Monday 30 September 2013

Monday 30th September 2013

An overnight fall delivered an arrival of common migrants with minimum counts of 34 Chiffchaff, 24 Blackcap, two Whinchat, two Wheatear, two Whitethroat, two Reed and a Sedge Warbler. Overhead a steady passage of 640 Swallow headed NE through the morning with a single Hobby, 90 Meadow Pipit, 11 Siskin, nine Skylark, five Grey Wagtail and three House Martin. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 1020 Wigeon, 142 Brent Geese, again no sign of the Black Brant; 145 Dunlin, 97 Ringed Plover, 17 Sanderling, 12 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, six Snipe, five Pintail, three Knot, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Tufted Duck, presumably the Scaup reported yesterday.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Sunday 29th September 2013

In fairer conditions, birders persisted but bird interest not so much.  Despite a report going out, there was no sign of the Black Brant on site amongst 127 Brent Geese.  In the estuary and The Bight, 2 Peregrine and 2 Sparrowhawk each briefly attended the high tide period, when 1250+ Oystercatcher, 110 Ringed Plover, 7 Grey Plover, 3 Knot, a Ruff, four juv Curlew Sandpiper, 350+ Dunlin, 17 Sanderling, a Snipe, 30 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and hundreds of Curlew were present.  The resident Slavonian Grebe, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 73 Teal but no Garganey, and a flock of c230 Canada Geese containing a Bar-headed Goose were also in the estuary.

Only brunt stubbornness managed to produce 2 Arctic Skua, an Arctic Tern and a Common Tern at sea.  Overhead, 243 Swallow and 12 House Martin flew mostly NE; also c.30 Meadow Pipit and 3 Grey Wagtail over.  A flock of 5 Pintail and a Shoveler flew in off early am with a Short-eared Owl late afternoon.  The bushes, and dunes were given a thorough search, which even included counting the tits (23 Blue, 11 Great and 17 Long-tailed !), and for all the effort this revealed a Whinchat on Warren Point, 1 Wheatear, 12 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 12 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest and 3 Reed Bunting.

Wildlife news: a Vestal, at least one Rush Veneer and a few Red Admiral alluded at some lepidoptera migration.  A Grey Seal nosed out from the waters of the estuary.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Saturday 28th September 2013

An awesome pre-dawn lightening show was the vanguard to rain, often heavy, that persisted most of the day in a breezy ENE. Understandably, the bushes were largely ignored and since the sea was virtually birdless, hours of sheltering and observing from the hide produced another noteworthy day.  The Black Brant was again present with 121 Brent Geese in The Bight over the high tide.  A Garganey generally remained hidden in the saltmarsh. The wildfowl influx continued with c1755 Wigeon, 28 Pintail, both respectable counts here, the latter count aided by birds displaced by kite-surfers and a kite-flyer stood in the estuary off Exmouth; (whatever next)?  Also 55 Teal and a Shoveler

A juv Peregrine briefly spooked the waders at high tide, and in being only a neap, birds gathered in large numbers in The Bight, including the Oystercathers, 116 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, a Ruff, 6 Knot, a juv Curlew Sandpiper, c265 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Turnstone, and 17 Lesser Black-backed Gulls joined the flock of 282 Great Black-backed Gull.  Elsewhere in the estuary, the Slavonian Grebe, c315 Curlew, 205+ Redshank, 2 Greenshank, a Snipe and 3 Mediterranean Gull.

Bursts of Swallows headed NE between the worst of the rain, totally 806, but only 2 House Martin joined them.

Friday 27 September 2013

Friday 27th September 2013

In a fresh ENE, sea-watching was dismal apart from a moulting adult Black Guillemot (12th record, probably our 10th bird) which flew into the breeze at 07:30.  A small skua, presumably a small Arctic Skua rose briefly and landed far offshore; little else out there except for a Merlin that zipped through late morning. 

Only a neap tide, but still produced lots of interest, the highlight an adult Black Brant (3rd site record) with >100 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, visible from the hide for a few hours.  Hundreds more Brent further up the estuary were evidence of a large influx of wildfowl, enhanced with 2 Pintail, 11 Teal and 2 Shoveler in off the sea, which joined many hundreds of Wigeon in the estuary corner.  Waders also featured, highlights being a Ruff and 3 juv Curlew Sandpiper, also 61 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 430 Dunlin, 7 Knot and 5 Black-tailed Godwit.  The flock of 408 Great Black-backed Gull had colour-ringed individuals from Looe, Cornwall, the Channel Islands and Normandy; typical sources.  The usual Slavonian Grebe, a ss/sw Mediterranean Gull and a juv Common Tern were also present in the estuary.  A Peregrine again stood in The Bight for a while, no prey this time.

