Saturday 30 April 2016

Saturday 30th April

At least one Roseate Tern remained off John's Watch  with 39 Sandwich, three Common and a Little Tern. Counts from the estuary included 240 Dunlin, 76 Ringed Plover, 36 Whimbrel, 13 Sanderling and a Greenshank. Elsewhere the Short-eared Owl was again on Warren Point and migrants were limited to five Wheatear, a Meadow Pipit, four Willow and a single Sedge Warbler.

Little Grebe - Alan Keatley

Friday 29 April 2016

Friday 29th April

The first two Roseate Tern of the year were offshore early morning with 15 Little Tern, the largest count since 1998, later on along with 49+ Sandwich and two Common Tern. In the estuary wader numbers increased with 107 Dunlin, 59 Ringed Plover, 28+ Whimbrel, 23 Sanderling, 15 Turnstone and two Bar-tailed Godwit over the high tide. Elsewhere the first Sedge Warbler of the year was singing in the Dune Pond, three Wheatear and a Willow Warbler were on site and a single Swift was overhead.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Thursday 28th April

An arrival of migrants included a late Short-eared Owl on Warren Point and at least 14 Wheatear on site. Counts over high tide included c100 Dunlin, 25+ Whimbrel, seven Ringed Plover, six Bar-tailed Godwit and three Redshank. Off site at least 106 Pale and three Dark-bellied Brent Geese were on Cockle Sands, Exmouth.  Elsewhere 30+ Manx Shearwater and 21 Sandwich Tern were offshore in a quick evening scan.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Wednesday 27th April

The only news came from a quick evening visit, 12 Whimbrel were on the beach and in the bushes the two Treecreeper were still present with five Chiffchaff, two Blackcap and singles of Willow and Reed Warbler trying to survive the unseasonal weather.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Tuesday 26th April

A female Black Redstart along the seawall by Langstone Rock was a surprise on a day of virtually no other migrants. Elsewhere 20 Whimbrel, 14 Turnstone, seven Sanderling, six Dunlin, four Ringed Plover and two Bar-tailed Godwit were in the estuary and four Great-crested Grebe were offshore.

Monday 25 April 2016

Monday 25th April

No repeat of the excitement of the last couple of days with just 21 Dunlin and 11 Sanderling over the high tide and a Great Northern Diver offshore.
Ringing News: A Whimbrel (yellow D63) was one of 30+ birds seen on 18th April. It was ringed last year on 18th May 2015 at Llansantffraed, Ceredigion, Wales. See here for more information on this Welsh project.

As with many spring Whimbrel it was thought to have continued migration north so it was surprise when it returned to the Warren on the 23rd & 24th April. It is presumed the recent spell of North-westerlies helped postpone the onward journey to Iceland. More information on Whimbrel migration can be found here on the Wader Tales website.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Sunday 24th April

A Hoopoe along the Back Path late morning was the all too brief highlight, other migrants remain in short supply with eight Wheatear also new in. Overhead two Yellow Wagtail flew over with a couple of Siskin, 12 Swallow, eight Sand and three House Martin. In the estuary counts over the evening high tide included 130 Dunlin, 76 Whimbrel, 12 Sanderling, four Common Sandpiper and three Redshank. Elsewhere three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were offshore early morning and 37 Sandwich and a Common Tern were off John's Watch.

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus remains in flower but in diminishing numbers. The first Small Copper of the year were on the wing with Speckled Wood and Green-veined White and in Greenland Lake the squash bug Syromastus rhombeus Rhombic Leatherbug was another new species for the Recording Area.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Saturday 23rd April

An unexpected highlight was the Recording Area's 3rd Willow Tit, coming exactly nine years to the day since the last record. It was first seen in Tamarisks at John's Watch before heading to Warren Point and was relocated late afternoon around Dead Dolphin Wood/Main Pond and was still present at dusk but remained mobile.

