Tranquility returned to the site this morning and inshore waters, sand-bars and mudflats were covered in gulls with estimates of 2,180 Herring Gull, 1,075 Black-headed Gull, 116+ Mediterranean Gull, plus single figures of Great Black-backed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. At least 76 Sandwich Tern included 28 juvenile birds out on the estuary flats and parent birds regularly commuted in from successful forays offshore with fish to feed them. Eight Common Tern and two Roseate Tern were seen through most of the day; one of these was metal-ringed (right leg) and thus was a new bird.
Despite the neap tide (only 2.8 metres Exmouth Docks gauge), 12 Dunlin and four Ringed Plover were present. Heavy rainfall can attract small waders to forage in The Bight at any state of tide and this afternoon's drenching certainly created the right conditions for that.
Apart from gulls and terns, the early morning mill-pond like sea only offered a dozen Common Scoter, seven Gannet, six Shag and a Fulmar. Passerines have noticeably aggregated as post-breeding flocks with c.280 Starling on the 6th fairway; also present in the bushes and grasslands 21 Greenfinch, c.15 Goldfinch and a mixed tit flock with Chiffchaff worked their way through the wooded areas.
Eight Swift flew south and three Swallow seemed to be local birds. On the Main Pond, the pair of Mute Swan (including yellow-ringed 'DDN') with their two cygnets were undergoing moult and both appeared to be flightless. Although the cob of a breeding pair usually moults some weeks after the hen there can be a short period overlap such as seen today.
Wildlife news: a distant pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphin passed in front of Carnival Breeze, the third Dream-class cruise ship to grace our waters in recent weeks.
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