Monday 31 August 2020

Bank Holiday Monday 31st August

A reasonable tally of 72 species were recorded today. The woods, scrub and reed-beds supported 12 Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, five Whitethroat, two Reed Warbler, single Great Spotted Woodpecker, Collared Dove and Sparrowhawk; at least 70 House Sparrow emerged from a shrubby roost next to the main car park and 60 Starling roamed the site, as well as did c.60 Linnet, 16 Goldfinch, ten Stonechat, six plus Greenfinch and four Cirl Bunting.

Overhead, mostly of movement northeast involved c.30 Swallow, 16 House Martin, two Sand Martin and three Grey Wagtail.  Also three Buzzard drifted over during the hottest part of the day.

Along the beach were 37 Sanderling and out on the sandbars on the ebbing morning tide, c.1,425 Herring Gull, 17 Cormorant and 64 Sandwich Tern, of which a similar number returned in the evening and included the 2018 Ynyslas ringed bird KJB not seen here for a few weeks. On the evening tide arrived c.800 Oystercatcher, c.425 Dunlin including one arctica type, 289 Curlew, 237 Redshank, 179 Ringed Plover, 70+ Knot, 70+ Black-headed Gull, 30 Great Black-backed Gull, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Teal, seven Greenshank, seven Little Egret, five Turnstone, three each of Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull and Mediterranean Gull; a juv Common Tern, a Shelduck, a Whimbrel, a Kingfisher, the Slavonian Grebe, a juv Curlew Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Grey Heron and yesterday's juv Little Stint still.
Offshore 22 Common Scoter plus the long-staying male still in the estuary; ten Gannet, a few Kittiwake and an immature Great Northern Diver.

Wildlife news; a Grey Seal offshore. One or two each of Clouded Yellow, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.

Sunday 30 August 2020

Sunday 30th August

On the rising tide around The Bight were 692 Oystercatcher, 409 Dunlin, 122 Ringed Plover, 73 Knot (the largest August count here since 2011), 35 Sandwich Tern, half of the eight Bar-tailed Godwit, eight Cormorant, seven Turnstone, six juv Curlew Sandpiper, four Sanderling, and four Snipe  oddly; also a juv Little Stint (only the 2nd record of the year), a juv Yellow-legged Gull and a juv Lesser Black-backed Gull.

A moulting adult Bar-tailed Godwit had multiple colour-rings and an orange-flag.  It was ringed as an adult at Réserve Naturelle de Moëze-Oléron, which is located about halfway down the Atlantic coast of France, on 16 May 2018.  The same bird was then frequently seen at Dawlish Warren 01 Jun - 08 Sep 2018.

On and near Railway Saltmarsh and in the estuary corner, 362 Curlew, 147 Redshank, 20 Mute Swan, ten Little Egret, six Greenshank, six Common Gull, four Mediterranean Gull, three Grey Heron, a Whimbrel and the Slavonian Grebe.

Other migrants noted today were at least 11 Swallow, six Wheatear and three Whitethroat.

Wildlife news: singles of Clouded Yellow, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral

Saturday 29 August 2020

Saturday 29th August

Temperatures tumbled to their lowest level this morning since early-July in a brisk north-northwesterly and there was little to whet the appetite waiting for the late afternoon high tide with only seven Chiffchaff, four Blackcap and single Willow Warbler and Whitethroat in scrub and wooded areas, plus the resident species with counts of c.70 Linnet, small numbers of Greenfinch and Goldfinch; also six Stonechat, four Skylark, four Raven and singles of Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Bullfinch.

The tide was worth the wait as two juv Ruff dropped into The Bight, the first record of the year, and three juv Curlew Sandpiper were mixed in with the 326 Dunlin, including two diminutive greyey looking arctica types; also 107 Ringed Plover, 40+ Knot and three Sanderling.

Aside from one over-estimate, counts of Oystercatcher this autumn have been a concern and over the next four weeks when annual maxima tend to occur, the true scale of decline will be revealed. A count of 690 Oystercatcher today is down to only quarter of numbers expected at this time in comparison to counts of the 1980s. Research continues to understand what the underlying drivers are.

