Saturday 19 December 2020

Thursday 17th December

Headlines: For the first time in well over half a century, public access to the bird hide area and to the entire length of the dune ridge path beside The Bight, is closed.  Teignbridge District Council (TDC) tweeted this news today having taken the decision to fence this off due to storm damage and sea erosion.  

Access to Warren Point remains possible along the beach with the first access point via a cutting in the dune ridge at groyne 15. Access is also available further along toward the end of Warren Point. Please note the beach has also washed away so when tides are ≥3.7 metres, Warren Point will be cut off. If you are there and that happens - just wait.

The Bight and estuary can still be viewed, more distantly than before, from various places around Warren Point. The positioning and length into the water of spur fences either side of Finger Point and 'recharge area' indicate when birds are likely to be roosting there, so please do not climb over them and read the signs.

There are just a handful of people whom have permitted access to the hide area via another route. If you see them there, really sorry, they'd like you to join them but that unfortunately is not possible in the foreseeable future.

It was self-evident and predictable this problem was going to happen, but no solution has been given, with TDC, Environment Agency and Natural England seemingly unable to agree on a way forward.

acknowledgement to Google Maps for the basemap; illustrations and captions - Ivan Lakin

As a result of limited access, the only waterbird counts managed were of some of the more obvious species at distance, 115 Shelduck, 17 Great Black-backed Gull, five Red-breasted Merganser, four Little Egret, two Mute Swan and the drake Eider.

From the seawall, the first Black-necked Grebe for the year, with some of the seven Great Crested Grebe. Also 13 Gannet, single Red-throated Diver and Guillemot.

Main Pond had three Shoveler (2 imm ♂, adult ♂), Water Rail, Moorhen and a Little Grebe. A greyish silent 'phylosc' was presumably the Siberian Chiffchaff in Dead Dolphin Wood, and also in wooded areas seven Long-tailed Tit, four regular colybita Chiffchaff, three Bullfinch, two Goldcrest, and single Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit and Chaffinch. In more open areas with scattered bushes, three Meadow Pipit, two Stonechat, four Cirl Bunting and a few mixed finches. At least 60 House Sparrow departed their roost, which has moved located to bushes beside the service road of the shops.

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