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Late post from yesterday. Following slurry spreading, as the sun came up and moon went down 4 buzzards feeding in one of fields behind the house including 2 strikingly coloured cream individuals puffed up against the cold. These were soon harried out of it by carrion crows and then quite incredible views during the morning in terms of sheer number of birds. Gulls – black headed, herring and lesser black backed, very difficult to count as they swirled around field to field but perhaps 2000 – 3000 with starling murmarations in amonsgt them. Interestingly not a rook to be seen in amongst the corvids. In the afternoon the starlings moved to fields in front of the house stopping off in the trees, quite amazing sounds of singing and wings. On/under the feeders a smart male yellowhammer with the chaffinches and house sparrows and 5 tit species including 2 marsh tits and late on several long tailed tits that returned this morning. Counted 11 on the fat balls with just enough room for a single blue tit. Earlier in the week 1 possibly 2 noisy mistle thrushes in the garden.
Exe Estuary cruise 5th February
A beautiful sunny day and another excellent Stuart Line cruise. The highlights included Great Northern Diver near Cockwood, Kingfisher on a wreck near Starcross, 100+ Pintail around the mouth of the Clyst, thousands of Black-headed Gulls, a dozen or more each of Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser, and Spotted Redshank, Marsh Harrier and 1000+ each of Lapwing and Golden Plover at Topsham. The three young Harbour (Common) Seals were hauled out on a sandbank, minus the adult present in previous days.
South Devon relief road
Merlin spotted on overhead wires over the South Devon relief road about 11.30 am today.
Skern, Northam Burrows.
- 20 Bar-tailed Godwit on the high tide roost including the full summer plumaged individual present since mid-December 2022.
Cadover area, Dartmoor
Over Big Pond at 07:45 2 male Goosander flying west.
Then around Cadover Bridge, 86+ Golden Plover over (Cadover and Wigford Down), six Cormorant and my first two Skylark of the year on the moor.
2 Spoonbills out on the scrape this morning with 10 Black-tailed Godwits and good numbers of Teal, having survived the depredations of the shooting season. In the reserve, 14 Canada Geese seem to have realised the season is over too.
Badgworthy, Devon side.
Over 30 Redwing.2 pairs of Dippers both around nesting sites from last year early courtship displays.2 Grey Wagtail and 1 Song Thrush singing.
Taw & Torridge Estuary
The single Great Northern Diver was diving for food just inside the mouth of the Taw & Torridge Estuary this morning.
Black Redstart, Highfield drive, Kingsbridge
Juvenile/female Black Redstart seen today at 1030 in Highfield Road , Kingsbridge, on a house roof .
Red Kite. Tiverton.
Single Red Kite seen over Knightshayes upper car park drifting east. 10.45am.
Exe Estuary cruise 4th February
Two immature Spoonbills were feeding off Mudbank Lane late morning, before today’s Stuart Line cruise departed. No sign of the G N Diver today, but still 15+ G C Grebes and c15 Mergansers; dozens of Pintail and huge numbers of Black-headed Gulls were around the mouth of the Clyst, while around Topsham there were 1500+ Lapwings and 1000+ Golden Plovers on the mudflats, plus masses of Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin, and smaller numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits. The wintering Spotted Redshank at Topsham gave excellent views, a flock of Canada Geese over Exminster Marshes contained a Snow Goose, and the wintering Ruff was feeding on the mud near Turf. A pair of Egyptian Geese flew into Powderham Park. Also, there were an exceptional 7 seals in the estuary today: three Grey Seals on a pontoon off Dawlish Warren, including an almost completely black bull, and a third young Harbour (Common) Seal had joined the adult on a sandbank off Exton.
Greenfinches Old Torrington Road Barnstaple
The greenfinch count this afternoon was 40+. Where they all come from and where they all go is a mystery. Two years ago it was goldfinches. Last year it was jackdaws. Very strange.
Pair of Goosanders, four male Pochards and two Wigeon on the lake this afternoon.
On the moor during Ten Tors training a lovely male Merlin near Great Mis Tor, c80 Golden plover over, 2 Buzzards.
Late morning on the Down: c40 Golden Plovers, 2 Ravens, 2 Buzzards 3 GBBG’s on TWL.
Riverside Country Park above Countess Weir
Countess Weir, Exeter this morning. Green and Common Sandpiper. 28 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 25 Meadow Pipit, 2 singing Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 2 Stonechat, 5 Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker.
Male Black Redstart still present this morning at the sewage outlet pipe, also, 2 Chiffchaffand a Shag on the rocks.
Valley of Rocks . Lynton.
About 15 Fulmars inspecting nesting sites with a few on the ledges in pairs. 2 Goldcrest in Lynton and 6 Stonechat down in the Valley.
One of the Spoonbills was on the scrape at Wrafton at 09.30, and stayed for a couple of hours. Little Egret there too, along with 8 Black-tailed Godwits. In the reserve, Goldcrest and at last, a sighting of Tawny Owl, Plenty of rather flighty Redwings.
Darwin Crescent, Plymouth
- Black Redstart again on the house roof before flying down the road.