Thursday 31 May 2018

Thursday 31st May

The highlight was a smart adult Rose-coloured Starling, the ninth site but first Spring record. The bird was mobile around site but settled down in bushes behind the hide late afternoon and evening. It appeared to roost with c25 Starling in the Golf Course Pond. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 164 Dunlin, 30 Sanderling, 30 Ringed Plover, 23 Curlew, 10 Whimbrel and a Knot.

Rose-coloured Starling - Simon Thurgood

Wildlife News: A Wall Brown along the Dune Ridge was a welcome record, with the first Meadow Brown also on the wing. Also flying the first Giant Pied Hoverfly (Volucella pelluscens) of the year and large numbers of Silver Y and Diamondback Moth.

 Giant Pied Hoverfly (Volucella pelluscens) - Alan Keatley

Silver Y - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Wednesday 30th May

A wet and misty day with conditions lasting into the evening when visit over the high tide was rewarded by the first sizeable wader passage of the Spring, many of them in full breeding plumage. Minimum counts around the Bight included 135 Dunlin, 102 Sanderling, 23 Ringed Plover, 11 Whimbrel, six Grey Plover, four Knot, three Turnstone and three Bar-tailed Godwit, in addition at least 50 other small waders headed north in small flocks. Other records were limited to just a single Sandwich Tern and the first fledged Pied Wagtail of the year.

Wildlife News: Half a dozen Diamondback Moth were seen this evening, the first of the year but in smaller numbers compared to other locations.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Tuesday 29th May

Counts over the evening high tide were limited to 23 Curlew, eight Whimbrel, five Bar-tailed Godwit, four Grey Plover, three Sanderling, two Dunlin and a Ringed Plover.

Monday 28 May 2018

Monday 28th May

A hot summer's day once the cold morning fog burnt off. Counts from the estuary included just 29 Dunlin, 17 Sanderling, 13 Ringed Plover, eight Whimbrel, three Knot and three Bar-tailed Godwit; one of the godwit was colour-ringed showing some continuing turnover.

Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver circled the bay at height and fresh migrants included two new Reed Warbler, including one the Buffer Zone, with single Chiffchaff and Blackcap in new areas.

Wildlife News: A Green Hairstreak near the Crocus Compound was the highlight, the first record of this elusive resident for a number of years. At least eight other butterfly species were on the wing including Brown Argus and Red Admiral. An Emperor over the Main Pond was the first true dragonfly of the year.    

Green Hairstreak

Sunday 27 May 2018

Sunday 27th May

The weather promised much but failed to deliver with an almost total lack of new arrivals. Wader counts over high tide included 91 Dunlin, 40 Sanderling, 27 Ringed Plover, 25 Black and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Curlew, three Whimbrel, three Turnstone, two Knot and two Grey Plover; with the Slavonian Grebe, four Sandwich and a Common Tern also in the estuary.

Wildlife News: Increasing numbers of Marmalade Hoverfly were on site today, a sign of continuing immigration.

Saturday 26 May 2018

Saturday 26th May

The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year pitched into the Cuckoo's Nest briefly before continuing northwards. Also on the move 42 House Martin, 39 Swift, 14 Swallow and a Sand Martin, the first two were worryingly the highest counts so far this Spring.

The thundery weather also dropped in some waders, most notably a flock of 54 Black-tailed Godwit, other counts included 328 Oystercatcher, 81 Sanderling, 61 Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover, seven Whimbrel, seven Bar-tailed Godwit and two Grey Plover. Elsewhere a single Little Tern was offshore with 10 Sandwich and three Common Tern, 10 Common Scoter and the two Eider.

Sedge Warbler - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: Despite the overcast conditions several hoverflies were on the wing including the migrants Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and Eupeodes luniger; Fluffy Dronefly Eristalis intricaria, Bumblebee Hoverfly Volucella bombylans, Baccha elongata and new for the Recording Area Epistrophe eligans.

Fluffy Dronefly Eristalis intricaria - Alan Keatley

Furry-claspered Furrow-bee Lasioglossum lativentre - Alan Keatley


Friday 25 May 2018

Friday 25th May

A Little Ringed Plover that flew over early morning was an unexpected highlight, other migrant waders included 86 Dunlin, 27 Ringed Plover, five Bar-tailed Godwit, three Knot and just two Sanderling. Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe and six Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere the two Eider were offshore with a Common Tern and 10 Great-crested Grebe, the Sedge Warbler remains at the Golf Course pond and new fledgers included Great Tit and Magpie.

Wildlife News: Southern Marsh Orchid is now coming into flower across Greenland Lake with many of them having missed the recent mowing, large swathes of Meadowsweet, Cuckoo Flower and other species were not so fortunate. A single Red Admiral was perhaps a fresh migrant.

