Thursday, 5 December 2019

Thursday 5th December

A low high tide reduced wildfowl and wader numbers with just 440 Dunlin, 265 Wigeon, 104 Teal, 87 Redshank, 51 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 42 Grey and a Golden Plover, two Sanderling and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the three female Eider, 19 Great-crested Grebe, six Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were offshore.

Shag - Alan Keatley

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Tuesday 3rd December

A Golden Plover in the Bight was the only unexpected addition to the regular flocks of waders and wildfowl in the estuary with six Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe also present. Elsewhere the Scandinavian Rock Pipit was still at the seawall and half a dozen Cirl Bunting were on site.

 Golden Plover (with Dunlin & Grey Plover) - Lee Collins

Cirl Bunting - Lee Collins

Monday, 2 December 2019

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Sunday 1st December

The crisp & cold weather was not the only sign of impending winter with 19 Fieldfare and two Lapwing overhead and a couple of Redwing in Dead Dolphin Wood. In the estuary a female Goldeneye was a new arrival with 162 Dark and five Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 59 Shelduck and the Slavonian Grebe also present. A total of 82 colour-ringed Oystercatcher were recorded over high tide.

Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore, 45 Goldfinch were feeding in the Entrance Bushes and at least four Water Rail were in the flooded areas around the First and Main Pond. 

Due to the significant ongoing erosion, Teignbridge District Council is advising extreme caution when visiting. The dune path between groyne 10 – 18 is unsafe and a section of this path has been washed away, so is completely closed with no access. Access to the Hide and Warren Point is only possible via the beach with the risk of being cut off for a period either side of any high tide. The only access to these areas is along the beach at lower states of tide.

28/11/19


02/10/19

Friday, 29 November 2019

Friday 29th November

The highlight was an enormous flock of Black-tailed Godwit in Shutterton Creek, with the count of 976 a new site record and almost double the previous peak of 512 back in December 1984!  This is the majority of the wintering population on the Exe although c200 birds were also on Exminster Marshes this morning. A more unwelcome sight was the presence of at least 38 Carrion Crow around the Bight at high tide; the increased numbers were constantly disturbing the roosting waders. Also in the estuary 548 Wigeon, 153 Bar-tailed Godwit, 116 Knot, 79 Teal, 49 Common Gull, 45 Snipe, six Greenshank, four Shoveler and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere a second Slavonian Grebe was a welcome sight off the seawall with three Red-throated Diver, 18 Great-crested Grebe and 12 Common Scoter, two Raven were overhead and six Cirl Bunting and a Chiffchaff were on site.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Thursday 28th November

The highlight was a reported Grey Phalarope but no details were received. There was no seabird passage offshore but eight Great Northern and five Red-throated Diver were noted. Counts from the estuary included 342 Black-tailed Godwit, no doubt displaced by flooding further upriver, 120 Knot, 102 Bar-tailed Godwit, three Greenshank, an adult Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 29 Snipe flew over Greenland Lake and two Chiffchaff were in the bushes.

 Great Northern Diver - Alan Keatley

Bullfinch - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Wednesday 27th November

Over high tide 51 Shelduck, five Golden Plover and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the Bight, with 146 Bar-tailed Godwit, 74 Snipe and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Tuesday 26th November

Counts from the estuary included 425 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 60+ Snipe, 56 Shelduck, 38 Great Black-backed and 29 Common Gull, five Red-breasted Merganser, five Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the female Shoveler was on the Main Pond, the Scandinavian Rock Pipit was at the seawall and at least seven Cirl Bunting were on site.



The overnight wind and rain combined with the high tide lead to further serious erosion along the Dune Ridge and the exposure of the geotube in a couple of places. This was a core part of the 2017 Beach Management Scheme and was buried at the back of the rebuilt dune and intended to remain buried even under storm conditions. It was estimated, depending on the severity of future storms, that beach levels would return to 2016 levels within 20 years, it has taken just two years for the beach to drop beyond 2016 levels.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Monday 25th November

The Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood this evening with a possible adult Bonaparte's Gull.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Sunday 24th November

Counts from the estuary included 1510 Oystercatcher, 470 Dunlin, 420 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent, 131 Knot, 116 Bar-tailed Godwit, 113 Grey Plover, 53 Snipe, feeding out on the mud with other waders, 22 Turnstone and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver and a female Eider were offshore and a Firecrest remained in the Entrance Bushes with five Goldcrest and just a single Chiffchaff.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Saturday 23rd November

