Thursday 30 April 2015

Thursday 30th April

Three Great Northern Diver were distantly offshore early evening with a Red-throated Diver flying south, also offshore just eight Sandwich Tern and a Common Scoter. Elsewhere 28 Whimbrel were in the estuary.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Wednesday 29th April

A quick evening look from Cockwood showed 35 Whimbrel and a Grey Plover on the mudflats with two Red-breasted Merganser in Shutterton Creek.

Monday 27 April 2015

Monday 27th April

Numbers were much reduced today with 20+ Whimbrel, 13 Dunlin, two Bar-tailed Godwit, two Ringed Plover and a Sanderling in the estuary and just 20 Sandwich Tern offshore. Other records included two Red-breasted Merganser in the estuary, three Wheatear in front of the hide and single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver offshore.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Sunday 26th April

Two Spoonbill briefly in the Railway Saltmarsh before heading up river on the dropping tide mid-afternoon were the most notable migrants with numbers of Dunlin and Whimbrel also passing through. Offshore two Little Tern were present with 61+ Sandwich and a Common Tern, a Red-throated Diver flew south and the Velvet Scoter, c45 Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver were on the sea. Elsewhere single Jay, Sedge and Willow Warbler were the only migrants in the bushes with the few Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Blackcap probably birds back on territory.

Wildlife News: A Common Seal was hauled out on Bull Hill mid-afternoon.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Saturday 25th April

Despite promising conditions migrants were again at a premium with eight Whitethroat, three Wheatear and a White Wagtail on site and five Swallow, a House Martin and a Jay overhead.  Counts from the hide included 317 Oystercatcher, 70 Dunlin, 40 Whimbrel, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Grey Plover, five Sanderling, five Ringed Plover and three Knot. Elsewhere the Velvet Scoter was offshore with three Little Tern, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver

Friday 24 April 2015

Friday 24th April

A pair of Mandarin, the sixth site record, were the unexpected highlight. They flew in from the east, settling on the sea briefly before heading north up the estuary. Also offshore 16 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 41 Sandwich and five Little Tern, 27 Manx Shearwater, a Red-throated Diver and the male Velvet Scoter. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 58 Dunlin, 31 Whimbrel, 13 Sanderling, 11 Grey Plover, two Knot and a Mediterranean Gull.  

Thursday 23 April 2015

Thursday 23rd April

On the morning tide, 49 Pale-bellied Brent Geese came in off the sea and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser were present again in the estuary.  Wader totals were 11 Grey Plover, three Ringed Plover, 101 Dunlin, four Sanderling, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Curlew and c.15 Whimbrel.  A Hobby passed low overhead though passage was light with only a single Sand Martin, 20 Swallow and five Goldfinch through.  In the bushes and reed-beds, the site's first for the year two Sedge Warbler and four Reed Warbler, also five Whitethroat, four Blackcap and three Chiffchaff.  Quiet at sea, at least 20 Sandwich Tern, two Great Crested Grebe and two Guillemot the only birds of note.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Wednesday 22nd April

The first Garden Warbler of the year was in Dead Dolphin Wood, with three Wheatear and two Willow Warbler the only other grounded migrants. Overhead two Siskin, a Yellow Wagtailtwo Swift, 16 Swallow and three House Martin passed through. Elsewhere single Arctic and Common Tern and Great Northern Diver were offshore with single Dark and Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the estuary along with 20+ Whimbrel, 10 Grey Plover, 60 Dunlin, a Knot and 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, of which three flew E far offshore and were seen to pass Seaton (23 km away) later that evening (re. 'Axe Birding' blog). A late Water Rail squealed from the Main Pond.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Tuesday 21st April

Despite the clear conditions there was a welcome, though limited, arrival of migrants with a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in Greenland Lake, three female Redstart, Jay passed through, four Whitethroat, three Wheatear and one Willow Warbler. In the estuary there were 418 Oystercatcher, 31 Whimbrel, 27 Turnstone, 23 Dunlin, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Grey, five Ringed Plover and a Brent Goose.  In the evening offshore, a raft of four Great Northern Diver and the drake Velvet Scoter still. 

Wildlife News: a few Small Copper, Peacock and Speckled Wood; four Orange-tip almost outnumbered flowering Cuckoo-flowers.

