Saturday 18 May 2024

Saturday 18th May

Fledged species recorded today included the first Blue Tit, Starling, Moorhen and Little Grebe of the year but little else on site. Overhead passing between thundery showers 30 Swallow, seven Swift, three House and a Sand Martin.

The same weather no doubt lead to the increase in waders over high tide, with 64 Sanderling, 47 Dunlin, 10 Whimbrel, four Ringed Plover, six Turnstone, three Knot and two Greenshank present, with the five Eider also in the estuary.

At least 12 Great Northern, many in breeding plumage, and a Red-throated Diver roosted in the bay at dusk, with four Great Northern and three Red-throated flying SW early morning. also offshore rafts of 28 Common Scoter, seven Sandwich Tern and a 3cy Mediterranean Gull.

Friday 17 May 2024

Friday 17th May

Aside from the increased numbers of fledged birds a quiet day for birding with another neap tide. Records included eight Whimbrel, six Sanderling, five Dunlin, the five Eider and two Sandwich Tern in the estuary, with single Great Northern Diver and Common Scoter offshore.

Other Wildlife: A Wall Brown was again along the Dune Ridge with a single Red Admiral, three Broad-bodied Chaser and an Azure Damselfly also on the wing.

Hawthorn Shieldbug - Kevin Rylands

10-spot Ladybird - Kevin Rylands

Thursday 16 May 2024

Thursday 16th May

Another quiet day with hints of migration, a sub-singing Reed Warbler in Dead Dolphin Wood was perhaps new in, with a Siskin overhead and two 2cy Mediterranean Gull on Pole Sands at low tide. 

Elsewhere a 1hr 15min seawatch first thing saw 12 Common Scoter, five Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver head SW; the neap tide again saw The Bight largely bereft of waders with counts including 16 Whimbrel, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Sanderling, the five Eider and single Dunlin, Ringed Plover Sandwich Tern and Turnstone.

Other Wildlife: A total of four Painted Lady were the first records of the year, as insect migration starts to pick up. 

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Wednesday 15th May

Seawatching early morning saw a Great Skua SW at 6am, along with 84 Kittiwake, 66 Gannet, 25 Common Scoter, 13 Great Northern and six Red-throated Diver, nine Manx Shearwater, nine Fulmar and a ♂ Tufted Duck in 2hr.45m. Also offshore, three Sandwich Tern and a dark phase Arctic Skua chasing Kittiwake.

On a neap tide just four Dunlin and a Grey Plover roosted in The Bight, the missing plovers perhaps sitting out the high tide elsewhere. Also in the estuary 11 Whimbrel and the five Eider with 26 Sanderling on the beach.

Other Wildlife: In the overcast weather, most insects were resting up out of the wind, with several beetles below the geotubes.

Red-headed Cardinal Pyrochroa serraticornis - Alan Keatley

Bembidion lampros - Alan Keatley

Clivina fossor - Alan Keatley

Orange-tip - Alan Keatley

Panorpa germanica, a Scorpion Fly - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Tuesday 14th May

The second transatlantic rarity in a week was again a brief staying highlight, this time a first summer American Golden Plover in with a small flock of Grey Plover. It was discovered roosting over the high tide, eventually moving to The Bight and then offsite on the dropping tide. Only the second site record after one in October 2010

American Golden (& Grey) Plover - both Lee Collins 

Also in the estuary, counts included 19 Sanderling, 16 Dunlin, 14 Grey and four Ringed Plover, six Sandwich Tern, five Eider, back on Finger Point after yesterday's storm, four Bar-tailed Godwit, four Turnstone, three Whimbrel and a Great Crested Grebe

Seawatching was productive during the morning with five Pomarine and a Great Skua, 130+ Kittiwake, 100+ Manx Shearwater, 11 Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver mostly heading SW, with three Great Northern Diver on the sea.

Elsewhere a Hobby flew W at 10am and a Lesser Whitethroat was along the Back Path. 

Year list addition:

151. American Golden Plover

Other Wildlife: A Broad-banded Fleckwing Dasysyrphus venustus was one of the more striking insects on the wing with other flies noted including the cranefly Nephrotoma quadrifaria and the rust fly Psila firmetaria.

Broad-banded Fleckwing Dasysyrphus venustus - Alan Keatley

Nephrotoma quadrifaria - Alan Keatley

Psila fimetaria - Alan Keatley

Also, flying in sheltered areas were several Short-fringed and Sandpit Mining Bee, a Broad-bodied Chaser and the soldier beetle Cantharis cryptica.

Monday 13 May 2024

Monday 13th May

A wet day with rain from 8.30am, offshore an immature Pomarine Skua flew SW at 9:40 ahead of the arrival of heavier rain. Also offshore 37 Gannet, 31 Kittiwake, 25 Manx Shearwater, six Great Northern Diver, four Sandwich Tern and three Common Scoter.

The immature Peregrine was again disturbing waders around The Bight where counts included 18 Whimbrel, 15 Dunlin, 10 Grey and nine Ringed Plover, seven Bar-tailed Godwit and single Knot, Sanderling and Turnstone

Elsewhere the rain dropped in a Yellow Wagtail to the 7th fairway, a scarce grounded migrant on site and the few Swallow at the Main Pond got agitated when a Hobby headed west around 8am.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Sunday 12th May

Another day of high pressure and clear skies saw low numbers but some continuing signs of movement, with at least 11 Whitethroat on site and a new colour-ringed Dunlin in The Bight.

Counts from the estuary included 19 Dunlin, 18 Sanderling, 15 Curlew, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Grey and four Ringed Plover, nine Whimbrel, the regular five Eider and a Turnstone.

Elsewhere a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver flew high SW offshore where there were two Sandwich Tern and a pale phase Arctic Skua chasing a Kittiwake.

Other Wildlife: A Grey Seal was off Langstone Rock and six species of butterfly were on the wing including Large and Small White, with 'lots' of Silver Y showing increasing insect migration. 

Saturday 11 May 2024

Saturday 11th May

An early highlight was a flock of five Red Kite low WSW low just before 7am having presumably roosted nearby, also moving SW early morning a single Grey Heron, but other flyover were limited to two Rook and single Sand Martin and Swift.

An immature ♂ Ruff was briefly on Finger Point over the morning high tide, with wader counts including 42 Sanderling, 12 Whimbrel, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Grey and seven Ringed Plover, seven Dunlin and four Turnstone. Also in the estuary an increase to 25 Black-headed Gull, five Eider and a Great Crested Grebe.

Jackdaw - Alan Keatley Formerly only a migrant this species has switched to foraging on the reserve as previous feeding areas have been developed. 

Elsewhere 10 Common Scoter, six Manx Shearwater, three Great Northern Diver and two Sandwich Tern were offshore and a Common Sandpiper was at Langstone Rock at dawn.

Other Wildlife: The first Common Blue was one of seven species of butterfly on the wing with another Wall Brown on the Golf Course a welcome sight. The first Azure Damselfly of the year had also taken flight with a Broad-bodied Chaser also seen.

Azure Damselfly - Alan Keatley

Several hoverflies also made their first appearance of 2024 including Pied Plume-horn Volucella pellucens, Humming Syrphus S. ribesiiSuperb Ant-hill Hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum and Burdock Blacklet Cheilosa impressa.

Burdock Blacklet Cheilosa impressa - Alan Keatley

Occupying bare areas of sand good numbers of Sandpit Mining Bee, several Coastal Silver-stiletto Acrosathe annulata and along the beach, the beetles Bembidion quadrimaculatum and Phaleria cadaverina.

Coastal Silver-stiletto Acrosathe annulata - Alan Keatley 

Phaleria cadaverina - Alan Keatley

Friday 10 May 2024

Friday 10th May

Reduced numbers in the estuary as birds take opportunity of the fine weather to continue migration and perhaps avoid the attention of a marauding Peregrine. Counts included 29 Sanderling, 17 Whimbrel, 14 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, nine Bar-tailed Godwit, the five Eider and two Grey Plover.

Peregrine - Lee Collins

Elsewhere six Sandwich Tern and three Great Northern Diver were offshore and there was a light NE passage of 24 Swallow and 12 House Martin.

Other Wildlife: The first Broad-bodied Chaser of the year was in the Back Meadow, with a Wall Brown and a Sand Lizard along the Dune Ridge.

Sand Lizard - Lee Collins

Wall - Lee Collins

Thursday 9 May 2024

Thursday 9th May

A ♀  Surf Scoter was a brief unexpected highlight, the 14th site record but the first since Nov 2014. It was sat distantly offshore, usually asleep, and continued to drift out with tide. Despite flat calm sea and good viewing conditions it was not seen after 10.30am.

Also offshore at least 10 Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, just two of the former close in but both in breeding plumage, 20 Common Scoter and a single Sandwich Tern

Other new arrivals included a Spotted Flycatcher in the Entrance Bushes and four sub-singing Reed Warbler including birds in Greenland Lake and on top of Langstone Rock!

Overhead single Sand Martin and Yellow Wagtail, a Wheatear flew across estuary, a pair of Tufted Duck W over The Bight before heading high north and a Red Kite SW mid-morning.

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 40 Sanderling, 37 Whimbrel, 33 Dunlin, 13 Ringed and a Grey Plover, nine Turnstone, six Bar-tailed Godwit and five Eider.

Year list addition:

150. Surf Scoter

Other Wildlife: The warm sunny weather saw an increase in flying invertebrates with the first Wall Brown of the year one of eight butterfly species on the wing. These also included Holly Blue, Small Copper and Speckled Wood.

Day-flying moths included Common and Garden Carpet, but the best was a Small Yellow Underwing in the Skipper Meadow, only the second site record and the first since the late 1990s.

Small Yellow Underwing - Alan Keatley

Garden Carpet - Kevin Rylands

Also recorded today two Harbour Porpoise offshore, a single Blue-tailed Damselfly and a Bordered Shieldbug, new for the Recording Area. 

Bordered Shieldbug - Kevin Rylands

Agrypnus murinus - Alan Keatley

Common Stiltbug Berytinus minor - Alan Keatley