Counts from the estuary included 930 Dunlin, 829 Wigeon, 295 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent, 160 Bar-tailed Godwit, 121 Knot, 119 Grey Plover, 71 Shelduck, 21 Sanderling, two Pintail and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Firecrest was in Dead Dolphin Wood, a Great Northern Diver and female Eider were offshore and the Scandinavian Rock Pipit was on the seawall.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese - Alan Keatley
Around 15% of the flock this autumn are juveniles, a welcome sign of a good breeding season.  

Friday, 22 November 2019

Friday 22nd November

A Firecrest was along the Back Path early morning with 14 Long-tailed Tit, five Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff with a Shoveler on the Main Pond and a Red-throated Diver offshore. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 61 Great Black-backed Gull, 50 Snipe, 44 Shelduck and 21 Sanderling.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Wednesday 20th November

The Warren's sixth Caspian Gull, a first winter, was on Finger Point with an influx of 77 Great Black-backed Gull early afternoon before being flushed. Also in the estuary 348 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 145 Teal, 96 Knot, 89 Grey and 26 Ringed Plover, 15 Sanderling, 12 Red-breasted Merganser, a Golden Plover and the Slavonian Grebe. Very low numbers of Curlew, Wigeon and Bar-tailed Godwit were present due to constant illegal disturbance from a kite-surfer in Shutterton Creek.

The strong SE wind saw 300+ Kittiwake and auk sp head south offshore early morning with the first Fulmar for several months, 213 Gannet, 13 Great Northern and six Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere three Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff were on site and the Shoveler remains on the Main Pond.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Monday 18th November

Seven Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were offshore late afternoon with 400+ Wigeon, 18 Great-crested Grebe, 10 Common Scoter and an Eider but no other news was received.

Wildlife News: At least two Harbour Porpoise were off the seawall.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Sunday 17th November

The first Snow Bunting since October 2016 circled over the Entrance Bushes before seeming to land on the beach but unfortunately there was no further sign. An immature Black Redstart around the Go-Karts was another new arrival, with a Firecrest and the Cetti's Warbler by the Dune Pond.

Elsewhere 15 Great-crested Grebe, two Eider, two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were offshore and counts from the estuary included 276 Dark-bellied Brent Geese (44 juveniles), 102 Knot, 62 Bar-tailed Godwit and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wildlife News: Seven Bottle-nosed Dolphin, only the second sighting since Sep 2017, and a Harbour Porpoise were off the seawall.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Saturday 16th November

A cold early winter day saw a good total of 75 species recorded through the day. Counts from the estuary included 1260 Dunlin, 510 Wigeon, 367 Dark and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 219 Redshank, 142 Bar-tailed Godwit, 116 Grey Plover, 94 Knot, 82 Teal, 77 Turnstone, eight Lapwing, five Greenshank, a Kingfisher and the Slavonian Grebe.

 Dunlin, Knot & Grey Plover - Dave Jewell

Dunlin - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere two Eider, three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver were offshore. Six Goldcrest, five Cirl Bunting, two Chiffchaff and two Firecrest were on site and a Shoveler was at the Main Pond.

Cirl Bunting - Dave Jewell

Wildlife News: At least four Common Darter remain at the Main Pond, including a pair ovipositing. Two Red Admiral were also still on the wing.


Thursday, 14 November 2019

Thursday 14th November

The first frost of the autumn saw a Great Northern Diver, two female Eider and five Common Scoter offshore, with the Cetti's Warbler and a Shoveler at the Main Pond. Also on site four Cirl Bunting, 33 Goldfinch, 28 Greenfinch, four Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Wednesday 13th November

The Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood with a Little Grebe but no other news was received.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was on a Pontoon in the estuary.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Monday 11th November

The Slavonian Grebe and four Red-breasted Merganser were off Cockwood Steps but no other news was received.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Saturday 9th November

The highlight was a Slavonian Grebe briefly offshore, the first new arrival for this formally regular species since March 2017; the flightless resident bird remained in the estuary.  Counts from the estuary included 972 Oystercatcher, 530 Dark-bellied and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 400+ Dunlin, 310 Wigeon, 154 Teal, 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Shelduck, five Red-breasted Merganser and a Greenshank.

Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler was still at the Main Pond, the Scandinavian Rock Pipit was at the seawall, six Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff were on site and also offshore two Red-throated Diver and eight Great-crested Grebe.


Scandinavian Rock Pipit (ringed in Norway) - Alan Keatley

Friday, 8 November 2019

Friday 8th November

A switch to cold NW winds saw virtually no overhead movement, except a tardy flock of 35 Wood Pigeon. Elsewhere three Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff were in the bushes, the Cetti's Warbler was at the Main Pond and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese were on offshore sandbars. The highlight was the first Long-tailed Duck of the year, an immature off the seawall, before flying south with Common Scoter, also offshore two Eider, three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Thursday 7th November

A third consecutive morning of pigeon movement with 11,140 Wood Pigeon and 18 Stock Dove heading SW before 8.30am, when the tap was abruptly turned off. Also over 98 Jackdaw, 18 Skylark, five Snipe and a couple of Siskin.

Elsewhere single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver were offshore, the Cetti's Warbler was at the Main Pond and counts from the estuary included 651 Oystercatcher, 605 Wigeon, 332 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 93 Teal, 77 Dunlin, 20 Grey Plover, 15 Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Wednesday 6th November

The conditions looked good for continued vis mig and for once the birds followed the books with 19,458 Wood Pigeon counted heading SW along with a minimum of 76 Stock Dove, the largest flocks heading out to sea before 8 o'clock. Also moving a high count of 754 Jackdaw, 221 Starling, 100 Skylark, 12 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 12 Siskin, just six Chaffinch, six Shoveler, two Pintail and single Snipe and Golden Plover.

Elsewhere the highlight was a Little Auk briefly off the seawall, the first since 2015, also offshore 75 Common Scoter, two Eider and two Red-throated Diver. Counts from the estuary were much reduced as a paraglider flushed all the waders and wildfowl with just 530 Wigeon and 223 Brent Geese returning in any number, also present four Greenshank, a Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe.

Kestrel - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: At least five Common Darter were still on the wing with three Red Admiral, whilst a Grey Seal was offshore. good numbers of fungi are out including Bird's Nest Fungi Crucibulum laeve in the Desert.

Bird's Nest Fungi - Alan Keatley

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Tuesday 5th November

Pigeons continued to move with 33135 Wood Pigeon and a minimum of 82 Stock Dove heading SW during the morning along with 48 Lesser Black-backed Gull south and 39 Skylark, 11 Jackdaw, seven Lapwing, two Lesser Redpoll and a Siskin also overhead. Three Peregrine were hunting the pigeons and elsewhere two Sandwich Tern, seven Greenshank, three Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Monday 4th November

Visible migration started up again but finches remain largely absent. Totals included 5320 Wood Pigeon, 141 Jackdaw, three Bullfinch, a Siskin and a Great-spotted Woodpecker which flew high west. Grounded migrants included a Firecrest in the Entrance Bushes, four Goldcrest and three Chiffchaff, whilst the Cetti's Warbler remained at the Main Pond.

Elsewhere a juvenile Peregrine hunted pigeon flocks, two Eider were offshore, the Scandinavian Rock Pipit was at the seawall and counts from the estuary included 302 Dark-bellied Brent Geese (27 juveniles), seven Greenshank, four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two late Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Sunday 3rd November

Counts over high tide were limited due to considerable boat activity in the Exclusion Zone flushing the majority of waders and wildfowl in Shutterton Creek. Totals included 770 Oystercatcher, 500 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, with a good percentage of 53 juveniles, 246 Redshank, 68 Turnstone, 12 Greenshank, three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe.

A Mistle Thrush was the pick of a small overhead passage with 300 Wood Pigeon, 20 Skylark, 17 Jackdaw, two Stock Dove, two Siskin and single Bullfinch and Grey Wagtail. Elsewhere three Eider and single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver were offshore, the Merlin was again around the Bight and two adult Peregrine hunted the pigeons.

