Thursday 23 July 2020

Thursday 23rd July

When undisturbed, different species of waterbirds have reasonably predictable day-to-day movements and habits on the rising tide, and as expected, most 309 Curlew and 23 Whimbrel crossed the estuary from Cockle Sands to land on the open mudflats, walk up with the tide to then roost on Railway Saltmarsh.  Most of the 154 Redshank worked their way down the west side of the estuary and along Shutterton Creek to also roost on Railway Saltmarsh, alongside various other species.  Whilst Dawlish Warren and the rest of the estuary has been legally protected since 1952 under various designations such as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the latter and later two designations giving it internationally important status, the Railway Saltmarsh is, bizarrely, outside of these boundaries.  

Good news is that regular long-term recording of waterbirds here can provide the evidence needed to provide some legal protection to this vitally important high tide roost, which in a sense extends these designated boundaries against certain types of threats to it, should they arise. Nothing imminent; just noted here for interest.  

Also present, 70 Sandwich Tern, including 'K4B', a new Lady's Island, Co. Wexford ringed bird; 34 Ringed Plover, 18 Mute Swan, 17 Dunlin, 13 Mediterranean Gull (3 juv, 1 ss, 9 adult), a dozen Common Tern, 11 Cormorant, five Great Black-backed Gull, four Common Sandpiper, three Greenshank, two Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Grey Heron and the Slavonian Grebe.

About 15 Swallow and a Sand Martin flew by. Ten Common Scoter rafted offshore and only a few Gannet. Two Kestrel on Warren Point, the juv Redstart was still by the Main Pond and a juv Green Woodpecker was near the entrance.

Wildlife news: a Clouded Yellow was in Greenland Lake.

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