Saturday, 19 August 2017

Saturday 19th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point. The golf course is not a public right of way. Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.  No works today so access was less restricted. 


A morning spent scouring the bushes produced 15 Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaff, 12 Whitethroat, four Willow Warbler, three Reed Warbler, and single Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and a Sparrowhawk.  Finch flocks assembled between Greenland Lake and The Bight comprised of 55+ Linnet, 29 Goldfinch  and six Greenfinch, the most since late-March.  Also five Wheatear and four Skylark in the dunes and open areas.

Sedge Warbler (Alan Keatley)

During the mid-evening high tide, 1032 Oystercatcher, 331 Curlew, 201 Redshank, 182 Dunlin, 119 Ringed Plover, 37 Great Black-backed Gull, 19 Mute Swan, 13 juv Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, nine Mediterranean Gull, eight Little Egret, five Sanderling, four Greenshank, three Grey Heron, two Whimbrel, a Turnstone and on the railway saltmarsh, a Stock Dove.

Close in front of the hide, examination of  ‘wasp’, Darvic and metal rings on Oystercatchers revealed at least three ringed here in 1989, so 28+ years old; ‘T24’ ringed in Aberdeenshire has returned for its fourth consecutive winter and ‘JA’, ringed in Iceland in spring 2016, also spent last winter here. 


Oystercatchers with rings (Lee Collins)

The White-winged Black Tern was again in the estuary this evening, feeding with other terns and gulls over Cockle Sands, Exmouth and sometimes hawking high over the lower estuary, but not seen inside the recording area today, nor was an Arctic Tern. On site, 33 Sandwich Tern and 23 Common 
Tern.

Between occasional showers in a freshening westerly breeze, overhead passed 26 Swallow, five House Martin, three Swift, three Meadow Pipit (first of the autumn), two Sand Martin, a Rook and a Kestrel.

Highlights at sea were three Fulmar, a Manx Shearwater and again an unseasonal Great Northern Diver.


Autumn Lady's-tresses (Alan Keatley)

Wildlife News: an abundance of flowering Autumn Lady’s-tresses across Greenland Lake, three Southern Hawkera Grey Seal offshore and a Stoat

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Thursday 17th August


Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point. The golf course is not a public right of way. Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

The juv White-winged Black Tern accompanied two Black Tern, though at times the Black Terns ventured far out to sea, the star bird remained north of Bull Hill inside the estuary this morning. Counts on Bull Hill were 52 Sandwich Tern and 30+ Great Black-backed Gull. A few Common Tern were still in evidence.

On the rising tide, the usual wader species arrived with representative counts of 278 Dunlin and 165 Ringed Plover achieved early, enticed by the rain-soaked sands of The Bight. Apart from the Black Terns, quiet at sea with only an immature Great Northern Diver close offshore of interest.

Small numbers of Swallow and 12 Swift headed south. A Sparrowhawk scattered a mixed flock of finches on the golf course fairways, which included 25 Goldfinch. The main areas of bushes were as expected with nine Blackcap, a flock of eight Long-tailed Tit, a few Chiffchaff, two Whitethroat, two Willow Warbler and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The unexpected surprise of the day was a Goldcrest in a Sycamore on Warren Point, the earliest post-breeding record since 2010. A Wheatear and a Rock Pipit were also up at Warren Point.

Wildlife news: in the humid air and sunny spells, butterflies were plentiful, many Gatekeeper, a few Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Large White, two Red Admiral, one Small Copper and a Painted Lady. Day flying moths were also active, three Yellow Belle were in Greenland Lake and a Jersey Tiger also seen. Two families of Fox remain on site and a grown cub was spotted on Warren Point.

                             Yellow Belle (Alan Keatley)


                              Jersey Tiger (Alan Keatley)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Monday 14th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point.  The golf course is not a public right of way.  Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

First thing the juv White-winged Black Tern was off Shelly Beach, Exmouth then spent much of the morning fishing along the main channel off Warren Point.  Other terns present were 185+ Sandwich Tern, 15+ Common Tern and for only 10 minutes a Black Tern in The Bight, the first of the year.


                           juv Black Tern (Lee Collins)


Selected counts on the estuary and in The Bight during the late morning high tide, 277+ Dunlin, 161+ Ringed Plover, c.10 Sanderling. eight Whimbrel, six Turnstone and a Kingfisher.  Only the regular warblers and resident birds were noted in the early morning drizzle; two Wheatear were seen later. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sunday 13th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point.  The golf course is not a public right of way.  Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

The juv White-winged Black Tern performed well in front of the hide and main channel throughout the late-morning and lunchtime when it even did a spell of anting over the estuary.

