Friday 31 October 2014

Friday 31st October

The long awaited first Yellow-browed Warbler of the year was in the Entrance Bushes this morning, although vocal at times it was however fairly elusive and was not seen subsequently. In the estuary the Water Pipit was again in front of the hide, Dunlin numbers remain around 300 with 31 Ringed and 16 Grey Plover, six Sanderling and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a late Swallow, 22 Skylark, five Jackdaw and a Siskin flew over before 9am but the lack of cloud cover meant many migrants passed too high over the site to be seen/heard.

Water Pipit - Lee Collins
Wildlife News: The unseasonal weather has improved dragonfly survival with several Migrant Hawker and Common Darter still on the wing.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Thursday 30th October

Heavy fog again restricted viewing first thing so there was little overhead movement with the exception of the first Brambling of the year. Elsewhere a Pomarine Skua was offshore mid morning with single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver and an unseasonal Storm Petrel was reported mid afternoon. In the estuary there were 300+ Dunlin, 29 Ringed Plover, 24 Turnstone and six Sanderling.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Wednesday 29th October

The band of rain overhead and offshore reduced any chance of migration with just a single Arctic Skua off the seawall whilst many more where south of the rain in Torbay. Also offshore four Tufted Duck, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver. The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with  1192 Wigeon, three Mediterranean Gull, two Sandwich Tern and a Greenshank with the first Water Pipit of the winter in front of the hide where a probable Merlin was also reported. Elsewhere a Blackcap in Greenland Lake was the first for several weeks with five Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff in the Entrance Bushes.

Kingfisher - Lee Collins

Monday 27 October 2014

Monday 27th October

Seawatching was initially quiet first thing with a handful of skua passing but a feeding flock appeared just after 8am with 400+ Gannet and Kittiwake closer in. This in turn attracted the passing skuas inshore. Totals in three hours going south included two Sooty Shearwater, 22 Pomarine, 13 Arctic and seven Great Skua with four skua sp, a Merlin and a Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere eight Shelduck, 16 Ringed and 15 Grey Plover were in the Bight.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Sunday 26th October

The mobile feeding flock remained offshore sometimes close but often several miles offshore with birds often strung across the whole bay from Budleigh to Torbay. This flock attracted a site record 22+ Pomarine Skua with 30+ Arctic, single Great and the first Long-tailed Skua of the year also heading south. In addition to these there were another distant 35+ skua sp most either Pom or Arctic, many of these were from the first scan of the morning so had presumably roosted far out into the bay. Also offshore and/or heading south a Sooty Shearwater, 525+ Gannet, 500+ Kittiwake, 104 Common Scoter, 100+ auk, five Great Northern, a Red-throated and a Black-throated Diver. Records from the estuary included a second winter Little Gull, 268 Dunlin, 146 Teal, 143 Brent Geese, 40 Black and 28 Bar-tailed Godwit, 37 Turnstone, 16 Grey Plover, six Mediterranean Gull, three Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Tawny Owl was in the entrance Bushes an overhead migration had virtually ground to a halt with just 235 Wood Pigeon, 92 Jackdaw and a Grey Wagtail.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Saturday 25th October

Despite the lack of wind and rain today was perhaps the best of the year for activity at sea. A large feeding flock in Lyme Bay saw counts of 160+ Gannet and 80+ Kittiwake offshore, these were continually chased by gulls and skuas with a minimum of 20+ Arctic, two Pomarine and a Great Skua during the day. Also offshore at least five Great Northern Diver and a Merlin. There was also movement overhead with 1840 Wood Pigeon, 189 Jackdaw, 149 Skylark, 102 Linnet, 94 Goldfinch, 62 Pied Wagtail, 10 Stock Dove, three Sparrowhawk, two Swallow, two Redpoll and a Siskin. Elsewhere a Dartford Warbler and a Cirl Bunting were in Greenland Lake and 18 Black-tailed Godwit, five Mediterranean Gull, four Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary.

Wildlife News: A helice Clouded Yellow was in Greenland Lake and both Common Darter and Migrant Hawker were still on the wing.