Southern Marsh Orchid - Simon Thurgood

Thursday 24 May 2018

Thursday 24th May

Offshore a flock of 24 Common Scoter, eight Great-crested Grebe and two Eider were present this evening with 20+ Manx Shearwater milling about in the bay. Elsewhere six Sanderling were on the beach and five Ringed Plover and a Dunlin were in the estuary at low tide.

Wildlife News: Despite the overcast conditions insects were out in force with the first Hummingbird Hawkmoth and Cinnabar of the year with a couple of Buff-tip and a Pebble Hooktip also on the wing. In the Buffer Zone several Grey-patched Mining Bee Andrena nitida were noted, another new species for the Recording Area.

 Buff-tip - Alan Keatley
 Pebble Hooktip - Alan Keatley

Grey-patched Mining Bee (Andrena nitida) - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Tuesday 22nd May

A single Wheatear and a couple of House Martin revealed some continuing passage, but the arrival of a pair of Shoveler on the Main Pond was a better indicator of the season. These are presumably failed breeders from an unknown site nearby.  Elsewhere the summer plumaged resident Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood, and seven Great-crested Grebe and the two Eider were offshore.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Sunday 20th May

Coastal fog didn't lift until mid morning but revealed little change on site. The summer plumaged Knot remained in the estuary along with 10 Sanderling, seven Dunlin, two Grey and a Ringed Plover, a Turnstone and a Bar-tailed Godwit, whilst offshore there were two Eider and five Sandwich Tern. Overhead 22 Swallow, five Swift and three House Martin showed some continuing movement.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Saturday 19th May

A Greenshank was the pick of the waders over the high tide with other counts including 33 Dunlin, 16 Sanderling, !0 Ringed Plover, four Whimbrel, three Grey Plover and the summer plumaged Knot. Elsewhere a lone Wheatear was on site and the two Eider remain offshore with a single Great Northern Diver.

Stonechat - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The first Brown Argus and Common Blue of the year were on the wing and a Silver Y was in the Back Meadow.

 Common Blue - Alan Keatley
Xanthogramma pedissequum (a hoverfly) - Alan Keatley

Friday 18 May 2018

Friday 18th May

A splash of colour was added to proceedings today with the arrival of a summer plumaged Knot on Finger Point over high tide. Also present two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 33 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, eight Ringed and three Grey Plover. Offshore two Eider, 10 Common Scoter and seven Great-crested Grebe.

 Dunnock - Simon Thurgood

Whitethroat - Simon Thurgood
Wildlife News: Good numbers of the introduced Sand Lizard are to be found on the original sections of the Dune Ridge.

Sand Lizard - Simon Thurgood

Thursday 17 May 2018

Thursday 17th May

A continuing midsummer feel to proceedings. A Little Tern was offshore with 10 Sandwich Tern and a single Fulmar. In the estuary wader numbers were down with 190 Oystercatcher, 12 Dunlin, 12 Sanderling, nine Curlew, five Ringed and two Grey Plover, a Turnstone and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

 Skylark - Dave Jewell

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Wednesday 16th May

Seawatching first thing was relatively quiet with three Great Northern Diver south along with 16 Kittiwake, five Manx Shearwater and two Common Tern. Also offshore the two moulting Eider and a summer plumaged Great Northern Diver.  Elsewhere a single Wheatear was on site and on the falling tide there were 42 Dunlin, 15 Sanderling, nine Ringed Plover, eight Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Grey Plover were feeding avidly in the Bight.

Wildlife News: A female Beautiful Demoiselle was near the Crocus compound early morning. There have been less than ten records of this species at the Warren and this was the first since 2010. Also on the wing the first Blue-tailed Damselfly of the year and increasing numbers of Azure Damselfly.

 Beautiful Demoiselle - Alan Keatley

 Blue-tailed Damselfly - Alan Keatley

Azure Damselfly - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Tuesday 15th May

A Scandinavian Rock Pipit around the shore of the Bight was a surprise migrant on another quiet morning. Also in the estuary 25 Dunlin, 12 Sanderling, five Whimbrel, three Bar-tailed Godwit, two Grey and two Ringed Plover.

Monday 14 May 2018

Monday 14th May

The highlight of an evening visit was the weather with little new in the way of birdlife. Offshore the two Eider were still present but Sandwich Tern were outnumbered by paragliders (7 to 6). Elsewhere 21 Dunlin, seven Whimbrel and six Sanderling were in the estuary and offsite a Red Kite over Powderham was the closest the record Devon influx got to the Warren.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore, a Fox caused consternation amongst the Oystercatcher on Finger Point and butterflies included further sightings of Holly Blue.

