Wise Birding Holidays

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Dartford Warbler and Grey Catbird!

Best bird on the patch this morning was a Dartford Warbler and only my 2nd record for the patch with the last being in the same area on 20th October 2015.

After checking the patch, news that yesterday's Grey Catbird at Land's End was still present soon prompted a quick decision to head west! We arrived by just after 1pm and spent a very enjoyable few hours watching this American vagrant in glorious Cornish sunshine! It was typically skulking but with patience showed well on occasions and it was great to hear it calling too! The pain of my visit to Anglesey in October 2001 (the location of the last British record) was soon forgotten!

Grey Catbird, Treeve Moor, Land's End

Grey Catbird, Treeve Moor, Land's End

Grey Catbird, Treeve Moor, Land's End

Grey Catbird showing off the red vent

Grey Catbird, Treeve Moor, Land's End

Grey Catbird, Treeve Moor, Land's End

Dartford Warbler, by Budleigh Golf Course

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Barn Owl Again

Another glorious sunny calm day today and unsurprisingly no migrants of note. However, it was great to see the Barn Owl again. Such a rare sight on the patch as it floated around hunting in the early evening sunshine. I still remember my very first Barn Owl as it hunted in the early morning over Cley Marshes by the Windmill, on my 14th Birthday! A great couple of days thanks to my parents taking me away for a birding break where I also saw my first Great Grey Shrike on Kelling Heath and Shorelarks on Blakeney Point. 
Happy Days!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Barn Owl and Whinchats

Finally the weather cleared today and a bright breezy afternoon produced around 10+ Wheatears, 3 Whinchats, 50+ Meadow Pipits in the Top fields and a constant trickle of hirundines. However, biggest surprise for the patch was a Barn Owl hunting early (presumably as it hasn't been able to due to the recent poor weather) and a bird I rarely see on the patch. Always great to see!

Barn Owl hunting near White Bridge

Juvenile Whinchat near the Aquaduct

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Ring Ouzel

A pretty miserable day in terms of weather, but I was determined to get out this morning and I was glad I did. A calling Ring Ouzel alerted me to its presence as it fed in hawthorns near White Bridge and it then vanished just as the rain set in. Certainly a surprise in terms of the date with autumn records more typical in October.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Pallid Harrier, Woodbury Common

A great find by friend and local birder Matt Knott this evening. 
A well deserved find as always. Much better photo and story on Matt's Blog HERE

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Spotted Crake still on the Otter

I haven't had a great deal of time for the patch during the last few days, but good to see the Spotted Crake is still around this evening, now present for 3 weeks.

Friday, 7 September 2018


It felt quite birdy this evening - Wish I had managed to get out earlier!
Notable birds in a quick walk around the west cliffs this evening included my earliest autumn Firecrest on the patch, along the clifftop path near the golf course, 1 Yellowhammer and 1+ Spotted Flycatcher.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018


Great to see at least a dozen wheatears around the top fields on a lovely sunny early autumn evening. Also my first Meadow Pipits from out of the stubbles with at least 25 birds, plus a couple of Skylark. A linnet flock of 30+ birds, numerous Chiffchaffs and a couple of Yellow Wagtails. Feeling autumnal.....

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Cattle Egrets

A nice surprise on the estuary this evening were two Cattle Egrets, presumably part of the influx in South Devon a few days ago? Only the second time I have actually seen them on the estuary, the last being in July 2011. However, more recently I had a bird fly over the golf course on 27th August 2017. Unfortunately, a Peregrine flushed them at around 8pm and they headed south down the estuary but I couldn't re-find them.

Migrants around the top fields this evening included a Sedge Warbler and Wheatear and still lots of hirundines gathering.

Two Cattle Egrets on the Otter, 1st September 2018

Friday, 31 August 2018

Wildfowl and Hirundines

This morning a visit to the hide on the east side of the Otter proved frustrating as no sooner had I arrived than I saw a flock of around 20 Teal flying down the estuary. A quick scan revealed one of the birds appeared to show a pale grey forewing just before the flock disappeared out of view and then re-appeared heading west over the sea! The best I could do was get the photo below. It doesn't help at all, but I was pretty certain it was a Garganey. I just wish I had seen it just one more time. I have only ever seen one Garganey on the Otter in autumn and that was on the 23rd September 2013. Also this morning was the distinctive call of a Bar-headed Goose in with the Canada Geese. It soon revealed itself and it's the first time I have seen it this autumn, now back for its 4th year!

Notable birds this evening included: a Greenshank and 10 Teal on the estuary, 250+ mixed hirundine flock, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Wheatear.

Spot the Garganey!

Great to see family groups of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins gathering at South Farm

Family of House Martins

Sand Martin and Swallow

A lone young Northern Wheatear

Male Southern Hawker - quite a few around at the moment