Wednesday 31 October 2018

Wednesday 31st October

The first hour early morning saw some movement overhead with 240 Wood Pigeon south and 115 Goldfinch, 80+ Chaffinch, two Siskin and a Redpoll north. A Coal Tit was in the bushes with eight Cirl Bunting and two Chiffchaff.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Tuesday 30th October

Four Barnacle Geese in the estuary briefly were the clear highlight. Presumably wild birds driven south by the weather. Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood whilst two Great-crested Grebe and an Eider offshore.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Sunday 28th October

The first Black-necked Grebe of the year was offshore with other news limited to the resident Slavonian Grebe in the Bight at high tide and offsite six Cattle Egret again in fields at Eastdon.

Saturday 27 October 2018

Saturday 27th October

Vis mig started up again today with 11,560 Wood Pigeon counted overhead along with 89 Jackdaw and 58 Stock Dove. Also overhead 25 Chaffinch, 14 Siskin and two Redpoll. Elsewhere four Red-throated Diver and two Eider were offshore and just outside the recording area, but visible from the hide, four Cattle Egret were in fields at Eastdon.

Friday 26 October 2018

Friday 26th October

Counts from the estuary included 285 Dunlin, 230 Curlew, 226 Dark-bellied and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 31 Grey Plover, 31 Greenshank, 15 Red-breasted Merganser, seven Sanderling and a Golden Plover. Elsewhere the two Eider remain offshore where there were two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver.

Thursday 25 October 2018

Thursday 25th October

Migration continued overhead with 2025 Wood Pigeon, 160 Goldfinch, 58 Jackdaw, 53 Stock Dove, 25 Skylark, 23 Siskin, 22 Chaffinch and a late Swallow. On site highlights included a Tawny Owl behind the Crocus Compound and the Merlin around the Bight.

Merlin - Lee Collins

Elsewhere a high site count of 24 Greenshank were in the estuary with 290 Dunlin, 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Grey Plover, six Red-breasted Merganser, two Pale-bellied Brent Geese and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere two Eider and 12 Common Scoter were offshore.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Wednesday 24th October

The Merlin remained onsite being seen anywhere between the Visitor Centre and Warren Point but it was quieter overhead although two Redpoll and a Brambling were recorded. In the estuary 306 Curlew were again present with 1265 Oystercatcher, 800 Wigeon, 130 Dunlin, 100 Brent Geese, 25 Grey Plover, 12 Greenshank, eight Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe. The two Eider and single Red-throated Diver remain offshore.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Tuesday 23rd October

The vis mig highlight was a decent count of 63 Greenfinch, also overhead 200 Wood Pigeon, 95 Goldfinch, 15 Jackdaw, just three Chaffinch, two Siskin, two Redpoll and a Buzzard. Elsewhere a single Short-eared Owl and a Merlin were on Warren Point with two Eider and a Red-throated Diver were off the seawall.  

In the estuary the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood and wader numbers increased with 413 Dunlin, 306 Curlew, 201 Redshank, 31 Turnstone, 29 Bar and three Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Grey Plover, five Sanderling, four Greenshank, two Knot and a Curlew Sandpiper.

Monday 22 October 2018

Monday 22nd October

Visible migration continued overhead with 850 Wood Pigeon, 383 Jackdaw, 153 Goldfinch, 42 Greenfinch, 16 Siskin, 14 Chaffinch, six Redpoll, five Stock Dove, two Mistle Thrush, a Brambling and the first Crossbill of the year.

Elsewhere 1380 Wigeon, 235 Teal, 143 Dunlin and two Greenshank were in the estuary and five Chiffchaff, two Coal Tit and a Wheatear were on site.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Sunday 21st October

The fog held off just enough to record the overhead migration, heading west were 7080 Wood Pigeon, 143 Jackdaw and 23 Stock Dove with 125 Goldfinch, 68 Chaffinch, 49 Skylark, nine Lapwing, six Reed Bunting, four Siskin, two Redpoll, two Redwing and a Mistle Thrush heading east.  

Elsewhere the two Eider, two Sandwich Tern and a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver were offshore, a site record 11 Cirl Bunting, a Wheatear and four Coal Tit were on site and 265 Brent Geese and 12 Black-tailed Godwit were in the estuary.

Saturday 20 October 2018

Saturday 20th October

Migration overhead continued but with reduced diversity, the peak species was Wood Pigeon with 5105 heading high west through the morning with at least 34 Stock Dove and a new site record 1304 Jackdaw on roughly the same line. The previous peak was 809 exactly six years ago. Also moving but mostly on a easterly direction were 175 Goldfinch, 60 Chaffinch, 45 Skylark, 34 Meadow Pipit, 32 Greenfinch, seven Siskin, six Reed Bunting, four Mistle Thrush and two Lesser Redpoll.