Wildlife News: A probable female Vagrant Emperor was feeding over the Dune Pond before flying west along the Dune Ridge.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Saturday 2nd November

Attention was turned to the sea following the overnight gale but seabirds disappointed with just 140 Gannet, 58 Kittiwake and a Skua sp through before 11am but other seawall highlights came in the form of the first Goosander of the year circling the bay, five Great Northern Diver, a Merlin and a Fieldfare, with the Scandinavian Rock Pipit still present.

Elsewhere a Black Redstart and a Wheatear were on the Dune Ridge at what remains of John's Watch, the Cetti's Warbler was at the Main Pond, a second Merlin was around the Bight and counts from the estuary included 328 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 141 Great Black-backed Gull, 56 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Shelduck, 10 Greenshank, a Whimbrel and the Slavonian Grebe.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Friday 1st November

Counts from the estuary continue to increase with 1540 Wigeon, 1445 Dunlin, 362 Dark and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 223 Black and 29 Bar-tailed Godwit, 59 Sanderling, 43 Turnstone, 10 Greenshank, two Shoveler and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere three Eider and a Great Northern Diver were offshore, two Lapwing were again on the Golf Course, the Scandinavian Rock Pipit was on the seawall, the Cetti's Warbler was at the Main Pond with two Firecrest and a Redwing on site.

Great-spotted Woodpecker - Dave Jewell

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore and two Red Admiral and a Painted Lady were on the wing.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Thursday 31st October

A noticeable increase in waders and wildfowl overnight, with small flocks of Wigeon, Teal and Dunlin continuing to arrive during the morning. The first five Greylag Geese of the year were on Finger Point over high tide, presumably part of this movement, rather than more local birds. Counts from the estuary included 830 Dunlin, 330 Dark-bellied and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 77 Grey Plover, 14 Sanderling, seven Pintail, three Greenshank, a female Shoveler, a Whimbrel, a Kingfisher, and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere a record 12 Cirl Bunting were on site, two Lapwing and a late Wheatear were on the Golf Course, a Merlin was on Warren Point, a Firecrest was in the Entrance Bushes and a Red-throated Diver and an Eider were offshore.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Wednesday 30th October

The Recording Area's 19th Hoopoe, the first since 2016, was seen briefly around the Buffer Zone late morning but there was no further sign as conditions worsened. Other highlights included three Pochard, a fem/imm in the estuary with a drake Tufted Duck and a pair which flew south over Greenland Lake early afternoon; two other drake Tufted Duck were offshore.

Seawatching saw an adult Little Gull head east with a Great Skua, a Great Northern Diver, 75 Common Scoter, three Pintail and two Eider also offshore. In the estuary counts included 510 Dunlin, 300 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 36 Grey Plover, 35 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Knot, 22 Shelduck, seven Red-breasted Merganser, three Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wildlife News:Grey Seal was sheltering in Shutterton Creek at high tide.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Sunday 27th October

After yesterday's stormy deluge, today by complete contrast was calm and sunny. Taking advantage of the benign spell, 'vis-mig' resumed with 515 Woodpigeon with 20 Stock Dove mixed in; and some counts that also include grounded migrants, 27 Skylark, 13 Jackdaw, 11 alba wagtail, ten Meadow Pipit, nine Chaffinch, a flock of eight Lesser Redpoll, eight Bullfinch, five Siskin, three Lesser Black-backed Gull (flew S), a Rook, a Redwing, and also overhead four Raven passed through and a Buzzard circuited the site.  Mixed flocks of 65 Goldfinch and 39 Greenfinch foraged on Evening-primrose heads.  On scrub, edge habitats and grasslands, six Stonechat, four Cirl Bunting, two Song Thrush, two Reed Bunting and a late Wheatear.  The usual Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were present. In the woodlands and sallows, the flock of nine Long-tailed Tit and mixed tits carried three Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff (one singing in the sunshine) and elsewhere a Blackcap.

Too few birders on site today to cover all areas and the high tide period was missed, instead 610 Herring Gull and 135 Black-headed Gull, as well as lots of Brent Goose, Wigeon and waders were seen foraging at low tide on the mudflats, along creeks and offshore sandbars, where also a Carrion Crow was observed to repeatedly forage for mussels, commute with prey to Warren Point and cache each item by digging holes in the sand and covering over, or covering the item with a pile of seaweed. 