The bushes and dunes were hard going in the fresh breeze, but also managed to get in on the action with a Whinchat; also 6 Wheatear, 7 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, 4 Reed Bunting and a White Wagtail on the shoreline.

Much less overhead today, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 12 Swallow, 21 Meadow Pipit, 3 Rook, regular Starling flocks flew NE, and a Chaffinch.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Thursday 26th September 2013

Gloomy, misty and a light SE breeze.  A Wryneck appeared late morning in the meadow behind the tractor compound before flying off to 'Cuckoo's Nest' (the copse on the dune ridge).  The bushes and dunes also held a Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Wheatear, 16 Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaff and 7 Reed Bunting.  In the estuary, 10 Brent Geese, a large raft of Wigeon and the Slavonian Grebe.  In The Bight on the rising tide, a pair of Peregrine consumed an unidentified wader, but other waders still boldly dropped in, totals being 59 Ringed Plover, 5 Grey Plover, 2 juv Curlew Sandpiper again, and 314 Dunlin, a welcome ten-fold increase.  Also 2 White Wagtail there.  24 Sanderling were again on the beach.  The sea was quiet, brief looks produced a Balearic Shearwater, 2 Great Crested Grebe, the raft of c.40 Common Scoter, 33 Sandwich and an Arctic Tern.  A Water Rail called from the Main Pond.  Overhead, a Tufted Duck flew in off, circled and continued up estuary; also over 101 Swallow, 4 Grey Wagtail, 59 Meadow Pipit, 25+ 'alba' Wagtail.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Wednesday 25th September 2013

A foggy start with many invisible Meadow Pipits (100+) calling and flying SW all morning; also 2 Jackdaw, 3 Rook, 4 Grey Wagtail, a flock of 14 Siskin (flew NE) and 2 Chaffinch, but no hirundines noted.  The bushes and dunes held a little more, including 2 Wheatear, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler, 11 Blackcap, 14 Chiffchaff and 2 Reed Bunting.  A slight improvement also in wader numbers, with 99 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 112 Dunlin, 2 juv Curlew Sandpiper, a Greenshank, c425 Curlew, 26 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 24 Sanderling on the beach.  In the estuary, 25 Brent Goose, a Shelduck and a 2nd-w Mediterranean Gull.  Upon the flat calm sea was a raft of c40 Common Scoter and the w.p. Red-throated Diver still.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Tuesday 24th September 2013

Again quite gruelling; in the estuary 16 Brent Geese, 473 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 106 Mallard (counted out at first light from the roost) and the Slavonian Grebe.  A Mediterranean Gull was amongst the 215 Black-headed Gull on the mudflats. At high tide, 19 Little Egret, 31 Ringed Plover, 7 Grey Plover dropped in, a Knot, 31 Dunlin, 14 Sanderling on the beach, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 324 Curlew and 261 Redshank.   At sea, 3 Balearic Shearwater, including one close inshore briefly with the Shag feeding flock.  Overhead, c85 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 9 Grey Wagtail, c.50 'alba' wagtail (some from a reed-bed roost) and 117 Meadow Pipit.  The bushes and dunes were flattered with a Garden Warbler, a Willow Warbler and 4 Reed Bunting, otherwise very quiet.

Monday 23 September 2013

Monday 23rd September 2013

A punishing six hours of searching offered little of note. 19 Dark-bellied and 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and only 265 Wigeon, 4 Teal and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary.  At hide tide, 74 Ringed Plover, 41 Dunlin, 24 Sanderling, 301 Redshank, a Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Bar-tailed Godwit, 287 Curlew, a Whimbrel, a Snipe and 6 Turnstone.  At sea, a Red-throated Diver still, a huge Arctic Skua looped inshore briefly to chase terns, c30 Sandwich, 5 Common and 3 Arctic Tern.  Overhead, 234 Swallow, a Sand Martin, a Grey Wagtail and c35 Meadow Pipit.  No interest emanated from the bushes.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Sunday 22nd September 2013

A quieter day with c.65 Meadow Pipit, 8 Grey Wagtail, 18 Swallow, 2 Jackdaw and 2 Rook overhead.  Noisy Blackbirds gave away a roosting Tawny Owl; also in the bushes and dunes, a Coal Tit, 10 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat and 3 Reed Bunting.  Both tides were covered, best counts being c.660 Wigeon, 11 Brent Geese, the Slavonian Grebe, 14 Little Egret, 58 Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, 24 Sanderling, 4 Knot, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel.  Four Mediterranean Gull roosted amongst the gull flock in the estuary.  At sea, the two Red-throated Diver, a raft of 81 Common Scoter and 2 Balearic Shearwater flew south.