Willow Tit - Luke Harman
Other migrants included the year's first Grasshopper Warbler in Soft Sand Bay, six Wheatear, three Willow Warbler and overhead two Yellow Wagtail, 65 House Martin, 41 Swallow, 24 Goldfinch, two Sand Martin and two Siskin. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 76 Whimbrel, 39 Dunlin, seven Redshank, three Sanderling, two Knot and two Grey Plover. Offshore 40+ Manx Shearwater flew south early evening and a Little Tern was present early morning with 45 Sandwich and eight Common Tern.

Wildlife News: The first Green-veined White of the year was on the wing and a migrant Rush Veneer was in Greenland Lake.

 Green-veined White - Alan Keatley

Rush Veneer - Alan Keatley

Friday 22 April 2016

Friday 22nd April

A single Willow Warbler was the only potential passerine migrant early morning, but wader passage was more obvious and varied. Counts from the estuary included 52+ Whimbrel, 35 Dunlin, 19 Turnstone, two Bar-tailed Godwit, two Grey Plover and two Knot, with 11 Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank flying in off and the first three Common Sandpiper of the year on the seawall. Elsewhere a Little Tern was offshore in the evening, a single Swift flew through and a drake Gadwall was on the mudflats.  

Thursday 21 April 2016

Thursday 21st April

The sixth site record of Stone-curlew was found on Warren Point in the Desert early morning but remained elusive and was last seen just after midday. Another highlight was the year's first Red Kite low over Greenland Lake at 9.30am. Other migrants included six Willow Warbler and two Wheatear with 20+ Swallow, 14 House Martin and three Swift overhead. Counts over high tide included 66 Whimbrel, 28 Sandwich Tern, 26 Dunlin, three Bar-tailed Godwit, three Sanderling, two Ringed Plover and a Common Tern.

Stone-curlew - Luke Harman

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Wednesday 20th April

A decent fall of migrants overnight included a female Redstart, the first of the year, reported in the Entrances Bushes, also there a single Firecrest and several of the 17+ Willow Warbler on site. Other migrants included seven Wheatear, seven Blackcap, a Reed Warbler and overhead the first Swift of the year, two House Martin and a Siskin. Elsewhere 19 Whimbrel and two Bar-tailed Godwit were in the Bight with 13 Turnstone and just two Ringed Plover and a Dunlin

Wildlife News: Several Pipistrelle bats and a Myotis bat sp were hunting around the Main Pond and Dead Dolphin Wood this evening.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Tuesday 19th April

Five Whitethroat, two Reed Warbler and two Wheatear early morning showed some signs of migration but  the bushes remained largely quiet. Counts from the estuary included 45 Dunlin, 17 Turnstone, 10 Ringed Plover and six Whimbrel. Elsewhere 94 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were offshore along with 60 Sandwich and two Common Tern and one of the Little Grebe pairs was actively feeding a single chick on the Main Pond.

Monday 18 April 2016

Monday 18th April

The first Reed Warbler of the year was at the Main Pond but other passerine migrants were again in short supply. The first fledgling of the year was by the First Pond, a Song Thrush. Elsewhere 30+ Whimbrel were in the estuary, a Great Northern Diver was offshore and c30 Sandwich Tern were on site with a similar number off Mudbank Lane, Exmouth, along with two Pale-bellied Brent Geese.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Sunday 17th April

A Firecrest in Dead Dolphin Wood was the pick of the few migrants with five Wheatear, three Whitethroat and two Willow Warbler also on site. Overhead there was a slow passage of 30+ Goldfinch through the day with two Siskin and small numbers of hirundines. Elsewhere 123 Whimbrel flew north during the morning in small groups, 14 Ringed Plover, four Dunlin and a Sanderling were in the Bight and c25 Sandwich and a Common Tern were offshore.

Cirl Bunting - Dave Jewell

Saturday 16 April 2016

Saturday 16th April

Few highlights to report on a day when the north-westerly winds cancelled out any warmth during the occasional sunny periods. At least 37 Whimbrel flew in off the sea during the day along with three Bar-tailed Godwit, two Canada Geese, a Buzzard and a first summer Mediterranean Gull. Also offshore 19 Sandwich and three Common Tern. Elsewhere four Sanderling and a Dunlin were on the beach, at least five Wheatear were on site and 11 Swallow, six House and three Sand Martin flew through.