Friday 24 October 2014

Thursday 23 October 2014

Thursday 23rd October

The arrival of wet weather prevented any vismig from getting going but a flock of 104 Jackdaw flew east with around 20 Linnet and smaller numbers of Goldfinch and Chaffinch also heading through. Counts from the estuary included 449 Curlew, 121 Brent Geese, 108 Teal, 38 Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Turnstone, 12 Shelduck and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Jay in the Spinney on the Golf Course was the only notable migrant on site and 40+ Gannet, 20+ Kittiwake and 16 Common Scoter were offshore.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Wednesday 22nd October

A quick visit late afternoon showed the return of the Bonaparte's Gull to Groyne 3, it had been seen  further south down the coast at Teignmouth on Sunday. Over the high tide a couple of Peregrine were in the Bight making waders counts impossible but six returning Shelduck were with the Brent Geese and a Greenshank was in Shutterton Creek. 

Bonaparte's Gull - Lee Collins

Monday 20 October 2014

Monday 20th October

Visible migration before 11am saw a total of  714 Jackdaw head west; the second highest site count, also overhead 234 Linnet, 199 alba Wagtail, 186 Goldfinch, 106 Skylark, 100+ Meadow Pipit, 86 Starling, 71 Greenfinch, 15 Rook, 10 Reed Bunting, two Siskin, a Sparrowhawk and a Swallow. Elsewhere 415 Dunlin, 340+ Brent Geese, 46 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover, six Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper were in the estuary and a Wheatear remained on Warren Point and two male Cirl Bunting were around Greenland Lake.

Wildlife News: A helice Clouded Yellow was in Greenland Lake.

Sunday 19 October 2014

Sunday 19th October

The humble Jackdaw was the day's highlight with a total of 327 flying west during the morning, the flocks occasionally pursued by single Sparrowhawk and Peregrine. Also moving west before 11am 110 Goldfinch, 86 Pied Wagtail, 44 Meadow Pipit, four Rook, four Raven, four Reed Bunting, two Chaffinch, two late House Martin and a Swallow. Elsewhere Great Northern Diver and 50+ Gannet flew south offshore and seven Redwing and six Chiffchaff were in the bushes.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Saturday 18th October

Seawatching up to 10am produced totals of 368 Gannet, 22 Kittiwake, 16 Common Scoter and 16 Sandwich Tern all south along with a Kestrel, three Great Northern Diver, a drake Velvet Scoter, five Arctic and a Pomarine Skua. Counts from the estuary included 256 Brent Geese, 141 Great Black-backed Gull, a good site count of 98 Black-tailed Godwit and single Greenshank, Slavonian Grebe and the first Lapwing of the autumn. Elsewhere a Swallow through early afternoon was the only hint of movement overhead, two Wheatear were on the beach and 250+ Linnet were in the Bight.

Friday 17 October 2014

Friday 17th October

A Lapland Bunting that flew west over the Golf Course was the pick of the limited vismig, also overhead the first Redwing of the autumn, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 22 Jackdaw, 18 Rook and a couple of Swallow; the first Yellowhammer of the year dropped into Greenland Lake briefly where two Cirl Bunting remained with the finch flock. In the estuary counts included 141 Brent Geese, 114 Great Black-backed Gull, 52 Black-tailed Godwit, 39 Ringed Plover, seven Knot, two Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 149 Linnet were in front of the hide, a close juvenile Pomarine Skua flew south offshore from the seawall early afternoon as did another first for the year, a Short-eared Owl.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Thursday 16th October

With an improvement in the weather there was hope for some new arrivals and overhead migration but with the exception of 101 Skylark, c30 Meadow Pipit, 13 Chiffchaff and 11 Rook migrants were in low single figures. These included four Blackcap, three Siskin, three Jackdaw, a Swallow and a Wheatear. The finch flock in Greenland Lake included 60+ Greenfinch, 60+ Goldfinch, 15+ Linnet, four Reed and two Cirl Bunting with another 70+ Linnet in the Bight. Elsewhere a Tawny Owl was in the Entrance Bushes, a Great Northern Diver was offshore and counts from the estuary included 1301 Wigeon, 439 Curlew, 357 Redshank, 330 Dunlin, 93 Brent Geese, 37 Ringed Plover, 32 Turnstone, 30 Black and 25 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Sanderling, a Sandwich Tern and a Red-breasted Merganser.