Wildlife news: 3 Grey Seal were in the estuary corner and close inshore and at least 4 Bottle-nosed Dolphin loitered further out at dusk.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Saturday 21st September 2013

In the estuary, 7 Brent Geese, a pair Greylag Goose, a Bar-headed Goose amongst the Canada Goose flock, c330 Wigeon and the resident Slavonian Grebe. 3 ad w Mediterranean Gull mixed with 278 Black-headed Gull at dusk.  Best counts from both high tides were 71 Ringed Plover, a Knot, 25 Sanderling, 50 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 238 Redshank and 2 Common Sandpiper.

At sea, the 2 summer and winter-plumaged Red-throated Diver remained; also a Great Crested Grebe, a raft of 95 Common Scoter, 2 Arctic Skua; a Black, 22 Arctic, 2+ Common and 53+ Sandwich Tern.

Overhead, just off site a Hobby chased hirundines; also heading SW, through the site a Sand Martin, 11 House Martin, 123 Swallow, 3 Grey Wagtail.  Also a Jackdaw, 2 Rook and a Chaffinch over. 

75 Starling, but no sign of the Rose-coloured Starling.  The bushes and golf course held 2 Wheatear, 3 White Wagtail with Pied Wagtails, 16 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Reed Bunting.

Friday 20 September 2013

Friday 20th September 2013

The Rose-coloured Starling remained elusive in bramble around the car park with 18 Chiffchaff, nine Blackcap, two Whitethroat and single Reed Warbler, Wheatear and Spotted Flycatcher overhead there were 80+ Meadow Pipit and seven Grey Wagtail. Elsewhere 236 Wigeon, 142 Redshank, 76 Dunlin, four Brent Geese with two Curlew Sandpiper, a Knot, a Lapwing and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary, offshore an eclipse drake Eider was only the second for the year, with 55 Common Scoter, at least two Arctic Tern and two Red-throated Diver, winter & summer plumaged birds.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Thursday 19th September 2013

The Rose-coloured Starling remained elusive in bramble around the car park but other grounded migrants were in short supply, overhead though there were 10 Grey Wagtail, 100+ Meadow and a Tree Pipit. Elsewhere the first three Brent Geese of the autumn made an early return with a Curlew Sandpiper also in the estuary, offshore the juvenile Roseate Tern was again present with at least five Arctic and a Black Tern, a Red-throated Diver and heading south a minimum of 38 Balearic Shearwater and a Hobby.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Wednesday 18th September 2013

The site's first Rose-coloured Starling since 2004 ,and the sixth overall, was found around the car park early morning. It remained there all day, although it could be elusive feeding deep in bramble. Other migrants were in short supply with five Blackcap, two Wheatear, single Whitethroat and Willow Warbler present. Offshore 70+ Sandwich Tern remained with single Roseate and four Arctic Tern, two Red-throated Diver and two Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere a Water Rail was at the Main Pond and counts from the estuary included 376 Curlew, 81 Ringed Plover, 73 Dunlin, 26 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Sanderling and a Greenshank.

Rose-coloured Starling  ©  Dave Jewell

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Tuesday 17th September 2013

Seawatching off John's Watch mid afternoon produced a late juvenile Roseate Tern, with at least five Arctic, six Common and 130 Sandwich Tern. Ambushing these were three Arctic and a Pomarine Skua, with seven Balearic Shearwater, two Red-throated Diver and a Great-crested Grebe also offshore. Elsewhere a Golden Plover flew south with 94 Dunlin, 76 Ringed Plover and 12 Sanderling on the beach.

Ringing News: The two darvic ringed Sandwich Tern (Red KAH & KAL) seen on Sunday 15th September were rung on passage in Wales at Dyfi Estuary National Nature Reserve, Ynyslas, just north of Aberystwyth on 25th August 2013. Many thanks to Tony Cross for this information.

