Monday 31 March 2014

Monday 31st March

Despite the contining south easterlies and an overnight arrival of Saharan dust spring migrants remain virtually absent. A single Wheatear and a couple of Sand Martin where the only species that had any Saharan links but an increase to 15 Sandwich Tern, a drake Tufted Duck on the Main Pond and single figures of Rook, Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch overhead showed some other species were also on the move. Elsewhere the Glaucous Gull was again on Warren Point before spending the day at Exmouth, the Pale-bellied Brent Goose was in the estuary and the two Velvet Scoter were offshore with six Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver.

Tufted Duck © Lee Collins

Sunday 30 March 2014

Sunday 30th March

The immature Glaucous Gull was again on Warren Point early morning before spending the rest of the day around Exmouth dock. Migrants were limited to a single grounded Wheatear and overhead a single Sand Martin, nine Goldfinch, nine Jackdaw, seven Meadow Pipit, two Chaffinch, two Rook and a Collared Dove heading NE. Offshore the Red-necked Grebe was still present, with 10 Sandwich Tern, nine Red-throated Diver and 29 Red-breasted Merganser. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 525 Oystercatcher, 141 Curlew, 104 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 12 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, six Knot, three Grey Plover and a Greenshank.

Wildlife News: Sand Crocus is now in flower with the largest numbers in Greenland Lake, rather than the transplanted site behind the visitor centre. Elsewhere a Fox was seen on Warren Point.

Sand Crocus © Lee Collins

Saturday 29 March 2014

Saturday 29th March

An excellent early spring day with a Spoonbill the first of several quality birds. An immature was in the Saltmarsh until 8.15am before flying across the estuary and landing off Mudbank Lane, Exmouth. Another record shared with Exmouth was the continued presence of the second winter Glaucous Gull, it roosted on the beach at Warren Point before being flushed and spending most of the day at Exmouth quay. Whilst watching this bird the site's second Kumlien's Gull flew past and out to sea, also a second winter this was later picked up sat on offshore sand bars. Also offshore the two Long-tailed Duck, two Eider, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, 51 Common Scoter and two Red-necked Grebe, the usual first winter and a new adult. Elsewhere eight Chiffchaff and three Wheatear were on site, two Siskin flew over and counts from the estuary included 69 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 133 Curlew, 14 Sanderling, nine Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, five Knot, four Sandwich Tern, two Dunlin, three Grey and a Ringed Plover.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Sunday 23rd March

The Glaucous Gull was again present being seen around the estuary mouth, also offshore two Red-throated Diver, a Red-necked Grebe, two Long-tailed Duck and two Velvet Scoter. In the estuary a single Pale-bellied Brent amongst 34 Dark-bellied Brent Geese with other counts including 171 Curlew, 12 Sanderling, nine Turnstone, six Knot, six Dunlin, five Bar-tailed Godwit, three Ringed and three Grey Plover. Other records included the Red-legged Partridge again and two Sandwich Tern.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Saturday 22nd March

The three Pale-bellied Brent were again present in the Bight with 90 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, also in the estuary two Sandwich Tern, 220+ Curlew, 14 Sanderling, three Ringed Plover, two Black and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Offshore the Red-necked Grebe was still present along with the two Long-tailed Duck, a Velvet Scoter and two Red-throated Diver.

Friday 21 March 2014

Friday 21st March

The interest was once again largely offshore with the two Velvet Scoter, two Eider, two Long-tailed Duck and Red-necked Grebe again present after a lack of recent sightings with eight Red-throated Diver heading south. Elsewhere nine Raven were overhead, single Wheatear and White Wagtail were on site and counts from the estuary included 160 Brent Geese, 84 Dunlin, 17 Turnstone, four Knot and a Greenshank.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Thursday 20th March

The first day of spring was heralded by three Wheatear and a Sandwich Tern but the highlight was a first winter Glaucous Gull on Finger Point and around the Bight, also in the Bight the first three Pale-bellied Brent Geese of the year rsting up having flown in from the east past Orcombe Point. Counts from the estuary included 265 Curlew, 56 Common Gull, 29 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 27 Dunlin, 17 Sanderling, eight Black and a Bar-tailed Godwit, six Knot and three Ringed Plover. Elsewhere two Red-throated Diver were offshore.