Eider (Alan Keatley)

Offshore was uneventful with seven
Common Scoter, three Eider, including an adult male, and a diver sp.  The Scandinavian Rock Pipit was again present around the rocks, Go-Kart and promenade area.  Details are that is was ringed on 6th March 2019 on Giske, Møre & Romsdal, Norway, 1,440 km NNE; yesterday was its first recovery. 

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Saturday 26th October

Only about 1.5 hours of birdable light was available before the rain front descended and shrouded the site in mist and gloom. Heading into the fresh southerly, 280 Gannet, 270 Kittiwake, 90 auk spp., eight Common Scoter, three Arctic Skua (plus two skua spp.), two Great Northern Diver, a Red-throated Diver plus another very close in from the seawall later in the afternoon, by which time the open sea was nearly birdless.

In the estuary, 2,040 Wigeon, a four-figure count of Oystercatcher, 249 Redshank, 162 Great Black-backed Gull (the highest count here this year, bolstered by birds sheltering from the weather), 83 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 62 Curlew, 29 Turnstone, 27 Cormorant, 17 Dunlin, 16 Mute Swan, 12 Canada Goose, 11 Shelduck, ten Teal, ten Greenshank, six Red-breasted Merganser, six Sanderling, five Little Egret, four Great Crested Grebe, two each of Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern and the pair of Black Swan. Also, a Golden Plover flew over, one Grey Heron, and the resident Slavonian Grebe was accompanied for a while by a Little Grebe.

A roaming party of nine Long-tailed Tit, mixed tits, a Chiffchaff and a Chaffinch hugged the leeward side of wooded areas. The immature Sparrowhawk was again seen exhibiting its hunting tactic of skimming the ground, but apart from a flock of c40 Goldfinch, potential passerine prey was sparsely visible with only a few Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail out exposed and braving the unsettled conditions.

The day's highlight a was Scandinavian Rock Pipit near the lifeguard hut this afternoon, sporting a yellow-ringed coded '632', ringed on Giske Island, Norway.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Friday 25th October

Seawatching for 2.5 hours from before dawn before the heavy rain set in saw a remarkably heavy movement of birds heading SW, with counts of 1,950 auk spp. (mostly Razorbill), 1,080 Gannet, 1,005 Kittiwake, 162 Common Gull, 14 Mediterranean Gull, nine Common Scoter, five Arctic Skua (and a skua sp.), three Great Northern Diver, two Red-breasted Merganser, one Red-throated Diver and the highlight a Sooty Shearwater through at 10:00. 

The Common Gull count was the largest here in 5.5 years and the Kittiwake and auk spp counts were the highest of the year here so far.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Thursday 24th October

A dank and mizzly dawn greeted four over-optimistic observers stationed on the dune ridge from where 'vis-mig' was almost non-existent, and including grounded birds, meager totals were c.30 Meadow Pipit, 11 alba wagtail, eight Skylark, six Song Thrush, four Chaffinch, three Rook and a Siskin, with c.120 Goldfinch roaming the site the only notable count. 

At sea, rafts of Wigeon, two Shoveler and a Teal sought refuge from a burst of fireworks at 07:40 near the estuary corner, which put up all waterbird in the local area and also startled the nature reserve's livestock. Authorities will be  informed of this kind of behaviour. Also at sea, three Common Scoter, two immature Eider, a Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern flew in off.

The bushes held three Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff; and the usual single Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were present.  The day's highlight was an immature Black Redstart on the seawall and Go Karts fence briefly - the first of the autumn and second of the year here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Wednesday 23rd October

Fog scuppered any attempt at birding this morning and the only reports from today were two Eider and a Pomarine Skua that flew S over the site.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Tuesday 22nd October

In a light NNW breeze and after fog banks had rolled out of the estuary mouth and dispersed, visible migration resumed with counts of c.3,900 Woodpigeon, 254 Jackdaw, 138 Goldfinch, 72 Stock Dove, 28 Meadow Pipit, 25 alba wagtail, 12 Rook, five Siskin, three Skylark, three Song Thrush, two Swallow, and singles of Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kestrel (plus the resident male), Collared Dove and a Chaffinch.  Migration orientations of these species were typical for this time of the year.  In the bushes, three Chiffchaff, two Goldcrest and the immature Sparrowhawk again hunted low over the ground.