Monday 20 April 2015

Monday 20th April

Migrants continue to trickle through with four Jay the most notable, being the first of the year, also overhead 10 Swallow, three House Martin, a Yellow Wagtail and a Siskin with two Wheatear on site. Elsewhere 58 Dunlin, 41 Whimbrel, 27 Turnstone, 14 Grey Plover, four Mediterranean Gull and a Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary with two Great Northern Diver offshore.

Sunday 19th April

The first two Swift of the year flew through with 28 Swallow, 27 House Martin and with them the first Hobby of the year, the earliest for over 60 years. Also overhead at least two Osprey, a Yellow Wagtail, 23 Goldfinch, five Rook and offsite upriver a Red Kite. Counts in the estuary included 459 Oystercatcher, 35 Dunlin, 22 Whimbrel, 22 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Grey Plover and seven Sanderling. Elsewhere a Little and 37 Sandwich Tern were offshore and four Blackcap, two Wheatear and a Willow Warbler were on site.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Saturday 18th April

The first Little Tern of the year was offshore early evening with 44+ Sandwich and two Common Tern, also offshore during the day four Great Skua, 60+ Manx Shearwater and a Great Northern Diver. Counts from the estuary included 33 Dunlin, 24+ Whimbrel, 11 Grey Plover, seven Sanderling, three Knot and a Redshank. Elsewhere five House Martin and three Swallow flew through with no other migrants in blown out conditions. 

Whimbrel - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: The first Small Copper of the year was on the wing.

Friday 17 April 2015

Friday 17th April

Migrants once again were notable for their absence with a couple of Sand Martin and 10 Swallow going through and just single Wheatear and Willow Warbler on site. In the estuary counts included 31 Dunlin, 26 Turnstone, 20 Whimbrel, 14 Redshank, 11 Grey Plover, seven Sanderling, three Knot and a Ringed Plover. Elsewhere 20 Sandwich Tern and seven Manx Shearwater were offshore.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Thursday 16th April

Three days of coastal fog finally lifted and with the sunshine there was a small arrival of migrants through the day with the first two Whitethroat, a Wheatear and four Willow Warbler on site and the first Yellow Wagtail and Common Sandpiper of the year overhead with 13 Swallow and a late Siskin. Counts from the estuary included 34 Dunlin, 26 Redshank, 15 Whimbrel, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, nine Grey Plover, seven Sanderling and a Knot. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood and a Snipe was on the Golf Course. 

Monday 13 April 2015

Monday 13th April

A welcome arrival of migrants was however short on variety with nine Wheatear, seven Willow Warbler and five Chiffchaff on site and five Swallow overhead. Records from the estuary included seven Sanderling, five Dunlin, a Knot, a Greenshank and a Whimbrel. Offshore two Common Tern were present with just six Sandwich Tern and 10 Great-crested Grebe.

Wheatear - Lee Collins

Sunday 12 April 2015

Sunday 12th April

Migrants remain in short supply with three Willow Warbler seemingly the only new arrivals with five Swallow flying through. Elsewhere 39 Sandwich Tern were offshore and counts from the estuary included 10 Ringed and four Grey Plover with seven Sanderling in Soft Sand Bay.

 Sanderling - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: The introduced Sand Lizard can be found along the Dune Ridge and Warren Point but are not especially active at present.

Sand Lizard - Lee Collins

Saturday 11 April 2015

Saturday 11th April

Overnight rain raised hope of a change of fortunes but migrants remained hard to come by. Seawatching before 8am produced the first four Common Tern of the year, two Great Northern Diver, 40+ Gannet, 18 Manx Shearwater and a blue Fulmar. A silent presumed Siberian Chiffchaff was the pick of the migrants in the bushes sharing them with just 10 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap. Overhead the long overdue first Sand Martin of the year flew through with a Golden Plover and single figures of Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Wood Pigeon and Goldfinch also moving east. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 122 Curlew, 14 Ringed Plover and sevens of Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and Sanderling

 Presumed tristis Chiffchaff - Lee Collins

Presumed tristis Chiffchaff - Alan Keatley

Friday 10 April 2015

Friday 10th April

The first three Blackcap of the year were singing on site with several Chiffchaff and two Willow Warbler also on site, two Swallow along the beach were the only other migrants. Elsewhere 40+ Sandwich Tern and eight Manx Shearwater were offshore, a Snipe and the first Mallard brood were on the Main Pond and the Slavonian Grebe and 10 Teal were in the estuary.