Also around The Bight and in front of the still un-repaired hide, 47 Sandwich Tern, including KBV, an annual autumn visitor here since 2017, was ringed as an adult on the Dyfi Estuary, located on the mid-west Welsh coast; also 33 Great Black-backed Gull, 14 Cormorant, two Lesser Black-backed Gull, two Common Tern, a juv Yellow-legged Gull and a surprise dark-phase adult Arctic Skua that swooped at and chased the male Kestrel for a bit before heading back over the ridge and out to sea. Foraging in the glasswort sp Salicornia sp were four of today's six Wheatear and three overdue White Wagtail, the first record of the year.

On the rising tide along Shutterton Creek there was a three-figure count of Redshank and also in estuary corner at high tide were 188 Curlew, ten Greenshank, most of the ten Mediterranean Gull (2 ss, 8 adult), including white-ringed '3EXH', ringed as a pullus in the Oost-Vlaanderen region, Belgium in June 2013 and re-sighted at Dawlish Warren in July or August in six of the past seven years. Seven Whimbrel flew off SE leaving three behind.

A close in Common Scoter and less than 20 each of Gannet and Kittiwake were offshore. Just 12 Swallow and a House Martin overhead.

 Common Scoter - Alan Keatley

Wildlife news: sheltered sun traps attracted two Small Tortoiseshell, a Red Admiral, as well as good numbers of Speckled Wood, Small White, Large White, Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Small Copper. Notable were Black Mining Bee Andrena pilipes and White-zoned Furrow Bee Lasioglossum leucozonium. One of two Emperor Dragonfly, Migrant Hawker and a Southern Hawker.

Black mining bee Andrena pilipes - Alan Keatley

Small Tortoiseshell - Alan Keatley

Friday 28th August

During a visit in the afternoon to observe arrivals over the high tide, selected counts were 304 Dunlin, 142 Ringed Plover, 25 Sanderling, ten Greenshank, a juv Curlew Sandpiper and a Knot. Counts were interrupted at times by a hunting juvenile Peregrine.  Among the 51 Sandwich Tern present was a Spanish ringed bird not seen here for a number of weeks and a new individual ringed on the Farne Islands.  A glance off the seawall produced a Great Northern Diver and also noted on site three Wheatear

Timing of the visit was fortuitous to catch sight of the two Spoonbill as they left site and flew off south at 14:20. Initially it was assumed that these were the same two seen later from Berry Head, 15 km to the south of Dawlish Warren, in the "early afternoon", but subsequent inquiries revealed a more intriguing movement.  The sighting off Berry Head was of two Spoonbill heading strongly south at 12:36, so before the Dawlish Warren sighting.  Its not unreasonable for these birds to have simply changed their minds and returned instead of making a perilous journey over the open sea, theorising perhaps due to sensing a change in the weather conditions as rain did arrive in the region later the same day.  Clearest on one of the photos; see link (, both had black marks in the outer primaries, as did those at Dawlish Warren, but seemingly less black in those off Berry Head, so perhaps different birds; can't be certain. 

Thursday 27 August 2020

Thursday 27th August

The two immature Spoonbill that have frequented the top end of the Exe Estuary since 19th August finally made it down to the site this evening, actively feeding along the shallows of Shutterton Creek swaying their bills side to side feeling on morsels to eat that included some small fish.  Foraging along the margins of the creek were 173 Redshank and two Greenshank. And oddly, one of this evening's two Wheatear was stood way out on the mudflats.

The clear fresh air and bright evening sunshine was in sharp contrast to the deluge earlier this afternoon and from early morning the menacing gloom impeded birding.  Persistence in wooded areas still managed counts of 14 Long-tailed Tit, ten Blue Tit, eight Great Tit, seven Blackcap, six Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and single Sparrowhawk and Great Spotted Woodpecker.   

Two Snipe flew over before the rain arrived and later in the wetness a juv Little Ringed Plover was in The Bight and 17 Sanderling were along the beach. 