 Holly Blue - Simon Thurgood

Green-veined White - Simon Thurgood

Small Copper - Simon Thurgood

Sunday 13 May 2018

Sunday 13th May

The highlight was a total of 10 Red Kite over the recording area, two that drifted over from the Easdon Ridge before heading back west at 10am and a dispersed group of eight birds that came in from the east circled very high in a thermal and headed off WSW at 11.30am. Also passing overhead 78 Swallow, seven House Martin, four Swift and a Grey Heron.  

Other migrants were limited to a single Wheatear on Warren Point and new single Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. Elsewhere the two Eider, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore and counts from the estuary included 32 Whimbrel, 21 Dunlin, six Sanderling and a Ringed Plover.

Wildlife News: The first Small White and Azure Damselfly of the year were on the wing.

Saturday 12 May 2018

Saturday 12th May

Any thoughts of doing an early morning sea watch was thwarted by fog. The same weather affected the chance of any grounded migrants, leaving just a few passing hirundines overhead after the fog had lifted. A couple of Reed Warbler and Blackcap were probably new arrivals but Whitethroat numbers remained the same and the lone Sedge Warbler remained in good voice around the Golf Course pond. Overhead single Yellow Wagtail, Swift and Sand Martin and 33 Swallow, the second highest count this Spring!

Elsewhere a Little and three Common Tern were briefly offshore with two Eider, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver on the sea, whilst counts from the estuary were limited to 26 Dunlin, 16 Sanderling, 12 Whimbrel, a Turnstone and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore. Weather conditions were not ideal for insect viewing but good numbers of Sandpit Mining Bee Andrena barbilabris remain on the wing, a few longhorn moths Adela reaumurella were flying low down over Bramble and Celery Fly Euleia heraclei became the 500th Dipteran species for the Recording Area. 

 Sandpit Mining Bee (female) - Alan Keatley

 Sandpit Mining Bee (male) - Alan Keatley

 Adela reaumurella - Alan Keatley

Celery Fly (pair) - Alan Keatley

Friday 11 May 2018

Friday 11th May

A change in the weather brought a change in the birds. Seawatching during the morning was productive but contrary to sites further south the afternoon numbers were disappointing. Totals for the day included 495 Manx Shearwater, 260+ auks - all those close enough to identify were Guillemot, 131 Gannet, 85 Kittiwake and 13 Fulmar. Scarcer species included the first Black-throated Diver of the year, eight Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, an Arctic Tern, five Arctic and a Great Skua; on the sea a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver and an Eider.

Elsewhere migrants were again in short supply with just four Swallow through all day and counts from the estuary included 25+ Sandwich Tern, 13 Dunlin, 11 Whimbrel, seven Ringed Plover, five Sanderling and two Bar-tailed Godwit.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Thursday 10th May

Wildlife news: A Wall Brown was seen at the eastern end of Greenland Lake, a welcome first record of the year after a blank autumn in 2017.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Wednesday 9th May

A return to the more routine fare with, as expected, no sign of the Shrike but also no Cuckoo, or other migrants. Four Common Tern were offshore with at least 30 Sandwich Tern and counts from the estuary included 20 Whimbrel, 17 Dunlin and 10 Sanderling.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Tuesday 8th May

After an almost complete absence of migrants over the Bank holiday weekend the discovery of a stunning male Red-backed Shrike in bushes around the Cuckoo's Nest was unexpected to say the least. It later moved to Greenland Lake where it showed well all day. Only the third Warren record in the last 20 years and the first male since May 1989. Other news was limited but the rare didn't quite travel alone with a partial hepatic Cuckoo and a single Wheatear other overnight arrivals.

Red-backed Shrike - Lee Collins

Some video and further pictures can be found here, here & here.

Thanks goes to Steve Edwards (one of the reserve rangers) for finding the shrike and releasing the news quickly, allowing many people to enjoy this spectacular bird throughout the day.

Monday 7 May 2018

Monday 7th May

The weather remained hot and sunny and the birds were also reminiscent of mid summer. Two Wheatear on site and 12 Swallow through were the only new migrants, with a Sedge Warbler continuing to hold territory on the Golf course. This is the first to do so on site since 1992. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with counts on a low high tide of 17 Dunlin, 10 Sanderling, five Ringed Plover, two Whimbrel and two Turnstone.

Whitethroat - Alan Keatley
Wildlife News: Good numbers of insects were out in the conditions including several species of solitary bee, two of which were new for the recording area, Ashy Mining Bee Andrena cineraria & Gooden's Nomad Bee Nomada goodeniana. These put the site Hymenoptera list on 165, however both species are relatively widespread so this goes to show how much more there is to discover at the Warren.

