Dankness and mizzle persisted until about 09:30 as a cold front slowly moved ESE across southern England. As this coincided with an early morning high tide, inclement conditions dropped in some wader species that were evidently on the move, notably 98 Dunlin and 38 Black-tailed Godwit, which was the second highest ever July count here after 90 in July 1988. Also three Little Ringed Plover (a juv, a probable 2cy and an adult) in The Bight and on the beach, which were also present on the evening tide.
Little Ringed Plover adult and probable 2cy (left) and juvenile (right) - anon
Other waterbird counts from both tides were 396 Oystercatcher, 289 Curlew, 138 Redshank, 40 Canada Goose, 26 Whimbrel, 14 Ringed Plover, six Sanderling, five Mute Swan, five Turnstone, five Greenshank, four brick-red Knot, three dowdy Bar-tailed Godwit, two Common Sandpiper and the Slavonian Grebe.
Still large numbers of gulls and terns present today with 92 Sandwich Tern, in total. Adults returned from offshore forays with sand-eel prey to feed the 28 noisy juveniles waiting to be fed as they stood out on the mudflats. There is evidence that pair bonds persistent from year to year and that family parties migrate together. Assuming this is so and if all adult Sandwich Tern present had attempted to nest, that would give a productivity rate of 0.875. However, it might be the case that a larger proportion of the successful Sandwich Tern use Dawlish Warren as a vital stop-over to feed their young, so inflating this 'straw poll' figure. Aware that tern families from colonies across Europe may also visit, in fact, the UK productivity rate has declined over the past 3 decades to a range of 0.3 to 0.6 young per pair, and it has been calculated that a productivity rate of 1.1 is needed to sustain a Sandwich Tern population (JNCC's Seabird Monitoring Programme). So, the offshore waters of the Exe Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA), as well as the estuary itself, are clearly also very important to maintaining migratory birds that still have long journey's ahead.
Also present on sandflats and in offshore waters, 550+ Herring Gull, 230 Black-headed Gull, 61 Mediterranean Gull (including Dutch and French colour-ringed birds), seven Great Black-backed Gull, 12 Common Tern (3 juvs), three Lesser Black-backed Gull, two adult-type Roseate Tern, each with a ring on the other leg; and a Common Gull. An Arctic Skua took a tour around The Bight this morning before heading back out to sea.. Further out, a group of four spooned Pomarine Skua lifted off the sea to pursue Kittiwake then as the weather improved flew off south.
Two Roseate Terns (note ringed on different legs) - Dave Boult
Dropped on the golf course in the morning mizzle, a Grey Wagtail and a Yellow Wagtail; and in the bushes 14 Chiffchaff, single figures of Blackcap, Whitethroat and the two Willow Warbler were certainly migrants since this species did not breed on site this year, meanwhile a pair of Reed Warbler in the Dune Pond were carrying food for their young. Overhead visible passage remained slow with just 17 Swallow, four Swift and three House Martin through.