Saturday 9 December 2023

Saturday 9th December

The adult Spoonbill reappeared from upriver to roost of Finger Point at high tide, with other counts from the estuary including 352 Dark and 15 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 103 Shelduck, the first 3-fig count of the year, 73 Curlew at the evening roost, very few at high tide, 33 Ringed Plover, 22 Sanderling and four Red-breasted Merganser.

Elsewhere the eight Eider (six ♀ & two imm ♂) were close inshore off Warren Point, with five Red-throated and three Great Northern Diver also offshore, a Water Pipit was around the Bight, two Mistle Thrush flew in from mainland and appeared to drop on site, but were not relocated, five (three ♂ & two ♀) Shoveler were on the Main Pond and 14 Cirl Bunting, four Chiffchaff and three Goldcrest were on site.

Friday 8 December 2023

Friday 8th December

Just the two Gannet passed in an hour's watch from the seawall early morning, along with two Great Northern Diver and a Mediterranean Gull. However yesterday's weather had dropped in a foraging adult Little Gull and a Grey Phalarope, which flew SW before landing on sea at 08:15. 

An adult Spoonbill was a new arrival, feeding in the Bight on the rising tide before roosting on Finger Point. Counts from the high tide included 1244 Dunlin, 961 Wigeon, 208 Teal, 151 Grey and 31 Ringed Plover, 134 Bar-tailed Godwit, 61 Knot, 18 Sanderling, seven Greenshank and three Red-breasted Merganser. At low tide, 338 Dark and five Pale-bellied Brent Goose and 73 Shelduck were feeding on the mudflats.

Elsewhere seven Eider and two Great Northern Diver were off Warren Point, a Water Pipit was around the Bight, a Mistle Thrush flew low SW over the shops with five Chiffchaff and three Goldcrest in the bushes.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Tuesday 5th December

At least 12 Great Northern Diver were feeding close inshore, three off the seawall and six off Warren Point, it was otherwise quiet offshore with 16 Great Crested Grebe and around Langstone Rock, the three Common Scoter.

Great Northern Diver - Alan Keatley

Wildfowl and wader numbers were much reduced on the neap high tide, with birds able to feed and roost elsewhere around the estuary. Counts included 830 Dunlin, 345 Wigeon, 250 Teal, 65 Shelduck, 49 Grey and four Ringed Plover, 18 Knot, 13 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, three Greenshank, two Red-breasted Merganser and just one Bar-tailed Godwit.

Elsewhere two pairs of Shoveler were on the Main Pond and around the bushes four Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest and two Firecrest.

Shoveler - Alan Keatley

Other Wildlife: An old Alder Tongue Taphrina alni found growing on Alder catkins was just the third site record. 

Alder Tongue - Kevin Rylands

Sunday 3 December 2023

Sunday 3rd December

Three Velvet Scoter, a ♀ and later a pair, were the highlight of an early 1.5 hour seawatch, also passing SW; 44 Gannet and nine Kittiwake, with 18 Common Scoter, two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver offshore and a flock of eight Eider off Warren Point (six ♀, two fw ♂).

Counts from the estuary included 159 Bar-tailed Godwit, 126 Knot, 70 Shelduck, 35 Sanderling, six Pintail, five Greenshank, three Red-breasted Merganser and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Other counts were similar to recent days e.g. 1660 Dunlin, 1074 Wigeon, 689 Teal and the two family parties of Pale-bellied Brent Geese.

Elsewhere two Water Pipit were around the Bight, with a couple of presumed littoralis Rock Pipit, 12 Skylark and just six Linnet. Around the bushes 49 Goldfinch, 15 Greenfinch, 12 Cirl and a Reed Bunting, nine Siskin, four Bullfinch, three Chiffchaff and three Goldcrest, with a single Siskin overhead and six Shoveler at the Main Pond (2 pairs; ♂, imm ♂).

Ringing News: Good viewing conditions the last couple of days have enabled field reads of over 80 Oystercatcher, 20 Dunlin and three Grey Plover from the DCWRG Exe study. A further 10 project Oystercatcher were also present but the colour-rings are no longer identifiable due to wear. Amongst these highlights included an Oystercatcher first ringed in 1989 and a Dunlin from the first catch in 2019. 

Other recoveries included a Welsh and a West Midlands ringed Oystercatcher, two Shelduck from the AERG and a Great Black-backed Gull (P:87B) ringed as a chick on Portland Breakwater in 2015 and recorded here for the 169th time.

Other Wildlife: Flying insects were largely limited to Scathophaga litorea, the Strandline Dung Fly, around washed up seaweed. Further up the remaining beach, a larvae of the ground beetle Broscus cephalotes under driftwood and a fine specimen of Dune Cup Peziza ammophila.

