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Post Info TOPIC: Devon


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RE: Devon


Had a day down on Devon on our holiday today. Highlights were Dartford Warbler, Tree Pipit and Hobby at Aylesbeare Common. The biggest surprise though was a stunning Wood Warbler in a bit of oak woodland. Also there were lots of Stonechats and a Yellowhammer. We dropped in to Bowling Green Marsh too but ultra quiet with a handful of Black-tailed Godwits the best birds.

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Visit to Labrador Bay over the weekend and some cracking views of Cirl Bunting with 5 seen in total. 

Onto Bowling Green Marsh in Topsham and although Bonaparte's Gull wasn't seen was an excellent place. Highlights were 5 Whimbrel, Brent Goose, Grey Plover, Avocet, 4 Ringed Plover, 100 Black Tailed Godwit, Knot, 2 Ruff and 2 Sedge Warbler 



-- Edited by Chris Harper on Tuesday 8th of May 2018 09:54:18 PM

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Simon Gough wrote:

For the record, I have never suggested that there is anywhere better to see Cirl Buntings than Labrador Bay; you just have to look at Doc Brewster's post below. Berry Head is a better place to go birding in general though, which was why I suggested it. Sadly we didn't give ourselves the time to look around properly, but it was wet and horrible so we wouldn't have seen much anyway imo. A bit of a shame as there are Cirls up there and I'm sure we would have seen some nice stuff in better conditions. Will just have to head down another time...


 Totally agree with all you say here Simon smile Labrador Bay is better for Cirl Buntings, after all the RSPB manage the whole area exclusively for this species. But as you say we saw very little else there and Berry Head is a far better bet for the variety of species that you can get there. I would go there for better birding in general, as you say, every time smile



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For the record, I have never suggested that there is anywhere better to see Cirl Buntings than Labrador Bay; you just have to look at Doc Brewster's post below. Berry Head is a better place to go birding in general though, which was why I suggested it. Sadly we didn't give ourselves the time to look around properly, but it was wet and horrible so we wouldn't have seen much anyway imo. A bit of a shame as there are Cirls up there and I'm sure we would have seen some nice stuff in better conditions. Will just have to head down another time...



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Saturday 30th Sept.

I drove to east Devon (from Cornwall) with Simon and Chris for the last 24hrs or so of our birding break.
Simon and Chris wanted the Cirl Buntings, and my main purpose was to try and see the reintroduced European Beavers on the River Otter.

Berry Head.
Not really knowing Devon, we were in Simons old stomping grounds and he recommended Berry Head as probably more reliable for Cirl Buntings than Labrador Bay. But our luck wasn't in as we didn't cop for any.
I've seen them before in Cornwall and Zante so although a bit disappointed, it wasn't too upsetting.

Otterton.
A long walk along a muddy track alongside the river Otter in dusk light did leave me disappointed having not seen the Beavers although I knew it wasn't a banker by any means.
Mammals are a different prospect to Birds as a lot of them have literally become nocturnal or crepuscular, and I kind of knew just one visit was probably not going to be successful.
We did see 2 Kingfishers however.

Sunday 1st October.
A quick early morning Seawatch at Orchombe point produced 1 Great Skua of note.

Aylesbere Common.
A quick visit to get a feel for the place produced nothing which I suppose was to be expected.

What did make us chuckle was when Simon said "bloody hell we were doing ok until we changed county" and that comment rang true as something always happens when I leave Cornwall.



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Yesterday we headed over from our base near Launceston to the nearby Devon coast. First stop was a new reserve for us, the RSPB managed Labrador Bay near Teignmouth. Immediately in the hedges near the car park we picked up the first few of over 12 Cirl Buntings in the vicinity. This rare, localised bird is a success story here with over 30 territories this year. Lots of Gannets offshore & a Shag were the only other notable birds. We then headed to Bowling Green Marsh RSPB. Here we saw a Curlew Sandpiper off the Clyst Viewing Plaform, hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits from the Hide and a Green Sandpiper on the new pools. Finally a peek at Goosemoor, under the railway added 3 Greenshank to the day list. A good day was turned upside down in the evening when we got a phonecall to say that my 87 year old mother in law had fallen & broken her hip, 12 weeks after having her other hip replaced. So we are now back in Cardiff, holiday cancelled, more important matters now call.

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Decided on another Devon day on the fourth full day of our holiday today. Spent the morning at Aylesbeare Common where we saw one Dartford Warbler and heard another. A Hobby gave a fabulous display catching dragonflies too. The only other notable birds seen were Stonechats. In the afternoon we went to nearby Seaton 'Wetlands' where after a search we found the Cattle Egret that has been here. Several Yellow Wagtails, a Green Sandpiper and two Common Sandpipers were also seen as well as Dublin, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks.

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Second day of our West Country holiday today and we headed down to Devon to make the most of an inclement weather forecast. First port of call was Exmouth where, after a short search, I refound a Hoopoe that had been present a few days here. The bird eventually showed very well, feeding in a mown field by Maer Farm. As it started to pour down with rain, as per forecast we moved on. A lengthy search of the shore here produced nothing more than lots of Sandwich Terns. The plan now was to use the Hide at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB to shelter but still bird, and so we headed there. Best find was an adult & a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull, which a local guy told us were not common here, so I was immediately 'in' with the local patch guys for finding these! Also here were a couple of Whimbrel, a juv Ruff, two juv Ringed Plovers, one Bar-tailed Godwit and hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Redshank & Dunlin. Again a great day & birded throughout even though it had rained heavily all afternoon!

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Spent around an hour and a half at Prawle Point late morning. Parked on the National Trust car park, walked down to the coastal path before turning east and walking in that direction. Saw seven Cirl Bunting along with Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, Linnet, Stonechat, Chiffchaff and Oystercatcher and Buzzard, amongst others.

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Visiting friends who run a b&b in Paignton, so called in at Labrador RSPB Reserve yesterday morning in hot weather. Cirl Bunting heard then seen immediately to the south of the car park with around half a dozen birds either heard or seen within a quarter/half mile of said car park. We did a loop south of the car park, down the steep path to just above the sea, then back north before cutting up the hill to the car park again. We could have gone along other paths north of the car park where I am sure other Cirl Buntings would have been noted. Good to see that this species went through one thousand pairs last year.

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A few snippets from my recent holiday in the West Country, for info for fellow birders:

Aylesbeare Common - Dartford Warbler (well known publicised site for this Schedule 1 species), Stonechat, Linnet.

Directions are to park in the car park on the south side of the A3052 and then cross over to the north to access over the cattle grid, the info board resplendent with a huge picture of a Dartford Warbler, shows that you are in the correct place!



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April 6th. 07.30 hrs.

Labrador Bay near Teignmouth, Devon.

With Ian Lyth.

Great views of a singing male Cirl Bunting from around 10 yards.

Probably around another 20 birds seen in the hedges.

Roger.



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Spent a lovely Saturday at 2 great spots in Devon whilst visiting friends this weekend.
Trendlebere in East Dartmoor:
Area opposite car park was the best with
Dartford Warbler
Redstart
2 Spotted Flycatcher
Tree Pipit
8 Stonechat
Green Woodpecker
2 Willow Warbler

Afternoon seawatch at Berry Head in Brixham:
Sooty Shearwater
100+ Manx Shearwater
Pomerine Skua
Arctic Skua
3 Sandwich Tern
4 Gannet
Fulmar
4 Kittiwake

Minimum of one Harbour Porpoise

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