Friday, 31 July 2020

Friday 31st July

BirdTrack can be set up at the behest of County Recorders to highlight unusual species and counts in red, to flag potential clerical errors and requirement of further details. Given the site's prominence, receiving four red 'warnings' among a day's species list is frequent, but today there were six; it was a good day.

Even in the humid, cloudless sky and bright sunshine, with the tide well retreated, waders were audibly and visibly on the move early morning and the highlight was a Green Sandpiper that called a few times from the estuary corner as it flew off over the the site south; the second record of the year.

Cloud built through the day and light rain coincided with the early evening tide. As reported before, Dawlish Warren can really perform if its rains and this was no exception with a remarkable double of a summer-plumaged Curlew Sandpiper and a summer-plumaged Little Stint in The Bight. The last time these species were seen here in July was back in 2012 and 2005, respectively; this being only the 9th Little Stint in July and the last time both species were seen together here in July was in 1987.

adult Curlew Sandpiper - Lee Collins

Wader counts were 586 Oystercatcher, 389 Curlew, 218 Redshank, 53 Whimbrel, 35 Sanderling, 32 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, eight Greenshank, six Bar-tailed Godwit, two Knot and a single Turnstone. That's 1,353 waders of 14 wader species.

Only about 55 Sandwich Tern on 'woodhenge', these included remaining Irish and South African ringed individuals. With them, six Common Tern including a second all red billed bird,  and an adult unringed Roseate Tern - another new bird. The Slavonian Grebe was again with up to 11 Mute Swan in the estuary. And a Kingfisher flew over the golf course.

A flying ant swarm in front of the rain attracted at least 200 Black-headed Gull, five Mediterranean Gull and 84 Swift. Earlier eight Swallow, three Raven and one House Martin flew through.   

A flock of 66 House Sparrow foraged in the Buffer Zone. Warblers in the woods and bushes included ten Blackcap, seven Whitethroat, six Chiffchaff and three Willow Warbler  and a Garden Warbler.  Also present, ten Stonechat, five Blue Tit, also five Collared Dove including the usual pair, again perched on their favorite dead Elder branch. Also three Long-tailed Tit, two Great Tit and two Bullfinch. Single Sparrowhawk with one less Blackbird, a Kestrel and one each of Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Flocks totaling at least 90 Linnet and smaller number of Greenfinch and Goldfinch foraged on the dune grasslands and among herbaceous plants, where on Warren Point the year's first Grasshopper Warbler was reported. There are only two previous July records.

Wildlife news: a Silver-washed Fritillary near the Main Pond is a rare sighting here.

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