Thursday 7 May 2020

April 2020 summary

Daily updates will continue to be replaced with summaries during the Covid-19 crisis, which has meant that levels of observations are lower than usual. The bird hide remains closed. All of the reported sightings below were made following Government regulations and guidance. Stay safe and hope to see you all soon.

Up to six Dark-bellied Brent Goose were present until 13th with a dozen on 9th and five on 26th indicating passage, with Pale-bellied Brent Goose on six coinciding dates, including counts of 11 (4th) and 13 (5th) and a flock of c.60 flew in off the sea on 26th.

Pale- bellied Brent Goose 04/05/2016 - Dave Jewell

The male of a pair of Mute Swan nesting on the Main Pond was ringed (yellow ‘DDN’) at Abbotsbury, Dorset as a first-summer in July 2015 and has been periodically seen at the Warren since April 2018.

A drake Shoveler on Main Pond, no longer with a female, persisted until 2nd.  The last Teal in the estuary departed on 7th, but a drake that befriended Mallard located on the flooded areas around the Entrance Bushes, where it became quite confiding, remained until 21st. Two pairs of Little Grebe on the Main Pond each produced two noisy chicks.

Little Grebe 15/05/2013 Andy Stuthridge

A pair of Eider remained offshore until 25th; the max count of 15+ Common Scoter on 2nd. The last three Red-breasted Merganser in the estuary on 6th were followed only by a single offshore on 11th; and the last three Great-crested Grebe offshore were on 9th.

The high tide roosts supported dwindling numbers of over-wintering wader with some passage suggested by flocks of 21 (19th) and c.30 (28th) Ringed Plover. More obvious wader migration appeared in the form of regular two-figure counts of Whimbrel from 6th with a max of c.70 (26th); one individual with yellow and green-coloured ring combinations was likely to be ‘D63’, a Welsh ringed bird present at Dawlish Warren for its fourth spring visit.  A flock of 154 Dunlin on 28th were new in.  A Black-tailed Godwit flew by on 8th, a Common Sandpiper was on rocks below the seawall on 24th and the highlight was a pair of vocal Avocet that flew past The Bight and continued NE on 10th; the first April record here since 2006.

Whimbrel 12/05/2017 - Dean Hall

Small parties of Black-headed Gull (max 36 on 11th) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (max 21 on 5th) flew N through the month, the latter max the best since 2013. Sandwich Tern passage was very light with a max of 36 (19th); by contrast, good numbers of Common Tern were seen including 31 on 30th. Other tern spp. numbers were not impressive, with two Roseate Tern on 30th, just two Little Tern on 18th and a single on 30th; and two Arctic Tern on 30th.

Unsettled conditions on 29th produced a pale-phase ‘spooned’ Pomarine Skua and three Great Skua. Other records included a single Arctic Skua on 19th and three single Great Skua on 22nd, 24th & 25th. Red-throated Diver was the only diver species seen in April with relatively heavy passage, including 11 on 4th and nine on 12th. This is the first blank April since 1995 for Great Northern Diver, no doubt influenced by the reduction of hours in the field.  The first three Manx Shearwater on 13th were followed by one 24th and 16+ on 29th.

A Grey Heron frequented the Main Pond 10-26th; three-four Little Egret were present all month with individuals adventurously stalking along ditches and flooded areas where not previously seen, presumably due to the reduction of people about.  An unseasonal Kingfisher perched up outside Eales Dock on 11th was the first in April since 2003.

An Osprey briefly fished in The Bight early morning on 7th. A Red Kite drifted NE on 11th; the resident male Kestrel was briefly joined by another, a presumed migrant on 10th.  Up to four Raven, unusual for this site, regularly foraged on the Golf Course. The first Swift on 19th was followed by three on 26th. Hirundine passage was lighter than average with single-figures of Sand and House Martin, and a max of 41 Swallow on 19th. 

Osprey 06/04/2019 - Lee Collins

Warbler passage too was comparatively light, a reflection of coverage but also mirroring low numbers of migrants elsewhere. There was a max of 11 Chiffchaff, five Whitethroat, four Blackcap and two Willow Warbler. Six Yellow Wagtail included four on 19th, with a Tree Pipit overhead on 8th and only single figures of Meadow Pipit on eight dates during the month. 

A Mistle Thrush foraged on Golf Course fairways (2nd & 6th) was the first of the year. Male Ring Ouzel on 4th was sub-singing then ventured onto the empty fairways to forage where it was chased around by the resident Blackbirds.  This was the 20th individual (18 records) for the Recording Area, the earliest ever and first since 2015.

Wheatear 12/04/2016 - Dave Boult

A total of just 18 Wheatear was the worst bird-days total since 1994; although a male Redstartpresent on 23rd is a species not seen every Spring. Two of the four territories of Stonechat have so far fledged young. Peaking at 84 (3rd) Linnet numbers gradually dropped to about half that by the close of the month. Goldfinch passage peaked at 15-22 birds on some days during the period 5th-11th, dropping to a resident six or so birds by the end of the month. 

A lone unpaired roaming male Reed Bunting was seen twice but Cirl Bunting were paired up and seem to be doing well.  

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