Tuesday 30 July 2019

Tuesday 30th July

On this the second day of unsettled conditions, murk frustrated seawatching efforts early morning, though at least managed to produce three Arctic Skua, a Balearic Shearwater and a Roseate Tern.

Heavy showers persisted into the evening and birds continued to drop in and take refuge over the high tide with selected counts including 169 Redshank, 88 Dunlin, 49 Ringed Plover, 40+ Mediterranean Gull, 34 Sanderling, 27 Great Black-backed Gull (first two juvs of the year), 16 Turnstone, four each of Common Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Common Gull, the long-staying fs Grey Plover and the resident Slavonian Grebe.

The day belonged to the terns; four Little Tern (1 juv) of which two adults were colour-ringed, one from the Chesil Beach, Portland colony and the other from the large colony at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow (Ireland), our 4th bird from there.  Colour-rings were read on six of the 157 Sandwich Tern (42 juvs) from the hide.  Three were ringed in Wales with 'KDB' here from its 14th day and 'KAL' making its first appearance of the autumn, back for its 5th autumn in a row here.  Another was ringed on Inner Farnes and two new yellow-ringed birds were from Holland.  And an update on the Sandwich Tern here on 26th July, which was ringed on Firth of Clyde (W Scotland) as a chick (pullus) in 2016.  It was seen at Wagejot, Texel, Holland the next day, then was back again at Dawlish Warren on the day after that, plus yesterday! Long distance 'reverse' migration by this species has been recorded, as has the habit of young adult terns to travel extensively to explore new areas and colonies. 

Monday 29 July 2019

Monday 29th July

Little reported today; c.80 Sandwich Tern were in front of the hide during the early evening high tide and a dozen Turnstone were on Finger Point.  Despite the change in weather in the afternoon with heavy showers and F5 easterly, seawatching was poor, producing only about a dozen Manx Shearwater, a few Gannet, a Fulmar and the day's highlight, a single Balearic Shearwater.

Sunday 28 July 2019

Sunday 28th July

The Bight and the wider estuary received most of the attention this afternoon where a comprehensive set of waterbird counts were c400 Oystercatcher, 375 Curlew, c250 Black-headed Gull, 110+ Redshank, c75 Sandwich Tern, 44 Dunlin, 21 Whimbrel, 17 each of Canada Goose, Mediterranean Gull and Common Tern, ten Great Black-backed Gull, nine Cormorant, four Little Egret, four Common Gull, three Mute Swan, three Sanderling, two Grey Heron, single Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and the resident Slavonian Grebe; only Herring Gull wasn't counted today.   

A Hobby flew in off the sea then coasted, hawking and looping around on its journey southwest at 15;50.  Ten Swallow and four Swift also passed overhead. 

Wildlife News: Late news for yesterday of the Warren's third record of Purple Hairstreak, nectaring on brambles by the Main Pond.

Purple Hairstreak - all Luke Harman

Saturday 27 July 2019

Saturday 27th July

Another hot sunny day with rather too much on show from some less prudish visitors to the site however, the appearance of two immature Lapwing in Greenland Lake was a sight to behold, the first July record here since 2013. 

Lapwing - Alan Keatley

The early afternoon neap tide was just high enough, and recreational boat traffic across the estuary certainly chaotic enough, to push into the sanctuary of the site hundreds of Curlew, 413 Oystercatcher, 3-figure count of Redshank, 70+ Sandwich Tern, 49 Dunlin, 21 Canada Goose, 18+ Whimbrel, 18 Mediterranean Gull (2 juv, 10 fs, 0 ss, 6 adults); seven Ringed Plover, four Sanderling, four Mute Swan, three Bar-tailed Godwit, three Black-tailed Godwit, single Greenshank, Grey Plover and the resident Slavonian Grebe.   

Gulls too assembled in The Bight and among these a Polish-ringed Black-headed Gull back for its fourth year, a German-ringed Mediterranean Gull, also a Welsh-ringed Sandwich Tern extended its stay of about a fortnight, plus a new arrival, ringed in Inner Farne, back for its third autumn.  Quite a number of adult colour-ringed Oystercatcher seen today, having returned from breeding grounds, plus a wasp-ringed bird trapped here back in 1989.