In the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, a flock of 183 Brent Geese included the first six juveniles and a Curlew Sandpiper was with 68 Dunlin. Elsewhere three Great-crested Grebe, two Eider and a Red-throated Diver were offshore and seven Chiffchaff and a Wheatear were on site, with a mobile Nuthatch, only the second October record, 23 Long-tailed and four Coal Tit.

Wildlife News: A Clouded Yellow was in Greenland Lake, the last couple of Ivy Bee were on the wing and the warm weather brought out a minimum of 18 Common Darter and five Migrant Hawker.

Friday 19 October 2018

Friday 19th October

A mixed flock of 10 egret that dropped briefly into the saltmarsh corner at 13.15 contained at least four Cattle Egret, only the third site record, and three Little Egret. These are presumably the birds from nearby Cockwood Marsh which were still present at 12.50 but not later in the afternoon. Also in the estuary 144 Brent Geese, three Mediterranean Gull, two Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere most migrants had cleared out with no sign of the Barred Warbler and migration continued overhead through the morning. Totals included two Yellowhammer, a Short-eared Owl, a Golden Plover, 3070 Wood Pigeon, 334 Jackdaw, 190 Starling, 119 Skylark, 81 Meadow Pipit, 61 Chaffinch, 14 Stock Dove, 11 Rook, eight Siskin, four Coal Tit and single Swallow, House MartinRedwing, Brambling and Redpoll.

Wildlife News: A single Clouded Yellow on the wing today, along with a few Common Darter and Migrant Hawker and , a late Southern Hawker. Not many hoverflies around now, but several migrant species still present including Eupeodes corollae.

Eupeodes corollae - Alan Keatley

Thursday 18 October 2018

Thursday 18th October

A remarkable day that saw the highest bird species total (93) since 7th September 2014, some heavy movement overhead and a number of site rarities. Light winds and clear skies after an unsettled period provided a window for migration and sky watching observers (max 11¾ hours) were rewarded with numerous highlights topped by a flock of five Great White Egret that flew past and up the Cockwood Valley c.10:30.  Earlier in the morning presumably the same flock appeared at Abbotsbury and then headed west past Bridport and Charmouth, Dorset. 

A presumed sixth Great White Egret flew out to sea at dusk circling high with gulls before drifting south. Earlier in the day a juvenile White-fronted Goose was part of a high V-formation migrating flock of 28 Cormorant that flew S early afternoon.

Also over 1,135 Wood Pigeon and a Stock Dove, 315 Skylark (4th largest autumn count), 225+ Goldfinch (year max count), 130 Jackdaw (year max count), 31 Chaffinch, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 18 Rook, 18 Lesser Black-backed Gull (incl those in estuary), and four each of Great-spotted Woodpecker, Golden Plover, Siskin and Reed Bunting.

Wildfowl in off included three each Shoveler and Pintail; three Black-tailed Godwit, at least two Short-eared Owl; two Lapwing, two Buzzard, and singles of Whimbrel, Raven, Redwing, Brambling and Yellowhammer.

The day’s highlight was a juvenile Barred Warbler that showed well at times in bramble bushes around Greenland Lake into the evening when sunning itself after bouts of munching blackberries and Asparagus berries; the site’s ninth bird and the first since 2011. Eleven Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were the only other warblers today. Migrants through the site included some of the 17 Greenfinch, 13+ Stonechat (year max count) and four Wheatear.

 Barred Warbler - Luke Harman

Barred Warbler - Lee Collins

Elsewhere yesterday's Cetti’s Warbler was calling and singing from the Main Pond, where also a Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Water Rail were heard. In the estuary, 91 Great Black-backed Gull; a Little Grebe continued to follow around the resident Slavonian Grebe. The neap tide didn’t push enough waders in to count. offshore there were four Mediterranean Gull, three Common Scoter, the two Eider and two Red-breasted Merganser flew out of the estuary at dusk. 

 Cetti's Warbler - Luke Harman

Short-eared Owl - Luke Harman

Wildlife news: A female Vagrant Emperor zoomed around the Greenland Lake area, the third site record. The afternoon sunshine also brought out several Common Darter and Migrant Hawker, a late Hornet, eight Red Admiral, four Clouded Yellow, two Painted Lady (a Stonechat ate one of them) and a few Small Copper and Specked Wood. A group of Fly Agaric by the Main Pond appear to be the first record since 1955!

