Wednesday 30 April 2014

Wednesday 30th April

A Roseate Tern was seen off Exmouth mid afternoon, but there was no sign later with 25 Sandwich Tern seen from the Warren side. Elsewhere two Wheatear were still by the Visitor Centre but no other news was received.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Tuesday 29th April

A small fall was signalled by the first Whinchat and Garden Warbler of the year with at least four Willow Warbler and two Wheatear also arriving. Elsewhere 58 Whimbrel were feeding on the Golf Course fairways and around 60 Common Scoter were distantly offshore.

Wildlife News: Mollusc update; Strawberry Snail Trochulus striolatus and the shelled slug Testacella maugei were recorded on site today.

Testacella maugei ©  Andrew Cunningham

Monday 28 April 2014

Monday 28th April

Another quiet spring day with a single Swallow through and four Wheatear the only new migrants. Counts over the high tide included 14 Whimbrel, seven Turnstone, six Ringed Plover and four Dunlin. Elsewhere the lone Dark-bellied Brent Goose remains on the Golf Course.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Sunday 27th April

The first Tree Pipit of the year flew over mid morning but migrants were otherwise largely absent. Offshore a single Little Tern, c60 Manx Shearwater, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver with 60+ Whimbrel and 30 Dunlin in the estuary.

Saturday 26 April 2014

Saturday 26th April

With the site blown out for most of the day the focus was largely on seawatching and early morning the first three Arctic Tern of the year were offshore with three Little and three Common Tern. Later in the day another Arctic Tern flew south and six dropped in briefly in front of the hide before heading upriver. The evening also saw the bulk of passage offshore with seven Great Skua and 770+ Manx Shearwater south along with 45+ Kittiwake and 20+ Fulmar. Elsewhere over 60 Whimbrel passed through the site, three Wheatear were in Greenland Lake and eight Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the Bight.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore.

Friday 25 April 2014

Friday 25th April

Two Sedge Warbler singing early morning, the first of the year, hinted at some welcome migration but with the notable exception of a Hobby heading north this early promise was not fulfilled. Wader counts included 67 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Dunlin, 18+ Whimbrel, 13 Ringed and seven Grey Plover, five Sanderling and a Knot. Elsewhere an Iceland Gull was off John's Watch with four Red-throated and single Black-throated and Great Northern Diver, two Tufted Duck, a Little and c40 Sandwich Tern and c25 Manx Shearwater also offshore.

Whitethroat ©  Dave Jewell

Thursday 24 April 2014

Thursday 24th April

Fog early morning failed to deliver much in the way of migrants with just three Wheatear on the deck and single Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit overhead. The bird of the day arrived late evening when a Turtle Dove was watching arriving in off from far out to sea before landing in trees behind Exmouth beach, shortly after a Wheatear also flew in off and starting flycatching along the seawall. Also offshore two Red-throated Diver and c120 Common Scoter with 41+ Sandwich Tern, 36+ Whimbrel and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary. Elsewhere at least two fledged Stonechat were in Wryneck Plain, aside from Wood Pigeon, the first fledged birds of the year on site.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Wednesday 23rd April

Another day of southerly winds and rain delivered another day lacking in migrants with four Wheatear on Warren Point and a Reed Warbler at the Main Pond the only passerine arrivals. During the day 75+ Whimbrel and 16 Bar-tailed Godwit did fly in from the south but other wader counts were as low as the tide with just 24 Oystercatcher, eight Dunlin, five Grey Plover, three Sanderling and a Curlew. Also in the estuary three Dark-bellied Brent Geese and the Slavonian Grebe returning from its trip north to Topsham, with 25 Sandwich Tern and the Long-tailed Duck offshore.

Grey Plover © Lee Collins

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Tuesday 22nd April

The overnight rain and murky conditions avoided this corner of Devon so unlike other sites along the south coast no spring fall materialised with a single Yellow Wagtail overhead and a Wheatear on the ground the best of slim pickings. In the estuary a continued small changeover of waders with 90 Dunlin, 11+ Whimbrel, 10 Ringed Plover, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, nine Sanderling, four Grey Plover and a Knot. Elsewhere two Velvet Scoter and a Red-breasted Merganser were offshore.