Broscus cephalotes - Kevin Rylands

Dune Cup - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 2 December 2023

Saturday 2nd December

Continuing overnight frosts saw four Lapwing in the estuary with seven Shoveler joining the wildfowl with the Main Pond largely frozen. Counts over high tide included 1530 Dunlin, 1077 Wigeon, 837 Oystercatcher, 703 Teal, 194 Curlew, 148 Dark and 10 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 132 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 121 Grey and 35 Ringed Plover, 72 Knot, 51 Turnstone, 17 Sanderling, a ♀ Pintail and a Red-breasted Merganser.

Seven Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest and a Grey Wagtail were around the bushes, the latter closely avoiding a ♂ Sparrowhawk, with the Cetti's Warbler vocal at the Main Pond. A few Snipe were 
in the dunes and overhead along with eight Chaffinch and a Rook overhead.

Elsewhere 38 Great Crested Grebe, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore, three Common Scoter close in off Langstone Rock and despite the conditions both Collared Dove and Feral Pigeon were in song/displaying.

Other Wildlife: A few Common Dronefly were almost the only insects on the wing, but a new fly for the Recording Area was recorded, Chromatomyia scolopendri discovered mining Hart's-tongue Fern.

Chromatomyia scolopendri - Kevin Rylands

Friday 1 December 2023

Friday 1st December

Fewer birds around the reserve with five Goldcrest and four Chiffchaff with just 11 Long-tailed Tit. The others no doubt back on the mainland, taking the Firecrests and perhaps the Pallas's with them. A Mistle Thrush briefly along the Back Path, at least five Water Rail on site and five Shoveler, two pairs & an imm ♂, on Main Pond hinted at some winter movement.

Estuary counts from high tide included c1735 Dunlin, c930 Wigeon, 412 Teal, 294 Redshank, 209 Dark and 22 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 126 Grey and 11 Ringed Plover, 120 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 81 Knot, four Sanderling and two Greenshank.

Elsewhere three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver were offshore with three Common Scoter and a Mediterranean Gull.

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Tuesday 28th November

Attention was again focused on the Entrance Bushes, Buffer Zone and Car Park where the Pallas's Warbler remained for a third day. It was however again very elusive with no records after late morning; also present in the roving tit flock, two Firecrest.

Pallas's Warbler - Jim Summers

Offshore, good numbers of Great Crested Grebe, four Common Scoter and two Red-throated Diver.

Monday 27 November 2023

Monday 27th November

The Pallas's Warbler periodically showed well at times throughout the day, receiving a steady trickle of admirers, but was often 'missing' for long periods. It was again primarily around the Entrance Bushes but was seen as far as the Main Pond and Car Park, always associated with mixed tit, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest flock. 

Also present around the Entrance Bushes a Siberian Chiffchaff, two Water Rail and a Grey Wagtail.

Other Wildlife: The Grey Squirrel was again in the Entrance Bushes Alders.

Sunday 26 November 2023

Sunday 26th November

The long awaited first Pallas's Warbler for the Recording Area was discovered in the flooded Entrance Bushes mid morning and showed occasionally until disappearing early afternoon. It associated with a large mixed foraging flock of mixed tits, warblers and crests. 

Also around the scrub a Siberian Chiffchaff, at least one Firecrest, six Goldcrest, five Chiffchaff, three Bullfinch and a ♂ Blackcap

The tide was overlooked in favour of the Pallas's but a two hour seawatch early morning saw 168 Razorbill and 67 Kittiwake flew south with 25+ Great Crested Grebe, three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser.

Other Wildlife: No flying insects in the damp. drizzly conditions but the Grey Squirrel was active in the Entrance Bushes.

Saturday 25 November 2023

Saturday 25th November

The first frost of the winter meant a cold start with rolling sea mist hampering viewing offshore until later in the day. A Purple Sandpiper briefly on the breakwater at Langstone Rock was an early highlight with a lone Velvet Scoter found off Groyne 12 late in the day. Also offshore 45 Great Crested Grebe, a significant increase, eight Red-throated and six Great Northern Diver, a ♂ Shoveler and an immature ♂ Eider.

In the estuary the Spotted Redshank was again present with counts including 1122 Wigeon, 321 Dark and 37 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 262 Teal, 165 Redshank, 113 Grey Plover, 86 Bar and three Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Knot, 53 Shelduck, 28 Ringed Plover, 17 Sanderling, eight Greenshank, three Red-breasted Merganser and single Little Grebe and Kingfisher.

Raven - Alan Keatley

A Siberian Chiffchaff was by the Main Pond, with seven Chiffchaff, six Goldcrest, four Song Thrush, two Bullfinch and a Redwing were on site with a lone Siskin overhead. Elsewhere 23 Skylark commuted between Warren Point and the Bight and a pair a Raven patrolled the site.

Skylark - Alan Keatley

Other Wildlife: A few hardy insects were active once the frost had dissipated, with several Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Common Dronefly and Marmalade Hoverfly milling around the ornamental Hebe.

Marmalade Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere four Red Admiral and three Common Darter were still on the wing and a Harbour Porpoise was offshore.

Red Admiral - Alan Keatley