Saturday, 9 January 2016

2015 Review

The recording area year list only reached 185 species, the lowest tally since 2007, but despite this statistic it was another great year on the Warren with a variety of site records and Great Grey Shrike added to the recording area list.

Other records included the 2nd Caspian Gull, the returning Bonaparte's Gull, two Pectoral Sandpiper, a Rose-coloured Starling, a Barred and three Yellow-browed Warbler.

Over the breeding season there weren't any unexpected species on site but there was the first ever successful breeding of Herring Gull and Little Grebe remained on the Main Pond. Cirl Bunting held territory early in the year but there was no evidence of breeding, similarly there were again no breeding Ringed Plover or Coot.
Other low points include the seemingly irreversible decline in wintering grebes, sea duck, wildfowl and waders, for the first time ever no Eider were recorded all year and only one Slavonian Grebe in the late winter period. Migrants were also scarce with single Cuckoo and two Lesser Whitethroat all year and no spring Whinchat or Tree Pipit.

Ringing returns continued to increase with 218 different individual birds of 14 different species recorded from 10 different countries. All of these recoveries were read in the field, many from the hide. 

Great Black-backed Gull 97P from Normandy, France - Lee Collins
The movements noted included the first Roseate Tern recovery from Ireland; Dunlin from Poland, Ringed Plover from Iceland, Germany & Norway; Sanderling from Mauritania, Greenland & Iceland; Grey Plover from Spain, Great Black-backed Gull from Norway, France, Guernsey, Cornwall and Portland; Common Gull from Holland and Sandwich Tern from Holland, Belgium & Scotland. A more detailed account will be published soon.
January began with wintering Bonaparte’s Gull, Long-tailed Duck, Water Pipit and Dartford Warbler still present and a storm driven pairing of Pomarine and Arctic Skua.

Bonaparte's Gull - Dave Jewell
Other January highlights included a brief Snow Bunting in front of the hide, which then moved to Powderham, a lingering Black-necked Grebe and single Black-throated Diver and Velvet Scoter.
Snow Bunting - Peter Woods

February saw a long-staying Red-necked Grebe, a Siberian Chiffchaff and the continued presence of some of January's best birds including the Bonaparte's Gull and a couple of Long-tailed Duck
Water Pipit - Lee Collins
March saw the arrival of migrants in the second week with a couple of Black Redstart with the expected Swallow, Wheatear and Sandwich Tern. The Bonaparte's Gull and now three Long-tailed Duck also remained. Despite the lack of vismig the previous autumn over 1000 Chaffinch headed back NE mid month.

Black Redstart - Lee Collins
One of the Long-tailed Duck remained into April, an Osprey that was tracked north from Berry Head was one of four during the month, with a couple of Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier also overhead. However the same conditions that were ideal for raptors where not conducive to falls of spring migrants. Late in the month a pair of Mandarin offshore were only the 8th site record and two Spoonbill paused briefly in the Railway Saltmarsh.

Long-tailed Duck - Lee Collins
In May the focus is often offshore with Roseate Tern and Pomarine Skua expected on passage and 2015 didn't disappoint with several records of both. Also offshore the 16th record of Nightjar, the first Puffin since Sept 2011 and a late Merlin. Autumn started early on the Warren with two migrant Mistle Thrush over mid month.

Sanderling - Lee Collins
Later in the month the annual passage of Sanderling saw a new site record count with 326 birds feeding along the beach including several Mauritanian ringed birds. More info on this passage can be found here. The first spring Little Stint since 2009 was also amongst the wader flocks. Another feature of the month was the regular occurrence of Jackdaw on site. A pair nesting in the village foraged in Greenland Lake, the first such record for the Warren.

Little Stint - Lee Collins
June started with an autumnal weather system and this weather produced the only Storm Petrel records of the year along with another Puffin. Unseasonal records included the resident Slavonian Grebe for its 8th summer, single Yellow Wagtail, a first summer Curlew Sandpiper and an early juvenile Wheatear.

Curlew Sandpiper - Lee Collins
The first ever July record of Avocet turned out to be the only record of the year; a series of Goosander records however appear to be a new feature of the month. Wader passage late in the month saw several Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper, whilst the increasing number of early returning Curlew suggest decreasing breeding success for the threatened species.

Wood Sandpiper - Lee Collins

August is usually a month for terns but numbers of Roseate Tern in particular were initially disappointing. Late in the month however huge numbers of terns were feeding and roosting in the estuary with 1000+ counts on several dates. A new site record for Common Tern was made with 2484 flying into the estuary to roost one evening, with them 24 Arctic, 20 Black and 11 Little Tern.
Arctic Tern - Lee Collins
Intermittent visits by a Nuthatch were another feature of August, a Treecreeper took up residence and the year's second Nightjar put in an appearance. Wader passage included a welcome return to form for Ringed Plover numbers along with several Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff.

Ruff - Lee Collins
September saw the Bonaparte's Gull returned for it's fourth winter mid month along with the joint arrival of a Grey Phalarope and Pectoral Sandpiper. Other highlights included a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling, Barred Warbler, Wryneck and Spoonbill but unfortunately none remained for any length of time. The Ridgway's Cackling Goose also dropped in briefly from Exmouth - possibly the rarest bird of the year.

Pectoral Sandpiper - Lee Collins
October started with a second Pectoral Sandpiper and the first Short-eared Owl of a good autumn for the species. Overhead there was a welcome return for vismig with good numbers of Siskin, Brambling, a few Crossbill and a Yellowhammer.
Short-eared Owl - Lee Collins
The highlight though was a Great Grey Shrike on Warren Point was part of a national influx and the first Warren record. A Yellow-browed Warbler at the end of the month continued a good run for this species.

Great Grey Shrike - Lee Collins
The second Caspian Gull for the recording area was a highlight of November along with a record passage of Wood Pigeon, 58,870 headed west on 21st, later than the usual passage. The Bonaparte's Gull remained but was erratic in it's appearances, a Green Sandpiper was only the 3rd record for November with Little Auk, Firecrest and Siberian Chiffchaff all arriving late in the month.

Caspian Gull - Lee Collins
In December the only new arrival of the year was a Leach's Petrel at the end of the month but other highlights included the first ever Yellow-browed Warbler for the month, a couple of Siberian Chiffchaff, wintering Firecrest, Water Pipit, Sandwich Tern and Purple Sandpiper. The year ended with the latest ever Swallow flying along the Dune Ridge on the 30th.

Purple Sandpiper - Alan Keatley

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