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Tuesday 25th August

Storm Francis struck today and became the second named storm to hit this month.  Maximum gusts here topped 50 mph in the afternoon, with winds in the early morning from the SSE later veering W; the rain mostly stopped after 08:30. These conditions sound promising but in reality six hours of seawatching effort was poorly rewarded, much to the chagrin of observers learning of fantastic sightings elsewhere in Devon and Cornwall.  Possible reasons are that the storm was isolated and not preceded for long enough by persistent winds from the western quarter to push seabirds into the English Channel and Lyme Bay; and also Storm Francis took a quick left turn up the Irish Sea, instead of continuing on a trajectory straight along the Channel, which relatively few storms do. Dawlish Warren, geographically situated as it is, needs a particular set of conditions to perform and this was not in evidence today.  

That said, it's done a lot worse - counts were of 315 Kittiwake, 215+ mixed small wader flocks (Dunlin and Ringed Plover); c.105 Gannet, c.100 Sandwich Tern, 72 Common Tern (plus 4 'commic' tern), 56 Common Scoter, 15 Manx Shearwater, 13 Fulmar, 7 Arctic Tern, five Whimbrel, three Storm Petrel, a single Great Skua, plus a skua sp.; an immature Great Northern Diver and a Great Crested Grebe. Most birds flew south.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Sunday 23rd August

Present for its sixth day, the Melodious Warbler was again the highlight for a steady trickle of visitors and it performed well at times in its favoured area of brambles just beyond the timber-clad flood wall; it also twice uttered a sparrow-like chatter call.  A remark on Twitter from a visitor about the helpfulness of birders to each other to see this bird was widely applauded.  

The bushes received good coverage but no counts and no scarcer migrants were reported today. More remote parts of the reserve supported c.75 Linnet, eight Stonechat and three Wheatear. Overhead, only c.10 Swallow, two House Martin and single Sand Martin and Swift continued a poor run of hirundines this autum

The fresh westerly was not conducive to seawatching which only produced a few Gannet and Kittiwake, six distant Manx Shearwater, four Common Scoter (another remained in the estuary) and two Fulmar. Most of the 26 Lesser Black-backed Gull today were offshore and flew south.

During the high tide, as usual nearly all of the
 314 Curlew, 87 Redshank, 19 Mute Swan, 17 Whimbrel, 15 Mediterranean Gull, 14 Little Egret, 11 Greenshank, nine Bar-tailed Godwit, three Black-tailed Godwit and single Grey Heron and the Slavonian Grebe roosted on the Railway Saltmarsh or floated beside the railway embankment.  The 265 Dunlin, 145+ Ringed Plover, five Turnstone, ten Sanderling and three Knot were along the beach and in The Bight; as usual most of the 794 Oystercatcher, 26 Cormorant and c.20 Great Black-backed Gull roosted on Finger Point.  Perched on and around the posts of the 'wader island' were 42 Sandwich Tern and six Common Tern.  Also present were four mobile Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper was reported calling as it flew over the site. As the sand-banks became exposed on the dropping tide, an impressive count of c.1,460 Herring Gull congregated before the kite-surfers then arrived.

Wildlife news: lots of Autumn Lady's-tresses still in flower in Crocus Compound and Greenland Lake.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Saturday 22nd August

The one-eyed Melodious Warbler attracted a trickle of admirers and for most showed well in its favoured brambles beside the Back Path just beyond the flood wall, ranging  from Crocus Compound to Dead Dolphin Wood and in sunny spells sometimes foraged quite high up in Hawthorn and Grey Willow bushes.  

Melodious Warbler - Alan Keatley

Also present, eight Chiffchaff, six Blackcapsix Stonechat, five Willow Warbler, five Whitethroat, four Cirl Bunting, two Sedge Warbler and a Garden Warbler. The now familiar sight of passerine flocks roaming around the site comprised of at least 50+ Linnet, 44 Starling, 25 Goldfinch and 17 Greenfinch; also three Wheatear.