 Chiffchaff - Alan Keatley
Whimbrel (and a Bar-tailed Godwit) - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore.

Friday 15 April 2016

Friday 15th April

Once again a combination if overnight rain and southerly winds failed to produce any noticeable fall of passerine migrants this morning with a single Goldcrest the only obvious new arrival, but two Whitethroat and two Willow Warbler were singing in the rain. Wader numbers did however increase with 22 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin and three Whimbrel in the estuary. Elsewhere an Osprey was reported early afternoon, two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were off Cockwood, single Swallow and House Martin flew over and the first Little Tern of the year was offshore with c15 Sandwich Tern

Thursday 14 April 2016

Thursday 14th April

Despite seemingly ideal conditions migrants were in short supply with three Blackcap, two Willow Warbler, two Whitethroat and a Wheatear on site and eight Swallow through. At least eight Chiffchaff were also present including a bird collecting nesting material near the First Pond. Elsewhere just four Turnstone, three Dunlin and three Ringed Plover were in the Bight on the rising tide, a late Snipe was still at the Main Pond and 21 Whimbrel flew in off mid-morning, before heading up estuary.

Wildlife News: In the warm conditions a Sand Lizard was on the Dune Ridge and lots of Sand Crocus were in flower.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Wednesday 13th April

A quick look early morning showed just single Blackcap and Whitethroat on site with singles of Kestrel, Rook, Swallow and Sand Martin overhead.

Turnstone - Dave Boult
Wildlife News: The eventual sunny conditions brought out good numbers of Sand Crocus across the site.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Tuesday 12th April

Migration was ongoing but more birds left than arrived with just two Willow Warbler but three Whitethroat and some of the nine Chiffchaff were new in. Overhead the first Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail flew through with three Chaffinch and single Rook and Siskin. Elsewhere six Whimbrel, three Sanderling, two Grey Plover, a Knot, a Dunlin, c20 Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary, a Short-eared Owl flew in from Starcross and landed on Warren Point and an Osprey was fishing in the Bight around 11.45 and caught a small fish before briefly perching on a post in front of the hide and then heading upriver.

 Sanderling- Dave Boult

 Oystercatcher - Dave Boult

Wheatear - Dave Boult

Monday 11 April 2016

Monday 11th April

A male Pied Flycatcher around Dead Dolphin Wood and the Main Pond was the highlight, with other migrants including the earliest ever Lesser Whitethroat, the first Whitethroat of the year, 12 Willow Warbler, three Wheatear and two Blackcap. In the estuary there was no sign of the Kentish Plover with just five Dunlin, four Ringed and three Grey Plover present along with the Slavonian Grebe, 20+ Sandwich and two Common Tern. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore, a Whimbrel flew over and a Moorhen chick was on the First Pond.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Sunday 10th April

A storm force ESE that persisted all day with spring tides whipped up a sandstorm, removed areas of beach and made for exceptionally difficult birding conditions, but the indelible memory of today will be the site's 100th Kentish PloverIt was present all day until dusk though did hide for 3 hours. 

Despite all this, most waders again roosted on Warren Point with 205 Oystercatcher, 40+ Curlew, five Whimbrel, three Ringed Plover, two Dunlin and a Grey Plover.  

The estuary became a refuge with a total of 78 Pale-bellied Brent Goose as flocks in off through the morning, also 37 Sandwich Tern, 3 Arctic Tern and a Common Tern. Seabird passage was very light with barely double figures of the regular species, highlights were a sub-adult Pomarine Skua early morning, also a dozen Manx Shearwater, two diver sp and a Great Skua.

Hobby reported over the Visitor Centre would be the earliest ever record, beating one from 1953 by over a week. A Peregrine stood in The Bight at dusk sported a green colour-ring and a metal ring; details are being sought.

Kentish Plover - Lee Collins

Kentish Plover - Dave Jewell

Saturday 9 April 2016

Saturday 9th April

On the biggest tide of the year 190 Oystercatcher and 82 Curlew were roosting on Warren Point, with other wader counts limited to 76 Turnstone, 28 Redshank, two Sanderling, two Whimbrel and single Greenshank, Grey and Ringed Plover. Also in the estuary 10 Sandwich Tern, the Slavonian Grebe and three Tufted Duck (mmf), the first if the year. Elsewhere 10 Willow Warbler, three Blackcap and two Wheatear were welcome migrants with five Swallow overhead and a Great Northern Diver offshore.

