Wednesday 31 December 2014

2014 - the good bits

31st December 2014 - Topsham


As is customary at this time of year, here's my brief, personal and mostly photographic round up of 2014 at Topsham Rec - a few hundred yards of river I think of as my own patch. If 2013 wasn't bad at all with Caspian Gull, Bonaparte's Gull and Lesser Yellowlegs, 2014 was, if anything, even better with two gulls I never realistically expected and a Christmas bonus that was my only self-found rare of the year, although I expect I'll never know which two (or all three?) of the group I can claim!


The Black Redstart was a surprise when it turned up in October 2013 - my first for the patch - and stayed well into 2014, though it never allowed particularly close views.

Black Redstart - 14/1/2014 Topsham Rec
Likewise the usual winter Water Pipit, annual these days at the Rec, but typically flighty.

Water Pipit - 27/1/2014 Topsham
Small parties of Bearded Tits were seen a few times by others, but only ever heard by me.


Bird of the month was a Yellow-browed Warbler that frequented some of the gardens at the back of the Rec. First seen by a visitor on 29th January, it was elusive and, despite some serious searching, I didn't get a look at it myself it until 18th February.

Yellow-browed Warbler - 18/2/2014 Topsham
A couple of Little Gulls dropped in briefly on the 26th, an adult and a 1st winter/2cy.

Little Gull 2cy - 26/2/2014 (I know it says 25th on photos) Topsham

Little Gull adult - 26/2/2014 Topsham


A Slavonian Grebe on the 25th showed well at times and hung around for a week or two.

Slavonian Grebe - 29/3/2014 Topsham

A 2cy Yellow-legged Gull on the 26th.

Yellow-legged Gull 2cy - 26/3/2014 Topsham


April Fool's Day produced a big surprise, a 2cy white-winger than turned out to be a Kumlien's Gull.

Kumlien's Gull 2cy - 1/4/2014 Topsham

Kumlien's Gull 2cy - 1/4/2014 Topsham


Three sightings of apparent hybrid gulls caused the usual head scratching. Here's a composite of one bird.

Larus sp. - 14/5/2014 Topsham


June was quiet with the main interest being the gull fest at nearby Bowling Green Marsh. At The Rec hybrid gulls and Mediterranean Gulls warmed things up for July's star attraction. This informative 4cy (small black mark on P9) was one of the few minor highlights.

Mediterranean Gull 4cy - 21/6/2014 Topsham


The BGM Ross's Gull finally showed up at The Rec and eventually gave great views. Unfortunately it didn't hang around to complete its moult and had disappeared by the end of the month; surely a bird in this state wouldn't go far? I wonder if one of the local Peregrines may have been responsible.

Ross's Gull 2cy - 21/7/2014 Topsham

Ross's Gull 2cy - 21/7/2014 Topsham

Ross's Gull 2cy - 22/7/2014 Topsham


My first juv/1cy Yellow-legged Gull of the season on the 6th August, always a pleasure.

Yellow-legged Gull 1cy - 6/8/2014 Topsham
A different bird on the 18th.

Yellow-legged Gull 1cy - 18/8/2014


A quiet month, more Hybrid Gulls and a Kingfisher taken by Peregrine.

Peregrine with Kingfisher -17/9/2014 Topsham


An early Water Pipit on 22nd which only stayed a week.

Water Pipit - 22/10/2014 Topsham

As usual gulls were the main object of interest. I found this argentatus Scandinavian Herring Gull (seriously rare in Devon) on the 28th October but didn't clinch it until 2nd November.

Scandinavian Herring Gull 4cy - 2/11/2014


My Bird of the Year? Got to be the three Penduline Tits on the 19th. Also my worst photos of the year.

Penduline Tits (three - count them) 19/12/2014 Topsham

My resolution for 2015? To find a nice obliging Caspian Gull - one that hangs around and sits for a few nice photos please.

Get out there and have a good one everybody.


  1. Always enjoy reading and learning from your blog Tim and I look forward to what 2015 has in store! No doubt see you out in the field soon. As ever, if over this way and you want some birding company, just send a text...

    1. Thanks Chris, must have a trip out your way sometime soon - I'll drop you a line. Have a good 2015

  2. A good patch to have. Best of luck for 2015!