[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


30 October 2018

Temmincks Stint

Been trying for a long time to see let alone get some decent pictures of this bird.

Today was my lucky day, not only did I see it, the sun was out and I got some decent pictures. Seen at Stithians Reservoir in Cornwall, its been around for some time but on my previous visit it was raining and hail, but today the gods were shining on me!

I also saw Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper and a fly over Red Kite amongst all the other birds you would expect to see at a Reservoir.

Great to see Ian T amongst many other happy humans around, I did go to see the Cat Bird but looks like its left

28 October 2018

22-28th October inclusive

Another busy week meeting friends and sorting stuff out, managed to do a bit of birdwatching and out with the camera all week, bit of a wasted journey to Cornwall on Friday but will come to that later.

This Blog entry is from Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th inclusive.

Still suffering from a cold and cough I just can't seem to get rid of decided to get some air but stay local so up the River Exe with the first stop at Cockwood Steps, the tide was out and there was some people in front of the wreck but still a lot of birds further up by the entrance to Cockwood Harbour with Brent and Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshank present with plenty of Gulls, mostly Black-headed but Herring and Great-black Backed also present.

The Harbour was empty of water but also birds as people were working on boats, but on the other side of the bridge there was 4 Cattle Egrets in with the cattle, there had been reports of up to 11 a few days ago.

Starcross Golf Course has now closed and a few Canada Geese had moved in, off to Powderham and stopped by the Kenn outflow, another birder passed on that an Osprey had just taken off from the park and was on the river somewhere but looks like it flew straight out to sea on route to Africa and who could blame it!

Loads of Ducks on the Kenn, 200+, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard and Gadwall seen, Mute Swan, Fly over Buzzard, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow. Magpie, Canada geese, Blackbird and Goldfinch around the park and bushes close to the road. On the Exe, plenty of Mute Swans, Cormorant, Little Egret, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls present. Off then to Exminster Marshes with a circular walk from the RSPB car park via the Turf., quiet with Wren, Canada Geese, Carrion Crow, Mute Swan, Robin, Cettis Warbler, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Teal, Mallard and Rook. Turf was also quiet with Curlew, Mute Swans, Cormorant, Little Egret and the usual Gulls.

Tuesday afternoon found me at Yarner, plenty of woodland birds about with Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Wren, Blackbird, Robin and Coal, Blue, Great, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits. A lovely walk in the woods, especially as the leaves was falling giving a sense of the change in the seasons.

Wednesday I went to Topsham, parked up at Darts Farm which was busy with the half term, along the cycle path and by the creek I saw Blackbird, Wren, Redshank, Curlew, Godwit, Little Egret and Black-headed Gull. At Goosemoor there was great views of a Ruff as well as Curlew, Redshank, Little Egret, Teal and a couple of Snipe, another birder thought they could have been Jack Snipe but I didn't get a good enough view to be positive. Also fly over Buzzard, Cormorant, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon. From the reserve, hide and road I saw Teal, Widgeon, Shoveler, Pintail, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Canada and Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Woodpigeon, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Magpie and a fly over Rook. Bit quiet from the platform but from the Goatwalk you could see Avocet, Redshank, Godwits, Curlew and Cormorant.

Thursday afternoon I spent a couple of hours at Labrador Bay, Lots of birds sat in the tops of trees enjoying the afternoon sun with Cirl Buntings, Starling, Dunnock, Blackbird, Skylark, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and a fly over Buzzard.

Friday I thought I would go down to Cornwall to see the Cat Bird as well as a Temmincks Stint, Spoonbill and Great White Egret which was all close by. Lands' End is about two and half hours drive from Dawlish so left at 7am to arrive at 9.30 ish but after being caught up in traffic issues, a crash and being diverted down some country lanes I arrived at Lands End at 12.15pm and it was blowing a gale. Other birders were leaving as the bushes were blown out and the bird hadn't been seen in 4 hrs, I stayed for a while but it was obvious nothing was going to show so off to find the Temmincks, as I arrived on site for this one it started to rain then hail, so I just drove home and put the day down to experience!

Saturday I did another Walk around Exminster Marshes after reports of Whooper Swan, Glossy Ibis, Merlin and Ruff but I walked around and found nothing, having said that they could have been hiding in a ditch or up against some reeds so no chance of finding them.

Today Sunday I went down to Slapton and Beesands Leys, very windy and many birds in shelter of Ireland Bay at Slapton with good views of Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Tufted, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Great-crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Coot and Grey Heron on the Ley. On the footpath plenty of small birds with Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warblers, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits with fly over Woodpigeons, Jackdaw and Carrion Crows.

At Beesands the ley was windswept and all the birds were to the left of the hide where it was sheltered, counted 52 Mute Swans but could have been more around the corner as well as a Black Swan, 40+ Canada Geese, Cormorant's, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls, Coot and plenty of Ducks, again couldn't give an accurate number as plenty of birds around the corner, Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal and Tufted Ducks. Cettis Warbler, Blackbird and Magpie made up the other birds.

Met lots of humans, plenty of birders, several Dave's, Perry, Richie and Mike amongst others, lots of nice people met in Cornwall, in fact no complaints about humans this week, even the dog walkers and cyclist have been behaving themselves, must be coming up to xmas and the time of cheer!

19 October 2018

15th to 19th October 2018

Been busy this week with Life, being ill and having a job interview. But still managed to get out and see some great birds in some fantastic scenery. This blog entry is from Monday 13th to Friday 19th inclusive.

Monday was a bit of a miserable day, grey and a bit damp, just like how I was feeling! Off to Topsham, quick look at Goosemoor which was empty of water and birds so off to the hide at Bowling Green to stay dry. Lots to see with loads of waders filling up large areas and hiding other birds, another birder said he could see Knot but the birds moved and it was lost, plenty of Black-tailed and a few Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, single Snipe and Ruff seen as well as seven Avocet which was great to see.

Also plenty of ducks and other water birds with Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail and Widgeon as well as Little Egret and Grey Heron seen. A few gulls with Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Other birds seen on the reserve and road were Mistle Thrush, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Cormorant, Woodpigeon, Reed Bunting, Buzzard, Wren, Robin and Chaffinch.

On the way back I stopped at Powderham, plenty of Rooks on the ground around the Fallow Deer, Pheasants and Mute Swans on the river with a few Goldfinches around the bushes. The tide hadn't gone that far out by the outflow but still plenty of Gulls washing themselves with Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls of all ages, Redshank, Little Egret, Little Grebe and Mute Swans.

Tuesday down to Thurlestone to see the 1st winter Daurian Shrike that had been around for a while, not the best light but got a few pics and left as not feeling the best. On the way back home visited the tidal road at Aveton Gifford which was quite active, some smart looking Greenshanks, Mallard, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Cormorants, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. Off home for "Lemsip" and Bed!

Feeling better on Thursday so with the news of a Red-breasted Flycatcher I went off to Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth, it's a bird I've missed on several occasions but at least I got a glimpse of this one but no pic for me although others managed to get some good pics after I left. Plenty of other birds here with Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow. Not been here before but worth another look!

Off to Seaton Wetlands and first stop was the Tower Hide and the river was busy with birds, Great and Lesser-black Backed, Black-headed and Herring Gulls of all ages, Mallard, Widgeon, Teal, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlew, Lapwing, Moorhen and Cormorant.

From the Island Hide plenty of Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Redshank, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper.

On the way home popped into Aylesbere which was very quiet with some fly over Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow with one Stonechat.

Early start this morning to catch sunrise at East Soar, I did a circular walk from car park via Starhole and Middle Soar. It was a stunning sunrise and worth getting up early for that alone, so many birds difficult to know where to start! Several Ring Ouzels, Cirl Buntings, Reed Bunting, Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Stonechat, Swallow, Blackcap, Linnet, Starling, Wheatear, Wren, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Herring Gull, Pheasant and a Black Redstart at Middle Soar which was a great find for me.

Decided to pop into see the Ring Ouzels at Shipley Bridge but only managed a brief view of a female flying down the valley, plenty of Blackbirds, Mistle Thrushes, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Robin, Raven, Nuthatch and Kestrel.

