Friday 19 April 2024

Friday 19th May

The first notable wader movement of spring with 54 Ringed Plover, 50 Whimbrel and 47 Dunlin, the latter all in summer plumage, in The Bight. Also in the estuary, 12 Dark and nine Pale-bellied Brent Geese, eight Sanderling, four Eider (two ♀ and two imm ♂) on Pole Sands and singles of Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper and a Redshank.

Other migrants included at least nine Wheatear, two new Whitethroat, a Willow Warbler and overhead, two Meadow Pipit and two Rook. The pair of Tufted Duck remain on the Main Pond.

Wheatear - Alan Keatley

Tufted Duck - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere four Great Northern Diver, three Great Crested Grebe and 17 Sandwich Tern foraged offshore, with totals SW from an hour seawatch early morning including c50 Gannet, 16 Common Scoter, 12 Kittiwake, two Fulmar and two Red-throated Diver.

Other Wildlife: Four Orange-tip and a Speckled Wood were on the wing along with several species of hoverfly including Platycheirus scutatus and Gossamer Hoverfly Baccha elongata both new for the year.

Gossamer Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Orange-tip - Alan Keatley

Great Green Bush-cricket nymph - Alan Keatley

Thursday 18 April 2024

Thursday 18th April

With the notable exception of a pair of Tufted Duck on the Main Pond, the site was virtually clear of migrants, with the two Whitethroat still holding territory and four Swallow around the Main Pond also likely to be local birds. Elsewhere 12 Sandwich Tern moved between the estuary and offshore.

Other Wildlife: The clear sunny weather that limited migrant arrivals was however good for insects, and for drying out the site. The first Small Copper of the year was one of four butterfly species on the wing, also at least eight Orange-tip, three Peacock and a Comma. The long awaited first Dark-edged Beefly of the year also made an appearance and a Water Vole was at the Main Pond.

Small Copper - Alan Keatley

Dark-edged Beefly - Alan Keatley

Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus - Kevin Rylands

Green-winged Orchid - Kevin Rylands

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Tuesday 16th April

Yesterday's Whitethroat was in full song near the Dune Pond, with a second arrival in the Entrance Bushes. The only other migrants was a high flying flock of 16 Woodpigeon heading W.

Whitethroat - Alan Keatley

Over the low high tide The Bight was empty of waders but 12 Dark and seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese and eight Sandwich Tern were present. 

Other Wildlife: A range of insects in the spring sunshine, the majority however sheltering from the chilly northerly wind. Several beetle species were trapped near the geotubes, the pick being the nationally rare Horned Rove Beetle Bledius frisius (previously B. spectabilis) with the colourful leaf beetle Gastrophysa polygoni and the water scavenger beetle Sphaeridium bipustulatum also adrift on the beach.

Horned Rove Beetle Bledius frisius (a horned male) - Alan Keatley

Gastrophysa polygoni - Alan Keatley

Sphaeridium bipustulatum - Alan Keatley

First emergences for the year included the hoverflies, Smudge-veined Clubtail Neoascia podagricaStriped-faced Dronefly Eristalis nemorum and Batman Hoverfly Myathropa florea, and around the Entrance Bushes, a Flavous Nomad Bee Nomada flava.

Monday 15 April 2024

Monday 15th April

A two hour seawatch early morning recorded 58 Gannet, eight Kittiwake, seven Fulmar, three Whimbrel and three Red-throated Diver heading SW with three Manx Shearwater E. During a squall line a foraging flock of 50 Sandwich Tern gathered by the seawall with single Little and Common Tern also present.

Elsewhere the first Whitethroat of the year was sub-singing near the Dune Pond, a Willow Warbler was in Dead Dolphin Wood, three Great Northern Diver were on the sea and in the estuary, 10 Dark and the family party of seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese, three Eider and a Dunlin.

Year List addition

140. Whitethroat

Sunday 14 April 2024

Sunday 14th April

Few seabirds moving offshore early morning but a ♀ Garganey flying E with six Common Scoter just after 7am was a welcome surprise, also from the seawall at least five Great Northern and five Red-throated Diver on the sea with 18 Sandwich and a Little Tern feeding off the estuary mouth. 

A moulting ♂ Ruff that joined the mixed wader roost on Finger Point over high tide was the second new species for the year. Also in the estuary counts of 207 Oystercatcher, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Whimbrel, 10 Dark and seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese, seven Eider, six Grey & three Ringed Plover, five Redshank, and threes of Dunlin, Knot and Sanderling 

Elsewhere at least 16 Wheatear and a Willow Warbler were on site, with migrants overhead including four Swallow, four Rook and singles of Jackdaw, Sparrowhawk and Siskin.

