Saturday, 5 September 2020

Saturday 5th September

Intermittent warm sunny and cool dull spells prompted a number of exchanges between sun-hat and woolly hat. The day's birdlife also had a late autumn feel. Searches of wooded areas and scrub revealed only an expected range of species, including 12+ Long-tailed Tit, 11 Blue Tit, eight Chiffchaff, four each of Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, two Great Tit, a Sparrowhawk, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, the exception was a count of six Collared Dove, the highest count on site since Nov 2017.  The railway line is a hard site boundary to delineate from birds that reside on the mainland and Collared Dove seen in the village should be reported (e.g. to DBWPS) as 'Dawlish Warren village'.

Some gregarious species continued to grow in numbers with 81 Goldfinch 
and 28 Greenfinch being the biggest counts of the year so far; also c.70 Linnet and c.60 Starling present.  Most of the eight Wheatear noted were on the golf course.

Attempts to count the hundreds of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin, and the tens of Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot were dashed by a the presence of birds-of-prey rather than by tourists today; an adult Peregrine snatched a Ringed Plover from above the beach and scattered small waders that were roosting beyond groyne 9; three Kestrel were over Warren Point and elsewhere, and the final straw that pushed most waders to abandon the site altogether was a juvenile Osprey that cruised over Warren Point at c.11:00, drifted southwest down to Dawlish Warren village then turned north to follow the wooded ridge-line. This was perhaps the same bird seen later around Powderham.

The only wader count was of 41 Sanderling along the beach, and of the gulls there were 24 Great Black-backed Gull, 16 Common Gull and six Mediterranean Gull
.

Rain on more days than not over the past month has risen water levels on ponds and saw the welcome return of a Little Grebe to the Main Pond (last seen on 1st August), joined by eight Teal, a few Moorhen and a Mallard

O
verhead northeast passed 60+ Swallow, some House Martin and a Sand Martin, also three each of Meadow Pipit and Siskin, two species not recorded here since the spring, and three Grey Wagtail.

Wildlife news: apologies are in order, a dragonfly initially identified as a Lesser Emperor was later retracted and relabeled (for now) as an emperor Anax sp.  Also present single figures of Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker and Common Darter. A Wall was the first in months, otherwise regular butterflies in the form of Common Blue, Small Copper, Small White, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown; and also a Red Admiral. A few Silver Y flew out from the meadows. A Lesser Hornet Hoverfly Volucella inanis, not to be confused with its larger and more familiar relative V. zonaria, was again on flowering Water Mint Metha aquatica around Crocus Compound.

A frenetic Stoat was 'squeaked' out from hunting in bushes along the Back Path

Wall - Alan Keatley
 
Stoat - Alan Keatley

Not wildlife news: a Spitfire twice passed overhead and still anchored inshore between Teignmouth and Hope's Nose, the luxury Cunard liner 'Queen Mary II' (345 metres length), and P&O's sister cruise liners 'Ventura' and 'Azura' (both 289 metres in length).

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