Cirl Bunting

Stantywell Farm, Otterton, Devon

I had an hour off work this pm as I needed a break. Having not seen Cirl Bunting for a while I thought this place would deliver. I walked down from the farm and staked out the usual field (with beehives in) with no joy. Loads of Common Linnet and Common Chaffinch around and Eurasian Skylark in the air. I had to start calling it quits and head home. At the first gate down front the farm I heard a familiar call. A bit of a scan and there was a Cirl Bunting, hiding rather well in the hedge. Just shows that despite their colour they can be well camouflaged when they want to. See if you can spot it.

Cirl Bunting (Male)

Common Goldeneye

Mudbank Lane, Exmouth, Devon 

I had to hang around in Exmouth for a few hours this afternoon. So I decided to watch here as the tide was dropping. Lots of species were on offer. There were quite a few Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Red Knot and Sanderling, lots of Dunlin a small group of European Golden Plover flew up river. Several Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe. I finally picked out a male Common Goldeneye over the far side of the estuary.

Maer Rocks, Exmouth, Devon 

I moved to Shelly Beach to look for the Black Redstart but couldn't locate so opted for Maer Rocks on as the tide would have dropped enough to look for Purple Sandpiper and was in luck with 7 on site.

Loons

Otterton Sewage works, Devon 

I was passing so had to pop I after seeing Rob and Steph Murphy's impressive count of 53 Red-throated Loon. I could only spare 30 minutes on site so I hoped it would be good. It was! Red-throated Loon were everywhere! I managed a count of 49 birds! Also 1 Black-throated Loon, 4 Common Scoter, 10 Common Murre, 2 Razorbill and 3 Black-legged Kittiwake. 

In the surrounding fields we're Eurasian Skylark, Common Linnet and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. No Cirl Bunting but in all honesty I wasn't on site long enough to do a proper search.

Red-throated Loon

Trip to London

London

Myself and the family just got back from a few days in London. We went to take in a show and do some site seeing. 

Wiltshire

On they way up we stopped for a break at a place near Stonehenge. Conveniently, a place I knew would be good for Red-legged Partridge. I wasn't wrong as there were 12 birds plus a bonus 5 Grey Partridge. 

Hampshire / Surrey

While driving through the county on the A303 and M3 I was treated to 6 Red Kite. 

London 

We arrived at our hotel in Wembley and was greeted byna calling Rose-ringed Parakeet that was sat in a tree opposite the hotel. 

London Portobello Road

On the second day we went to Portobello Road and I managed a total of 21 Rose-ringed Parakeet. With the majority of these around the Ladbroke Grove tube station whilst the birds were going to roost somewhere. 

Rose-ringed Parakeet

White-throated Dipper

St Saviours Bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 

I took a look along the river heading north from here. Just by the Otter Mill was a cracking White-throated Dipper accompanied by a Grey Wagtail.

Cadhay Bridge, Ottery St Mary, Devon 

I walked along the footpath going north of the bridge that has the river on your left and woods on your right. On the river we're 4 Common Merganser (2 pairs) and the woods held Eurasian Treecreeper and Eurasian Nuthatch.

Dartford Warbler

Aylesbeare Common, Devon 

I had to pop to the Nightingale hospital in Sowton for a long awaited steroid injection in my shoulder. So I decided to relax myself by having a quick 30 minutes on site to look for Dartford Warbler. I couldn't believe my luck as a few 100 metres into the reserve, a cracking Male was literally feeding about 6 feet away from me. I have no camera but managed a few awful pictures simply with my phone.

Dartford Warbler (Male)

Dartford Warbler (Male)

Spotted Redshank

Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, Devon 

I had a few hours to kill whilst my daughter was auditioning for a part in Centre stages next performance of Shrek the musical at Exmouth Pavilion (plug done). So as it coincided with the tide on its way out from high tide, I decided to visit here. 

Straight away I was treated to numerous Common Snipe, Pied Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit. At the back of the reserve were 2 Common Pochard busy diving for food a few Northern Pintail were dotted about. There were so many waders that scanning for the Spotted Redshank was very difficult but my patience paid off but was never able to get a photo. More scanning for the Ruff was not so successful. 

Common Snipe

Pied Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit 

Laughing Gull

Slapton, Devon 

I have wanted to see Laughing Gull for as long as I have been birding but the timing has never been right due to work, family etc. I have also manged to dipped a few over the years. So when I had the chance to look for the supposedly showy 2nd Winter bird in the Slapton / Beesands area today. I simply had to go. I arrived at the memorial car park to be told it was showing superbly 10 minutes ago. Here I go I thought. Another dip? 

Whilst I waited I was treated to a Mediterranean Gull on the beach. After 10 minutes or someone shouted that it was heading towards us and I was straight on the bird within seconds of the call. It first decided to sit on the Ley which was OK views and I was pleased to finally see this species but I wanted better. A few minutes later it was flying literally 10 feet above our heads so I I managed a few flight shots with my phone. It then sat on the sea briefly before finally sitting where I wanted it, on the beach. 