Wheatear - Martin Overy

Year list additions:

138. Garganey
139. Ruff

Other Wildlife: Single Orange-tip and Peacock were on the wing and the first Southern Marsh Orchid of the year was in flower. 

Saturday 13 April 2024

Saturday 13th April

Counts from the estuary included 45 Sandwich and a Common Tern, 22 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Pale and 14 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, six Eider, six Whimbrel, five Grey Plover, two Redshank, a Sanderling and a Dunlin.

Elsewhere a one hour 45min seawatch saw 17 Common Scoter, six Red-throated Diver and a Little Egret head SW with a Great Northern Diver offshore; and grounded migrants included six Wheatear and a Willow Warbler with 14 Chiffchaff and seven Blackcap a mix of new arrivals and birds holding territory.

Other Wildlife: A good selection of insects on the wing prompted by the warmest day of the year, including the first Holly Blue of the year, at least ten Orange-tip and four Peacock.

Red Mason Bee - Alan Keatley

Bees included Short-fringed Mining Bee Andrena dorsataRed Mason Bee Osmia bicornis and Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus vestalis, with Marsh Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus hybridus, a few Spring Epistrophe E. eligansseveral displaying and mating Celery Fly Euleia heraclei, the ichneumon wasp Ichneumon stramentor and the sawfly Aglaostigma aucupariae all making their first appearances of the year.

Marsh Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus hybridus - Alan Keatley

Celery Fly Euleia heraclei - Alan Keatley

A new species for the Recording Area, Harpactea hombergi, a largely nocturnal woodlouse hunting spider, was found near the station.

Harpactea hombergi - Alan Keatley

Friday 12 April 2024

Friday 12th April

A smart ♂ Ring Ouzel on Warren Point was the highlight, only the fifth spring record for the Warren. Other migrants included eight Wheatear and four Willow Warbler with three Rook overhead and a Kestrel offshore.

Ring Ouzel - both Lee Collins

In the estuary a day of Brent passage, with large mobile flocks of Pale-bellied present, eventually 139 settled in the Bight along with 15 Dark-bellied birds. Other counts included 42 Sandwich Tern,  21 Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Knot, six Grey and two Ringed Plover, five Sanderling, four Whimbrel, a Dunlin and a Redshank.

Elsewhere a two hour 15 min seawatch saw 23 Red-throated Diver, c50 Kittiwake and 20 Common Scoter head SW with two Little Tern and two Great Northern Diver offshore.

Year list addition:

137. Ring Ouzel

Other Wildlife: The first Orange-tip of the year was on the wing along with single Peacock and Speckled Wood.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Thursday 11th April

Early morning single Arctic and Common Tern were offshore with 26 Sandwich Tern, three Red-throated and Great Northern Diver.

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 210 Oystercatcher, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese, seven Eider, six Grey Plover, four Knot, two Dunlin and two Sanderling.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Wednesday 10th April

The only news came from an hour seawatch early morning with counts including 24 Kittiwake, 22 Sandwich, two Common and a Little Tern, 21 Gannet, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Tuesday 9th April

Storm force winds and high spring tides over recent days have caused considerable damage to the Dune Ridge along the length of the spit, with Warren Point particularly badly hit, with tens of metres of fixed dune habitat lost to the sea. A continuing failure of the Beach Management Scheme with gabion baskets last seen over 50 years ago now fully exposed. 

Erosion - both Alan Keatley

Early morning seawatching saw another early Storm Petrel, an Arctic Tern and a Red-throated Diver south with two Little Tern and three Great Northern Diver offshore. 

Few birds were recorded at low tide although 25 Sandwich Tern were roosting on an offshore sandbar and a Great Northern Diver was in the estuary off Cockwood. There was also an unconfirmed report of a Black-throated Diver offshore.

Late afternoon there were c40 Sandwich, five Little and an Arctic Tern feeding offshore.

Other Wildlife: Sand Crocus took advantage of the sunny weather to emerge in numbers across the site, along with several early St. Mark's Fly Bibio marci (St Mark's Day is 25th April). 

St Mark's Fly - Alan Keatley

Also, active for the first time this year, Parsley Blacklet Cheilosia pagana and Rhombic Leatherbug Syromastus rhombeus.

Parsley Blacklet Cheilosia pagana - Alan Keatley

Rhombic Leatherbug Syromastus rhombeus - Alan Keatley