Wildlife News: A confused looking Grey Squirrel was on the esplanade by the amusements and Great Green Bush Cricket are still in good voice around the Warren.

Monday 16 September 2013

Monday 16th September 2013

Counts over the evening tide included 415 Wigeon, 257 Curlew, 237 Redshank, 88 Dunlin, 68 Ringed Plover, 49 Teal, two adult Mediterraean Gull and single Knot and Grey Plover.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Sunday 15th September 2013

Offshore the highlight was a Hobby south with 10 Balearic Shearwater, two Arctic Skua and a Yellow-legged Gull also heading south with two Red-throated Diver, three Common, a Black and at least one Little Tern lingering. Counts over the high tide included 1670 Oystercatcher, 354 Wigeon, 202 Great Black-backed Gull, 135 Dunlin, c30 Bar and 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Ringed Plover and 23 Sanderling with 498 Canada Geese, four Mediterranean Gull, a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary. Elsewhere 11 Wheatear were on site with a Spotted Flycatcher, single Willow, Garden, Sedge and Reed Warbler whilst c70 Meadow Pipit and three Grey Wagtail were overhead.

Saturday 14 September 2013

Saturday 14th September 2013

The highlight on a busy autumn day was an all too brief Buff-breasted Sandpiper that flew around the Bight and headed north up the estuary mid morning, the ninth site record. Two Golden Plover that dropped into the Bight early afternoon were also new for the year. Also in the estuary 465 Curlew, 211 Great Black-backed Gull, 141 Ringed Plover, 112 Sandwich Tern, 105 Dunlin, 100 Wigeon, 31 Bar and a single Black-tailed Godwit, 21 Sanderling, the first two Little Tern of the autumn, two Knot, two Greenshank, two Mediterranean Gull, an Osprey and the Slavonian Grebe. A fall of migrants included a Spotted Flycatcher, 27 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 10 Wheatear, four Whitethroat, two Sedge and two Garden Warbler. Elsewhere 150+ Meadow Pipit, 105 House and two Sand Martin, five Grey and three Yellow Wagtail flew through and a Balearic Shearwater, a Red-throated Diver and 37 Common Scoter were offshore.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was off Langstone Rock and a Weasel, a Fox, a Clouded Yellow were on Warren Point.

Friday 13 September 2013

Thursday 12 September 2013

Thursday 12th September 2013

The continuing autumnal feel was enhanced by the first Goldcrest of the season with a small arrival of migrants including 12 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, two Wheatear, a Sedge and a Garden Warbler. Overhead 55+ Meadow Pipit headed west with seven Grey Wagtail and five Rook going the other day. Elsewhere 27 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver were offshore and in the estuary included 131+ Sandwich Tern, 30 Wigeon, seven Black-tailed Godwit, two Knot and a Mediterranean Gull.

Wildlife News: The Grey and Common Seal were together on Bull Hill this morning.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Wednesday 11th September 2013

Another day and another rarity avoids the regulars, at least this time it was a flyover. Two fortunate observers had a White Stork 'fly in from the sea and cross directly over the mouth of the Exe into the estuary;it continued flying at a leisurely pace up the estuary but gaining height all the time, and by the time it had reached Lympstone Camp appeared to be turning inland.' This is the third Warren record, the first was also in September, back in 1980. The only other records received were of 16 Sanderling along the beach and from Cockwood on the rising tide, the Slavonian Grebe, 155+ Redshank, 60 Dunlin and an adult Mediterranean Gull.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Tuesday 10th September 2013

The juvenile Red-backed Shrike was reportedly still present on Warren Point with three Wheatear. In the estuary the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood and counts included 191 Redshank, 91 Ringed Plover, 67 Dunlin, 23 Wigeon and three Knot.

Monday 9 September 2013

Monday 9th September 2013

The highlight should have been the site's second Lesser Yellowlegs in the Bight late morning, unfortunately others were not given the opportunity to enjoy this transatlantic arrival. Wader counts included 237 Redshank, 109 Ringed Plover, 60+ Dunlin, 15+ Bar and eight Black-tailed Godwit, seven Turnstone, four Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank. Elsewhere the juvenile Red-backed Shrike was still on Warren Point, the male Redstart was along the Back Path, the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary and overhead there were 16 Jackdaw and two Grey Wagtail.