     White-winged Black Tern (Lee Collins)

Despite occasional disruptions from kayakers, paddle-boarders and para-gliders enjoying the beautiful weather, counts managed during the late-morning high tide were 1028 Oystercatcher, 439 Curlew, 221 Dunlin, 124 Ringed Plover, 22 Cormorant and Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 each Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Black-tailed Godwit and Sanderling, 10 Little Egret, eight Whimbrel, four Grey Heron, three Turnstone and Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper and a summer-plumaged Knot. A Common Snipe flew over. 

Again about a third of the 140 Sandwich Tern present were juveniles.  The Irish-ringed Little Tern and c.30 Common Tern were also in front of the hide.  All age-classes were represented in the 11 Mediterranean Gull roosting in the saltmarsh.  

Over 60 Swallow, two Swift and a Sand Martin zoomed around to prey on flying ants.  Only standard fare in the bushes this morning, 14 Chiffchaff, 11+ Reed Warbler, eight Blackcap, seven Bullfinch, six Whitethroat, three Willow Warbler and three Wheatear.  The Stonechat family of six remained along the ridge and a scattering of Cirl Bunting were as usual.

Wildlife News: Lesser Centuary was flowering in open areas of Greenland Lake.  A few Emperor and Common Darter dragonflies patrolled the dunes and slacks.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Saturday 12th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point.  The golf course is not a public right of way.  Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

The juv White-winged Black Tern was offshore early morning, relocated foraging on the estuary off Powderham to 10:30 and then perched on Bull Hill where it remained until c.14:00 when it flew south over The Bight and continued to forage close off Exmouth beach.  It associates with other terns and on site today were 185 Sandwich Tern (57 juv), 40 Common Tern, a juv Arctic Tern and the juv Little Tern again sporting its Irish darvic ring.

While shivering in the cold northerly, counts made during the morning high tide were 974 Oystercatcher, 407 Curlew, 226 Dunlin, 218 Redshank, 92 Ringed Plover, 30 Cormorant, 28 Sanderling, 25 Mute Swan (incl. 5 swimming offshore), 24 Bar-tailed Godwit, 23 Whimbrel, 14 Common Gull, 12 Mediterranean Gull, nine Little Egret, five Greenshank, four Black-tailed Godwit, three Turnstone, three Grey Heron and the ever faithful (and flightless) Slavonian Grebe (released here in spring 2008 after rehabilitation).

Quiet overhead, nine Swift and only a few Swallow.  Nothing of note at sea.  Four Wheatear and single figures of the regular warblers in the bushes including two Willow Warbler.

Wildlife News: Grey Seals in the main estuary channel and offshore among the sandbars; speed limits for boating traffic exist.  Two Red Admiral and a single Migrant Hawker near the Main Pond.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Friday 11th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point.  The golf course is not a public right of way.  Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

The juv White-winged Black Tern was in the estuary  all morning and again was at times within the recording area. Other terns present were 180 Sandwich Tern  25 Common Tern and single Arctic Tern and Little Tern.  
Counts during both high tides periods were 945+ Oystercatcher, 432 Curlew, 244 Redshank, 52+ Ringed Plover, 49+ Dunlin, 38 Whimbrel, 36 Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Great Black-backed Gull, 19 Sanderling, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Mute Swan, 12 Turnstone, 11 Mediterranean Gull, four Little Egret, three Grey Heron, single Greenshank and the resident Slavonian Grebe.

Overhead, 11 Swift, a Sand Martin and few Swallow,  Little noted at sea, rafts totaled 34 Common Scoter.

A Jay in the bushes was the first on site since early-May;   the usual warblers were present in single figures. Also two Wheatear and a family of five Stonechat.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Thursday 10th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point.  The golf course is not a public right of way.  Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

The juv White-winged Black Tern was again in the estuary, roosting on a small boat with other terns between Cockwood and Starcross, then foraged along the main channel off Finger Point for some time on the dropping tide. Other terns present were 71 Sandwich Tern, 5 Common Tern and a single Little Tern.

With focus predominantly on the terns, even the waders received little attention today with 8 Turnstone the only representative count.

Overhead, in pleasant conditions, 10 Swift, and about 50 Swallow concentrated around Sycamores on Warren Point to prey on insect swarms.

Single figures of the usual warblers, three Bullfinch, two Wheatear and a Spotted Flycatcher in the bushes.


Wildlife News: six Emperor, Common Darters and a Southern Hawker.

