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Flew up with a grumpy squak as I ran the last bit of the drive.18:30+Saturday
Elfordleigh Wood, Plympton
Tried to relocate yesterday’s Firecrests but only managed to locate a single Goldcrest. A big surprise was our first ever Ring-necked Parakeet for the area, it looks like the Saltram birds are spreading their wings. The rutting deer were still very vocal there this afternoon. Take care if you decide to visit.
Plym Estuary & Saltram
On this morning’s high tide, with over 200 Redshanks: 2 Snipe, 21 Dunlins, Common Sandpiper, 10 Greenshanks, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, ad-w Mediterranean Gull, Little Grebe & a Wigeon. Also, Firecrest, Green Woodpecker & a Roe Deer.
Velator quay to Braunton marsh
Very windy walking along the ridge towpath, lots of gulls, female kestrel trying to hunt despite the wind, in the fields across from the river.
30+ shelduck down towards the bottom of the marsh, the usual little egrets, a flock of approx 400 starlings in the field with horses in.
South side of Taw Estuary & Fremington Pill
On the way to Barnstaple & Fremington pill this morning met Jon Turner who was scoping the waders on Wrafton scrape. Side by side there were 2 smaller waders which were both sleeping one of which was slightly smaller than the Knot alongside which turned out to be a Reeve. Considering it was asleep so the bill was not visible & the bird was facing in the opposite direction, it was an excellent piece of identification by Jon.
On the south side of the Taw Estuary looking at the distant fields of sheep on the higher ground to the south of the trail there were 23 Cattle Egrets.
In Fremington Pill the foraging single Glossy Ibis was showing well.
Counted 94 Black-tailed Godwits this morning. In amongst them were1 Knot and one Ruff (or more likely Reeve – quite small). No further sign of the Siskin in the reserve, but the busy Tit flock did contain a Treecreeper.
Wrafton Pond had 2 Shoveler and 8 Gadwall. 3 of the Cygnets have returned, although the male didn’t react well to their presence.
Red Admiral and Large White seen on the way home.
Saltpill Duck Pond area
A late afternoon/early evening trip out to Saltpill Duck Pond where a male Kingfisher was snapped. On the water there was a Grebe (long neck, black cap, light grey neck and grey sides – not able to see eye colour) that I and other observers initially believed to be a Black necked Grebe, but sadly after cropping a photo of the distant bird it’s become clear that it was in fact a Little Grebe.
Elfordleigh Wood, Plympton
The grunting of the rutting Fallow Deer failed to drown out the high-pitched calls of at least four Goldcrests and my first two Firecrests of the season.
Yet another bird I ringed in the reserve has been recovered. Sadly deceased – a Tawny Owl which was ringed on 9th October 2016 and found on 9th October this year nearby at Marwood.
Large flock of Golden Plover over north – c700 at 17:10. Flock then flew back and forth over Ringmoor Down, then continued north several minutes later.
Powderham Marsh RSPB
Osprey flew north over Powderham Marsh RSPB this lunch time. Also 7 Stonechat, 70+ Linnet, 25+ Greenfinch, 2+ Reed Bunting and 3+ Great Spot Woodpeckers amongst supporting cast
Again 90 (or so) Black-tailed Godwits on the scrape this morning, and hiding among them was a single Knot. Glad they have returned after the first day’s shooting around the marsh yesterday. After a while, another wader flew in and the scope revealed it to be a Ruff. In the reserve a delightful charm of Goldfinches (ads and juvs) feeding on Alder cones were joined by a very smart female Siskin – the first in the reserve this year.
Harleston by Slapton
20 Swallows overhead just now plus 2 migrant Grey Wagtails on the roof and a Green Woodpecker. Earlier Wheatear on Bolt Head.
Lyme Bay Cruise
Good numbers of Kittiwake and Gannets 3 miles out from Berry Head. Also 3 – 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 8 Mediterranean Gulls and 2-3 pods of Common Dolphins. Despite attracting good numbers of Gulls to the boat no sign of any Skuas.
14 Mediterranean Gulls and two Red-throated Divers just off the beach (one in full summer plumage) – Thanks to Penny Wills for the call.
Great White Egret
Top of lower half of Tottiford Reservoir. Chased off by heron so size confirmed. Pale beak and dark legs. Pottering about.
20+ Cattle Egret in sheep field between Fremington and Barnstaple. Viewable from the Tarka Trail. 2 Glossy Ibis by the Pill. Ceti’s Warbler calling in the bushes by Salt Pill Duck Pond.
Retrapped a Chiffchaff on Tuesday which wasn’t one of mine. Details back today that it was ringed in Ireland earlier this year.
Also had details of another one of my Storm Petrels which was ringed at Hartland Point last year. This one turned up at Bardsey nearly a year later.
Afternoon visit turned up late Reed Warbler at Starehole Ponds plus 17 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, 26 Long-tailed Tit (Soar site record), migrant Great Spotted Woodpecker, 12 Alba Wagtail & 150 Skylark. 30 Woodpigeon flying east may be the start of the autumn migration.
Five over RHS Rosemoor, Torrington. Also Chiffchaff in garden