Monday 21 April 2014

Monday 21st April

A summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper in the Bight was the pick of the new arrivals with 74 Dunlin, 40+ Whimbrel, 34+ Sandwich Tern, 31 Turnstone, 27 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Shelduck, five Ringed and five Grey Plover, two Sanderling and a late Snipe also in the estuary. Offshore a Black-throated and three Red-throated Diver flew south with 80+ Common Scoter, the two Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck still present. Elsewhere an Iceland Gull was reported along the beach, a single Yellow Wagtail, 115 Swallow, 13 House Martin, nine Goldfinch and five Rook flew east and three Wheatear and three Whitethroat were on the ground.

 Bar-tailed Godwit © Lee Collins

 Little Grebe © Lee Collins

Curlew Sandpiper (and Dunlin) © Lee Collins

Sunday 20 April 2014

Sunday 20th April

A strong northerly wind coupled with heavy rain for most of the day didn't deliver good birdng on site. The only new arrivals were in the estuary with 39 Black-tailed Godwit, 92 Dunlin, 30 Turnstone, 14 Ringed Plover, nine Bar-tailed Godwit, six Whimbrel, three Curlew, two Grey Plover and a first summer Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere two Wheatear were on site and offshore two Red-breasted Merganser and a Manx Shearwater flew south with three Velvet Scoter amongst 80+ Common Scoter.

 Black-tailed Godwit © Lee Collins

Mediterranean Gull © Lee Collins

Saturday 19 April 2014

Saturday 19th April

There was no sign of the Kentish Plover today with the Ringed Plover flock down to 14 birds, other waders in the estuary included 77 Dunlin, nine Whimbrel, seven Grey Plover, two Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper. The Snow Bunting remianed on Warren Point whilst grounded migants included the first Whitethroat of the year, five Wheatear, a White Wagtail, a Grasshopper and three Willow Warbler with the year's first Swift and a late Siskin overhead. Offshore an second year Iceland Gull, two Pale-bellied and a Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew east with 110+ Common and two Velvet Scoter, a Long-tailed Duck and 35+ Sandwich Tern.

Whimbrel © Lee Collins

Friday 18 April 2014

Friday 18th April

The highlight appeared late in the day when a male Kentish Plover was found in the Bight on the rising evening tide. This is the 95th Warren record since 1953 but the first since 2011 and the first spring male since 2007. Also in the Bight 61 Dunlin, 28 Whimbrel, 27 Ringed Plover, four Grey Plover and two Sanderling.

Kentish Plover © Lee Collins
Much earlier in the day the first Grasshopper Warbler since 2012 reeled briefly on the Wryneck Plain but other migrants were restricted to the first Reed Warbler of the year and five Wheatear with two Yellow Wagtail overhead. Elsewhere the first Common Sandpiper of the year was on Langstone Rock, the Snow Bunting was again on Warren Point and the Long-tailed Duck was offshore.

Wildlife News: The first Orange-tip and Green-veined White of the year were on the wing. Sand Crocus remains in flower but only after 11am and a couple of Fox were on the Golf Course and Car park respectively.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Thursday 17th April

A small fall of migrants included 10 Willow Warbler and six Wheatear with five House Martin and the first two Yellow Wagtail of the year passing overhead. Counts from the estuary included 29 Dunlin, 12 Turnstone, seven Grey Plover, three Bar-tailed Godwit, two Brent Geese, two Whimbrel and a Sanderling. Elsewhere a Mediterranean Gull and the Long-tailed Duck were off John's Watch with the Common Scoter flock very distant offshore.

Wildlife News: At least three Common Pipistrelle were feeding over the Main Pond this evening.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Tuesday 15th April

The Surf Scoter remained distantly offshore but was very difficult to see in the swell, a large flock of c170 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were also offshore late morning. Counts from the estuary 21 Curlew, 18 Bar-tailed and three Black-tailed Godwit, eight Dunlin, five Whimbrel, five Grey and three Ringed Plover, two Turnstone, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a Sanderling. Elsewhere single Wheatear and Willow Warbler were the only passerine migrants.