Fly Agaric - Alan Keatley

Clouded Yellow - Luke Harman

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Wednesday 17th October

Cetti's Warbler gave a brief and unexpected burst of song from the Golf Course Pond this morning, only the ninth site record. Elsewhere a Yellow-browed Warbler was around the Main Pond with a large feeding flock of 23 Blue Tit, 13 Long-tailed Tit and seven Chiffchaff.  The majority of migrants were however overhead with 230 Wood Pigeon, 63 Skylark, 45 Meadow Pipit, 15 Jackdaw, six Rook, five Siskin, two Grey Wagtail and a Mistle Thrush. Also on site and overhead 175 Goldfinch and 110 Linnet but with many birds dropping in to feed ascertaining actual numbers on the move was difficult.

Elsewhere three Wheatear were on the beach, two Eider were offshore and counts from the estuary included a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 267 Redshank, 70 Dunlin, 23 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Grey and 14 Ringed Plover, 12 Sanderling, just nine Brent Geese, nine Greenshank, seven Sandwich and a Common Tern and the Slavonian Grebe.

Sunday 14 October 2018

Sunday 14th October

Counts from the estuary included just 399 Wigeon, 213 Curlew, 172 Redshank, 147 Teal, 127 Brent Geese, 114 Dunlin, 29 Ringed and 21 Grey Plover, eight Greenshank, eight Bar and four Black-tailed Godwit, four Pintail, four Sandwich and a Common Tern, two Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere an Eider was off the seawall.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Saturday 13th October

The fresh mild southerly drew focus towards the sea again but whereas yesterday’s 1½ hours early morning effort produced just one Gannet, today paid dividends with a Long-tailed Skua slowly through south at 09:15. Also south went 66 Gannet, 17 Kittiwake, 13 Common Scoter, nine Great Skua (including one out of the estuary), five Fulmar, four Great Northern Diver (plus a diver sp.), three Razorbill (plus 5 auk sp.), an Arctic Skua (plus two skua sp.) and one of the semi-resident Eider.

A selection of counts during high tide in The Bight, Warren Point and near estuary included 87 Dunlin, 66 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 26 Ringed Plover, 20 Grey Plover, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, five Mediterranean Gull (one at sea), four Great Crested Grebe (two at sea), four Sandwich Tern (one at sea), three Shelduck, two Sanderling, the Slavonian Grebe, and single Red-breasted Merganser, Greenshank, Knot, juv Curlew Sandpiper and Common Tern.  An Osprey disturbed all the gulls late lunchtime, hanging high in the wind for a time over the estuary.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese - Simon Thurgood

 Slavonian Grebe - Lee Collins. Herbert has been resident for the last 11 years.

Refugee gulls were abundant and of 276 Great Black-backed Gull, 70 made to out south during the morning.  Among those that remained, largely on Finger Point, they were joined for 20 minutes by an adult presumed Baltic Gull.  It’s distinctly velvety and blacker upperparts stood out against the backdrop of Great Black-backed Gulls, emphasised by the absence of white primary tips; a single mirror in P10 and generally delayed moult except for dropped inner primaries, and its long attenuated appearance all made for a good candidate. Notwithstanding conjecture about its actual identify, this was a beautiful gull.

Presumed Baltic Gull

Elsewhere, the bushes were blown out and offered little more than 28 Goldfinch and 7 Chiffchaff.  Three Raven seemed to be enjoying the breezy conditions, but 13 Skylark ardently pressing into the headwind not so much. 

Friday 12 October 2018

Friday 12th October

The wet and windy weather came as forecast but didn’t bring any seabirds with it with just three Gannet and a couple of Fulmar recorded. The bushes were blown out, so the only possible birding was in the estuary. The tide was really high, topped up with the heavy rain. Most of the wildfowl were sheltering in and around the Bight, with an increase to 93 Brent Geese and 16 Shelduck amongst 260 Wigeon and 120 Teal. Also in the estuary nine Sandwich Tern, a single Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe.
Waders on the flooded golf course included 50+ Dunlin, 10 Grey and six Ringed Plover, five Greenshank and three Black-tailed Godwit.
Red-breasted Merganser - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Wednesday 10th October

The Osprey was again over the estuary with wildfowl counts including 439 Wigeon, 228 Teal, 61 Brent Geese and a Shelduck. Wader numbers included 1408 Oystercatcher, 385 Curlew, 185 Redshank, 21 Dunlin, 15 Grey Plover, 12 Knot, nine Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit and six Greenshank.

Osprey - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere three Balearic Shearwater flew south and two Great Northern Diver were off the seawall. 

Wildlife News: Despite the return to Summer temperatures the insect activity was rather disappointing with only a few Red Admiral on the wing and a couple of Speckled Wood in the Entrance Bushes. Also flying six Common Darter, four Migrant Hawker and a very late Blue-tailed Damselfly. Hoverflies included the migrant Scaeva pyrastri, as well as Eristalis nemorum and Helophilus pendulus on the few remaining aster flowers.