The Aylesbury Duck accompanied 33 Mallard as they rose from the Main Pond and headed down the coast towards Dawlish town at dawn.  Casual scans at the sea picked up eight Common Scoter, five auk spp, a Sandwich Tern and a Red-breasted Merganser

Monday, 21 October 2019

Monday 21st October

From shortly after dawn, small clouds of birds approached from over Exmouth and continued overhead in a WSW or W direction with totals during 2h:20m of 3,351 Woodpigeon, 849 Jackdaw (2nd highest ever site count), 412 Stock Dove (5th highest ever site count), c.20 alba wagtail, eight Rook, four Skylark, and singles of Swallow and Golden Plover. Heading high S out to sea in V-formations were 40 Lesser Black-backed Gull, and heading up the spit in a NE direction were 55 Goldfinch and three Siskin; all typical orientations for these species here at this time of the year.

The 10.9% of Stock Dove among the pigeon spp flocks overhead was quite high.  Not too dissimilar numbers and 8.7% was noted over East Sour today (via DBS).  A few thousand pigeon ssp. also headed in a similar direction over Exeter (6 miles NW of here) during the same time today. 

Off Orcombe Point, hundreds of Black-headed Gull milled around, mixed with smaller numbers of other birds.  Thirty Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver flew SW at sea. The fourth and perhaps most surprising max count of the year to appear today was 31 Mallard, most of which departed at dawn from their roost on the Main Pond, accompanied by an Aylesbury Duck.  A Kingfisher called from the Main Pond and single Coal Tit and Chiffchaff were heard in the bushes. 

The high tide was reportedly uneventful with a Lapwing being the only highlight.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Sunday 20th October

Dawn broke to the coolest morning of the autumn so far and in the face of a stiffening NNW breeze, steadfast 'vis-mig' observers were rewarded with a Great White Egret that nonchalantly drifted south, circling the site once at height before it departed at 08:06; the third to pass the site this year. Also on the move, 137 Jackdaw, 116 Woodpigeon, 94 Goldfinch, 47 Skylark, 46 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 28 'alba' Wagtail, 20 Meadow Pipit, 18 Shelduck, eight Chaffinch, six Song Thrush, four Stock Dove, three Rook, two Golden Plover, a Sparrowhawk (another hunted the bushes) and a Lesser Redpoll.

Combined WeBS and counts during the ebbing tide in the estuary were c.980 Oystercatcher, 377 Redshank, 349 Wigeon, 247 Curlew, 172 Teal, 144 Dark-bellied Brent Goose (10 juvs), 96 Black-tailed Godwit, 37 Turnstone, 35 Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Cormorant, 28 Grey Plover, c.20 Dunlin, 16 Mute Swan, 15 Greenshank, 12 Canada Goose, ten Little Egret, ten Knot, only nine Great Black-backed Gull, eight Sanderling, six Common Gull, three Grey Heron, the pair of Black Swan, two Mediterranean Gull, two lingering Sandwich Tern; also the Slavonian Grebe, just a single Ringed Plover, the late Whimbrel and a Kingfisher.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese (juvenile) - Martin Overy

Details of the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit seen today was ringed as a pullus in Iceland in 2007 and has since accumulated a long sightings history, having been seen in Dublin Bay in a few springs, overshot a couple of times into N France in early autumn and it typically winters on the Exe Estuary. 

The Cetti's Warbler was again heard chattering from the Main Pond. The bushes were quiet, holding four Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff, two Reed Bunting, less Linnet and scattered individuals of Stonechat and Cirl Bunting. A glary sea only revealed two Red-throated Diver and awareness to the presence still of a large feeding flock of gulls and seabirds far offshore.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Saturday 19th October

Given a respite after eight straight days of rain and showers, before dawn observers assembled on the dune ridge and looked skyward, encouraged by the calmer, dryer conditions. Movement began slowly then picked up with the day's highlight through at 08:30, the site's ninth Richard's Pipit. It called a few times and passed by so low to suggest it may have taken off from Greenland Lake before flying off southwest. An impressive 391 Jackdaw flew WSW (the site's eighth highest count, all higher counts were also in October); also on the move with some birds having dropped in for a while were 66 Pied/White Wagtail, 55 Goldfinch, c.50 Meadow Pipit, 26 Skylark, 14 Rook, seven Song Thrush, five Chaffinch, two Lesser Redpoll, two Siskin and a Golden Plover circled around before it then flew off south.  The abundance of bird-life drew in the interest of a single Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk, but the semi-resident male Kestrel ignored being harried by Linnets and concentrated on hovering in its hunt for voles.

