Somerset and Devon-1 November 2014

Somerset and Devon day trip

Grey Phalarope (1st winter) Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton, Devon

Grey Phal

Grey Phalarope

We all met up at Whitminster for a departure time of 0600 and made our first stop at WWT Steart Marshes. The reserve is fully open and is highly recommended as a birding destination or for a good walk in open country or even to cycle around. Although it was breezy we had fantastic light all day, bright sunshine. Our vantage point over the vast reserve was from the screens adjacent to Mendip Hide, and what a vantage point. Scanning and scoping produced a long list of sightings. We hoped to see the juvenile Pallid Harrier that has been present but were not lucky enough to connect today. It showed brilliantly the day after. The breach on the River Parrett side is fairly new so the relationship with birds and their movements is bound to still be evolving. We noticed that many species arrived through the morning to feed in the creeks as the tide dropped. Flocks of Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Linnet were seen out on the weedy areas, a few pairs of Stonechat roamed the hedges and weeds and flocks of Starlings totalling 1200 passed through during our watch.

It was very productive for raptors, Roberta spotted a Merlin, at least three Kestrel, 4 Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine showed for us, the latter clearing the area. Large flocks of Dunlin moved across the site from Stert flats to the Parrett. The tidal pools and creeks held at least 9 Little Egret and 3 Grey Heron but pick of the leggy bunch was a Great White Egret, this was being chased by a heron and was even flushed by the Peregrine. Flocks of Lapwing came in, 24 Golden Plover flew over and 2 Ruff appeared on the wet mud.

Off in the distance some dedicated scope work picked up 7 Brent Geese flying out of the Parrett and a female Red-breasted Merganser that flew around not really knowing what it wanted to do. Small flocks of Black-tailed Godwit were also noted. I heard later that nearly 300 Avocet were also on the Parrett, very impressive. We all enjoyed this visit very much and will definitely be back.

Moving on we then headed to Devon to Budleigh Salterton and the mouth of the R. Otter. A showy 1st winter Grey Phalarope had been present for a week and we were soon watching it feeding very close to us on the mud. A very smart little bird. A couple of Ringed Plover jostled for the best island to roost upon. A few Wigeon and Teal were present on the small fresh marsh along with the gull flocks and out to sea we noted Gannets on the horizon. Dunlin, Redshank and Curlew were also present. It was very windy on the coast so after a check with everyone we decided to head to Seaton in hope of some sheltered birding.

A short drive and we were as Black Hole Marsh wandering to the Tower Hide to view across the marshes and Axe estuary. Large numbers of gulls were loafing on the sandbars and channels. A ringed juvenile Great black-backed Gull appears to be from a S. Norway project, I await details. Black-tailed Godwits were accompanied by a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Little Grebe and a variety of duck added to the experience. On the walk back to the car we watched a Chiffchaff sheltering in the ditch.

One last look over the sea at Seaton produced a skua sp chasing the Kittiwakes. The light was fading so we called it day arriving back at 1840hrs. It was a good day out, thanks to all for your company.


Gull details below.

Resightings of a Colour Ringed Gull

Thank you for your report of a CR-ringed Gull. Under you will find the details. In the event the bird is dead and you still posses the ring(s), we kindly urge you to send (them) to us. Resightings of our CR-ringed Gulls could be reported to Lista Ringing Group, Box 171, 4558 Vanse, Norway, on E-mail: or the WEB page

This list of ringingdata and ring reading data is intended for personal use only. If you want to publish data from this list please contact us before publication;

For birds ringed in Norway;
Morten Helberg at email

For birds ringed in Denmark;
Kjeld T. Pedersen at email

CR-Code Black ring with white code: JU180 LBNW(JU180);RBM
Ringing Centre Stavanger Museum (Norway) Ring number 3023069
Species Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus
Sex Unknown Age Pullus

Date Place Coordinates Observers Days/km/°
01.07 2014 LILLE STEINSHOLMEN, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway 58°02’40″N 006°53’36″E Olsen, Knut Sigbjørn
01.11 2014 Tower Hide, Black Hole Marsh, Axe Estuary, Seaton, Devon, Great Britain 50°49’03″N 003°03’33″W McGill, Martin 123/1028/222

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: