Tuesday 31 December 2013

2013 Birding Review

2013 was another record birding year on the Warren, although no new species were added to the recording area list, with the site list reaching an all-time high of 201 species despite a lack of autumn seawatching or ‘Vismig’ opportunities.
Highlights included Bonaparte's Gull, four species of American wader, Temminck’s Stint, Red-backed Shrike, Montagu’s Harrier, Stone-curlew, Short-toed Lark and Hoopoe. Breeding species included Shelduck, Feral Pigeon (for the first time), as well as four pairs of Herring Gull (although all unsuccessful) and two pairs of Little Grebe, on the downside both Ringed Plover and Coot continued to be absent.
Other low points include the continuing decline in wintering grebes, sea duck, wildfowl and waders, with many migrants such as Cuckoo, Whinchat, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat again scarce, with no Grasshopper Warbler at all. Other notable absentees included Kentish Plover, Spoonbill, Sooty Shearwater and Pochard.
Ringing returns increased considerably, in 2013 the recording group noted 117 different individual birds of 16 different species. Putting this into some context, the 214 reads made this year account for over 37% of all the recoveries ever made at Dawlish Warren! All of these recoveries were read in the field. The movements noted included the first Roseate Tern recovery (from Coquet Island Northumberland); Ringed Plover from Iceland; Curlew from Germany; Sanderling from Greenland, Iceland and Ghana; Dunlin from Spain, Great Black-backed Gull from Norway, France, Guernsey, Cornwall and Portland; and Sandwich Tern from Holland, Scotland and Wales. A more detailed account will be published online and in Devon Birds shortly.
The year started well with a Serin briefly in Dead Dolphin Wood on New Year’s Day, the seventh site record but the first since 1991, whilst the Bearded Tit and Black-necked Grebe both remained at the Main Pond. Other January highlights included Woodcock, Long-tailed Duck, another Black-necked Grebe, Water Pipit, Goosander and Yellowhammer.
February was a quiet month with a Black-throated Diver offshore and a couple of Water Pipit on the flooded Golf Course the highlights
March started with a lone early Wheatear and ended with a brief Stone-curlew, the fifth site record and the first since 1987, mid-month there was a record spring passage of Chaffinch, and a site record count of Chiffchaff. Many of these migrants were, however, struggling as the winter refused to let go and the conditions meant there was very little insect food available.
April opened with a Hoopoe, the first since 2004, and another brief flyby from the Stone-curlew, whilst a variety of migrants included a Long-eared Owl, Black Redstart and Firecrest began to trickle through and a movement of Jay overhead followed on from the 2012 autumn influx. A Marsh Harrier heading north was followed the next day by a second year female Montagu’s Harrier, the fifth site record and the first since 1979. Passage counts for both Whimbrel and Pale-bellied Brent Geese reached three figures.
Both Jay and Pale-bellied Brent Geese continued to move through in early May, the highlight though were Roseate Tern with numbers peaking at 20, comfortably beating the previous site and Devon record (14 in 1958). Rarities included a returning Bonaparte’s Gull, the fourth record of Short-toed Lark, the third Warren record of Temminck’s Stint, the first for 21 years and two Turtle Dove.
June was quiet and although it was good to have a Cuckoo in residence for a change, it was probably as successful in finding a mate as the Slavonian Grebe which completed its sixth summer on the river. Shelduck did however breed successfully with young seen around Warren Point, although a pair even prospected the Main Pond.
July saw returning waders and terns, although in contrast to spring Roseate Tern had a poor showing, a flock of 400 Common Scoter gathered to moult offshore and an early Long-tailed Skua hinted at autumn.
A Crossbill, early in August, turned out to be the only record of the year; wader passage picked up with three Green Sandpiper records and several Little Ringed Plover from midmonth. A Pectoral Sandpiper made a very brief stop in the Bight whilst the two Wood Sandpiper just flew over. The only Pied Flycatcher of the year was on Warren Point at the end of the month.
September’s highlight was unfortunately suppressed, the site’s second Lesser Yellowlegs that spent a little over an hour in the Bight, however other good birds were soon forthcoming including the first Red-backed Shrike since 1998, the site’s third Black Brant and sixth Rose-coloured Starling, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, a Wryneck and a Black Guillemot. Perhaps the most important sighting though was a record count of House Sparrow with 154 birds at roost. An area sadly now altered and no longer suitable.
October couldn’t quite keep up the pace but three Yellow-browed Warbler, a Lapland Bunting and three Whooper Swan, however three frequently overlooked species all weighed in with new record counts: Robin, Dunnock and Wren.
November lived up to its billing as one of the best birding months on the Warren with the third White-rumped Sandpiper (first since 1998) and fourth Great White Egret (first since 2002) turning up on the same day. Seawatching also produced the fourth Warren Red-crested Pochard, the first since 1999, and a Leach’s Petrel. Other highlights included a Snow and a second Lapland Bunting, a reappearance from the Bonaparte’s Gull, a Cetti’s Warbler and a White-fronted Goose.
December was a relatively quiet month although a late Little Auk arrived on Boxing Day and Spotted Redshank finally made an appearance for the year. 2013 drew to a close with Bonaparte’s Gull, Black Brant, Long-tailed Duck and two Velvet Scoter all present, so here’s to a Happy New Year to all.

Tuesday 31st December

The Black Brant was again with Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Golf Course early morning with the Bonaparte's Gull again present in the estuary. Elsewhere two Velvet Scoter, two Great Northern Diver and a Mediterranean Gull were offshore, five Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary and a Grey Wagtail was around the Entrance Bushes.

Wildlife News: A Common Seal was in the estuary.

Grey Wagtail © Simon Thurgood

Monday 30 December 2013

Monday 30th December

Seawatching mid morning after the rain moved through produced 10 Red-throated and five Great Northern Diver with 13 others too distant to identify. Also passing 70 auk sp, 54 Gannet, 15 Kittiwake, 12 Fulmar, nine Guillemot and three Razorbill. The Bonaparte's Gull and female Long-tailed Duck were feeding in the estuary mid morning with the Slavonian Grebe, a Goldeneye and 30 Red-breasted Merganser. Also on site two Siberian Chiffchaff, two Pale-bellied Brent Geese and a Greenshank.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Sunday 29th December

The adult Bonaparte's Gull was along the beach again with the Velvet Scoter, two Eider and nine Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere a Siberian Chiffchaff and three Cirl Bunting were on site with the Slavonian Grebe, four Greenshank and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose in the estuary.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Saturday 28th December

The Bonaparte's Gull was reported along the beach mid afternoon but the only other news came from Langstone Rock where in flat calm conditions there were four Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, 16 Common and a Velvet Scoter, eight Great-crested Grebe and three Guillemot.

Friday 27 December 2013

Friday 27th December

Counts from the estuary included 201 Grey Plover, 160+ Dark-bellied and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 67 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 56 Shelduck, c50 Turnstone, 31 Ringed Plover, 23 Sanderling and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the Bonaparte's Gull was off Langstone Rock, a Great Northern Diver was near the estuary mouth, a Velvet Scoter was off the seawall and seawatching before 11am saw four Red-throated Diver, 40+ auk sp, 25+ Kittiwake, 13 Fulmar and a Long-tailed Duck heading south.

Thursday 26 December 2013

Thursday 26th December

Little Auk, an unseasonal first of the year, was close inshore off Groyne 14 early morning before flying west, also offshore 12 Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, a Velvet Scoter and the Bonaparte’s Gull. Elsewhere the Black Brant and Long-tailed Duck were in the estuary with a Greenshank and a Peregrine also from the hide.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Wednesday 25th December

The Bonaparte's Gull was feeding offshore early afternoon with two Velvet Scoter, single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, 40+ Wigeon and 15 Common Scoter. Elsewhere an Avocet was off Cockwood with a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary.

Ringing News: Great Black-backed Gull JA700 was recorded on site for the 19th time yesterday. It was ringed as a chick at Odd, Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway in July 2008, and has also been noted in Essex in May 2010, back in Norway in May 2012,  Kent in August 2012 and was first seen here in September 2012 before wintering on site. It returned for another winter this September.

View Great Black-back Gull in a larger map


Tuesday 24 December 2013

Tuesday 24th December

The Bonaparte's Gull again but in a couple of brief appearances this morning, first from the hide and 15 minutes later off the seawall. Seawatching before 10.30 was, considering yesterday's weather, quiet but 22 Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver flew south along with 95 Gannet, 70+ auks, mostly Guillemot, 19 Kittiwake and a Fulmar; the two Eider were also still present off Exmouth. Elsewhere records from the estuary included the Black Brant and two Pale-bellied Brent with 260+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 192 Grey Plover, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Sanderling, a high site count of 12 Greenshank, four Goldeneye, the Slavonian Grebe and briefly in the Bight, the female Long-tailed Duck. 

Long-tailed Duck © Lee Collins

Monday 23 December 2013

Monday 23rd December

A foul day with heavy rain and strong southwesterlies throughout. Seawatching produced two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver south with 40+ Gannet, 25+ Kittiwake and 12+ Fulmar in the bay. Elsewhere two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Sunday 22nd December

The Bonaparte's Gull made a couple of brief reapperances off the seawall during the morning, also offshore a Velvet Scoter on the sea and heading south 37 Red-throated and six Great Northern Diver along with eight others that were too distant to identify. Counts from the estuary included 209 Wigeon, 193 Grey Plover, 145 Redshank. 82 Curlew, 74 Shelduck, 34 Knot, 27 Ringed Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Sanderling, a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere at least 17 Siskin were with Goldfinch in the Entrance Bushes and four Little Grebe were displaying on the Main Pond.

Curlew © Simon Thurgood

Wildlife News: At least one Harbour Porpoise was offshore.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Saturday 21st December

Seawatching up to 11am provided interest between the showers with a Great Skua, a female Eider, a Velvet and 87 Common Scoter, 12 Red-throated and six Great Northern Diver, 141 Gannet, 57 Kittiwake and six Fulmar either on the sea or heading south. Elsewhere the Black Brant was in the estuary, also present 287 Wigeon, 148 Redshank, 120+ Great Black-backed Gull, four Greenshank, four Pale-bellied Brent, three Goldeneye, a Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe.

Sparrowhawk © Lee Collins

Friday 20 December 2013

Friday 20th December

Two Long-tailed Duck were in the estuary with 44 Red-breasted Merganser, other counts included 144 Grey Plover, 76 Shelduck, 43 Knot, 35 Ringed Plover and just three Sanderling. Elsewhere three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were offshore with 45 Gannet passing in just 20 minutes mid-afternoon and large numbers of gulls on the beach included three darvic ringed first winter Great Black-backed Gull, two from Portland and one from Northern France.

Great Black-backed Gull (French bird 24N) © Lee Collins

Sunday 15 December 2013

Sunday 15th December

The WeBS count on a fairly wet and miserable day revealed the continued presence of the Black Brant with 239 Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the Bight, other counts on the rising tide including 1450+ Oystercatcher, 850+ Dunlin, 82 Redshank, 59 Shelduck, 53 Grey Plover, 38 Knot, 20 Bar and eight Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Turnstone, 17 Red-breasted Merganser and the female Long-tailed Duck. Elsewhere the Water Pipit was in front of the hide and a Pomarine Skua flew south offshore.

 Water Pipit ©  Lee Collins

Saturday 14 December 2013

Saturday 14th December

The Bonaparte's Gull remains on site feeding in the estuary with Black-headed Gull mid morning,also in the estuary 1350 Dunlin, 149 Curlew, 132 Grey Plover, 54 Bar-tailed Godwit, 46 Shelduck, 40 Knot, 20 Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the Water Pipit was in front of the hide, two Stock Dove were in the Railway Saltmarsh and two Red-throated Diver were offshore.

Ringing News: A colour ringed Curlew first seen here in September was again present today in the Bight and the full details show it is a female ringed on the nest in Elte county, Steinfurt, western Germany in May 2009 and has returned there to breed each year since.

View Curlew in a larger map

Thursday 12 December 2013

Thursday 12th December

The only news received was of the long-staying Bonaparte's Gull and female Long-tailed Duck both in front of the hide early afternoon.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Wednesday 11th December

A Golden Plover was in the Bight mid afternoon, only the fifth record of the year. Elsewhere a Slavonian Grebe was offshore with six Red-throated Diver and 20 Great-crested Grebe.

Monday 9 December 2013

Monday 9th December

The Bonaparte's Gull was in the estuary early afternoon before returning offshore. No other news was received.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Sunday 8th December

A Water Pipit in front of the hide was a new arrival, with the White-fronted Goose again on the Golf Course (it had been back at Orcombe first light) and a drake Pintail also in the estuary. Elsewhere the Bonaparte's Gull and a Slavonian Grebe were offshore and two Cirl Bunting were on site.

This Shelduck was rung on the Axe Estuary in East Devon on 09/02/2013 and this was the first sighting since ringing. Another ringed Shelduck seen today was here back in January and had been rung at Steart in Somerset on 18/09/2005.

© Lee Collins

Saturday 7 December 2013

Saturday 7th December

Little change on site today with the headline birds still present and showing well. The Bonaparte's Gull was off the sea wall, along with 150+ Common and two Velvet Scoter, 51 Red-breasted Merganser, 40 Great-crested Grebe, nine Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver and the first returning Fulmar. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 423 Wigeon, 141 Grey Plover, 120 Redshank, 40 Turnstone, 35 Knot, 29 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling, two Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe. Other records included the White-fronted Goose on the golf course, a male Cirl Bunting in song and late/suppressed news of a first for the year - a Spotted Redshank some when at the end of November.

Bonaparte's Gull © Phil Stidwell

Wildlife News: A pod of seven Bottle-nosed Dolphin were offshore.

Friday 6 December 2013

Friday 6th December

The Warren was birded for the first time this week but it appears nothing much has changed in terms of the birdlife at least. The Bonaparte's Gull was along the beach, the White-fronted Goose was with the Brent Geese and two Velvet Scoter were with 175+ Common Scoter. Counts from the estuary included 235 Curlew, 59 Shelduck, 43 Bar and four Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Ringed Plover and the Slavonian Grebe. Offshore there were 23 Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe, eight Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, whilst an Eider was a new arrival, only the third record of the year.

White-fronted Goose © Dave Jewell

Monday 2 December 2013

Monday 2nd December

The adult winter Bonaparte's Gull was reported offshore again today, the only other news received was of a dead Buzzard on the tideline. This bird had had its feet removed so may have been the victim of illegal persecution, perhaps a pole trap. If you have information on this or any wildlife crime please contact the Police on 101 and ask for the local Wildlife Crime Officer.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Sunday 1st December

Counts offshore from Langstone Rock in flat calm conditions included 223 Common and two Velvet Scoter, 56 Red-breasted Merganser, 34 Great-crested Grebe, 11 Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver. Counts were not possible from the estuary over the high tide due to disturbance, but five Lapwing, a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe were present. Elsewhere the Long-tailed Duck was off Warren Point at low tide and then close in off the seawall late afternoon, the Bonaparte's Gull was off the beach during the day, and then off Dawlish with three adult Mediterranean Gull late afternoon and three Shoveler and c300 roosting Starling were at the Main Pond.

Saturday 30 November 2013

Saturday 30th November

The Bonaparte's Gull made a reappearance offshore feeding with small group of Black-headed Gull before heading into the estuary. Also offshore six Red-throated Diver, 140+ Common Scoter, 100+ Kittiwake and a Pintail. Elsewhere a Yellowhammer along the Dune Ridge was a migrant but otherwise there was little change with six Chiffchaff and a Redpoll on site, three Shoveler on the Main Pond and a Greenshank in the estuary.

Friday 29 November 2013

Friday 29th November

The Long-tailed Duck had returned to the estuary showing well from the hide this afternoon, also in the estuary 305+ Teal, 42 Common Gull, 35 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, a Mediterranean Gull, a Pintail and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 150 Common Scoter, 16 Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe were offshore.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Thursday 28th November

There was plenty of action off the seawall with a Long-tailed Duck, 182 Common and two Velvet Scoter, 16+ Red-throated Diver and 12 Great-crested Grebe offshore but there was no sign of the Bonaparte's Gull. Elsewhere a Tawny Owl was in the Entrance Bushes, the White-fronted Goose was still with the Brent Geese flock and three Shoveler, a Pintail and a Slavonian Grebe were in Shutterton Creek. Counts were not possible due to disturbance over the high tide with a kayaker continually flushing the roosting waders and wildfowl.

Monday 25 November 2013

Monday 25th November

The Bonaparte's Gull was seen from the hide this morning along with c1200 Oystercatcher, 1000+ Dunlin, c250 Brent Geese, 35 Grey Plover, 24 Shelduck, 23 Knot, 13 Turnstone and three Red-breasted Merganser. Elsewhere 30 Gannet, seven Common Scoter and three Great-crested Grebe were offshore and a Bullfinch was by the First Pond.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Sunday 24th November

As the autumn draws to an end so to does migration with little change on the Warren. The Bonaparte's Gull remained along the beach, the Black Brant and White-fronted Goose were with the Dark-bellied Brent and two Red-throated Diver were offshore.

 Black Brant

 White-fronted Goose both © Simon Thurgood

Saturday 23 November 2013

Saturday 23rd November

A Siberian Chiffchaff was a new arrival in the Entrance Bushes with five Chiffchaff and 54 Greenfinch on site. Elsewhere Dunlin, Grey Plover and Knot numbers had almost doubled to 1600, 124 and 52 respectively and a Pale-bellied Brent was in the Bight, but otherwise it was as you were with the Bonaparte's Gull mobile around site, the White-fronted Goose and Slavonian Grebe in the estuary and the Velvet Scoter and five Red-throated Diver.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Thursday 21st November

The Bonaparte's Gull was again off the beach with the Velvet Scoter, 102 Gannet, three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver also offshore. Counts from the estuary included 209 Brent Geese, 182 Curlew, 64 Grey Plover, 32 Knot, eight Sanderling and the first Goldeneye of winter.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Tuesday 19th November

The White-fronted Goose was again with Brent Geese in the Bight this morning with 50 Shelduck, 31 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Knot and a Shoveler also in the estuary. Elsewhere the Bonaparte's Gull was off the beach with 56 Kittiwake also offshore.

Wildlife News: The Nationally notable B spider Marpissa nivoyi was recently recorded on Warren Point. Although a sand dune specialist this is the first Warren record.

© Andrew Cunningham

Monday 18 November 2013

Monday 18th November

The immature White-fronted Goose that had been on Orcombe Point since mid October has moved to the estuary and found the Brent Geese. It made a welcome appearance at the Warren today close in front of the hide at high tide before moving to feed on the Golf Course fairways with around 25 Brent. This was thought to be the first of the year but it turns out two were seen but not reported last week, presumably two new birds? Any details gratefully received.

Counts from the estuary included 64 Grey Plover, 40 Shelduck, 27 Ringed Plover, 22 Turnstone, 12 Knot, eight Sanderling and six Lapwing, whilst overhead there were six Siskin, two Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush and a Redwing. Elsewhere on site the Bonaparte's Gull remained along the beach early morning at least with a Velvet Scoter again distantly offshore with five Red-throated Diver.

White-fronted Goose with Brent © Ivan Lakin

Sunday 17 November 2013

Sunday 17th November

The Bonaparte's Gull was off Warren Point early afternoon, feeding close in on the estuary side. Counts from the estuary included 1750+ Oystercatcher, 1003 Dunlin, 585 Wigeon, 296 Brent Geese, 268 Teal, 184 Curlew, 154 Redshank, 41 Shelduck, 27 Grey Plover, 24 Bar and three Black-tailed Godwit, eight Knot, five Lapwing, a Pintail and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Velvet Scoter was offshore with five Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, a Cirl Bunting was in Greenland Lake and 13 Redwing and a Fieldfare were overhead.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was in the estuary.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Saturday 16th November

The adult Bonaparte's Gull was again off the beach during the morning at least with 22 Great-crested Grebe, four Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver offshore. Records from the estuary included c950 Dunlin, a big increase; 800+ Wigeon, 369 Brent Geese, 154+ Teal, 28 Bar and three Black-tailed Godwit, nine Lapwing, six Knot, four Greenshank, three Pintail and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Firecrest was on Langstone Rock, a pair of Cirl Bunting were on Warren Point and overhead there were 85 Wood Pigeon, 63 Redwing, 46 Chaffinch, the highest count this autumn; 12 Siskin, three Redpoll, a Brambling and a Stock Dove that evaded a Peregrine attack by dropping into Sycamores on Warren Point.

Friday 15 November 2013

Friday 15th November

The Bonaparte's Gull was again off the beach early morning with eight Great-crested and two Slavonian Grebe off the seawall. Elsewhere 309 Brent Geese, six Lapwing and the resident Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary and overhead there were 320 Wood Pigeon, 22 Siskin, five Redpoll and a Grey Wagtail.

Wildlife News:  A Grey Seal was offshore.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Thursday 14th November

A quick look from Cockwood Steps early morning showed the Slavonian Grebe and 12 Red-breasted Merganser in the estuary with just 27 Shelduck, six Brent Geese and a Black-tailed Godwit on the heavily disturbed mudflats.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Wednesday 13th November

Clear skies and still conditions meant the first frost of the autumn and the hope of more visible migration. Pigeons began moving before 8am and in the next 90 minutes 3565 Wood Pigeon and at least 46 Stock Dove headed high west, also overhead single Lapland Bunting and a Yellowhammer, both of which circled Greenland Lake before continuing west. There was however little else moving with just 20+ Skylark, 15+ Chaffinch, two Lapwing, two Redpoll, a Siskin and a Fieldfare noted. Elsewhere the Bonaparte's Gull was along the beach, the female Long-tailed Duck with 379 Dunlin, 43 Grey Plover, two Pintail and a Greenshank were in the estuary, single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver were offshore, at least one Cirl Bunting was near the Main Pond and eight Chiffchaff were on site including an annoyingly silent tristis-type.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Tuesday 12th November

There was some light overhead movement early morning with c400 Wood Pigeon, 36 Stock Dove, 20+ Skylark and Chaffinch, five Redpoll, four Siskin, four Greenshank, two Fieldfare, two Grey Wagtail and a Golden Plover. Elsewhere a silent eastern Chiffchaff was in the Entrance Bushes, the Black Brant was in the estuary with 369 Dark-bellied Brent and the Bonaparte's Gull was off the beach mid afternoon, having been back at Teignmouth early morning.

Monday 11 November 2013

Monday 11th November

Despite the lack of wind seawatching proved rewarding with the highlight an unexpected year tick, a female-type Red-crested Pochard that flew south on its own just before 10am. This was only the site's fourth record and the first since 1999. Also heading south during the morning 260+ Common Scoter, three Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, two Balearic Shearwater, single Pomarine and Great Skua, an immature Long-tailed Duck with some Scoter and a first winter Little Gull; 16 more Little Gull passed later in the day. Away from the seawall the Black Brant and female Long-tailed Duck were in the Bight with 110 Dunlin, 33 Grey Plover, seven Sanderling and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary. Elsewhere 'only' 110 Redwing and 23 Fieldfare flew over, a pair of Cirl Bunting were mobile around Greenland Lake and five Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were in the Entrance Bushes.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Sunday 10th November

The Bonaparte's Gull was again present ranging along the beach through the morning, calling and showing very well at times. The main interest though was overhead with the ideal conditions producing 5950 Wood Pigeon and 59 Stock Dove heading W before 10.30, also moving through 87 Rook, 49 Skylark, 46 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 35+ Linnet, 30+ Goldfinch, five Jackdaw, five Siskin, three Redpoll, a Bullfinch, a Fieldfare and a late Swallow. Elsewhere the first Scaup of the year, an immature, was offshore with two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, a female Long-tailed Duck was also a new arrival in the estuary where the Black Brant and Slavonian Grebe remain, four Cirl Bunting were on site and a Kingfisher was again at the Main Pond.

Cirl Bunting © Martin Overy

Saturday 9 November 2013

Saturday 9th November

The highlight was an adult Bonaparte's Gull seen flying south along the seawall at 8.30am. Presumably the bird that has been at Teignmouth since mid September and the same bird as present on the Exe in May. It had returned to Teignmouth by 9am but was reported again at the Warren just after midday. Counts from the estuary included 125 Curlew, 103 Dunlin, 45 Grey and 29 Ringed Plover, 22 Shelduck, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, six Sanderling, two Pintail, single Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, a Snipe and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver and a Great Skua were offshore, two Cirl Bunting were around Greenland Lake, a Kingfisher was on the Main Pond, six Chiffchaff were on site and overhead there were 25+ Goldfinch, three Redpoll and a Siskin.

Wildlife News: At least six Common Darter were still on the wing as were four species of butterfly; three Red Admiral and single Painted Lady, Comma and Small Copper.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Thursday 7th November

Despite quieter conditions weatherwise the hoped for vismig never really got started, totals included 45 Meadow Pipit, 42 Goldfinch, 30 Linnet, 12 Skylark, six Rook, six Chaffinch, two Redpoll and a Jackdaw with no noticeable Wood Pigeon movement. Elsewhere four Cirl Bunting were around Greenland Lake and the Black Brant was in the Bight with 177 Dark-bellied and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Wednesday 6th November

A return to a semblance of late autumn normality on site although the three Cirl Bunting made a reappearance in Greenland Lake whilst the Cetti's Warbler called briefly from the Entrance Bushes. A two hour seawatch from first light produced 301 Kittiwake, 230 Gannet, three Great Northern Diver, two Balearic Shearwater and a Great Skua all heading south.  Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 200+ Dunlin, 197 Curlew, 51 Common Gull, 34 Shelduck, 29 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, four Mediterranean Gull, a Knot and the Slavonian Grebe.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Tuesday 5th November

A three hour vigil on the seawall was at times slow but quality easily won out over quantity with two unexpected firsts for the year. The first came just after 9am when the site's third White-rumped Sandpiper, the first since 1998, flew past close inshore with three Dunlin. They had presumably flown from somewhere further down the spit but unfortunately kept going south. Two hours later the site's fourth Great White Egret, the first since 2002, flew east distantly offshore, it eventually started circling and gaining height out from Straight Point, before being lost to view.  Also during the morning 54 Common Scoter, 35+ Lesser Black-backed Gull, seven Great Northern Diver, four Pintail, a Shoveler, a pale phase Pomarine Skua and a Balearic Shearwater flew south and whilst all this was going on a Slavonian Grebe was on the sea and two first winter Black Redstart were showing intermittently on the seawall. Elsewhere the Black Brant was in the Bight, a Merlin flew west, a tight flock of 73 Redwing flew high east and in blown out conditions a Jay was in the Entrance Bushes.  

Wildlife News: A Migrant Hawker and three Common Darter were still on the wing.

Monday 4 November 2013

Monday 4th November

The seventh Warren Cetti's Warbler, the first since Oct 2009, was behind the Crocus Compound late morning, but with the exception of a pair of Cirl Bunting and a late Wheatear the site was otherwise quiet. There was more going on overhead with 169 Jackdaw east and heading west 1006 Wood Pigeon and 10 Stock Dove. Elsewhere the Black Brant, four Pintail and a Shoveler were in the Bight whilst south of the recording area a Velvet Scoter remains off Dawlish.

Wildlife News: A Clouded Yellow was also in the Crocus Compund late morning.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Sunday 3rd November

Two brief firsts for the year today were amongst the highlights. Late morning a heavy squall came through the Warren and lead to a brief window of passage offshore, in just 10 minutes 110+ Kittiwake, 85+ Gannet, two Great Skua and a Leach's Petrel headed south. The front that came through late afternoon failed to be productive with just a single Great Northern Diver offshore. The other new bird for the year was a flyover Snow Bunting mid afternoon; also overhead today two Mistle Thrush, the first Fieldfare of the autumn and single Redwing and Siskin. Elsewhere the Merlin and Short-eared Owl both remained on Warren Point.

Counts from the estuary today included 2650 Oystercatcher, 841 Wigeon, 478 Brent Geese, 297 Dunlin, 73 Teal, 31 Grey Plover, 17 Shelduck, 16 Red-breasted Merganser, 11 Mediterranean Gull, three Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wildlife News: At least two Common Darter were still around Dead Dolphin Wood.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Saturday 2nd November

Counts from the estuary on the morning tide included 1166 Wigeon, 329 Brent Geese, 306 Curlew, 150+ Redshank, 106+ Great Black-backed Gull, 74 Teal, 62 Common Gull, just 30+ Dunlin, 11 Mediterranean Gull, three Greenshank, a Shoveler, the Slavonian Grebe and the Black Brant. Elsewhere a Short-eared Owl was on Warren Point, a Merlin flew through Greenland Lake and 100+ Redwing flew east ahead of the rain. A short seawatch after the rain produced half a dozen Gannet and Kittiwake and a late Storm Petrel, only the second November record for the Warren.

Ringing News

The Great Black-backed Gull JA700 (ringed as a chick on the island of Odd in southern Norway in July 2008) is presumably back for another winter.

View Great Black-back Gull in a larger map

Friday 1 November 2013

Friday 1st November

A damp start but the overnight rain hadn't dropped any migrants, indeed most had left with only three Chiffchaff remaining on site. It was a similar story overhead with only single figures of Chaffinch, Linnet and Meadow Pipit, but a late Swallow and a Merlin also flew through. Elsewhere the Black Brant was in the estuary with 14 Black-tailed Godwit and seven Mediterranean Gull and the three Cirl Bunting remained around Greenland Lake.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Thursday 31st October

The Black Brant was again in the estuary on the dropping tide with 262 Brent Geese, also there at least five adult Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere a few new migrants included at least seven Chiffchaff and five Blackcap with three Cirl Bunting, including a male, in Greenland Lake. Overhead there was a very light passage with c30 Skylark the most numerous species, a couple of Siskin and ,all in low double figures, Chaffinch, Linnet and Meadow Pipit.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Tuesday 29th October

The Black Brant was in the estuary at low tide this morning with 286 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, also present two Greenshank and a Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere the Red-legged Partridge was again on the Golf Course whilst the pick of some light vismig overhead included 45 Jackdaw, seven Rook, five Siskin, four Stock Dove and a Redpoll

Wildlife News: A Stoat showed well on the Railway embankment behind Pirate's Cove.