 Glaucous Gull © Lee Collins

Pale-bellied Brent Geese © Lee Collins

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Wednesday 19th March

The first Manx Shearwater of the year flew south offshore, a slightly earlier arrival than usual, also heading south this evening four Sandwich Tern whilst on the sea there were 24 Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 187 Brent Geese, six Teal and two Wigeon remain in the estuary.

Late news of an Iceland Gull suppressed some when last week, the first of the year.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Tuesday 18th March

Counts from the estuary included 724 Oystercatcher, 249 Curlew, 220+ Brent Geese, 110+ Redshank, 80+ Dunlin, 51 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Sanderling, five Turnstone, four Grey Plover, three Teal and two Knot. Elsewhere numbers offshore also dropped with just nine Common Scoter and five Great-crested Grebe whilst the Siberian Chiffchaff made a reappearance in the Entrance Bushes.

Monday 17 March 2014

Monday 17th March

Two Black-necked Grebe in summer plumage were new arrivals offshore where the two Long-tailed Duck, two female Eider and Slavonian Grebe remain with five Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver also present. In the estuary the resident Slavonian Grebe, 100 Brent Geese, 20 Knot, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit and a single Grey Plover, four Teal and a Wigeon. Elsewhere a Wheatear was in Wryneck Plain with three Chiffchaff singing from the bushes and a lone Siskin overhead.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Sunday 16th March

A bright sunny day from the off but the cloudless conditions meant grounded migrants were again absent. Overhead 74 Chaffinch headed NE with three Rook, a Jackdaw and single figures of Linnet, Goldfinch and Meadow Pipit. The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary, were dwindling wader counts  included 613 Oystercatcher, 281 Dunlin, 161 Curlew, 119 Redshank, 24 Knot, 16 Sanderling, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit and seven Grey Plover. Elsewhere the three Velvet Scoter remain offshore with two Eider and a Long-tailed Duck.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore and the warm conditions brought out some invertebrates with the hoverfly Eristalis pertinax and solitary bee Andrena clarkella both noted.

Saturday 15 March 2014

Saturday 15th March

A male Wheatear was on Warren Point but with the exception of a good count of 42 Lesser Black-backed Gull new migrants were again otherwise absent. Offshore there was also little change with two each of Velvet Scoter, Eider and Long-tailed Duck still present alongside the Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe,10 Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 375+ Dunlin, 300 Brent Geese, 151 Curlew, 118 Redshank, 25 Knot, 19 Sanderling, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Grey Plover and four Teal whilst overhead there were eight Rook and a Raven.

Friday 14 March 2014

Friday 14th March

With the fog barely lifting all day and a cold northwesterly wind the springlike conditions avoided the Warren but the first Swallow and White Wagtail of the year did show up with at least eight migrant Chiffchaff also on site. Offshore the two Long-tailed Duck and a Slavonian Grebe were off John's Watch with a single Velvet Scoter and the Red-necked Grebe off the seawall. Elsewhere a site record nine Little Grebe were on the Main Pond, the Siberian Chiffchaff was by the Entrance Bushes, the Lesser Redpoll was around the First Pond and 460 Brent Geese and the resident Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Wednesday 12th March

Slavonian Grebe was offshore but it was otherwise quiet in a brief morning visit.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Tuesday 11th March

Early spring migrants continued to be notable by their absence but a single male Blackcap, the first of the year, around the car park did hint at some movement. Other new arrivals included a Lesser Redpoll, another first for the year, at the First Pond and 40+ Linnet on the Golf Course. Elsewhere the two Siberian Chiffchaff remain around the Entrance Bushes,106 Brent Geese were feeding on the undisturbed Langstone Rock and the three Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck were offshore with four Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver and five Pintail flew east.