Had a great week apart from feeling ill, met plenty of nice humans over the week but rather sad to hear from a couple of ladies about how they have been treated in various local bird hides, come on guys up your game and show some respect!

13 October 2018

Dawlish Warren

Went for a very enjoyable time down to the Warren this morning, high tide was at 10am and quite a high one, with all the bad weather had hoped something might have turned up.

When I got to the Warren this morning the waves were already smashing up against the sea wall, to my amazement nothing to be seen out to sea so off to the hide.

While the waves were coming in on the beach the River Exe was calm, it was very cloudy and grey so not much hope of taking any prize winning photos!

Plenty of large birds in the bite and in front of the hide, 20+ Mute Swans, 50+ Brent Geese and 40+ Canada Geese all sat in calm water, also my first Shelduck of this winter at the Warren.

Plenty of Oystercatchers as usual, Dunlin, Turnstone, Godwit, Ringed Plover and Curlew also seen.

Out further from the hide the resident Slavonian Grebe, Great-crested Grebe close to the wreck and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers sat on the water.

The usual Carrion Crows hassling the birds on the hill as well as Linnet and Meadow Pipit.

At the back of the hide there was Blackbird and Woodpigeon with some Magpie on the golf course.

A few humans about and all looked happy in the wind.

10 October 2018

Birding in the South Hams

Had such a great day yesterday around the coast in the South Hams. Didn't get there early enough to do the full list as "Life" got in the way.

Wanted to do the Tidal Rd at Avington Gifford, then on to East Soar, Charleton Marshes, Start Point, Beesands and Slapton Ley. Because of late start I missed the Tidal rd and Charleton Marshes.

Arrived in the Car Park at East Soar to a beautiful sunny day, lots of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtail about the runway and fields adjoining the runway.

Several groups of Herring Gulls sat on the fields 60-100 in total. Also Linnet, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Great Tit and Robin seen around the farm and bushes. I was doing a circular walk via the coastal path and Middle Soar back to my car, 4 Buzzards came over in a group, all different colours and shades of brown to be joined by a Peregrine, still after all these years get a buzz seeing these majestic birds.

Also saw Stonechat, Swallow, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Blue Tit and Raven. Met a few local birders who very helpful especially the gent at the car park, full of local knowledge and happy to share.

Off to Start Point and as I went past the BBC ariel there was loads of Swallows on the wires and hawking over the fields, 500+ easy! Parked up at the carpark and did a circular walk via the lighthouse and Matscombe Beach. Plenty of Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Wren, Dunnock, Pair of Kestrel hunting, Raven, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls as well as 3 Seals basking on the rocks.

Off to Beesands Ley and numbers of birds on the water had increased since my last visit. At least41 Mute Swans that I could see from the hide, 11 Gadwall, Coot, with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls sat on the water. Also at least 100 Swallows hawking over the ley with at least 1 House Martin, while sat in the hide a Cettis Warbler could be heard on the other side of the ley.

Off to Slapton Ley, didn't stay long here due to time and issues with parking/road works but still managed to see Great-crested Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swans, Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, lots of the larger gulls also on the beach on the tide line 100+.

A few Butterflies about but all starting to look worn as well as Dragons especially at Beesands, met lots of nice humans as well which is always a plus!

08 October 2018

Around the Exe

Its been a bit quiet on the bird front close to home but still spent some time around the Exe this last few days.

Friday afternoon saw me at Dawlish Warren, there had been reports of a couple of Black-throated Divers close to the sea wall but I was unable to locate them. There was a couple of Eiders close by, these two had been here couple of weeks and seemed quite settled here.

Spent some time around the site and on the Point before going to the hide to catch the evening high tide. Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Starling, House Sparrow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Moorhen, Pheasant, Fly over Med Gull, Dunnock, Robin, Great Spotted WoodPecker and Blackbird all seen around the site.

At the Hide Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Widgeon, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Linnet, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Sunday started off at Cockwood steps, the tide was out and plenty of mud but also a few humans about collecting bait and some fishing so all birds up river close to the harbour entrance with Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Godwits, Mute Swan, Brent and Canada Geese. The harbour with the exception of a Little Egret was empty of birds due to some people working on there boats making a bit of noise.