A steady passage 50+ Swallow and four Raven passed overhead. Just the regular, standard bird species in the bushes and dunes.

Wildlife News: Four Emperor Dragonfly, the first Migrant Hawker of the year, and a Black-tailed Skimmer on Warren Point.  Second brood Brown Argus were on the wing with several Red Admiral and Painted Lady and lots of the regular butterflies throughout.

 Migrant Hawker - Alan Keatley

 Brown Argus - Alan Keatley

Waisted Beegrabber Physocephala rufipes - Alan Keatley

Friday 26 July 2019

Friday 26th July

An Osprey was over the estuary mid afternoon with the Slavonian Grebe off Cockwood and 70 Sandwich and 11 Common Tern, seven Dunlin, two Mediterranean Gull, four Ringed and a Grey Plover.

Thursday 25th July

Counts from the estuary included 90 Sandwich Tern, 17 Ringed Plover, 12 Sanderling, seven Dunlin, four Turnstone, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and a Whimbrel.

Wildlife News: Insects were very active with single Pantaloon Bee Dasypoda hirtipes and a Black-thighed Epeolus Epeolus variegatus amongst many Silvery Leafcutter Megachile leachella and Green-eyed Flower Bee Anthophora bimaculata. Elsewhere a Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly Eristalinus sepulchralis was by the Tractor Compound, all areas of scrub held large numbers of Gatekeeper, with good numbers of Small Copper, Common Blue and Meadow Brown. There were also a few Large and Small White and a couple of Peacock and Red Admiral.

 Pantaloon Bee - Alan Keatley

Black-thighed Epeolus - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Wednesday 24th July

The Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood with 80+ Sandwich and three Common Tern, five Mediterranean Gull, four Greenshank, a summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit and a Rock Pipit.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Tuesday 23rd July

An immature Arctic Tern was in the estuary with 115 Sandwich and 12 Common Tern but there was no sign of any Roseates. Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, 81 Dunlin, 24 Sanderling, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, six Ringed Plover, five Mediterranean Gull and a Grey Plover.

Arctic Tern (presumed 2nd summer) - Lee Collins

Monday 22 July 2019

Monday 22nd July

Two Roseate Tern remained in the estuary with 140 Sandwich (47 juvs) and 19 Common (nine juvs)Tern. Also present over high tide the Slavonian Grebe, 15 Dunlin, six Ringed Plover and single Turnstone, Sanderling and Grey Plover. Elsewhere a Pomarine Skua flew south offshore mid morning.

Sunday 21 July 2019

Sunday 21st July

A group of four Roseate Tern were in the estuary today, ringing details showed these to all be different to yesterday's individual. Also from the hide 323 Curlew, 320 Oystercatcher, 167 Redshank, 128 Sandwich and 11 Common Tern, 26 Sanderling, 26 Dunlin, 12 Whimbrel, 11 Ringed and a Grey Plover, nine Mediterranean Gull, four Common Sandpiper, four Greenshank, two Turnstone and the Slavonian Grebe.

Roseate Tern - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: A Devon Moth Group event last night recorded over 100 different species including at least four new to the Recording area, including Pine Carpet and Water Veneer.  These took the site moth list over 650 and the total number of all species from the Recording Area over 4000.

Saturday 20 July 2019

Saturday 20th July

The highlight was a single Roseate Tern in the estuary throughout the morning, the first of the year for this increasingly scarce visitor. It was initially on Bull Hill but eventually moved in front of the hide amongst 135 Sandwich and seven Common Tern. Also in the estuary 310 Curlew, 176 Redshank, 28 Sanderling, 19 Whimbrel, 15 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, five Mediterranean Gull, four Greenshank, a, Kingfisher, a Common Sandpiper and the Slavonian Grebe.

Roseate Tern - Lee Collins

Sanderling - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere an Osprey drifted south early morning and a Mistle Thrush was over the Entrance Bushes.