The Cetti's Warbler was calling from the Main Pond and another was tentatively reported in bushes, which otherwise supported only two Reed Bunting, two Blackcap and a Chiffchaff, in addition to the usual Cirl Buntings.  There was nothing to report at sea. A couple of Water Rail squealed from the Main Pond reed-beds.

During the late morning high tide, the Warren Point roost sites, The Bight and estuary corner supported 955 Wigeon, 386 Redshank, 322 Curlew, 236 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 171 Teal, 120 Black-tailed Godwit (a red flag and multi-colour-ringed bird was likely from an Icelandic scheme); 55 Bar-tailed Godwit, 49 Turnstone, 26 Cormorant, 19 Knot and 16 Dunlin, although an additional 147 decided instead to roost on the railway embankment north of Cockwood Harbour and outside the recording area. Also present were 15 Great Black-backed Gull, 14 Greenshank, 12 Mute Swan, five Little Egret, four Grey Heron, four Sanderling, three Mediterranean Gull, three Sandwich Tern, the pair of escapee Black Swan, two Red-breasted Merganser, a Great Crested Grebe, the resident Slavonian Grebe, a Ringed Plover, a Ruff and a late Whimbrel

Friday, 18 October 2019

Friday 18th October

Counts from the estuary 1160 Oystercatcher, 770 Wigeon, 308 Redshank, 190 Curlew, 103 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 51 Bar and three Black-tailed Godwit, 41 Grey Plover, 38 Turnstone, 11 Greenshank, three Sanderling and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 40 Jackdaw were overhead with just a single Goldcrest in the bushes.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Thursday 17th October

A light but varied passage continued overhead with 63 Jackdaw, 40 Meadow Pipit and 12 Raven west, two Great Northern Diver high north up the estuary, 14 Snipe and three Siskin. A Firecrest was the pick of the grounded migrants along with a Coal Tit, a high count of 29 Long-tailed Tit, four Goldcrest and four Song Thrush.  

Long-tailed Tit - Alan Keatley
 
Counts from the estuary included 195 Curlew, 123 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, including 10 juveniles, 46 Bar and four Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Dunlin, 10 Knot, nine Greenshank, five Sandwich Tern, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Wednesday 16th October

Three juvenile Curlew Sandpiper in the Bight were new arrivals with 1379 Wigeon, 258 Redshank, 166 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 73 Black and 62 Bar-tailed Godwit, 33 Dunlin, 29 Grey Plover, eight Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary.

Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler was by the Main Pond and overhead there were 122 Jackdaw, 81 alba Wagtail, 28 Skylark, seven Chaffinch, five Rook, three Siskin, a Lesser Redpoll and a Swallow.

Wildlife News: A female Vagrant Emperor was seen briefly on Warren Point, the fourth site record.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Tuesday 15th October

A morning of thick fog under clear blue skies ruined any chance of visible migration overhead although several groups of Meadow Pipit and Skylark were heard passing over along with around 10 Chaffinch, three Siskin and a Golden Plover. The lack of visibility hampered counts from the estuary but 227 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were in the Bight along with 169 Curlew, 28 Grey Plover, 10 Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler was at the Main Pond, 90 Linnet and 60 Goldfinch were on Warren Point and 10 Blackcap, four Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff and a Wheatear were on site.

Wildlife News: There was a steady passage of Red Admiral west during the day with 30+ noted, also on the wing a Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Large and Small White. Late dragonflies consisted mainly of Common Darter but Southern and Migrant Hawker were also still flying. A lone Hornet was on Ivy and a single Rosemary Beetle was a first for the Recording Area.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Monday 14th October

A mostly wet and miserable day but even in drier periods there was little to be found in the bushes with just three Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff noted, although the Cetti's Warbler was again by the Main Pond. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 17 Sandwich Tern.

