We (not just the patch, but Devon as a whole - in fact to a certain extent the south west!) have been left behind by the rest of the UK. The east coast has seen yet another superb influx of migrants, scarcities and rarities but very few have reached us. I thought the Lower Bruckland Yellow-browed Warblers a fortnight ago were going to be the start of a cracking spell of birding for us - but that wasn't the case.
Although I haven't had much time to go birding, I've forced myself to look along the Estuary and river valley at least once a day. And every couple of days I've given either Beer Head, Axe Cliff or the marshes a good look. The highlight of what should be one of the best times of year has been...a Brent Goose! Yes - that's how bad and frustrating it's been.
The cold northerly winds that closed last week shouted Whooper Swan or grey goose to me. Annoyingly the Whooper Swans decided to fly back north a little to the west of us (yes you guessed it - Dawlish Warren had three on Friday morning) and the goose wasn't a grey one, but as I've already mentioned a Brent. I thought the 90 Canada Geese would attract something but I was hoping for something a bit better. Wildfowl are clearly on the move at the moment, a few days ago I had three Shoveler fly past at sea, and this morning a lovely juv Pintail was on Lower Bruckland Ponds.
Black-headed and Common Gull numbers are also increasing, with two Med Gulls (a first and second-winter) on Saturday morning and an adult this morning. Waders have been trickling though with a few Ruff still about (apparently five this morning), 15 Dunlin and a lingering Greenshank.
Vis mig hasn't been spectacular but there's been some ok days with good numbers of the expected species passing over. Have had several Reed Buntings, Grey Wags and Siskins go through, and my first Redpoll of the autumn with two over Black Hole on 6th Oct. Considering the number of Redwings in the UK I'm amazed to say I've not actually seen one! I've heard a few going over in the night but a day time bird has so far eluded me.
Because I've seen no decent birds I've taken no photos of birds. Well that's except for a Swallow I spied this morning - I'm starting to note down any hirundines I see now as they are getting few and far between. If I didn't tell you I took this photo this morning, it could easily be a late March pic of the first returning male Swallow...
|You better get going mate!|
I was pleased to get the moth trap out a few times before the weather turned cooler. One of the nights isn't worth talking about, but the other - 8th Oct - certainly is! In the trap the next morning were 69 moths of 19 species. This included plenty of immigrants, such as...
|Two Vestals, only caught one before in the garden ever!|
|My third Clancy's Rustic|
|And my highest ever count of Dark Sword Grass, four.|
And that's that. I'm afraid this long awaited blog post wasn't worth waiting for. Hopefully things will get better soon...