Thursday 31 March 2016

Thursday 31st March

Migrants continue to trickle through with six Wheatear on site and a couple of Siskin overhead. Elsewhere the two Slavonian Grebe and a Greenshank were in the estuary and 20 Great-crested Grebe, 11 Common Scoter and nine Sandwich Tern were offshore.

Wheatear - David Boult

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Wednesday 30th March

Migrants included at least four Wheatear on site along with four Chiffchaff and a fly through Swallow. Elsewhere a Firecrest was in the Entrance Bushes, a Great Northern Diver was offshore and in the estuary there were two Slavonian Grebe, 23+ Sandwich Tern, a Greenshank and a Black-tailed Godwit, the latter a different bird to yesterday.

Wildlife News: The Common Seal was again in the estuary.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Tuesday 29th March

Inward migration remains stalled with a couple of Wheatear the first on site for several days. At least 24 Sandwich Tern signalled another arrival and single Black-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover were also new in but most waders seem to have departed with no Dunlin, Sanderling or Grey Plover over high tide. Also in the estuary the Pale-bellied Brent Goose was with 20 Dark-bellied Brent and a Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood.

Black-tailed Godwit - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: The sunshine this morning encouraged both Sand Lizard and Sand Crocus to show.

Monday 28 March 2016

Monday 28th March

A female Marsh Harrier low west over the Bight before heading off inland was the highlight with the earliest ever Little Ringed Plover, also over the Bight, a close second. Despite the weather it was quiet offshore with a half an hour watch early morning producing a Little Gull amongst 50+ distant Kittiwake but only four Gannet and no Fulmar. In the estuary two Slavonian Grebe were in Shutterton Creek, a Pale-bellied Brent was with the remaining 47 Dark-bellied Brent, just five Sanderling, two Grey Plover and a Dunlin joined the 350 Oystercatcher over high tide and at least 11 Sandwich Tern were present. Elsewhere a Kestrel and a single Swallow flew in off the sea, three Chiffchaff were around the Main Pond and a Great Northern Diver was off John's Watch.

Skylark - Lee Collins

Sunday 27 March 2016

Sunday 27th March

A smart summer-plumaged Scandinavian Rock Pipit on the beach mid morning was the highlight, with two Great Northern Diver on the sea off John's Watch and the seawall the only other new arrivals on an otherwise quiet day. Elsewhere the Firecrest was in Dead Dolphin Wood, 11 Sandwich Tern were around the estuary and wader counts included 420 Oystercatcher, 60 Turnstone, 13 Grey Plover, seven Sanderling and just two Dunlin.

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus attempted to flower in between showers but none of the sunny spells where long enough to coax full emergence.

Saturday 26 March 2016

Saturday 26th March

The first 16 Manx Shearwater of the year flew south after the rain late afternoon with three Sandwich Tern, 45+ Great and eight Lesser Black-backed Gull sheltering in the estuary. Earlier in the day few waders were around the high tide with just 23 Dunlin, 13 Grey Plover, six Sanderling, three Ringed Plover, two Greenshank and single Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot.  Elsewhere a Wheatear was in Greenland Lake, a Sand Martin flew through and a Cirl Bunting was singing resolutely from an area of recently cleared scrub on the Golf Course.

Sandwich Tern - Lee Collins. The ringing details are awaited on this first March recovery from the Warren

Friday 25 March 2016

Friday 25th March

The weather wasn't the only sign of Spring as the first Swallow of the year flew through along with an early House Martin and a couple of Siskin, grounded migrants included five Wheatear and three Chiffchaff. Counts from the estuary showed outgoing migrants were also on the move with just 53 Brent Geese, 40+ Dunlin, 14 Grey Plover, 13 Sanderling, seven Bar-tailed Godwit and five Knot.  Elsewhere an adult summer Mediterranean Gull flew over the spit, a first summer Little Gull was offshore and the Firecrest was singing in Dead Dolphin Wood.

Wheatear - Alan Keatley
Wildlife News: The sunny weather brought out the Sand Crocus with 40 flowering in Greenland Lake and a similar number in the translocated population in the Crocus compound. The same warm conditions brought out Sand and Common Lizard and the first Comma and Small Tortoiseshell were on the wing along with Peacock and Speckled Wood. In the estuary the Harbour Seal had another near-death experience - this time jet skis were the culprit.

 Sand Crocus - both Dave Jewell

Thursday 24 March 2016

Thursday 24th March

Increasing signs of Spring with the first, long overdue, migrant Sandwich Tern of the year, at least five Wheatear around Greenland Lake and the Bight and six Sand Martin in off the sea during the morning. Elsewhere two Red-throated Diver and 24 Great-crested Grebe were offshore, a Kingfisher and two Greenshank were in Shutterton Creek and counts from the estuary included c200 Dunlin, 181 Curlew, 23 Grey Plover, 10 Knot, just three Black-headed Gull and a second summer Mediterranean Gull.