Tawny Owl - Dave Jewell

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Wednesday 15th October

Early morning the site was blown out with little in the bushes or overhead but passage offshore was limited to single Great Northern Diver and a Razorbill. The same winds no doubt accounted for the Grey Phalarope reported off Groyne 11 late morning. A look from Cockwood Steps early evening produced counts of 276 Brent Geese, 252 Great Black-backed Gull, four Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wildlife News: A Fox was watched foraging on the mudflats early evening.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Tuesday 14th October

The presence of four Dartford Warbler along the Dune Ridge and on Warren Point was unexpected as was the autumn's fourth record of Wryneck, also on Warren Point. Other grounded migrants were limited to a couple of Wheatear, six Chiffchaff and a Blackcap, although some of the Blackbird, Dunnock and Wren were probably also migrants. Overhead mostly heading east 108 Goldfinch, 46 alba Wagtail, 44 Meadow Pipit, 35 Skylark, 17 Chaffinch, 15 Rook, five Redpoll, four Reed Bunting, three Swallow and two Jackdaw. Counts from the estuary included 428 Redshank, 334 Curlew, 264 Dunlin, 238 Brent Geese, 28 Black and 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank, a first winter Yellow-legged Gull and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere three Great Northern Diver and a Tufted Duck were offshore.

 Oystercatcher - spot the odd one out...

a noticeably browner backed individual, such oddly plumaged birds are occasionally noted.
Both pictures - Ivan Lakin

Wildlife News: A fresh late (second generation?) Meadow Brown was on the wing along with Red Admiral and Speckled Wood, more typical autumn butterflies.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Sunday 12th October

The first Dartford Warbler of the year, an immature, was in brambles around the Cuckoo's Nest early morning but other grounded migrants were limited to seven Chiffchaff and a couple of Blackcap. Overhead however visible migration continued with 197 Skylark, 154 alba Wagtail, 58 Meadow Pipit, 34 Jackdaw, 11 Rook, nine Swallow, six Reed Bunting, four Siskin, two Snipe and a Golden Plover mostly heading west. Elsewhere the adult Bonaparte's Gull reappeared offshore for its third winter (assuming out lingers), the Arctic Tern was again present, three Great Northern Diver included a summer plumaged adult that flew high south from upriver, the first Water Rail of the autumn were at the Main Pond and the Slavonian Grebe remained off Cockwood.

Bonaparte's Gull - Lee Collins

Saturday 11 October 2014

Saturday 11th October

Visible migration today included a good count of 305 Skylark in off the sea along with 19 Swallow, 18 House Martin and single Mistle Thrush and Redpoll. Grounded migrants inclded 12 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff and two Wheatear. Elsewhere a juvenile Arctic Tern and a Great Northern Diver were offshore with counts from the estuary including 1430 Wigeon, 481 Curlew, 420 Redshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wildlife News: A Field Vole was observed on Warren Point and continuing the theme of visible migration over 30 Red Admiral were counted heading south.

Friday 10 October 2014

Friday 10th October

The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 207 Dunlin, 10 Sanderling and a Black-tailed Godwit, elsewhere three Wheatear and seven Chiffchaff were on site with Linnet and Goldfinch numbers on the rise.

 Goldfinch - Dave Jewell

Wheatear - Dave Jewell

Thursday 9 October 2014

Thursday 9th October

Seawatching early morning before 9.30 saw the first record of Sooty Shearwater for two years, with one bird lingering distantly offshore. Also offshore five Balearic Shearwater, three Arctic Skua and four Skua sp headed south along with 80+ Gannet, 40+ Kittiwake, six Sandwich Tern and 47 Swallow. Elsewhere 1970+ Wigeon were in the estuary with the Slavonian Grebe and two Kingfisher with three Wheatear on site.

Brent Geese - Dave Jewell
Ringing News: This Brent Goose was ringed as an adult at Powderham in 1996 so is at least 19 years old. It has been recorded on the Exe most winters since.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Wednesday 8th October

Between the showers this morning 14 Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest and a couple of Blackcap were noted in the bushes with c50 Meadow and two Rock Pipit, 15+ alba Wagtail, four Raven, two Jackdaw and a Rook overhead. No other news was received.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Tuesday 7th October

The third Wryneck of the autumn was reported along the Back Path near Dead Dolphin Wood mid afternoon but no other news was received.