A Snipe and a Short-eared Owl rose from the dunes at Warren Point, a welcome return after its absence in 2019 and this is the earliest autumn record here since one in July 1959 and is only the second ever in August.

There can be few places where folks clad appropriately in drab and camouflaged clothing with optics and cameras are mixed in with people dressed in swimwear, or in the case of one or two less modest individuals wearing nothing at all; and whilst some were oblivious, others focused their attention on the flocks of small waders running around everyone's feet frantically foraging along the tideline on what little space remains of the eroded beach.  The moment, between groyne 9 and 10, epitomized the world we now live in today. 

Waterbirds counted during the high tide period in the estuary were 355 Curlew, 310 Black-headed Gull, 239 Dunlin, 213 Ringed Plover, 41 Redshank, 30+ Great Black-backed Gull, 24 Cormorant including a sinensis race roosting on Finger Point; 20 Whimbrel, approx 20 Sanderling, 17 Sandwich Tern, 14 Mediterranean Gull, six Shag, five Bar-tailed Godwit, five Common Gull, four Little Egret, four Common Sandpiper, three Turnstone, three Knot, two Great Crested Grebe, two Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Grey Heron and a Greenshank.

Also present the resident Slavonian Grebe and its security contingent of ten Mute Swan.  The storm-wrecked drake Common Scoter remained in the estuary corner and off The Bight for its third day.  Nothing of note was seen offshore.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Tuesday 18th August

A Melodious Warbler along the Back Path was an unexpected highlight, the first Warren record since 1980 and the sixth record overall. It had a damaged left eye but seemed to be catching insect amongst the bramble were it showed well but was typically elusive at times. Other news was limited but other migrants included a Garden and two Willow Warbler.

Melodious Warbler - Luke Harman

Sunday 16 August 2020

Sunday 16th August

A visit over the evening tide saw counts of 236 Dunlin, 215 Ringed Plover, 180 Redshank, 18 Whimbrel, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Mediterranean Gull, eight Grey Plover and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary. Other migrants included three Wheatear and a Swift

Saturday 15 August 2020

Saturday 15th August

A damp overcast day with continuing signs of migration with the first Snipe of the autumn and two Teal in the estuary, along with 85 Ringed and a Little Ringed Plover, 39 Sanderling, eight Common Sandpiper, four Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit. Other records included 32 Common Scoter offshore, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, six Wheatear, two Willow Warbler and a Swift.

Friday 14 August 2020

Friday 14th August

No sign of either Kentish Plover today but a noticable arrival of waders and even wildfowl with the first two Wigeon of the autumn. Apart from these the pick of the new arrivals was another Wood Sandpiper briefly in the Bight and three juvenile Little Ringed Plover. Counts from the estuary included 187 Ringed Plover, 141 Dunlin, 27 Sanderling, seven Mediterranean Gull, six Sandwich and five Common Tern, two Knot and the Slavonian Grebe. Passerine migrants were limited to seven Wheatear.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Thursday 13th August

The day's highlight was a fem/imm Kentish Plover found on the beach with Sanderling early morning and then promptly disappearing, before turning up with Ringed Plover and a second(!) on the mudflats mid evening. This rare migrant is a Warren speciality with over 100 records but is now considered a national rarity. Three of the five in the UK this year have been onsite!

Kentish Plover - Alan Keatley

Other records included 56 Ringed Plover, 51 Dunlin, 29 Sanderling, seven Turnstone, just seven Sandwich Tern, two Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe

Wildlife News: Several Migrant Hawker on the wing with this mating pair at the Dune Pond. Other insects included the Hornet Hoverfly Volucella zonaria.

Migrant Hawker - Alan Keatley

Monday 10 August 2020

Monday 10th August

Heavy showers in the morning brought only temporary relief from the high humidity and temperatures. Coinciding with the tide, may have been responsible for bringing down some  waders with increased counts in The Bight of 144 Ringed Plover and 126 Dunlin. Another Wood Sandpiper (the site's 42nd record) was again present only briefly. A meagre 15 Sandwich Tern and two adult Little Tern also.

