Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sunday 14th October

Counts from the estuary included just 399 Wigeon, 213 Curlew, 172 Redshank, 147 Teal, 127 Brent Geese, 114 Dunlin, 29 Ringed and 21 Grey Plover, eight Greenshank, eight Bar and four Black-tailed Godwit, four Pintail, four Sandwich and a Common Tern, two Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere an Eider was off the seawall.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Saturday 13th October

The fresh mild southerly drew focus towards the sea again but whereas yesterday’s 1½ hours early morning effort produced just one Gannet, today paid dividends with a Long-tailed Skua slowly through south at 09:15. Also south went 66 Gannet, 17 Kittiwake, 13 Common Scoter, nine Great Skua (including one out of the estuary), five Fulmar, four Great Northern Diver (plus a diver sp.), three Razorbill (plus 5 auk sp.), an Arctic Skua (plus two skua sp.) and one of the semi-resident Eider.

A selection of counts during high tide in The Bight, Warren Point and near estuary included 87 Dunlin, 66 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 26 Ringed Plover, 20 Grey Plover, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, five Mediterranean Gull (one at sea), four Great Crested Grebe (two at sea), four Sandwich Tern (one at sea), three Shelduck, two Sanderling, the Slavonian Grebe, and single Red-breasted Merganser, Greenshank, Knot, juv Curlew Sandpiper and Common Tern.  An Osprey disturbed all the gulls late lunchtime, hanging high in the wind for a time over the estuary.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese - Simon Thurgood

 Slavonian Grebe - Lee Collins. Herbert has been resident for the last 11 years.

Refugee gulls were abundant and of 276 Great Black-backed Gull, 70 made to out south during the morning.  Among those that remained, largely on Finger Point, they were joined for 20 minutes by an adult presumed Baltic Gull.  It’s distinctly velvety and blacker upperparts stood out against the backdrop of Great Black-backed Gulls, emphasised by the absence of white primary tips; a single mirror in P10 and generally delayed moult except for dropped inner primaries, and its long attenuated appearance all made for a good candidate. Notwithstanding conjecture about its actual identify, this was a beautiful gull.

Presumed Baltic Gull

Elsewhere, the bushes were blown out and offered little more than 28 Goldfinch and 7 Chiffchaff.  Three Raven seemed to be enjoying the breezy conditions, but 13 Skylark ardently pressing into the headwind not so much. 

Friday, 12 October 2018

Friday 12th October

The wet and windy weather came as forecast but didn’t bring any seabirds with it with just three Gannet and a couple of Fulmar recorded. The bushes were blown out, so the only possible birding was in the estuary. The tide was really high, topped up with the heavy rain. Most of the wildfowl were sheltering in and around the Bight, with an increase to 93 Brent Geese and 16 Shelduck amongst 260 Wigeon and 120 Teal. Also in the estuary nine Sandwich Tern, a single Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe.
Waders on the flooded golf course included 50+ Dunlin, 10 Grey and six Ringed Plover, five Greenshank and three Black-tailed Godwit.
Red-breasted Merganser - Alan Keatley

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Wednesday 10th October

The Osprey was again over the estuary with wildfowl counts including 439 Wigeon, 228 Teal, 61 Brent Geese and a Shelduck. Wader numbers included 1408 Oystercatcher, 385 Curlew, 185 Redshank, 21 Dunlin, 15 Grey Plover, 12 Knot, nine Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit and six Greenshank.

Osprey - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere three Balearic Shearwater flew south and two Great Northern Diver were off the seawall. 

Wildlife News: Despite the return to Summer temperatures the insect activity was rather disappointing with only a few Red Admiral on the wing and a couple of Speckled Wood in the Entrance Bushes. Also flying six Common Darter, four Migrant Hawker and a very late Blue-tailed Damselfly. Hoverflies included the migrant Scaeva pyrastri, as well as Eristalis nemorum and Helophilus pendulus on the few remaining aster flowers.