Monday 10 March 2014

Monday 10th March

Summer migrants are still to make an appearance but migration is underway with single Redwing and the first Fieldfare of the year overhead. Elsewhere at least one Siberian Chiffchaff was still at the Entrance Bushes and offshore the three Velvet Scoter, female Long-tailed Duck, Slavonian and Red-necked Grebe were still present.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Sunday 9th March

Another sunny cloudless day, this time with a stiff southeasterly breeze, but again a distinct lack of migrants. The Black Brant was again in the Bight on the rising tide, with 130+ Curlew, two Wigeon and two Greenshank in Shutterton Creek but wader numbers were generally much reduced. The winter residents remained at sea with three Velvet Scoter off the seawall and the two Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe off John's Watch. Elsewhere the two Siberian Chiffchaff were by the Entrance Bushes and the Red-legged Partridge was feeding around the shore of the Bight.

Wildlife News: The Common Seal was on Bull Hill and a Grey Seal was offshore.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Saturday 8th March

Despite the arrival of spring conditions migrants were limited to a single figures of Rook, Jackdaw, Meadow Pipit and Goldfinch overhead and four Goldcrest and a Stonechat on site. Offshore the three Velvet Scoter, two Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver remain with 14 Red-throated Diver heading south. Records from the estuary included the Black Brant in the Bight, a fourth year Yellow-legged Gull in front of the hide, a Sandwich Tern, 940 Dunlin, 28 Sanderling, 25 Knot, seven Ringed and four Grey Plover. Elsewhere a Red-legged Partridge was on Warren Point and two Siberian Chiffchaff in the Entrance Bushes included one bird in song.

Yellow-legged Gull © Dave Jewell

Wildlife News: Three butterfly species were enjoying the sunshine; Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and the first Comma of the year.

Friday 7 March 2014

Friday 7th March

The Black Brant remains in the estuary with 370 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 700 Dunlin, 68 Common Gull, 37 Knot, 16 Sanderling and five Ringed Plover. Elsewhere the three Velvet Scoter, two Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe remain offshore with a Sandwich Tern, seven Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver. Overhead a single Grey Wagtail, a trickle of Meadow Pipit and a couple of Buzzard.

Black Brant © Lee Collins

Thursday 6 March 2014

Thursday 6th March

Two Chiffchaff on site and three Sandwich Tern offshore hinted at spring but otherwise it was 'as you were' with 1960 Dunlin, 97 Grey Plover, 95 Common Gull,13 Sanderling and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary and three Velvet Scoter, two Eider, a Slavonian Grebe, eight Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver offshore.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Wednesday 5th March

The three Velvet Scoter were still offshore with 40+ Common Scoter, two each of Red-throated and Great Northern Diver, 18 Great-crested, a Slavonian and the Red-necked Grebe.

Monday 3 March 2014

Monday 3rd March

The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary off Cockwood but no other news was received.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Sunday 2nd March

The majority of time was spent looking offshore with the three Velvet Scoter, two Long-tailed Duck, the Red-necked Grebe and six Great Northern Diver all still present. Heading south during the day a site record 76+ Red-throated Diver, along with 100+ Gannet, 45+ Fulmar, 65+ auk spp, 10+ Guillemot and two Razorbill. Also offshore 300+ Kittiwake, most feeding distantly in the bay, 180+ Common Scoter, at least 120 of which were on the sea and a single Sandwich Tern.

Turnstone © Lee Collins

Saturday 1 March 2014

Saturday 1st March

The spring conditions saw an increase in activity on site with a good count of 37 Dunnock especially obvious in the sunshine. Also around the bushes three Great-spotted Woodpecker, three Goldcrest and the Siberian Chiffchaff.  Offshore there was little change with the three Velvet Scoter, two Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe still present along with a single Eider, nine Red-throated and five Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere counts from the estuary 380 Brent Geese, 170 Black and 39 Bar-tailed Godwit, 126 Curlew, 117 Redshank, 90 Grey Plover, 67 Knot, 24 Teal and seven Ringed Plover.

Knot  © Lee Collins
Wildlife News: The first Peacock of the year was on the wing with the Grey Seal again on Bull Hill.