Slavonian Grebe 09/10/19 - Lee Collins

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Sunday 13th October

The Siberian Lesser Whitethroat presumed blythi remained around the Entrance Bushes with eight Blackcap, five Chiffchaff and two Wheatear also on site. Other migrants included a mobile flock of 170 Goldfinch and 40 Greenfinch feasting on Evening Primrose, no doubt helping to attract a passing Merlin.

Siberian Lesser Whitethroat - Lee Collins

Elsewhere two Shoveler and an Arctic Skua were offshore and records from the estuary included a Curlew Sandpiper, 290 Redshank, 161 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 47 Dunlin, 33 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Sandwich Tern, 23 Ringed, 20 Grey and a Golden Plover, 16 Knot, eight Greenshank, a Whimbrel and the Slavonian Grebe.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Saturday 12th October

A Siberian Lesser Whitethroat, presumed blythi, was around the Entrance Bushes most of the day, a first for the Recording Area. It arrived along with at least eight Blackcap and four Song Thrush, with a Wheatear, four Chiffchaff and three Goldcrest also on site and 13 House Martin overhead.

 Lesser Whitethroat blythi  - Alan Keatley


Lesser Whitethroat blythi  - both Luke Harman

Counts from the estuary included 875 Wigeon, 264 Redshank, 139 Teal, 86 Turnstone, 32 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Dunlin, 21 Sandwich and two Common Tern, eight Grey, four Ringed and a Golden Plover, seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese, six Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Red-throated Diver, three Arctic and a Pomarine Skua were offshore.

Wildlife News: Three Harbour Porpoise and a Grey Seal were offshore.

Parasol - Alan Keatley. With the recent rain fungi are out in abundance on site.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Friday 11th October

Seawatching from just after 8am saw 17 Arctic, three Pomarine, a Great and the year's first Long-tailed Skua head south along with a Puffin, three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver.

Elsewhere there was no sign of the Long-billed Dowitcher in the estuary but species present included seven Golden Plover, 100 Turnstone, 85 Sandwich, five Common and two Arctic Tern, 40 Dunlin, 35 Ringed Plover, four Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Thursday 10th October

The first Long-billed Dowitcher for the Warren was discovered associating with Oystercatcher on the afternoon's rising tide. It was soon flushed by a Merlin but was eventually relocated in front of the hide and occasionally feeding on the Golf Course. The hide should be accessible along the beach throughout the tide cycle tomorrow, there is no access to the Golf Course.

Long-billed Dowitcher - Alan Keatley


Long-billed Dowitcher - Luke Harman

Also in the estuary a good total of 1401 Wigeon, 165 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 67 Sandwich, five Common and an Arctic Tern, 17 Grey and two Golden Plover, 15 Mediterranean Gull, six Greenshank, four Red-breasted Merganser, a Pintail and a Slavonian Grebe.

Cirl Bunting - Alan Keatley

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Wednesday 9th October

The feeding flock offshore was still present and estimated to comprise of 1,700 birds.  Two Arctic Skua in attendance chased around the Kittiwake and terns. Large numbers of terns remain on site with 112 Sandwich and a Common Tern in the estuary along with 82 Turnstone, 24 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, six Mediterranean Gull, five Grey Plover, three Knot, a Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe.

A Cetti's Warbler called a few times from reed-beds around the Main Pond. The bushes and dunes were quieter than yesterday, holding six Blackcap, five Chiffchaff, five Goldcrest and a Wheatear.  Overhead there were 162 Meadow Pipit, 41 alba Wagtail, 25 Jackdaw, 18 Skylark, 10 Chaffinch and three Siskin.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Tuesday 8th October

A Great White Egret leisurely flew along the coastline and headed up the spit at dawn. The massive seabird melee was still present far offshore, comprising mostly of Black-headed Gull, Kittiwake, Gannet, four Mediterranean Gull and terns, which totaled 141 Sandwich, seven Common and two adult Arctic Tern. In addition, passage south included two Balearic Shearwater. 

The first Red-breasted Merganser of the winter was in the estuary with 189 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 71 Turnstone, 36 Dunlin, 27 Ringed Plover, eight Grey Plover and four Sanderling
.

Movement overhead 470 Meadow Pipit, 35 Skylark, 20 Swallow, four Rook, three Grey Wagtail and a Jackdaw with a clear arrival of 21 Blackcap in the bushes.

Wildlife news: two pods of four and five Common Dolphin joined the feeding frenzy offshore.