Wildlife News: The good weather saw plenty of invertebrates activity with Emperor and Common Darter around the Main Pond, good numbers of Gatekeeper on the wing around the bramble scrub and three Red Admiral and a Painted Lady perhaps the precursors of an expected influx.

 Misumena vatia - Alan Keatley

Large Sharp-tailed Bee (Coelioxys conoidea) - Alan Keatley

Friday 19 July 2019

Friday 19th July

After 24 dry days, a change in the weather to breezy and damp conditions raised hopes and the site received 10 hour of coverage today. Pulses of birds arrived all day, some to shelter in the estuary from the rain.  Highlights were a flock of six Arctic Tern and an Arctic Skua which scattered everything off the bird island in front of the hide and then proceeded to pursue Sandwich Tern around the estuary in attempts to steal their sand-eels.  Among the 125+ Sandwich Tern commuting in and out of the estuary, a metal ringed individual from South Africa (details being requested); an incredible find but not the first, following a Co. Down ringed bird seen at Dawlish Warren in Sep 1979 then South Africa in Nov 1984; and a Dutch ringed bird seen Dawlish Warren in July 2014 then South Africa in Nov 2017. 

Three red-coloured ringed Sandwich Tern were again present; 'KDB' for its 8th day, a bird expected to be around for a while, having remained here 14 to 23 days each autumn since 2016, underlining the importance of this site as a staging post for migrant terns. 

Mediterranean Gull were on the move all day with at least 60 noted (26 juv, 11 fs, 4 ss, 19 adult), the 6th highest ever count here.  Selected totals in the estuary including birds 'in off' were 389 Curlew, 345 Oystercatcher, 134 Redshank, 66 Dunlin, 30 Sanderling, 25 Great Black-backed Gull, 20+ Whimbrel, seven Ringed Plover, six Common Tern, four Greenshank, two Turnstone, the summering Grey Plover, and single Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper and a juv Yellow-legged Gull.

 Common Tern - Dave Jewell

Mediterranean Gulls - Dave Jewell

By contrast, the sea was very disappointing, unlike as reported elsewhere, just 25 Manx Shearwater, 19 Common Scoter, c.15 Gannet and a Fulmar.  The bushes weren't covered today; only 3 Swift flew south and no hirundines today.

Monday 15 July 2019

Monday 15th July

The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 300+ Curlew, 276 Oystercatcher, 50+ Sandwich Tern, 48 Redshank, 17 Dunlin, nine Sanderling, three Ringed and two Grey Plover. Elsewhere two juvenile Yellow-legged and ten Mediterranean Gull were offshore with eight Common Scoter and two Common Tern.

Sunday 14 July 2019

Sunday 14th July

On another hot and sunny day, observers only ventured in for the evening tide, attended by 260 Oystercatcher, a flock which has gradually grown in size and for the past 10 days or so, bolstered by adult birds returning from breeding grounds, including colour-ringed birds back from Bedfordshire, Derbyshire and Islay.  Also present, 340 Curlew, 84 Redshank, 79+ Sandwich Tern, 21 Whimbrel, 15 Dunlin, 13 Mediterranean Gull (of various ages), 12 Great Black-backed Gull, the resident ten Canada Goose, nine Little Egret, two each of Grey Heron, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Common Tern and Stock Dove in the saltmarsh; and single Mute Swan, Grey Plover, Common Gull and a colour-ringed adult Little Tern, but too distant to read.  

Brief scans at sea recorded a raft of 22 Common Scoter, just single singles of Gannet and a juv Yellow-legged Gull.

Saturday 13 July 2019

Saturday 13th July

The evening tide saw 72 Sandwich and four Common Tern in the Bight with 340 Curlew, 200 Oystercatcher, 48 Redshank, an increase to 22 Mediterranean Gull, 12 Dunlin, 10 Whimbrel, the Slavonian Grebe and single Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Sanderling, Ringed and Grey Plover also in the estuary.

Elsewhere a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the beach, six Shoveler offshore and 60+ Swift, 25 Swallow, three House and two Sand Martin overhead.

Friday 12 July 2019

Friday 12th July

A large increase in terns overnight with 53 Sandwich Tern including 18 juveniles and six Common Tern including the first two juveniles. Also in the estuary 166 Oystercatcher, six Mediterranean Gull, four Dunlin and three Whimbrel.