An evening walk around wooded areas saw a mixed flock pass through that contained 12 Blue Tit, nine Long-tailed Tit, two Great Tit and single figures of Chiffchaff. Up to four Willow Warbler and a few Blackcap, a juvenile Bullfinch and a Sparrowhawk were also present. 


Wood Sandpiper (and Dunlin) - Lee Collins

Sunday 9 August 2020

Sunday 9th August

An emphatic reminder of yesterday's cautionary tale about it still being the bird breeding season came in the form of the bizarre sight of a family party of Mute Swan waddling in a line along the Back Path near Dead Dolphin Wood with the cob, 'DDN', leading from the front. Although trying reach the estaury, the abundance of fencing means they will have to wait until the young have fledged before they escape. 

The party was chaperoned by one of the local birders, from a safe distance, back to the Main Pond. The sensible behaviour of dog-walkers this morning with their dogs on leads and giving the swans a wide berth ensured a positive outcome. 

Wood Sandpiper remained all too briefly as it called constantly from The Bight area, then flew over the ridge and was lost heading out to sea in an easterly direction. This is the site's 41st record, it's on a peak date and was of typically short duration; only one individual (in Oct 1999) is recorded as having remained on site for more than one tide.

Also present, more-or less-similar counts to those of recent days were c.480 Oystercatcher, 59 Dunlin, 56 Ringed Plover, 17 Sanderling, three Turnstone and a Greenshank. About half of the 18 Mediterranean Gull flew in off the sea (8 juv, 1 ss, 9 adult); again single figures of juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull were mixed in with the Herring Gull and only 30 Sandwich Tern dropped onto 'woodhenge', including a presumed Welsh-ringed bird.

The bushes had 12 Stonechat, including fledglings, also seven Whitethroat, six Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, four Blackcap, and one Garden Warbler; also singles of Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Also noted, about 15 Swallow passed through, three Wheatear and a Stock Dove.

Saturday 8 August 2020

Saturday 8th August

The early morning, with a cool, fresh northwesterly breeze encouraged some warblers to seek warmth from the rising sun on the leeward side of wooded areas where actively foraging were nine Chiffchaff, five Blackcap, four Whitethroat, four Willow Warbler; a few mixed tits and only the third Spotted Flycatcher of the year.
Long-tailed Tit - Dave Jewell
Willow Warbler - Alan Keatley
Small parties of hirundines passed through early on, at least 50 Swallow and 35 House Martin, also three Swift, a Yellow Wagtail and a Little Ringed Plover flew southwest. As often happens in autumn, hirundines' sense of direction baffles with earnest movement early on heading northeast then late morning a trickle of Swallow headed southwest. A flock of six Common Tern flew in off and north up the estuary. 

Just before the heat haze contrived to confound counts of waterbirds roosting on the Railway Saltmarsh, which from the hide area is a challenge at 850 metres away (or just over a half mile away), counts over there plus in and around The Bight included 483 Oystercatcher, 376 Curlew, 192 Redshank, 135 Black-headed Gull, 61 Ringed Plover, 53 Dunlin, 48 Canada Goose, 34 Whimbrel, 23 Sandwich Tern, 20 Sanderling, 18 Mute Swan, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Cormorant, ten Great Black-backed Gull, seven Little Egret, six Mediterranean Gull (2 juv, 1 fs, 6 adult), five Common Gull, three Lesser Black-backed Gull, two Turnstone and a Common Sandpiper.

August is usually the peak month of passage for Ringed Plover and counts so far have been rather but since this species presents a distinctly peaked pattern to its occurrence here, it is too early to comment yet on its performance this autumn; its average peak date (1980-2019) is 20th August. A different story is emerging for Sandwich Tern, which has an average peak date two weeks earlier, on 6th August, and the max count so far this year is only 123 (on 26th July), less than half of expected numbers, so a late flourish is hoped for.