Monday 14 April 2014

Monday 14th April

The Surf Scoter remains offshore with 120+ Common and two Velvet Scoter, two Eider and a Long-tailed Duck with a/the first year Kumlien's Gull also offshore this evening. Elsewhere two Little Ringed Plover were in the Bight early morning with 585 Oystercatcher, 24 Curlew, four Whimbrel, three Grey Plover and two Bar-tailed Godwit whilst migrants included at least nine Wheatear and three Willow Warber.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Sunday 13th April

A much quieter day today with the bird interest entirely offshore with the Surf Scoter, two Velvet Scoter, two Eider and single Long-tailed Duck all still present.

Wildlife News: The first Small Copper of the year was on the wing. Various sightings from yesterday include Shelled Slug Testacella scutulum and Weedy Frillwort Fossombronia incurva along with more familiar species such as Gorse Shieldbug, Dock Bug and Common Seal.  Also the nationally scarce weevil Platyrhinus resinosus was found around Sycamore on Warren Point, only the third Devon record.

Platyrhinus resinosus © Guy Freeman

Gorse Shieldbug © Andrew Cunningham

Dock Bug © Andrew Cunningham

Saturday 12 April 2014

Saturday 12th April

Another excellent day's birding at the Warren with a total of 85 species recorded. Off the seawall the Surf Scoter remained with 192 Common and two Velvet Scoter, although it is always distant and difficult to pick out. Also offshore a Black-throated, five Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, two Eider, a Long-tailed Duck, 30 Sandwich Tern and 12 Pale-bellied Brent Geese.

Overhead a Red Kite came in off the sea and eventually headed SW around 10.45 with a Marsh Harrier doing much the same just after midday, other raptors seemingly on the move included several Buzzard, three Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel, whilst a Grey Heron, a late Siskin, four Rook, a couple of Raven, 80+ Swallow, a Sand and three House Martin, the first of the year, also flew through.

The Glaucous Gull was still around the estuary mouth, and in the estuary a summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper was present on the morning tide with 40 Ringed Plover, 32 Dunlin and 13 Whimbrel. Elsewhere other grounded migrants were however limited to six Wheatear and a single Willow Warbler.

Friday 11 April 2014

Friday 11th April

The first summer drake Surf Scoter was still off the seawall with Common Scoter but was always distant and difficult to pick out in strong sunlight. Elsewhere the Glaucous Gull was around the estuary mouth with a Long-tailed Duck and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were off John's Watch but passerine migrants remained at a premium.

Thursday 10 April 2014

Thursday 10th April

The Snow Bunting remained on Warren Point and the Glaucous Gull was still in the estuary mouth but there was no news on the Surf Scoter. Elsewhere a summer plumaged Golden Plover in the Bight was a first for the year and a female Long-tailed Duck was offshore.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Wednesday 9th April

The first summer Surf Scoter remained off the seawall with 78 Common and two Velvet Scoter, although was always distant and was not visible into the sun early morning. Also offshore the first Arctic Skua of the year, a Common Tern and three Red-throated Diver. The number of migrants made a welcome increase with six Willow Warbler, three Blackcap and a Wheatear. Elsewhere a lone Barnacle Goose heading south out over spit was unexpected but the biggest surprise was a mobile but at times obliging Snow Bunting on Warren Point, only the second April record and the first since 1867.

Snow Bunting © Lee Collins
Wildlife News: The first Speckled Wood and Green-viened White of the year were on the wing.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Tuesday 8th April

A first summer drake Surf Scoter off the seawall this evening with c70 Common Scoter was the highlight, the 12th site record and the first new bird at the Warren since January 2009. Also offshore two Velvet Scoter and five Manx Shearwater. Elsewhere the first Whimbrel of the year flew north and the first Common Tern headed into the estuary with 15+ Sandwich Tern, the Glaucous Gull remained around the estuary mouth and migrants were limited to eight Swallow and two Wheatear.