Further up river at the Kenn outflow there was a large flock of Widgeon flying over, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Red and Green Shanks, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Around the river saw 200+ ducks, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard and Gadwall seen as well as Mute Swan and Grey Heron. At the lake which is in front of the Castle there was the Snow Goose and Canada Geese, fly over Woodpigeon and Buzzard as well as Wren, Goldfinch and Blackbird around the bushes and trees.

I then went onto Exminster Marshes, parked up in the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf, not much to see, Magpie, Buzzard, Robin, Carrion Crow, Cormorant, Blackbird, Moorhen, Stockdove, Cettis Warbler in song, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Reed Bunting, Rook, Jackdaw, Blue and Long-tailed Tit.

At Turf very quiet, a few gulls and singles of Curlew, Redshank, Grey Heron and Little Egret.

Today I went down to Dawlish Warren early to catch the high tide to see if the Black-throated Diver had returned but sadly no, there was however a lot of people about and unbeknown to me the "Flying Scotsman" was coming through and the world and his mother was there to see it, it put on a good show too!

Off to Topsham and Bowling Green Marsh, quick look in Goosemoor and the tide was out, just a few Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Heron and 20+ Lapwings.

At the Reserve from the hide, sat here for about a hour and the numbers of ducks kept rising especially Widgeon but also Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Mallard and Gadwall, also Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Magpie, Jackdaw, Starling, Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Wren, Blackbird and Dunnock.

Over these days saw lots of Butterflies some looking quite fresh, Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Small White and Meadow Brown.

Plenty of Common Darter and Migrant Hawkers, Ivy Bees, Hoverflies and Wasps.

Met lots of humans and all happy which all helps!

03 October 2018


Had a early start yesterday (Tuesday) as I went off for a days birding to the Pennington Marshes which is just south of Lymington. I have seen these marshes often from the IOW Ferry and seen birds flying in here all the time so thought it was time to pay a visit.

There has been also for the past two weeks a Temmincks Stint showing on and off so I was hoping to get lucky, which unfortunately it was hiding when I visited, typically its been several times since. Because its such a small bird and has so many places to go that cant be seen from the paths, easy to lose!

Arrived in good time, took just over 3 hours with a stop to get there from Dawlish. Parked up and consulted the map and several of the notice boards with all the various paths, tracks and roads. The Marshes are part of the Lymington and Pennington Country Park which runs from Lymington to Keyhaven.

I took the path to Keyhaven which took in the mud flats that look out towards " Hurst Castle" then along the sea wall which separates the Solent from Keyhaven Marshes, then on to Pennington Marshes before crossing the Marsh to get back to the car.

I didn't give myself enough time to complete the walk up to Waterford. Next time I will find a place to stay overnight.

Although I didn't see the Stint there was still plenty of great birds to see although the locals said it was quiet there was enough to keep me happy!

Saw plenty of Swallows and House Martins hawking over the lagoons and ditches. Plenty of ducks with Eider, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Shoveler and Gadwall. Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen. Waders showing well with Curlew, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits. Cormorants, Mute Swan and Canada Geese also seen on the water.

Plenty of small birds seen around the bushes with Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Dunnock, Starling, Reed Bunting as well as Woodpigeon, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.

Met some great humans today as well, locals very helpful, such a pleasure to get this as unfortunately this is not always the case, some birders can be miserable twats!!

01 October 2018

Yarner and Torrs

Had a few trips up to Dartmoor and knocked a few more "Torrs" off my list.

Iam enjoying doing this as I have been in a few new places, still not sure why when walking by some granite outcrops they are not named and others that look like just a rock are?

Anyway took another 6 off the list, Aish Tor, Bag Tor Aka Bagathora, Bel Tor Aka Bell Tor, Mel Tor Aka Mil Tor, Pinchford Ball, Another of the 7 Sharp Tors. A few birds about, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Skylark, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Raven, Buzzard and Kestrel seen over these visits, thought I might see some migrants passing through such as Ouzel but not yet.

On my last visit to Dartmoor I went to Yarner, the feeders had been put up after a summer break, lots of Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Chaffinch, Dunlin, Grey Wagtail, Wood Pigeon, Marsh, Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackcaps and Wren.

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