Also today, two Wheatear around The Bight. Although passage birds are featured, it is still the bird breeding season with Reed Warbler juveniles still being fed and the 'Dune Pond pair' of Stonechat have just fledged two chicks (their third brood and the second to be successful), serving as a reminder for all visitors and site managers to be careful.

Wildlife news: temperatures rose sharply late morning to a sweltering 29
°C, which encouraged invertebrates to become very active and butterflies seen included four Clouded Yellow, singles of Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Lady and Brimstone, a scarce species here. Two or three Emperor Dragonfly, Migrant Hawker and Common Darter ranged over ponds and dunes.

Brimstone in Greenland Lake - Alan Keatley
Volucella inanis Lesser Hornet Hoverfly by 'Crocus Compound' - Alan Keatley

Thursday 6 August 2020

Thursday 6th August

Dreich described the early morning weather and no more than awareness was of a few Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff present in the bushes. Lost in the mizzle, two Fulmar cruised low along the dune ridge, and low over the wader island an immature Arctic Skua appeared, spooking all the roosting birds into taking flight and after only a half-hearted chase of a gull, it vanished back out over the dune ridge.  As things brightened up, waterbirds came into view and selected counts were 350 Black-headed Gull, 284 Curlew, 55 Dunlin, 33 Sandwich Tern, 21 Sanderling, 11 Common Tern, four Turnstone and a Greenshank. Also seen today, three Manx Shearwater south; the resident two Raven on Warren Point, two Wheatear and only six Swallow passed through.

Wildlife news: two Clouded Yellow were in Greenland Lake, other butterflies included a few Small White, Common Blue, Small Copper and Speckled Wood. Other invertebrates noted were Batman Hoverfly Myathropa florea, Plain-faced Dronefly Eristalis arbustorum, Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly Eristalinus sepulchralis, Beewolf Philanthus triangulum and Pantaloon Bee Dasypoda hirtipes.

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Wednesday 5th August

In a quite breezy southwesterly with showers, 30 Common Scoter, three Arctic Tern and two Pomarine Skua passed offshore. The weather dropped in 85 Ringed Plover, and although the highest count of the year so far, is a typical count for the time of year; as were other wader counts conducted, these being 415 Oystercatcher, 58 Dunlin, 27 Sanderling and seven Turnstone.  Among the Sandwich Tern were up to ten Common Tern. Other notables were a the two Raven, a Wheatear and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Tuesday 4th August

On a still, dry and sunny morning, a brief search of the bushes produced ten Chiffchaff, eight Blackcap, five Blue Tit, three Whitethroat, three Bullfinch, two Willow Warbler, two Great Tit, the usual pair of Collared Dove and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  At least 76 House Sparrow emerged from roosting in a large bush next to the main car park. A scan through the smaller waders assembling along the beach and in The Bight included 71 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover and 21 Sanderling

Sunday 2 August 2020

Sunday 2nd August

Fresher, far less humid and a south-westerly air-stream was a return to prevailing conditions and with this make a sense of normality in the range of bird-life present today, but still some interest persisted. On the high tides in the estuary and along the beach beyond groyne 9, the demarcation where the Bylaw applies and beyond which dogs are not permitted to enter, there were 607 Oystercatcher, 385 Curlew, 154 Redshank, 69 Ringed Plover52 Sandwich Tern37 Dunlin, 25 Sanderling, 19 Whimbrel, 15 Mediterranean Gull (4 juv, 4 fs, 7 adult); 15 Mute Swan, seven Greenshank, ten Great Black-backed Gullsix Lesser Black-backed Gullfive Canada Goosefour Common Gull, four Common Ternthree Little Egret, three Bar-tailed Godwit, two Kingfisher, two Teal, a Grey Heron and the Slavonian Grebe. And again two Stock Dove were on the railway embankment. 

