in a nice but brief performance. A Tree Pipit put an equally brief show. Near the car park a Eurasian Blackcap was singing his little heart out. I will be making this a more regular haunt and will be adding Peak Hill part of that visit next time.

Yellowhammer (Male)

Common Merganser

Cadhay Bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 

An early evening walk from Cadhay Bridge to Taleford. At Cadhay Bridge were 3 Common Merganser (1 Male and 2 Females), 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Eurasian Nuthatch. Barn Swallow and Common  House Martin numbers are on the rise too. 

Common Merganser (Female)

Common Merganser (Male)

Stock Dove 

Ruddy Shelduck

Exminster Marsh, Devon 

An early evening walk around a place I dont visit as much as I used (and not been able to due to lockdown). The Ruddy Shelduck was viewable from the canal path south of Fisherman's car park. The sunlight was awful. Also in the same location were 3 Western Cattle Egret. I did obtain better lighting views from the road between the Fisherman's and middle car park but views were distant and obscure. 

Northern Mockingbird

Exmouth, Devon 

Popped to the in-laws to spend some time with them in the garden. As they live less than half a mile from the Northern Mockingbird, I took a walk to enjoy this bird one more time. The best place to view is from the opposite side of Exeter Road, looking across into the gardens between Iona Avenue and Cauleston Close. You can fully see the birds preferred Holly tree and avoid going down the footpath and drag a step ladder to (quite rightly) avoid standing on neighbours walls. The bird showed beautifully and I was able to get a better picture with my phone to scope. 

Northern Mockingbird 

A Mega And Summer Arrivals

Beer Head, Devon 

I had the day off so I headed here in search of any summer arrivals. I had already got a heads up from Kevin Hale of a decent fall. This first bird was a Northern Wheatear. I never get tired of seeing this species. On the east side of the head were a very decent amount of Common Chiffchaff and in among them were a few Willow Warbler. 2 male Eurasian Blackcap put in an appearance. Oddly my first of the year! A few Barn Swallow came in off the sea. I so wished for a Ring Ouzel as that place is primed to receive one. Not today though.

Northern Wheatear (Male)

Exmouth, Devon 

As the stay at home rule has been lifted, I felt it safe to go for the Northern Mockingbird that has been a long stayer in Exmouth. I only had my binoculars with me so I only managed a record shot. What a cracking little bird to see. 


Northern Mockingbird 

A Local Rarity

Seaton, Devon 
I had a day off yesterday (26th March) so I popped to Seaton for a good look around. I started at Black Hole Marsh and was treated to my (and the sites) first Common House Martin of the year with 3 that flew through heading north. A Cetti's Warbler should briefly but very well near the Sand Martin nesting area. 

I moved on to the beach near the Harbour and was treated to a Black-throated Loon. A local rarity. It was on the sea for a short while then flew west. A Great Crested Grebe pottered about and singles of Manx Shearwater and Great Skua made an appearance. A few Northern Fulmar were also off Seaton Hole. 

Next was Coronation Corner. Numerous Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mew Gull and a single second winter Mediterranean Gull was a welcome site.

Lastly, I visited Colyford Common. 6 Sand Martin put in a fly through appearance while they made their journey North. Also on site was a single Northern Wheatear.

It was a lovely day and nice to get some welcomed summer arrivals on the scoreboard. 

Missed This Song

Knapp Copse, Putts Corner, Devon 

I took a walk around this local reserve after work. I was welcomed by the song of a Common Chiffchaff. It felt great to hear that sound again in lovely sunshine. I have so missed that song. There were a total of 4 singing individuals on site. I was also treated to a pair of Eurasian Bullfinch and a Eurasian Jay. Oddly, the first sightings this year for me. On the feeders at the carpark was a lovely Eurasian Nuthatch but there was no sign of the Marsh Tit I saw there in the winter.

I have also signed up for the RSPB Turtle Dove survey and been given a pretty local area to survey between May and June. Its an area that has some suitable habit. With the current state of the species, I'm hot holding out too much hope but you never know. Maybe the whole lockdown situation throughout Europe helped the species last year? Any way, I will give it a try. 

Buntings And A Cattle Egret

Stantywell Farm, Otterton, Devon 

I had the day off today so I decided to venture outside of Ottery. I haven't visited Statywell Farm for some time and was so pleased to be back here. The main target was of course Cirl Bunting and I managed 6 individuals. Numbers are down from previous visits but the species is spreading further east, so its a good thing in my book. Other Bunting species also on site were a single Female Yellowhammer and Male Common Reed Bunting. A nice group of circa 30 Common Linnet, several Eurasian Skylark and 2 Stock Dove made the supporting cast. I was disappointed not to see Red-legged Partridge but a nice Brown Hare made me smile before I left.

Common Reed Bunting (Male)

Brown Hare 

Cirl Bunting (Male)


White Bridge, Budleigh Salterton, Devon 

I couldn't resist the lure of a long staying Western Cattle Egret, so I popped here to take a look. The bird showed very nicely in the first field with the cattle along with several Little Egret. Best views were from the path heading north of the White Bridge. Not much else of note but a Little Grebe from the Bridge was a welcome sight.

Western Cattle Egret 

Common Merganser

Cadhay Bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 

I took a walk along the wooded area and bridge area after work. In the wooded area were a pair of Eurasian Nuthatch, lots of Goldcrest and Coal Tit. In the adjacent field was a pair of Stock Dove but best of all were 2 pairs of Common Merganser.

Common Merganser (2 pairs)

Common Merganser (Female)

Brambling

East Hill Strips, Devon 

I took a walk around this area this afternoon. Not a lot of species seen to be honest. I did get nice views of Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper and Redwing. Best of all was a Brambling. My first of the year. 

Belated White Stork

Feniton, Devon

I was asked not to blog about this at the time in case it created unwanted attention. I was made aware of a White Stork in Feniton on the 7th February, so I cycled the few miles to take a look. The bird showed fantastically and I enjoyed for a few minutes before carrying on with my bike ride. I assume its from the Knepp release project. Last I heard it has moved on from Feniton but is still in East Devon. Again, I'm best off keeping it quiet in case the locals don't want it advertised.

White Stork 

Unusual Urban Birding 2

Ottery St Mary, Devon 

The family did the same walk around our part of Ottery St Mary as I did yesterday lunchtime. The female Indian Peafowl was in the same location  but has a male friend. I feel amazed to see them in this setting. I'm used to seeing them in places like Trago Mills and Escot etc, not on someone's front garden.

Indian Peafowl (Male)

Indian Peafowl (Female)

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