Knot - Dave Jewell

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Wednesday 23rd March

Counts from the morning high tide included 419 Oystercatcher, 200+ Dunlin, 192 Curlew, 147 Brent Geese, 66 Redshank, 26 Grey Plover, 19 Bar-tailed Godwit and six Knot. Elsewhere two Wheatear were in Greenland Lake but migration was otherwise noticeable by its absence.

Wildlife News: Sand Crocus is still in flower during sunny periods but most of them are still to emerge.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Tuesday 22nd March

A single Wheatear around the Go-Karts was the only sign of spring migration in a post work visit. Elsewhere 20 Red-breasted Merganser roosted offshore with 18 Great-crested Grebe and three Common Scoter, c160 Brent Geese were in the estuary and two Cirl Bunting were in good voice.

Monday 21 March 2016

Monday 21st March

A quiet morning visit saw 24 Chaffinch and a Grey Wagtail overhead, just a single migrant Chiffchaff in the bushes, two Cirl Bunting holding territory and 121 Brent Geese on the Golf Course.

Wildlife News: A Speckled Wood on the wing was the earliest ever site record. Image here

Sunday 20 March 2016

Sunday 20th March

The first two long-awaited Wheatear of the year were on the Golf Course mid morning, the latest arrival since 2007. Other migrants were limited to late news of a Black Redstart somewhere on site some when last week (via Visitor Centre noticeboard) and a summer-plumaged Scandinavian Rock Pipit in the Bight. The evening tide was high enough for a wader roost at the Warren with counts of c950 Dunlin, 457 Oystercatcher, 227 Curlew, 26 Grey and 10 Ringed Plover, 34 Turnstone, 22 Sanderling, 19 Knot and 18 Bar-tailed Godwit. Also in the estuary the Bonaparte's Gull, 205 Brent Geese and two Greenshank with two Red-throated Diver and 16 Great-crested Grebe offshore. Elsewhere a Firecrest and two Treecreeper were by the Main Pond.

Wildlife News: The Harbour Seal was offshore at low tide and in the estuary over high tide, where it narrowly avoided being run down by a speeding boat.

Saturday 19 March 2016

Saturday 19th March

The highlight was a first winter Iceland Gull at Maer Rocks, Exmouth and then on offshore sandbars early morning before heading into the estuary (pics here). Other signs of migration included a brief summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe off the seawall, single Redpoll and Kestrel heading NE and late in the day a Sand Martin over the Main Pond.  Sightings offshore included 64 Common Scoter, 17 Great-crested Grebe and 16 Wigeon with 146 Brent Geese spread around the site at low tide. Other records included the reappearance of the adult Bonaparte's Gull, feeding in the estuary for the first time in a fortnight, a Firecrest in Dead Dolphin Wood and the Treecreeper in the Entrance Bushes.

Wildlife News: No sign of any Sand Crocus in flower in the overcast conditions.

Friday 18 March 2016

Friday 18th March

The chilly north-easterly breeze kept migration in check and the neap tide meant the estuary was also quiet with no Dunlin, Knot or Grey Plover present. Counts included 190 Brent Geese, 51 Turnstone, 40+ Teal and 15 Shelduck. Elsewhere a Firecrest and two Chiffchaff were by the Main Pond with 23+ Chaffinch and three Rook overhead.

Thursday 17 March 2016

Thursday 17th March

Still no sign of any summer migrants but lingering wintering birds remain with c100 Brent Geese on the Golf Course and in the Entrance Bushes a Firecrest, a Coal Tit and a Treecreeper. Elsewhere 31 Shelduck, six Teal and two Greenshank were in the estuary at low tide.

Wildlife News: The Harbour Seal was on Bull Hill.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Tuesday 15th March

On a low high tide few waders made it to the Warren, remaining on sandbars elsewhere in the estuary. Once again migrants were in short supply but a handful of Meadow Pipit were overhead and resident species included the Cirl Bunting holding territory in the scrub behind the hide.

 Sanderling - Dave Jewell

Stonechat - Dave Jewell
Wildlife News: The first Sand Crocus of the year was in flower today, the second earliest emergence on record.

Monday 14 March 2016

Monday 14th March

Records from the hide included a third Polish ringed Dunlin amongst at least 800 others, 550+ Oystercatcher, 23 Sanderling and 10 Ringed Plover. Elsewhere there were no migrants on site or offshore but potential breeding birds included a Cirl Bunting along the Dune Ridge, Collared Dove in the Entrance Bushes and around the Main Pond a Goldcrest, at least three Little Grebe and a Water Rail which showed briefly quickly crossing the open water. 