   Emperor Dragaonfly (Alan Keatley)

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Wednesday 9th August

The White-winged Black Tern was watched in the morning and evening, ranging across the lower half of the estuary, associating with masses of small gull and tern flocks foraging on shoals in shallow waters.  For one lucky observer it flew around The Bight and landed on Finger Point for a few minutes c.09:45, sheltering from the stiff northerly breeze, before returning to favoured areas over Cockle Sands, Exmouth and off Powderham.

                             White-winged Black Tern with Common Terns (Lee Collins)

Counts of waterbirds in the estuary during both the morning and evening high tides periods were c.750 Oystercatcher, 315 Curlew, 220 Redshank (highest count of the year so far), c.150 Sandwich Tern, 107 Canada Goose, 55 Dunlin, 53 Ringed Plover, 29 Bar-tailed Godwit, 23 Sanderling, 23 Mute Swan, 21 Mediterranean Gull (yet another notable count here), 13 Grey Plover, 10+ Common Tern, 9+ Whimbrel, four Black-tailed Godwit and Little Egret, three each of Shelduck, Greenshank and Knot, two Grey Heron and the resident Slavonian Grebe.

An adult and a juv Roseate Tern were offshore early evening. Low of the estuary at dusk was a flock of 32 Swallow and a House Martin; two Swift flew over.


With effort today concentrated on the estuary, landbirds were poorly recorded, but a Sparrowhawk made its presence known by landing on the head of one observer stood motionless staring at bird leg rings. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Tuesday 8th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point.  The golf course is not a public right of way.  Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

A juv ‘marsh tern’ seen at distance in the estuary yesterday was present again and enough was seen on it in the evening’s dull overcast conditions to identify it as a White-winged Black Tern.  Spent most of its time over Cockle Sands and into Shelly Bay, Exmouth, but eventually returned inside recording area waters at 20:25 to roost on a bouy only to be spooked by a Common Tern and return to Exmouth in the twilight. 

This is the first confirmed record for the site.  A White-winged Black Tern ‘accepted’ in Aug 1994 was widely considered to be a Common Tern covered in a very dark industrial liquid creating the resemblance of the rarer species.  It was therefore rejected by the DWRG.

Counts in the estuary were unexceptional, 381 Curlew, 163 Redshank, 30 Ringed Plover, 26 Canada Goose, 24 Mute Swan, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20+ Dunlin, 20 Whimbrel, 20 Great Black-backed Gull, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, c.15 Sanderling, six Little Egret, five Mediterranean Gull, four Greenshank, three Grey Heron, three Turnstone and the Slavonian Grebe followed the swans around.  Sandwich Terns and Common Terns were numerous but too mobile to estimate.

At sea, large rafts totaled 96 Shag, 42 Gannet dispersed by early morning and 26 Common Scoter rafted offshore.

Only cursory looks at the bushes walking through produced a Willow Warbler. Along the paths were two Wheatear and on the golf course a flock of 40 Linnet

Monday, 7 August 2017

Monday 7th August

Sea defence works along on the dune ridge continue to restrict access to the hide and Warren Point.  The golf course is not a public right of way.  Please follow signs and access guidance from staff.

In only a light southwesterly and scattered showers, the sea produced the goods when flocks combined to form a group of nine Pomarine Skua, many ‘spooned’, which departed S before 07:00; the highest day count ever here for the month of August.  Ten shearwaters were too distant to identify, three Great Crested Grebe and a juv Great Northern Diver was an early record.

Selected counts over high tide, 47 Ringed Plover, 31+ Dunlin, 25 Sanderling, 20 Mediterranean Gull (15 adult/ ss, 1 fs, 4 juv), 16+ Whimbrel, four Greenshank and juv Little Ringed Plover was in The Bight.  The first juv Little Tern of the year sported a darvic ring from the colony at Kilcoole, mid-east coast of Ireland. Large numbers of Black-headed Gulls, Sandwich Terns and Common Terns feasted on vast shoals of sprats in the estuary, reportedly forced inshore by mackerel.  Among them, an interesting ‘marsh tern’ was seen distantly from Exmouth, see later posts…

Highlights from the bushes, single Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler and Wheatear.


Wildlife News: a small pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphin early morning and a pod of 20 Common Dolphin late morning, a scarce species here.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Sunday 6th August


During the high tides, max counts were 880+ Oystercatcher, 437 Curlew, 174 Redshank, 41 Ringed Plover, 37 Dunlin, 31 Whimbrel, 27 Sanderling, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, three Black-tailed Godwit, two Turnstone, single Knot and Greenshank.  Also c.70 Sandwich Tern, c.40 Common Tern and two Roseate Tern on the morning tide.  Among the terns and c.240 Black-headed Gull were 11 Mediterranean Gull (7 adult, 2 fs, 2 juv).

