Wise Birding Holidays

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Beach Waders

I've been keeping an eye on the small numbers of roosting waders on the beach over the last few days, but nothing out of the ordinary since the Little Stint, but a lone Sanderling is uncommon for the estuary and counts of up to 14 Dunlin and 6 Ringed Plover.
Other birds around the Otter in the last few days have included 80+ Teal on the newly flooded scrapes and only a dozen Wigeon.
Dunlin, Budleigh Beach

Ringed Plover, Budleigh Beach

Last week's Little Stint, Budleigh Beach

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Little Stint

I was really chuffed to find a juvenile Little Stint on Budleigh beach this evening. I had seen what I suspected was a Little Stint, only very briefly in flight with a small group of Dunlin on the estuary a little earlier but failed to relocate it. However, I decided to give it another try this evening and checked the beach to find this cracker feeding within metres of me on a lovely sunny evening.
Little Stint is rare on the patch and my last sighting was on 11 Sep 2013. Happy Days!

Juvenile Little Stint, Budleigh Beach

Juvenile Little Stint, Budleigh Beach

Juvenile Little Stint with Dunlin, Budleigh Beach

Juvenile Little Stint, Budleigh Beach

Monday, 16 September 2019

Firecrest and Avocets

A walk along the West Cliffs at Budleigh this morning produced my first Firecrest of the autumn. 
Lots of Chiffchaffs around and small movements of House Martins. Two Avocets on the River Otter this afternoon were a surprise and presumably different to the birds seen over four weeks ago.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019


Best bird today was a Grasshopper Warbler flushed from vegetation north of White Bridge. It settled for a minute to give some nice views - No camera sadly! On the estuary were 2 Med Gulls (ad and a juv.) plus 2 Common Sandpipers.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Avocet on the Otter

I have been overseas pretty much continually since late June, so it was great to be back on the patch and even more so for the surprise of finding two Avocets! Only my third sighting on the Otter, the last being on 15th March 2012. A lovely evening on the Otter with other notable species being a Green Sandpiper, 10 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover, plus an obliging Cetti's Warbler.

Avocet on the Otter Estuary

Avocet on the Otter Estuary

Avocet on the Otter Estuary

An obliging Cetti's Warbler

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Common Whitethroats

Me and the Mrs carried out our section of the National Seabirds Census: Seabirds Count this morning from Ladram Bay to Otter Ledge and it was great to be walking alongside so much wildlife friendly farmland. Impressive grass margins, loads of flowers and insects, thick hedges, low intensity arable fields and all to the sound of numerous Common Whitethroats and Cirl Buntings! 
We counted mostly Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gull, Fulmar and a few Shag and Cormorant nests. Also of note were 10 Common Scoters on the sea.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Bonaparte's Gull and Goosander Family

A morning visit to the Exe Estuary proved very worthwhile with some good scope views of Matt's excellent recent find -  2nd Cal Year Bonaparte's Gull. It was busy feeding amongst the 100+ Black-headed Gulls. Despite the distance, the photos still show many of the features, such as grey nape, very striking pale under primaries, pink legs etc.
A stroll along the Otter later in the day revealed a great family group of Goosander - an adult female with 15 young.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Local Patch, East Devon Commons & Exmoor NP

I have been enjoying birding the local patch over the last week. Nothing out of the ordinary, but some nice things to keep me interested. Also spent yesterday afternoon with the Mrs on Exmoor. Highlights have been:

Med Gulls - at least 5 birds off-shore on the 16th May 2 2nd Cal Year and 3 3rd Cal Year birds feeding and then drifting east
Bar-tailed Godwits - 2 birds on the estuary on the 17th May present since at least the 15th May
Black-tailed Godwits - 2 birds this evening on the scrape
Wigeon - a drake still on the Otter this evening 
Shelduck - a family group with 9 young on the Otter this evening
Dartford Warbler - a pair on the East Devon Commons today
Nightjar - a bird churring in the day on the East Devon Commons today
Whinchat - great to see a very high density on Exmoor

Rainbow over the Otter Estuary

Bar-tailed Godwits on the Otter Estuary

Mediterranean Gulls, Budleigh Salterton

Whinchat, Exmoor National Park

Common Cuckoo, Exmoor National Park

Canada Goose Family, Bystock Pool

Common Shelduck Family, Otter Estuary

Thursday, 9 May 2019

GBBG Nest inland & Lundy Day Trip

Yesterday, 8th May I took a day trip to Lundy with Helen and good friend Russ. The weather was pretty grim with a strong Force 5 SW  and continual rain and showers for most of the day. The crossing on the trusty Oldenburg was pretty lumpy as expected! 
The sea crossings didn't produce much out of the ordinary, the highlights being a flock of 25+ Commic Terns, numerous Manx Shearwaters and small numbers of Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmar and Gannet.

Grounded migrants in the difficult conditions included:
3 Spot Fly
4 Sedge Warbler
6+ Willow Warbler
4 Common Whitethroat
1+ Chiffchaff
Plus Swallow and House Martin, a single Sand Martin and Common Swift heading north.

On the 7th May Russ and I came across a nesting pair of Great Black-backed Gulls on the roof of Topp Tiles, Liverton Business Park. Unusual to see this species nesting on buildings and even more unusual when it is at least 2Km from the coast!
Nesting Great Black-backed Gull, Liverton Business Park Exmouth

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Staying Local

A lovely morning around the River Otter. Nothing out of the ordinary, but great to be out on a bright still sunny morning and to hear so many Reed Warblers singing - seemingly more than in previous years? Other highlights were a single Sedge Warbler, 24 Shelduck, Reed Bunting, and small numbers of House Martin and Swallow, plus two drake Wigeon still hanging around. My first Swift were 3 birds yesterday over the scrapes.

This afternoon it was good to hear and see 2 singing male Dartford Warblers on the East Devon Commons and a Stonechat already feeding young.
Male Dartford Warbler, East Devon Commons

Reed Warbler, River Otter 
Male Reed Bunting, River Otter