Monday 7 April 2014

Monday 7th April

Wader passage was the most obvious feature of the day with a flock of 41 Black-tailed Godwit dropping into the Bight. Six of these were colour-ringed, showing this to be the majority of the flock that had wintered on the Axe estuary in East Devon. Also in the estuary 46 Ringed Plover, 40+ Sandwich Tern, 25 Turnstone, 23 Dunlin, nine Brent Geese, five Sanderling, four Knot and two Grey Plover. Elsewhere the Glaucous Gull was around Warren Point and Exmouth, an Osprey flew north early evening and four Tufted Duck were offshore with 45+ Common Scoter, six Manx Shearwater, single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver.

Wildlife News: The Common Seal was on Bull Hill.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Sunday 6th April

The highlight was the first recording area record of Caspian Gull, a first summer which was in front of the hide for just twenty minutes around midday. Another highlight was the first Little Tern of the year offshore, the earliest ever site record following one on 7th April 2007. Also offshore 51+ Sandwich Tern and two Great Northern Diver with the Glaucous Gull still around the estuary mouth. Counts from the estuary included 19 Redshank, 13 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 12 Ringed Plover, 12 Sanderling, eight Turnstone, six Grey Plover, four Knot, two Greenshank and two Dunlin. Elsewhere a Siberian Chiffchaff by the Main Pond was the only fresh passerine migrant.

Caspian Gull © Lee Collins

Saturday 5 April 2014

Saturday 5th April

The murky conditions dropped in a handful of migrants with two Willow Warbler, two Wheatear and a Blackcap all new in. Offshore seven Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were on the sea, three Shoveler flew in off and a single Manx Shearwater headed south. Elsewhere the Glaucous Gull was still around the estuary mouth and in the estuary there were 19 Sandwich Tern, 17 Turnstone, 11 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, nine Ringed and seven Grey Plover, four Knot, two Dunlin and two Mediterranean Gull.

Ringing News: The colour-ringed Grey Plover above seen yesterday had been ringed in Fianteira, Sanxenxo (Pontevedra), Spain in January 2012, wintering there for the last two years but this was the first overseas sighting and the first record since February 2013. It appears to be the first Devon Grey Plover recovery since 1964 and the first Spain-UK recovery. 

Friday 4 April 2014

Friday 4th April

The Glaucous Gull remains around the estuary mouth with 16 Sandwich Tern, two Eider, two Red-throated Diver and the two Velvet Scoter offshore. Counts from the estuary included 51 Curlew, 32 Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 13 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling, 11 Grey Plover, five Dunlin and four Knot. Elsewhere a Goldcrest was the lone passerine migrant and a single Swallow flew through.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Thursday 3rd April

Migrants still seem to be avoiding the Warren with a single Swallow through with seven Meadow Pipit the only avian sign of spring. In the estuary a change in wader numbers also suggested some movement with 33 Turnstone, 21 Redshank, 10 Sanderling, eight Grey and eight Ringed Plover, six Dunlin, six Knot and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Other recordsincluded the Glaucous Gull again around Warren Point and Exmouth, 11 Sandwich Tern in the estuary and two Eider offshore.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Wednesday 2nd April

A Velvet Scoter was offshore with 50+ Sandwich Tern, 30+ Common Scoter and four Red-throated Diver. Counts from the estuary included 31 Dark-bellied and the Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 20 Turnstone, 14 Redshank, 14 Sanderling, four Ringed Plover, three Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Grey Plover. Elsewhere the second winter Glaucous Gull was again around the estuary mouth, a late Snipe was in Greenland Lake and an evening count saw 4480+ Herring Gull fly out of the estuary to roost offshore.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Tuesday 1st April

The first Willow Warbler of the year was singing through the dense fog first thing with half a dozen Chiffchaff and a Wheatear the only other migrants. Elsewhere the immature Spoonbill was again in the Bight late morning before flying off to the saltmarsh, also in the estuary the Pale-bellied Brent and 20 Sandwich Tern whilst the Glaucous Gull remained around the estuary mouth.

Sandwich Tern © Lee Collins