 Migrant Hawker - Alan Keatley

Helophilus pendulus (The Footballer) - Alan Keatley

Monday, 8 October 2018

Monday 8th October

A  calm, quiet autumn day. Little change in birds although the Osprey still lingering on the estuary made a welcome visit to the Recording area. Also in the estuary 370 Wigeon, 363 Teal, six Brent Geese, three Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere two Eider were offshore, a Jay and 14 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were on site and overhead a Mistle Thrush  was an early migrant with three Grey Wagtail and a few Meadow Pipit also on the move.

Reed Bunting - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The overcast conditions didn’t flavour insects with just a few Buff-tailed, Carder and a single queen Red-tailed Bumblebee on the remaining Aster flowers.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Sunday 7th October

Wildfowl in estuary included 568 Wigeon, 231 Teal, 44 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a Pintail; with wader counts including single Golden Plover and Whimbrel, 333 Curlew, 169 Redshank, 42 Dunlin, 23 Turnstone, 16 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Grey and four Ringed Plover, six Knot, five Greenshank and two Snipe. Also in the estuary three Mediterranean Gull, a Water Rail, a Sandwich Tern, a Kingfisher and the Slavonian Grebe.  

Elsewhere the summer plumaged Red-throated Diver and an Eider were offshore, 120 Linnet, 95 Goldfinch, two Wheatear and a Whinchat were on site and 25 Skylark, three Swallow, three Grey Wagtail and three Siskin were overhead.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Saturday 6th October

The morning rain and northerly winds didn't appear to drop anything on site with the exception of a large feeding flock of 430 Gannet close in off John's Watch mid morning. Also offshore the two Black-throated Diver, two Great Northern Diver, one in full summer plumage, 17 Common Scoter, the two Eider and three Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

No sign of the Red-crested Pochard with just 342 Wigeon in Shutterton Creek, also in the estuary 45 Dunlin, 30 Knot, 20 Turnstone, three Greenshank, six Sandwich Tern, a first winter Yellow-legged Gull and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere two Swallow flew through and at least 14 released Pheasant are now on site.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Friday 5th October

A first winter drake Red-crested Pochard in Shutterton Creek with the Wigeon was an unexpected highlight, only the fourth confirmed site record, after birds in 1997, 1999 & 2013. Like the individual in 1997 this bird was found at Mudbank, Exmouth. Also in the estuary 800+ Wigeon, 366 Teal, 211 Curlew, 176 Redshank, 35 Ringed and 11 Grey Plover, 14 Sanderling, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, five Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Offshore three Balearic Shearwater flew south, the two juvenile Black-throated Diver remained, almost joined at the hip so presumably from the same brood, eight presumed Red-breasted Merganser flew past in the fog and the two Eider were off the seawall. Elsewhere three figure flocks of Linnet and Goldfinch remained on site and overhead the first Redwing of the autumn, two Mistle Thrush, 22 Siskin, 14 Skylark and 10 Chaffinch.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Thursday 4th October

Two immature Black-throated Diver were close in off the seawall mid morning. They drifted further out during the day but were still present at dusk. Also offshore two Eider and 15 Common Scoter. On a neap tide wader numbers counts were low but included 174 Redshank, 51 Ringed Plover, 22 Dunlin, six Sanderling, three Greenshank and a Grey Plover. Also in the estuary 390 Wigeon, 347 Teal, nine Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, a Little Grebe was with the Slavonian Grebe, 14 Sandwich Tern and an Osprey mid afternoon.

Elsewhere two Goldcrest, 15 Chiffchaff and six Blackcap were in the bushes, 48 Meadow Pipit, three Swallow and a Siskin flew over and 160 Linnet, 120 Goldfinch and five Cirl Bunting were feeding on site.

Ringing News: An impressive 84 colour-ringed Oystercatcher were recorded including four from a recent mistnetting session. More information on this project can be found at

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Wednesday 3rd October

Early morning 28 Siskin, six Rook, five Jackdaw and a Chaffinch flew NE with a single Goldcrest, 11 Chiffchaff and six Blackcap in the bushes. Elsewhere the Eider was offshore, 31 Ringed Plover and nine Dark-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary and 1520 Herring and 74 Great Black-backed Gull roosted on Bull Hill.