Overhead passage heading southwest involved 47 Swift, c.25 Swallow, three House Martin and two Stock Dove, plus another briefly in front of the hide.

The SSW breeze picked up in the evening and at sea were 86 Common Scoter, ten Manx Shearwater, four Balearic Shearwater; a light passage of Gannet and a Fulmar.  Far out, skuas sat on the sea in wait for commuting Kittiwakes to pass by to engage in a bit of kleptoparasitism; two Arctic Skua came close inshore and also in the late evening, a flock of seven Pomarine Skua gradually gained height and flew into the headwind.  Five were spooned, spectacular enough and the more so for cruising high above the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet of futuristic 100-foot sail mono-hulls.  

The bushes also supported interest, 11 Chiffchaff, 10 Reed Warbler, nine Blackcap, four Willow Warbler, four Whitethroat, three Garden Warbler, three Wheatear, a Grasshopper Warbler on Warren Point and the first Siskin of the autumn flew northeast.  Nine Stonechat included the family of five around Dune Pond; also a Sparrowhawk and a Green Woodpecker were noted.

Wildlife news: a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, a Jersey Tiger and Sand Lizards still active on Warren Point.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Saturday 5th August


A break in works and max counts over both high tides from the hide were 939 Oystercatcher 401 Curlew, 145+ Redshank, 48 Ringed Plover, 38 Whimbrel, 37 Dunlin, 23 Sanderling, 19 Bar-tailed Godwit, four juv Black-tailed Godwit, three Turnstone, two Greenshank, a Grey Plover and a Green Sandpiper calling in flight over the estuary was the first of the year.  Also 140 Sandwich Tern, 96 Common Tern arrived in groups off the sea throughout the day; ten Mediterranean Gull (4 adult, 2 fs, 4 adult).  A flock of five Roseate Tern close offshore in the evening presumably included four that were present in front of the hide on the ebbing morning tide; the best autumn count here since 2009.  The abundance of birds attracted a juv and an adult Peregrine

At sea, 26 Common Scoter, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gull mostly flew south, a reasonable count here; two Manx Shearwater, single Arctic Skua, Great Crested Grebe and a Grey Heron flew south. 

In the bushes, 13 Blackcap, three Willow Warbler, three Sedge Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler. Overhead, 37 Swift and seven Swallow flew south 

Wildlife News: male Brimstone along the Back Path near the flood wall was exceptional for the reserve. Other selected butterfly sightings, eight Red Admiral, three Peacock and single Painted Lady and Large White  As usual, a Grey Seal was in the estuary. Two Jersey Tiger and a Golden-ringed Dragonfly around the bushes.

Friday 4th August

Selected counts during high tide included 54 Dunlin, 22 Ringed Plover, four Whimbrel, four Sanderling, a Greenshank and the first of the autumn, a Common Snipe flew over The Bight.  Also 85 Sandwich Tern, 52 Common Tern (plus 5 'commic' tern), three Mediterranean Gull, two Roseate Tern and a Little Tern

Early morning at sea, 11 Arctic Skua and a Great Skua.  Overhead passage totals of 32 Swift, 21 Swallow and single House Martin and Yellow Wagtail.  Two Willow Warbler were in the bushes.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Thursday 3rd August

Work is progressing on the Dune Ridge, but there remains no access to the hide or Warren Point.  Seawatching late afternoon saw another 14 Arctic Skua head south along with a Great Northern Diver, a Little Tern and five Storm Petrel.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Wednesday 2nd August

Work is progressing on the Dune Ridge, but there remains no access to the hide or Warren Point. Seawatching during the day saw morning counts off 10+ Pomarine, 29+ Arctic and two Great Skua with 25+ Common Tern. An afternoon/evening watch saw 11+ Pomarine, 43+ Arctic and eight Great Skua. Also passing a distant large shearwater sp, 37+ Storm Petrel, 100+ Kittiwake, three Arctic Tern amongst a few Common and good numbers of Sandwich Tern. Also heading south 35+ Common Scoter, 26 Common and six Mediterranean Gull, five Knot, four Whimbrel and a few Manx Shearwater.

The Warren saw far fewer shearwaters than headlands further south in Lyme Bay but considerably more skuas. Considering the lower number of skuas and in particular the absence of Pomarine Skua elsewhere it is likely there was some duplication of birds as they undertook feeding circuits in the bay.