I did take a short look for the Ring-necked Duck without success but getting to enjoy the Laughing Gull was much more enjoyable.

Laughing Gull (2nd winter)

Laughing Gull  (2nd winter)

Laughing Gull  (2nd winter)

Laughing Gull  (2nd winter)

Isabelline Wheatear

Colyford Common, Seaton, Devon 

I wanted to get another look at the Isabelline Wheatear and I also was hoping to see the Eastern Yellow Wagtail. The Isabelline Wheatear was no issue and showed off beautifully. Even doing the normal pose on a post! The was no news on the Eastern Yellow Wagtail though so I popped into the hide for a while and was treated to a Peregrine Falcon. Another look for the Eastern Yellow Wagtail was unsuccessful, despite there being a number of Meadow Pipit flitting about that were at one point all put up by the presence of a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. However, it was lovely to catch up with some of the birders on site and share stories and knowledge. 

Isabelline Wheatear 

Isabelline Wheatear 

Isabelline Wheatear

Colyford Common, Seaton, Devon 

Having been a birder for many years, lifers are few and far between. So last weeks Olive-backed Pipit was a welcome but to get 2 in a week is unheard-of for me of late.  So when news broke of an Isabelline Wheatear yesterday, I was annoyed that I couldn't get there and hoped it would stick around. Lady luck was on my side as the ping from Birdguides this morning and a WhatsApp message meant I knew where I was going. I arrived to find numerous onlookers enjoying fantastic views. The bird didn't seem fazed by the admiring crowd and was happy pottering about and feeding. 

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Olive-backed Pipit

Phear Park, Exmouth, Devon 

Having never seen an Olive-backed Pipit, I had to pop along to my old patch area to take a look. The bird showed ridiculously well feeding under an oak tree circa 100m up from the entrance gate. What a cracking bird and it just goes to show that anything can turn up anywhere!

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Purple Sandpiper

Maer Rocks, Exmouth, Devon 

I had the afternoon off and needed to pop to Exmouth. As it happens that coincided with low tide so I had to swing by to look for Purple Sandpiper. I wondered around the edge of the rocks for a while only to find several Ruddy Turnstone busily feeding amongst the rocks. Then I heard the calls and sure enough 8 Purple Sandpiper dropped in. I wondered slowly out on the rocks and was gutted I was only on binoculars as they came very close as I stood freezing but still. So some great photo opportunities but no equipment! 

Glaucous Gull and Yellow-browed Warbler

Cricklepit Bridge, Exeter Quay, Devon 

In was working in the city and had half day leave planned so it seemed rude not to look for the Glaucous Gull. I had seen pictures and reports that said it can be a very showy bird and they weren't wrong. I soon as I arrived it was right by the Bridge, floating around happily. In fact it was so close I had to move back up the bank to get it in my scope! I did worry whether it was an ill bird but it seemed to be rather happy and well. I always loge seeing this species and this Juvenile didn't disappoint.

Glaucous Gull (Juvenile)

Glaucous Gull (Juvenile)

Ottery Estuary, Devon

Having enjoyed the Glaucous Gull I decided to go closer to home and look for a Yellow-browed Warbler that had been reported by Terry Smith. It was supposed to be in the area of the bend as you just start to go along South Farm Road. I hung around for a while with no joy so I walked up to the White Bridge. At the Bridge was a lovely Grey Wagtail and a Little Grebe. On the way back down there were a few Meadow Pipit. I got back to the bend and bumped into Chris Townsend. It was nice to catch up and have a chinwag. We both separated for a bit in the hope one would pick up on it and after a little while a mixed Tit flock came through. With them was a female Eurasian Blackcap and a cracking Common Firecrest. Soon after Chris spotted the Yellow-browed Warbler in the top of a tree and I just managed a fleeting view of it as it dropped back down. I had to leave not long after but I think it will stick around to have another crack at it. 

On another note I couldn't believe how much the restoration project had come on since my last visit. I am truly excited to see the site finished and equally excited to see it develop and what species that could entice.

Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart

Peak Hill, Sidmouth, Devon 

Due to work and family commitments. I haven't been out as much this October as I would have liked. I had a few hours off this afternoon and not having to be on call for my kids, I took the opportunity to catch a few species. I do like Peak Hill so the chance of a Ring Ouzel was mouthwatering. I headed straight to the north end of the valley and within minutes I was enjoying great views. Shame I was on bins only as I was viewing down to around 30 metres. I also had a distant bird that gave off Ring Ouzel but couldn't confirm or relocate.

Seaton, Devon 

Having not caught up with a Black Redstart this year and news of 5 in the town. I had to pop along to take a look. As luck would have it, I got on to two females in the housing estate behind the Premier Inn. I walked around a bit more and looked at the yacht club but couldn't locate any more individuals. 

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