Monday 28 October 2013

Monday 28th October

The storm lived up to expectation rather than the hype with a first winter Little Gull in the estuary and a Great Northern Diver south offshore the only notable sightings. Other records included 1385 Wigeon, 357 Redshank, 171 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, nine Mediterranean Gull, two Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwit and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary, a late Wheatear on site and two Siskin overhead.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Sunday 27th October

The SW winds continue to produce little offshore and generally hamper birding on site, despite this the day did produce a surprise, if underwhelming, year tick in the form a Red-legged Partridge on the Golf Course. Records from the estuary included a late Whimbrel, c2400 Oystercatcher, 236 Redshank, 151 Brent Geese (21 juveniles), 41 Ringed Plover, three Black-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere two Redpoll and single Mistle Thrush and Siskin flew over and just four Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff were on site.

Red-legged Partridge
 Red-legged Partridge

Saturday 26 October 2013

Saturday 26th October

A relative lull in the weather saw some overhead movement and a corresponding increase in finches around Greenland Lake. Vismig totals included 110+ Meadow Pipit, 77 Goldfinch, 66 Linnet, 22 Siskin, 15 Chaffinch, 11 Raven, nine Redwing, nine Reed Bunting, four Redpoll, four Swallow, three Rook, a Brambling and a Merlin. On the deck the juvenile Cirl Bunting was in Greenland Lake and there was a site record count of Robin with a minimum of 64 equalling the total noted on 24/10/2012, counts of 43 Dunnock and 21 Wren were also record tallies, neatly illustrating these species aren't just residents, other migrants included six Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and a Wheatear. Elsewhere a first year Little Gull flew south early morning, the Slavonian Grebe, five Mediterranean Gull, four Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwit and a Lapwing were in the estuary with other high tide counts including 290 Dunlin, 149 Redshank, 32 Ringed Plover, 17 Shelduck, 13 Grey Plover and five Sanderling. The Black Brant was reported in the afternoon, the first sighting on the Exe since 6th October.

Wildlife News: Both Migrant Hawker and Common Darter were still on the wing.

Friday 25 October 2013

Friday 25th October

A Merlin over the sea wall was the highlight with a handful of Chaffinch and two Mistle Thrush also overhead first thing with the juvenile Cirl Bunting again around Greenland Lake. Seawatching early morning produced the sum total of a Gannet and a Kittiwake south in half an hour, things obviously improved as two adult Little Gull were off the Warren, seen from Exmouth late afternoon.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Monday 21 October 2013

Monday 21st October

A washout out of a day with the only records coming from offshore where seawatching between 7.55- 9.45, showed 156 Gannet, four Grey Plover, three Arctic Skua and a single Fulmar flying south, a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver on the sea and two Mediterranean Gull lingering off the seawall.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Sunday 20th October

Two hours early morning seawatching produced a Pomarine Skua south also 490 Gannet, c20 Razorbill, nine Kittiwake, nine Sandwich Tern and two Mediterranean Gull.  Elsewhere there was very little to report with 37 Redwing, two Song Thrush and a Siskin overhead and just three Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest in the way of grounded migrants; as expected there was no sign of yesterday's unidentified reed warbler on Warren Point.

 © Dave Jewell
Ringing News: The Brent Goose above was ringed as an adult at Powderham in February 1996, so this bird is at least 17 years of age.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Saturday 19th October

An arrival of migrants overnight consisted mainly of Robin with a minimum of 44 counted on site, also present five Goldcrest and a Firecrest, the latter in the Entrance Bushes, and on Warren Point, an unstreaked Acrocephalus warbler, which despite several hours of occasional observation remains unidentified. Elsewhere a Merlin flew through Warren Point, seven Shoveler flew south and overhead there were 10 Chaffinch, three Reed Bunting, three Rook, two Jackdaw, two Siskin and a Mistle Thursh with three Red-breasted Merganser offshore.

Wildlife News: A Painted Lady was on the Dune Ridge.