Monday 6 October 2014

Monday 6th October

The overnight weather gave some hope for some decent seawatching, but although this was the case elsewhere once the weather cleared birds avoided this corner of Lyme Bay. In two hours there were just 12 Gannet south with most of those seen distantly after the rain, also south two very distant Arctic Skua, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 12 Sandwich Tern and a Curlew with 12 Common Scoter wheeling about way offshore.
Ringing News: This Ringed Plover NLE seen in the Bight on Saturday was ringed at Makkevika, Giske, Norway on 25/08/14. Thanks to Kjell Mork Soot of the Sunnmøre Ringing Group for this information.
Ringed Plover - Lee Collins

View Ringed Plover 04/10/2014 in a larger map
This Sandwich Tern N09 was recorded in front of the hide on 13/07/14 and 28/08/14 showing the site fidelity of passage birds at the Warren. It was ringed as a chick at de Scheelhoekeilanden, Stellendam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands on 19/06/12 being seen again nearby once fledged on 12/07/12. It was then recorded overwintering in Namibia between 20/12/12 and 13/04/13. The sightings at the Warren were the first since.

Sandwich Tern - Lee Collins

View Sandwich Tern N09 in a larger map

Sunday 5 October 2014

Sunday 5th October

Numbers of birds continue to build in the estuary with counts of 2052 Wigeon, 1725 Oystercatcher, 363 Dunlin, 150+ Teal, 146 Brent Geese, including the first two juveniles, 45 Ringed Plover, 17 Knot, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, four Shelduck and single Grey Plover, Greenshank and Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere single Wheatear and Kingfisher were in front of the hide, 113 Shag were offshore and 115 Linnet were feeding in the Bight.

Saturday 4 October 2014

Saturday 4th October

Three hours sea-watching in the rain from the seawall produced a w.p. Black-necked Grebe briefly offshore, three Great Northern Diver, a drake Eider with a few Common Scoter, three Red-breasted Merganser, a Mediterranean Gull, 259 Gannet and 26 Sandwich Tern flew south and just two Razorbill and a Kittiwake.  No fall in the bushes, which held a Wheatear, three Goldcrest, eight Chiffchaff, ten Blackcap and 26 Goldfinch.  A Grey Wagtail foraged along the Main Pond margins. Only four Swallow, single-figures of Meadow Pipit and Skylark, 18 Pied Wagtail and a Jackdaw passed overhead, but wildfowl were on the move - small flocks arrived all day, but the largest movements were sadly the sight of hundreds of wildfowl fleeing the mass of kite-surfers within the estuary, flushed to the relatively quieter waters of the reserve where 17 Pintail, 495 Teal, 850 Wigeon and 98 Brent Goose took refuge.  At high tide, counts included 17 Little Egret, c1750 Oystercatcher, 71 Ringed Plover, 418 Curlew, 7+ Black-tailed Godwit, c12 Bar-tailed Godwit,  3 Knot, 22 Sanderling, 280 Dunlin, 396 Redshank and 1 Greenshank.

Ringed Plover sporting a yellow flag and red colour-ring is thought to be Norwegian, details to follow!

Wildlife news: two Harbour Porpoise loitered offshore.  A Clouded Yellow, a Wall, Red Admirals and a few other butterflies ventured out when the sun appeared later on.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Wednesday 1st October

In the estuary and at the high tide roost were 9 Little Egret, 570 Wigeon, 84 Teal, 61 Ringed Plover, 320 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Knot, 27 Sanderling, 310 Dunlin and 140 Redshank.  At sea a Great Crested Grebe, 30 Gannet, 10 Common Scoter and 5 Sandwich Tern.  Light passage overhead totalled 25 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 5 Grey Wagtail, a trickle of Meadow Pipit and 3 Chaffinch.  The bushes and open areas were also quiet with 10 Chiffchaff, 12 Blackcap, a Wheatear, the Redstart still in trees behind the VC, the resident seven Stonechat and 8 Goldfinch.