Monday, 1 June 2020

Monday 1st June

On the rising tide, 21 Sanderling foraged out on a sand bar.  Footware removal and wading out into the tidal channels was thea level of commitment one observer was prepared to go to to secure details of a colour-ringed individual, which turned out to be yesterday's bird from Guinea-Bissau.  A Dunlin was also present.

A late Spotted Flycatcher was in the Entrance Bushes. The Canada Goose nest must have been well concealed because up until now only a single bird had been seen on the Main Pond, but today the pair was back together shepherding their three goslings.  Noisy Little Grebe chicks and their parents largely remained hidden in the reeds.  

Distantly outside of the recording area, a Red Kite drifted by.


Sanderling (colour-ring code N3YGWY, metal code POL D59675) - Lee Collins

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sunday 31st May

May 2020 looks set to be the sunniest and driest in England on record, or at least since 1896.  It was another day of unrelenting bright sunshine made bearable by a cool light easterly breeze.  A visit to coincide with high tide discovered 35 watercraft pulled up between Finger Point and the end of Warren Point, which doubtless influenced the drop from 157 yesterday to only 14 Oystercatcher present today.  
Some of the 26 boats, 4 jet-skiis, 3 kayaks and 2 kite-surfers on Warren Point - Ivan Lakin 
Some respite from the disturbance was found in front of the bird hide and in the saltmarsh by eleven Whimbrel, nine Shelduck, eight Great Black-backed Gull, four Curlew, four each of Grey Plover, Dunlin and Black-headed Gull, two Little Egret, single Bar-tailed Godwit, Lesser Black-backed Gull and the Golden Plover was again in The Bight. 'Herbert' the Slavonian Grebe, in full summer plumage was in the estuary.

Shuffled about about tourists along the tideline, a flock of 25 Sanderling contained another 'Sanderbling', this one with a black flag and various colour-rings that revealed it was ringed on the Bijagos Archipelago in Guinea Bissau on 24 Nov 2018, about 2,800 miles away to the SSW; this was its first recovery.

Wildlife news: Brown Argus on Warren Point, two or three Emperor Dragonfly and a Broad-bodied Chaser over pools and ponds.

Saturday 30th May

A Hobby flew in off the sea over the seawall and inland at c.08:20, but only six Swallow and a single Swift where seen thereafter overhead in a cloudless and uneventful sky.  No visible migrants were in the bushes, woods or dunes today; just present were familiar individuals, such as two (have been up to four) Raven on Warren Point and at least five Jackdaw that continued to commute with food, presumably to nest sites somewhere in the village.  One of the two pairs of Little Grebe on the Main Pond had three (not two) chicks.

The tide was too low to push many waders in, so yesterday's unseasonal Golden Plover, present again today, alone stood in The Bight.  Random statistic of the day, this is only the tenth individual to have appeared here in May since 1937, but seven of those have been since 2005.

Wildlife news: a few Meadow Brown was among active butterflies in the meadows.  

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Thursday 28th May

An enthusiastically early start and long session into the early afternoon was not reciprocated by bird life, with only single figures of Sanderling, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and a single Bar-tailed Godwit on the tide along with the non-breeding flock of Oystercatcher.  Also a dozen Swallow passed and three Song Thrush noted in the bushes. 

Wildlife news: the hot and sunny conditions turned attention to other forms of life. The unmown meadows and glades teemed with insects.  The striking yellow striped, bulb-bodied hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum, and the bee-mimic hoverfly Volucella bombylans were on the wing. Along the dune ridge, many Silvery Leafcutter Bee (Megachile leachella), a few Grey-patched Mining Bee (Andrena nitida) and a ruby-tailed wasp (Chrysididae spp., probably Hedychridium roseum given habitat and time of year).  Other sightings were of Red-headed Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis), Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis); as well as various butterflies such as Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood.

Silvery Leafcutter Bee Megachile leachella - Alan Keatley

Volucella bombylans - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 26th May

Briefly, before the heat of the day returned, sightings on the rising tide produced 197+ Oystercatcher and only singles figures of Whimbrel, Curlew, Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover.  A distant raft of 36 Shag and a Sandwich Tern in off were the only notables offshore.  At least a couple of the semi-resident Raven continued to preside over the site.  A Stock Dove feeding in the saltmarsh behind the golf course follows a series of records for this species here. 

Monday, 25 May 2020

Bank Holiday Monday 25th May

A chilly, misty early morning soon transformed into a hot and cloudless sunny day. Fortune also shined on the site in the form of two colour-ringed Sanderling among a flock of 52 feeding around The Bight.  The combinations of ring and flag colours revealed that one (with a green flag) was ringed at Ostgonland, located on the mid eastern coast of Greenland on 18 July 2019.  And the other was ringed at Banc d'Arguin, Mauritania (with a white flag) on 13 Jan 2018, a popular winter destination for this species and for the project.  This bird stayed until at least 23rd.  It was next seen on Nevern Estuary, in south-west Wales on 04 Aug 2019, then back on the same wintering grounds in Mauritania from at least 23 Nov 2019 to 11 Jan 2020.