Friday 8 April 2016

Friday 8th April

Migration seems to have come to a halt with no Willow Warbler or Wheatear today and just two Swallow flying through, a flock of 60 Black-tailed Godwit were new arrivals but had probably only travelled from the top end of the estuary.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Wednesday 6th April

On the dropping morning high tide, the Bonaparte's Gull reappeared, feeding over shallows in the estuary with five Sandwich Tern. An immature Iceland Gull offshore early morning may also have been a returning bird. Also, 429 Oystercatcher, 54 Curlew, 48 Turnstone, six Dark-bellied Brent Goose, three Bar-tailed Godwit, two Grey Plover, single Black-tailed Godwit and Sanderling.  Single Sand Martin and Swallow flew through. The only obvious migrants in the bushes early morning were five Chiffchaff and a single Willow Warbler but seven Willow Warbler were around the Main Pond at dusk.  The presence of several nests including Little Grebe and two Long-tailed Tit indicate some resident birds are well underway with the breeding season.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Tuesday 5th April

The Short-eared Owl was again on the Golf Course early morning, then on Warren Point just after midday and presumably the same one in off the sea at John's Watch half an hour later. Elsewhere migration picked up slightly with at least nine Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler, three Blackcap and two Wheatear on site and singles of Rook, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Coal Tit ssp. and three Chaffinch overhead. Two Treecreeper remained in the bushes.

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus was out in numbers today in the good weather and a Common Seal hauled up on Bull Hill also enjoyed the sunshine.

Monday 4 April 2016

Monday 4th April

No sign of the Mandarin today with the migrant highlight instead being the second Short-eared Owl of the week over Warren Point mid-afternoon before heading high south and it or another over the Golf Course in the evening. Other migrants were limited to eight Chiffchaff and four Willow Warbler, the latter arriving during the day as there were none present early morning. Elsewhere 49 Turnstone, four Sandwich Tern, two Whimbrel and the Slavonian Grebe. were in the estuary with 21 Common Scoter and a Manx Shearwater offshore.

Wildlife News: Two new moth species for the Recording Area have been found recently, both micros - Schreckensteinia festaliella along the Dune Ridge and Psychoides verhuella in the Entrance Bushes.

Sunday 3 April 2016

Sunday 3rd April

An overcast day with a southerly wind saw a small but varied arrival of migrants, the highlight of which was a drake Mandarin on the Main Pond, only the recording area's 7th record. Also new for the year a Blackcap in the Entrance Bushes, at least one Osprey that toured the southern end of the Exe and two Common Tern with 50+ Sandwich Tern over the evening high tide.

Mandarin - Matt Laing

Counts from the estuary included 193 Oystercatcher, 54 Turnstone, 17 Pale-bellied Brent, 13 of which flew off south late morning, 15 Dark-bellied Brent, five Dunlin, five Grey and four Ringed Plover, two Greenshank, two Sanderling, the Slavonian Grebe and the first two migrant Whimbrel of the year. Elsewhere four Willow Warbler, two Swallow and a Wheatear were on site and just three Great-crested Grebe were offshore.

Skylark - Greg Bradbury

Saturday 2 April 2016

Saturday 2nd April

The highlight was the first Short-eared Owl of the year on Warren Point mid afternoon before eventually gaining height and heading south mobbed by crows, also on the point two Wheatear. Elsewhere three Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary with 25+ Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe whilst offshore there were 33 Common Scoter, 11 Fulmar and a Red-throated Diver.

Wildlife News: Both Sand Crocus and Sand Lizard were on show in the sunny weather.

Friday 1 April 2016

Friday 1st April

No hidden surprises today but the first Willow Warbler of the year eventually put in an appearance around the Main Pond with five Sand Martin the only other migrants. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver, 16 Great-crested Grebe and eight Sandwich Tern were offshore.

Stonechat - Greg Bradbury