Gooden's Nomad Bee - Alan Keatley

Sunday 6 May 2018

Sunday 6th May

A repeat of yesterday in terms of weather and birds. The Cuckoo was still present early morning only with a Sedge Warbler still holding territory at the Main Pond. Overhead two Yellow Wagtail, a Swift but just eight Swallow. The highlight was the first Tawny Owl of the year being harried by Blackbird and Carrion Crow in the Entrance Bushes.

Counts from the estuary included 33 Whimbrel, 22 Dunlin, five Bar-tailed Godwit, five Sanderling and two Ringed Plover whilst eight Sandwich and eight Common Tern were offshore.

 Greenfinch - Simon Thurgood

Whitethroat - Simon Thurgood

Wildlife News: The first Small Copper and Large White of the year were on the wing.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Saturday 5th May

A hot day with clear blue skies once the early morning fog lifted. A vocal Cuckoo was the pick of the day's migrants and perhaps the only new arrival with the Grasshopper and three Sedge Warbler on site presumed to be lingering from yesterday. Overhead there were two Yellow Wagtail with 20 Swallow, two Sand Martin and a late Chaffinch but no sign of any hoped for raptors.

The flat calm conditions offshore revealed three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver with just seven Sandwich Tern feeding along with four Common and a brief Little Tern. In the estuary a lone Pale-bellied Brent Goose dropped into the Bight and counts included c40 Dunlin, 30+ Whimbrel, five Sanderling, a late Redshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Ringing News: The Pale-bellied Brent Goose was ringed in at Seagrange Park, Dublin on 27/02/14 and was wintering at Harve de Regneville in northern France from 29/11/17 - 27/03/18 before also being recorded in the Channel Islands before turning up on the Warren.

Wildlife News: The sunshine saw good numbers of butterflies for the first time this year. The most frequent species was Green-veined White, but five Orange-tip was an encouraging sign. Other species included Peacock, Speckled Wood, a female Brimstone that flew east along the Dune Ridge, a scarce warren record and the first true migrant of the year a faded Painted Lady that was watching coming in off the sea and continuing northwards.

The Sand Crocus has finished flowering for another year but a second area of Mossy Stonecrop was found on site, between the shops and the seawall.

Friday 4 May 2018

Friday 4th May

A warm but overcast day that saw a small arrival of migrants overnight with a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in Dead Dolphin Wood the highlight, also two singing Sedge Warbler and four Wheatear on site. Offshore three Arctic Tern, two Eider, three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver.

 Wheatear - Alan Keatley
Elsewhere a Jay was on Langstone Rock, the immature male Kestrel continues to feast on the translocated Sand Lizards on Warren Point and counts from the estuary included 34 Dunlin, 20 Whimbrel, two Curlew and two Ringed Plover.

Kestrel - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The only remaining Green-winged Orchid on site is again in flower in Greenland Lake.

Green-winged Orchid - Alan Keatley

Thursday 3 May 2018

Thursday 3rd May

At least 10 Arctic and four Little Tern were lingering offshore this morning with the Little Tern still present late evening. Also offshore the two immature Eider, seven Great-crested Grebe and six Common Scoter.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Wednesday 2nd May

Highlight was an unexpected Black Guillemot that flew in from the east and landed distantly offshore mid morning. Only the 11th site record and the first since 2013 there was unfortunately no further sign. Morning seawatching also produced a Balearic and 30 Manx Shearwater, seven Great Northern Diver, four Little Tern, two Great Skua, a Mediterranean Gull and two distant flocks of 'commic' tern totalling 58 birds. Given the numbers elsewhere in the UK today these may well have been Arctic Tern. In the evening three Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were on the sea with two Eider, a distant Arctic Skua harrying Kittiwake and a flock of 14 Arctic Tern which flew up river with four more 'commics'.

Elsewhere two Wheatear were the only passerine migrants and in the estuary a flock of 38 Pale and three Dark-bellied Brent Geese were in the Bight with 32 Whimbrel, 17 Sanderling, 16 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover and two Bar-tailed Godwit.

Ringing News: One of the Pale-bellied Brent was ringed as a first year bird at Makki in west Iceland in May 2009.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Tuesday 1st May

A bright start followed by weather conditions more in line with this Spring with wind and rain to close the day. The evening saw a distant Pomarine Skua offshore with 52 Manx Shearwater, 35 Kittiwake, 18 Gannet, 16 Common Scoter, 10 Sandwich Tern and a Red-throated Diver.  

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 47+ Whimbrel, 17 Ringed and 12 Grey Plover, eight Sanderling, six Dunlin, four Knot and two Bar-tailed Godwit. Migrants were limited to three Wheatear on Warren Point with seven Whitethroat, four Reed Warbler and two Blackcap now holding territory.

 Whitethroat - Dave Jewell

Whimbrel - Dave Jewell

Wildlife News: Two Fox were on Warren Point.