Ringing News: The Sandwich Tern KDB was a new arrival today. It was ringed in mid Wales in September 2015 and has been present here during the last four July/ August periods, showing great site fidelity. A large percentage of ringed Sandwich Terns are recorded here in multiple years, reinforcing the importance of the Warren as a post breeding stopover site

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Wednesday 10th July

Two dark phase Arctic Skua were offshore but no other news was received.

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Tuesday 9th July

A Common Sandpiper on Finger Point was a new arrival at high tide with 49 Oystercatcher, 26 Sandwich and two Common Tern, eight Mediterranean Gull, five Whimbrel, two Ringed Plover and single Grey Plover, Dunlin and Sanderling. Elsewhere the first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the year was offshore with 200+ Herring Gull, 61 Shag and a Great-crested Grebe.

Sanderling - Lee Collins

Monday 8 July 2019

Monday 8th July

Counts from the estuary included 68 Oystercatcher, 56 Sandwich Tern, 32 Dunlin, nine Mediterranean Gull, four Whimbrel, single Grey and Ringed Plover and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 30 Common Scoter were offshore.

Mediterranean Gull - Lee Collins

Sunday 7 July 2019

Sunday 7th July

A slow build up of autumn migrants continues with counts from the estuary including 257 Curlew, 226 Oystercatcher, 28 Sandwich and two Common Tern, seven Whimbrel, seven Mediterranean Gull, six Dunlin, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover and the Slavonian Grebe.

Saturday 6 July 2019

Saturday 6th July

A quiet summer day with an eclipse drake Shoveler in the saltmarsh the only noticeable new arrival. Also in the estuary 362 Curlew, 191 Oystercatcher, eight Mediterranean Gull, two Whimbrel, a Grey Plover and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 12 Swift, five Swallow, three Sand Martin and a Stock Dove.

Wildlife News: An excellent day for invertebrates with a brief Red-veined Darter in Greenland Lake the highlight, other dragonflies included a Broad-bodied Chaser and five Emperor. Also on the wing at least seven Ringlet, a Marbled White, four Painted Lady and a large emergence of Gatekeeper. Elsewhere a new plant for the reserve was discovered on Warren Point - Rose of Sharon Hypericum calycinum and good numbers of Little Flower Bee Anthophora bimaculata, Silvery and Coastal Leafcutter Megachile leachella & maritima were nectaring on the few remaining brambles.

Ringlet - Alan Keatley

Emperor - Lee Collins

Thursday 4 July 2019

Thursday 4th July

Counts from the estuary included 290 Curlew, 215 Oystercatcher, along soon flushed, 25 Sandwich Tern, including an Irish ringed bird, nine Dunlin, six Mediterranean Gull, two Black-tailed Godwit, two Whimbrel, a Grey Plover, a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Greenshank - Dave Jewell
Wildlife News: The first Gatekeeper of the year was on the wing along with two Ringlet, several Painted Lady and large numbers of Small Skipper.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Wednesday 3rd July

The first juvenile Sandwich Tern of the autumn was in front of the hide with other records from the estuary including 290 Curlew, 20 Shelduck, 15 Sandwich Tern, nine Dunlin, four Mediterranean Gull, a Grey Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit and the Slavonian Grebe.  

 Sandwich Tern (juv) - Dave Jewell

 Sandwich Tern (juv) - Lee Collins

Black-tailed Godwit - Lee Collins

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Tuesday 2nd July

The first juvenile Mediterranean Gull of the autumn was in the estuary with 315 Curlew, 32 Oystercatcher, 16 Redshank, three adult and a first summer Mediterranean Gull, just three Sandwich Tern, two Whimbrel, a Grey Plover and a Greenshank

Mediterranean Gull (first summer) - Lee Collins

Monday 1 July 2019

Monday 1st July

A quiet day with little to report except for Herbert, the summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe, although the first returning ringed Oystercatcher was in front of the hide and at least four Mediterranean Gull and the first juvenile Black-headed Gull were offshore.