Red-backed Shrike 08/09/13 © Dave Jewell

Sunday 8 September 2013

Sunday 8th September 2013

The highlight was the eighth record of Red-backed Shrike since 1948 and the first for 15 years. A mobile juvenile it was found by the Visitor Centre but over the course of the morning moved through the site and ended up on Warren Point. Other arrivals seem limited to a male Redstart along the Back Path, with warbler numbers generally lower than yesterday and four Grey Wagtail the best overhead.

Red-backed Shrike © Lee Collins
Elsewhere five Curlew Sandpiper, four Mediterraean Gull, the Slavonian Grebe and an Osprey were in the estuary, a second Osprey flew high south and 102 Sandwich Tern and a Red-throated Diver offshore.

Wildlife News: The Grey Seal was in the estuary and Rush Veneer and Silver Y were flushed from Greenland Lake.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Saturday 7th September 2013

A busy autumn day with 39 Balearic Shearwater south, also offshore two Arctic Skua, two Red-throated Diver and a distant Osprey also heading south, a second Osprey was over the estuary early morning. Also in estuary two Curlew Sandpiper with 81 Ringed Plover, 60+ Dunlin and 19 Sanderling,over counts included 360 Curlew, 244 Redshank, 100+ Great Black-backed Gull, 31 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 13 Bar and 12 Black-tailed Godwit, three Mediterraean Gull, three Whimbrel, a Knot, a Greenshank, a Kingfisher and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a site record 154 House Sparrow were around the car park, grounded migrants included 19 Chiffchaff, 16 Whitethroat, eight White Wagtail, five Wheatear, two Sedge and a Willow Warbler, with 85 House Martin, 40 Swallow, 24 Meadow Pipit, two Yellow and a Grey Wagtail overhead.

Wildlife News: A Vestal and the site's first Clay Triple-lines were on Warren Point, a Weasal and pup were on the Golf Course, the Grey Seal was in the estuary, a Fox was in Greenland Lake and over 50 Sea Holly plants are now growing in the Desert.

Friday 6 September 2013

Friday 6th September 2013

Early morning at least three Spotted Flycatcher were around the Main Pond with single Sedge and Reed Warbler, whilst two Yellow and a Grey Wagtail flew over. Elsewhere a Kingfisher was along the seawall. Counts over the evening tide included 207 Curlew, 99 Dunlin, 74 Ringed Plover, 17 Sanderling, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and a Knot.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Wednesday 4th September 2013

A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was in the Bight over the morning tide with 115 Ringed Plover, 94 Dunlin, 17 Sanderling and a Knot. Also roosting around the Bight 485 Curlew, 84 Great Black-backed Gull and 16 Bar-tailed Godwit with 170+ Redshank and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary. Elsewhere five Grey Wagtail were overhead, five Whitethroat, two Garden, a Reed and a Sedge Warbler were in the bushes and a Tawny Owl was calling around the carpark overnight.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Tuesday 3rd September 2013

Two Balearic Shearwater were offshore mid evening with a feeding flock of 30+ Manx Shearwater, 20+ Gannet and a Red-throated Diver. A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was in the Bight with 113 Ringed Plover, 64+ Dunlin and 21 Sanderling. Also in the estuary 86 Great Black-backed Gull, 33 Mute Swan, 26 Teal, a Greenshank and a roost of 360+ Canada Geese.

Monday 2 September 2013

Monday 2nd September 2013

Counts from the estuary included 532 Curlew, 186 Redshank, 78 Dunlin, 70+ Ringed Plover, seven Knot, two Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank. Also present 97 Great Black-backed Gull, 35 Teal, three adult Mediterraean Gull and two Wigeon.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Sunday 1st September 2013

A juvenile Marsh Harrier heading north east mid morning was the highlight, although it was more over Exmouth than the Warren. In the estuary there was a Curlew Sandpiper with c80 Dunlin, 71 Ringed Plover and seven Knot, with 92 Great Black-backed Gull, 62 Sandwich Tern, 26 Teal, five Wigeon and a Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere a Black Tern and two Red-throated Diver were offshore, grounded migrants included a Spotted Flycatcher, 24 Chiffchaff, nine Wheatear, five Willow, three Reed and a Sedge Warbler with five Grey Wagtail and the first Meadow Pipit of the autumn were overhead.