Wildlife News: Both the Grey and Harbour Seal were present but hauled out in slightly different locations, the Grey was on the floating mussel barge and the Harbour was on the northern beach on Warren Point.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Sunday 13th March

A Yellowhammer that flew west over the hide was the first of the year and only second ever March record, a Green Woodpecker in the Entrance Bushes was also new for the year. Counts from the estuary included 572 Dunlin, 551 Oystercatcher, 107 Grey Plover, 45 Brent Geese, 35 Redshank, eight Sanderling, five Snipe and a Greenshank. Elsewhere four Shoveler were off the seawall and four Meadow Pipit, two Rook and a Jackdaw were overhead.

Brent Goose - Dave Jewell

Dunlin - Dave Jewell
Wildlife News: The first butterfly of the year was reported - a Peacock.

Saturday 12 March 2016

Saturday 12th March

Still no sign of any Wheatear but migrants included single Goldcrest along the Dune Ridge, a couple of new Reed Bunting and 46 Common Scoter offshore.  Counts from the estuary included 595 Dunlin, 347 Oystercatcher, 163 Curlew, 110 Grey Plover, 28 Knot, two Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 39 Great-crested Grebe were offshore, two Chiffchaff, two Siskin and a Treecreeper were in the bushes.

Wildlife News: The Common Seal was on Bull Hill late morning.

Friday 11 March 2016

Friday 11th March

Counts from the estuary included 680+ Dunlin, including at least one of the Polish ringed birds, 114 Grey Plover, 48 Knot, 28 Bar-tailed Godwit and seven Ringed Plover.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Thursday 10th March

Little change on site today with 251 Brent Geese, 139 Curlew, 100 Grey Plover, 79 Redshank, 48 Knot, 35 Shelduck, 26 Turnstone, 20 Teal, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, eight Wigeon and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary. Elsewhere a Snipe was overhead and two migrant Chiffchaff frequented the Main Pond.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Tuesday 8th March

The estuary held 520 Dunlin, 234 Brent Geese, 102 Grey Plover, 47 Curlew, 32 Teal, 28 Shelduck and 19 Turnstone with 420 Oystercatcher on Finger Point. Elsewhere a Cirl Bunting was singing on the Golf Course, a Firecrest was a colourful addition to the brambles in Greenland Lake with 25 Great-crested Grebe and two Common Scoter the only birds of note offshore.

Monday 7 March 2016

Monday 7th March

The only news received came from a quick look off Cockwood at low tide. There was no sign of any Slavonian Grebe but 30 Shelduck and the Black-tailed Godwit were on the mudflats.

Wildlife News: Late news for yesterday both the Harbour (Common) Seal and Grey Seal were hauled out on Bull Hill mid morning.

Grey (left) & Harbour Seal - Dave Smallshire
 Grey Seal - Dave Smallshire

Sunday 6 March 2016

Sunday 6th March

A combination of a higher tide and a kite-surfer disturbing birds at Exmouth saw an increase in wader numbers with counts of 649 Oystercatcher, 489 Dunlin, 89 Bar-tailed Godwit, 66 Grey Plover, 48 Knot, 15 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover and a Black-tailed Godwit. Also in the estuary 183 Brent Geese, 12 Teal, four Wigeon and a Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 44 Great-crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver were offshore, a Treecreeper was in the Entrance Bushes and a hint of Spring was provided by the first migrant Chiffchaff feeding in the reeds at the Main Pond and five Meadow Pipit in off the sea heading north.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Saturday 5th March

Early March and no sign of any early migrants in the cold north wind, in fact there was little sign of Spring except a pair of Long-tailed Tit pair busy nest building by the First Pond and a drop off of small gull numbers compared with 10 days ago  - 250 Black headed Gull down to just 25 today. Also in the estuary an increase to 261 Curlew, 108 Brent Geese, 28 Shelduck, two Greenshank and the two Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 21 Great-crested Grebe and four Common Scoter were offshore, a Shoveler was on the Main Pond and two Siskin, a Coal Tit and a Treecreeper were in the Entrance Bushes.

Friday 4 March 2016

Friday 4th March

No news was received for today.

Ringing News: Details on a second white darvic ringed Dunlin seen at the end of February have revealed it was ringed on the 28 July 2015 at Swibno on the River Vistula, Poland. This is the first sighting since then, though it may have first been seen on the Warren on 31 Oct 2015 but then it was too far away to gain a positive read. The map below show the ringing location but details the first recovery from this scheme.

This Dunlin is also still present, here for a second winter, more details on this bird can be found at

Thursday 3 March 2016

Thursday 3rd March

The Bonaparte's Gull was reported again today but negative news was also received so presumably it remained mobile. Other records included two Slavonian Grebe in the estuary with 300+ Brent Geese, 60 Turnstone, 22 Red-breasted Merganser, a high count for this winter (numbers used to peak over 100), 20 Sanderling and a Kingfisher. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver and 12 Great-crested Grebe were offshore.

Wildlife News: Still no reports of any early butterflies but a Grey Seal was hauled out on Bull Hill.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Tuesday 1st March

The only news received was of the two long staying regulars; the Bonaparte's Gull and Slavonian Grebe both in the estuary this afternoon.