Colour-ringed Sanderlings - Dave Boult

These are the 33rd and 34th individual sets of Sanderling colour-rings read in the field at Dawlish Warren since the first in 2009. See 'RINGING REPORTS' links for details of some of the others.

Also present at high tide, 214 Oystercatcher, 13 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, ten Shelduck, seven Dunlin, six Ringed Plover, three Little Egret, three Bar-tailed Godwit, two each of Grey Plover, Turnstone and Sandwich Tern, and a Grey Heron.

Apart from just a couple of Black-headed Gull north and a couple of Swallow, there was no passage, and despite the conditions, the only bird-of-prey seen on site was a Buzzard that drifted over.  Nothing unexpected was noted in the dunes, bushes and woodland areas today.

Wildlife news: various butterflies were on the wing in the sunshine including some now tally Brown Argus.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Sunday 24th May

Soaring to over 1033 mb, the highest since late-March, high pressure quickly returned to temper the westerly to only a mild breeze and later in the day encouraged out the sunshine, and the jet-skiers.  During the morning high tide, the estuary supported 184 Oystercatcher, 72 Sanderling, 22 Canada Goose, nine Shelduck, eight Dunlin, seven Great Black-backed Gull, six Whimbrel, three Curlew, three Grey Plover, two Ringed Plover, two Bar-tailed Godwit, one Little Egret.

On the Main Pond, the pair of Mute Swan continued to incubate, two pairs of Little Grebe - one with its single half-grown first brood youngster and the other pair that lost its first brood chick today nurtured two tiny (2nd brood) chicks. Monitoring these potential meals was a Grey Heron. Also there a female Mallard with its two surviving mostly grown ducklings.

Overhead passage was typically light and comprised of 15 Swallow, five House Martin, three Swift and a single Black-headed Gull flew north.  As some birds continued their epic cross-continental journeys to breeding grounds, some other migrants and resident species that had established territories back a couple of months ago were in various stages of their respective breeding seasons on site.  A family group of nine Long-tailed Tit bounced through the Entrance Bushes, and five nest-boxes at various locations occupied by Blue Tit and Great Tit showed signs that they were all about to fledge.  An elusive juvenile Song Thrush briefly showed.  Young are expected soon from the three-four territories each of Reed WarblerChiffchaff and Blackcap, and from the 10-11 territories of Whitethroat.  However, three of the four pairs of Stonechat on site have already fledged young and today's absence of females perhaps suggests these are on their way to producing 2nd broods.

Wildlife news: single Emperor Dragonfly were on Warren Point and over the Main Pond.  A Red Admiral nectared on Red Valerian.    

Saturday 23rd May

A change in the weather to a strong WSW breeze produced the first Balearic Shearwater of the year and approximately 40 Gannet and 30 Manx Shearwater, most were very distant. Five of 20+ auk that passed were all Guillemot; also noted offshore were three Fulmar, a summer-plumage Great Northern Diver, a Kittiwake and a first-summer (2cy) Common Gull.

On Finger Point 211 Oystercatcher roosted - the highest count since 217 on 11 April. If an indication of the number to over-summer, this closely follows the steadily declining trend in the population of this species here, now reduced to only a quarter of that here in the 1980s at this time of the year. Also present at high tide were 22 Sanderling, 13 Shelduck, 12 Great Black-backed Gull, ten Ringed Plover, six Curlew, five Dunlin, three Whimbrel; and single Grey Heron, Little Egret and Turnstone.

Passage overhead continued at only a trickle with 13 Swallow, two House Martin, a single Swift and one Lesser Black-backed Gull flew north. A male Peregrine passed by.

A Spotted Flycatcher, the first of the year, was the only obvious passerine migrant in the bushes. Inexplicably, a pair of Mallard were perched for a time on the cliff edge of Langstone Rock.

Friday 22nd May

A complete list of 48 species was about as poor as this site can get and negligible passage was evident at the high tide roost when only single figures of Whimbrel, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Turnstone were noted, with the exception of 58 Sanderling along the beach.  A dozen Swallow and only a single Sandwich Tern was seen offshore today.   

Thursday 21 May

High pressure still dominated and it was a little warmer today. Again both tides were covered with counts of 180 Oystercatcher, 80 Sanderling, 20 Ringed Plover, 12 Whimbrel, eight Dunlin, four Curlew, single figures of other waterbirds, plus the resident Slavonian Grebe.

Before 10:00, six Red Kite had flown over the site with another five passed outside the recording area. 

An 'Aylesbury Duck' joined a Mallard on the Main Pond.