 Migrant Hawker - Alan Keatley

Helophilus pendulus (The Footballer) - Alan Keatley

Monday 8 October 2018

Monday 8th October

A  calm, quiet autumn day. Little change in birds although the Osprey still lingering on the estuary made a welcome visit to the Recording area. Also in the estuary 370 Wigeon, 363 Teal, six Brent Geese, three Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere two Eider were offshore, a Jay and 14 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were on site and overhead a Mistle Thrush  was an early migrant with three Grey Wagtail and a few Meadow Pipit also on the move.

Reed Bunting - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The overcast conditions didn’t flavour insects with just a few Buff-tailed, Carder and a single queen Red-tailed Bumblebee on the remaining Aster flowers.

Sunday 7 October 2018

Sunday 7th October

Wildfowl in estuary included 568 Wigeon, 231 Teal, 44 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a Pintail; with wader counts including single Golden Plover and Whimbrel, 333 Curlew, 169 Redshank, 42 Dunlin, 23 Turnstone, 16 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Grey and four Ringed Plover, six Knot, five Greenshank and two Snipe. Also in the estuary three Mediterranean Gull, a Water Rail, a Sandwich Tern, a Kingfisher and the Slavonian Grebe.  

Elsewhere the summer plumaged Red-throated Diver and an Eider were offshore, 120 Linnet, 95 Goldfinch, two Wheatear and a Whinchat were on site and 25 Skylark, three Swallow, three Grey Wagtail and three Siskin were overhead.

Saturday 6 October 2018

Saturday 6th October

The morning rain and northerly winds didn't appear to drop anything on site with the exception of a large feeding flock of 430 Gannet close in off John's Watch mid morning. Also offshore the two Black-throated Diver, two Great Northern Diver, one in full summer plumage, 17 Common Scoter, the two Eider and three Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

No sign of the Red-crested Pochard with just 342 Wigeon in Shutterton Creek, also in the estuary 45 Dunlin, 30 Knot, 20 Turnstone, three Greenshank, six Sandwich Tern, a first winter Yellow-legged Gull and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere two Swallow flew through and at least 14 released Pheasant are now on site.

Friday 5 October 2018

Friday 5th October

A first winter drake Red-crested Pochard in Shutterton Creek with the Wigeon was an unexpected highlight, only the fourth confirmed site record, after birds in 1997, 1999 & 2013. Like the individual in 1997 this bird was found at Mudbank, Exmouth. Also in the estuary 800+ Wigeon, 366 Teal, 211 Curlew, 176 Redshank, 35 Ringed and 11 Grey Plover, 14 Sanderling, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, five Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Offshore three Balearic Shearwater flew south, the two juvenile Black-throated Diver remained, almost joined at the hip so presumably from the same brood, eight presumed Red-breasted Merganser flew past in the fog and the two Eider were off the seawall. Elsewhere three figure flocks of Linnet and Goldfinch remained on site and overhead the first Redwing of the autumn, two Mistle Thrush, 22 Siskin, 14 Skylark and 10 Chaffinch.

Thursday 4 October 2018

Thursday 4th October

Two immature Black-throated Diver were close in off the seawall mid morning. They drifted further out during the day but were still present at dusk. Also offshore two Eider and 15 Common Scoter. On a neap tide wader numbers counts were low but included 174 Redshank, 51 Ringed Plover, 22 Dunlin, six Sanderling, three Greenshank and a Grey Plover. Also in the estuary 390 Wigeon, 347 Teal, nine Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, a Little Grebe was with the Slavonian Grebe, 14 Sandwich Tern and an Osprey mid afternoon.

Elsewhere two Goldcrest, 15 Chiffchaff and six Blackcap were in the bushes, 48 Meadow Pipit, three Swallow and a Siskin flew over and 160 Linnet, 120 Goldfinch and five Cirl Bunting were feeding on site.

Ringing News: An impressive 84 colour-ringed Oystercatcher were recorded including four from a recent mistnetting session. More information on this project can be found at

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Wednesday 3rd October

Early morning 28 Siskin, six Rook, five Jackdaw and a Chaffinch flew NE with a single Goldcrest, 11 Chiffchaff and six Blackcap in the bushes. Elsewhere the Eider was offshore, 31 Ringed Plover and nine Dark-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary and 1520 Herring and 74 Great Black-backed Gull roosted on Bull Hill.

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Tuesday 2nd October

Early morning a couple of Siskin were overhead with 55 Goldfinch, nine Chiffchaff and five Blackcap in the bushes. Offshore 120 Gannet flew south early morning and the Eider was off Langstone Rock. In the evening the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood with two Greenshank and a Kingfisher again on the Wreck.

Monday 1 October 2018

Monday 1st October

An evening look off Cockwood saw 140 Redshank, five Black-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe with a Kingfisher on the Wreck.