Saturday 10th October
A stiff NW wind throughout the day, blowing in a few scattered showers.
The lumpy crossing from Ilfracombe was very quiet birdwise, with single 1st-year Mediterranean Gull (close to the mainland) and a dark-phase Arctic Skua the highlights, alongside a handful of Guillemots and Kittiwakes and a couple of Gannets.
The White’s Thrush was relocated in Millcombe Wood during the afternoon and showed several times in flight across the valley, always returning to favoured areas of Millcombe Wood and the tree-planting enclosure below Government House on the north side of the valley. It was seen well, including by two North Devon birders who’d braved the elements on a day trip.
Sunday 11th October
|The Village & Castle Hill in the late afternoon sun, 11Oct © Tim Jones|
Also notable were the two Barnacle Geese grazing on one of the islands in Pondsbury, a Dotterel calling in flight over the Upper East Side Path near Quarter Wall (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton), two Yellow-browed Warbler (Millcombe and the Terrace), a Ring Ouzel near the intersection of Quarter Wall and 'Pointless Wall' (James Diamond), and the Coal Tit again in Millcombe & St Helen’s Combe. When seen well, the Coal Tit appeared to have a distinct yellowish suffusion to its cheeks and underparts, a feature particularly (though apparently not exclusively) associated with birds of the Irish race P. a. hibernicus.
|Coal Tit with yellowish suffusion to cheeks and underparts, St Helen's Copse 11 Oct © Tim Jones|
|Another view of the Coal Tit © Tim Jones|
Other records included: a female Teal on Barton Pond, three Cormorant, two Sparrowhawk, the autumn peak so far of five Water Rail (all in Millcombe!), single Golden Plover and Snipe, a steady N-bound movement of mainly immature Herring Gull totalling at least 140, three Lesser Black-backed Gull, one Kestrel, two Merlin, three Peregrine, two Sand Martin, 200 Swallow, 30 House Martin, four Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 20 Goldcrest, 120 Starling, 18 Blackbird, five Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, 22 Robin, five Stonechat, 14 Dunnock, two Grey Wagtail, two Pied Wagtail and 12 unraced ‘albas’, 190 Meadow Pipit, six Rock Pipit, 20 Chaffinch, the ringed female Greenfinch, 72 Goldfinch, 20 Siskin, 28 Linnet and two Lesser Redpoll.
Monday 12th October
Overcast and increasingly claggy, windy & drizzly during the morning; much drier and brighter in the afternoon. A stiff SW veering round to NW then pretty much due N by the end of the day.
Redwings were calling from first light and in spite of the conditions, flocks totalling c.200 were seen over Millcombe and the Ugly between 07.20 and 09.00. Also five Fieldfare and a sixth was outside Paradise Row first thing.
Tim Davis had a gripping close-up encounter with the White’s Thrush, perched just a few metres from him in Millcombe Wood at 10.20, whilst a pale wheatear found by James Diamond on the granite boulder slopes running down from below Quarry Pond and the Timekeeper’s Cottage to the Terrace/Lower East Side Path and seen intermittently in the late afternoon was initially thought to be an Isabelline Wheatear. Sadly expert examination of photos on return to the mainland showed a number of features, including prinmary projection, consistent with Northern Wheatear.
|It showed at close range, at times dropping down to feed on the mud... © Dean Jones|
|...or on the grass between the pond and the walled gardens © Tim Jones|