 Blackcap - Simon Thurgood

 Mallard - Simon Thurgood

Wildlife News: Five species of butterfly were on the wing Red AdmiralPeacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Comma.

Comma - Simon Thurgood

Speckled Wood - Simon Thurgood

Thursday 9 April 2015

Thursday 9th April

Another quiet day on the migrant front with a couple of Willow Warbler in the bushes and just three Swallow flying through. Elsewhere 21 Redshank were still in the estuary. 

Wildlife News: Numbers of Sand Crocus in flower continue to increase whilst other dune flora in flower include Early Forget-me-not, Shepherd's Cress and Upright Chickweed.

Sand Crocus - both David Leadbetter

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Wednesday 8th April

With clear skies overnight a single Willow Warbler was the only grounded migrant to be found in a quick visit early morning.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Tuesday 7th April

Another raptor day once the temperature warmed up with an Osprey just off Finger Point at 9.45am and a female Marsh Harrier east along the coast at 11am. Counts from the estuary included a Whimbrel, 33 Dunlin, 28 Turnstone, 15 Grey and 12 Ringed Plover and single Knot and Sanderling. Elsewhere grounded migrants were limited to three Wheatear and a few Chiffchaff and a couple of Sandwich Tern were offshore.

Wildlife News: The first Speckled Wood of the year was on the wing.  

Monday 6 April 2015

Monday 6th April

A fine early spring day saw the first notable arrival of migrants with 10 Wheatear,  nine Chiffchaff, eight Willow Warbler and a White Wagtail on site with a Red Kite, c30 Meadow Pipit, three Buzzard, two Swallow and the first House Martin of the year overhead. Elsewhere a drake Velvet Scoter was offshore, a Snipe was on the Main Pond and counts from the estuary included 121 Curlew, 32 Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Turnstone, 14 Ringed and 12 Grey Plover, 11 Dunlin and the first Whimbrel of the year.

Wildlife News: Over 100 Warren Crocus were in flower in Greenland Lake and the warm weather brought out good numbers of Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell.

Warren Crocus - Simon Thurgood

Sunday 5 April 2015

Sunday 5th April

The first Osprey of the year was the highlight, flying north over the spit at 7.50am. It had been first seen at Berry Head 40 minutes earlier and was tracked past Dawlish and up the Exe, catching a fish and remaining at Bowling Green until 10.45 before it continued northwards. Other migrants included seven Wheatear, six Swallow, six Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. Elsewhere nine Manx Shearwater, six Sandwich Tern and a Great Northern Diver were offshore and counts from the estuary included 38 Ringed Plover, 27 Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Brent Geese, 17 Dunlin, nine Grey Plover, eight Sanderling and a Knot

Wildlife News: Sand Crocus is now in flower and a dead Sand Lizard found on Warren Point, the first of the year. 

Saturday 4 April 2015

Saturday 4th April

The first two Manx Shearwater of the year passed south with the Long-tailed Duck, 24 Common Scoter, 11+ Sandwich Tern and a Great Northern Diver also offshore. Elsewhere at least four Wheatear were on site, 24 Sanderling were on the beach and counts from the hide included 152 Curlew, 63 Redshank, 41 Brent Geese, 33 Ringed Plover, 19 Dunlin and a late Snipe.

Wheatear - Lee Collins

Friday 3 April 2015

Friday 3rd April

The first Great Skua of the year flew south early morning with 113+ Gannet, 91 Kittiwake and 26+ Sandwich Tern. Also offshore the Long-tailed Duck and 12 Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere six Wheatear were on site and counts from the estuary included 46 Brent Geese, 26 Bar and six Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Dunlin, 21 Ringed and 15 Grey Plover.

Long-tailed Duck - Lee Collins

Thursday 2 April 2015

Thursday 2nd April

The Long-tailed Duck remained offshore this evening with six Sandwich Tern, 22 Common Scoter and 1154+ roosting Herring Gull. Elsewhere three Swallow flew through, 33 Sanderling were on the beach and counts from the hide included 504 Oystercatcher, 124 Curlew, 40 Turnstone, 36 Redshank, 27 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Dunlin, 12 Knot and a Greenshank.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Wednesday 1st April

A Long-tailed Duck was distantly offshore with 30+ Common Scoter and 17 Great-crested Grebe also from the seawall.  Elsewhere a lone Swallow flew through the Buffer Zone.