The sight of eight mixed age Moorhen together on the Main Pond prompted the question again of - what counts? For nidicolous passerines the straightforward standard is to count individuals once they are out of the nest and more-or-less fledged, but this is not so straightforward for most nidifugous waterbirds, especially if precocial. Since many young fall victim to predation and other natural causes, its not representative to count chicks at this time; so when to drawn the line? The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) methodology is followed by which juveniles that have survived to become at least two-thirds grown are counted. However, the recording of young birds is also valuable for e.g. working out productivity. So, in the case of our eight Moorhen, four were adults, three were mostly grown first-brood juveniles and the last was a dinky fluffy chick, so that is recorded on 'BirdTrack' as as a count of 7 and in the comments one can put "7 plus a chick". If also adding a BTO breeding evidence code, this nidifugous chick has left the nest but it isn't fledged, so the 'NY - nest with young' code to used (not 
'FL'). Different codes apply if recording under the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.

A juv Shelduck in off the sea otherwise little until the evening with totals of 
26 Common Scoter23 Gannet, a trickle of commuting Kittiwake and rising from the sea to intercept them two skua sp. plus an adult pale-phase Pomarine Skua.  Single figures and fewer warblers in the bushes than recently with migrant species present in the form of four Willow Warbler and three Sedge Warbler were on Warren Point.  Also the juv Redstart still, two Wheatear and a male Reed Bunting.

Better passage in the evening, totals overhead were c.40 Swallow three House Martin and a Swift.

Wildlife news: a helice Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady and Red Admiral. Two Bottle-nosed Dolphin were a long way offshore.

Saturday 1 August 2020

Saturday 1st August

Both high tides received coverage and yesterday's adult summer-plumage Curlew Sandpiper was present on the morning tide only. Another Green Sandpiper rose from the estuary early morning and departed south. An impressive 11+ were seen at one site at the top end of the estuary this morning. Other waterbird counts in the estuary were 570 Oystercatcher, 376 Curlew, 182 Canada Goose departed from roost shortly after dawn; 142 Redshank, 118 Dunlin, including a plain orange and yellow coded '4U3' from Wales; also 57 Whimbrel, 67 Ringed Plover, including a metal Norwegian-ringed individual, 12 Mute Swan, ten Greenshank, eight Great Black-backed Gullfive Little Egretfive Bar-tailed Godwit, three Knot, three Common Sandpiper, a Turnstone, a Mallard, an adult Grey Heron and the Slavonian Grebe. Along the railway embankment were two Stock Dove.
Welsh-ringed Dunlin - Lee Collins
The wader island aka 'woodhenge' hosted 72 Sandwich Tern, including a yellow colour-ringed Irish individual; four Common Tern, again an all-red billed bird were present, and presumably yesterday's adult Roseate Tern present on the morning tide only.

Along the beach tideline 27 Sanderling and some of today's 20 Mediterranean Gull (3 juvs, 2 fs, 1ss, 14 adult) accompanied 305 Black-headed Gull, as did two Common Gull. And as the tide ebbed further to expose Pole Sands, Bull Hill and and mudflats, c.1685 Herring Gull descended to loaf.

Just 13 Gannet offshore, nine Common Scoter and three Manx Shearwater offshore. In the early evening at this of the year, Kittiwake return with prey from their daily commute hunting out at sea to feed their near fledged young at the Straight Point colony. It's not uncommon for skuas to exploit this opportunity, so can be a good time of day to look out for them but can be distant and whilst a dark phase Arctic Skua was identified, another skua harrying a Kittiwake was either Pomarine or Arctic.

The pair of Mute Swan with their two cygnets and a Little Grebe were on the Main Pond; at least a dozen Reed Warbler, including young were still being fed on this and at other ponds on site.

Overhead, ten Swift, nine Swallow, two House Martin, an unseasonal Golden Plover and a Yellow Wagtail. Two of four Raven flew SW and nine of the 13 Lesser Black-backed Gull seen today flew south in the first obvious autumn movement of this species.

A mixed feeding flock boosted numbers in the bushes where counts were of 19 Blue Tit, 15 Chiffchaff, 12 Stonechat, nine Blackcap, five Long-tailed Tit, four Whitethroat, three Willow Warbler, three Great Tit, three Collared Dove, two Sparrowhawk, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Song Thrush and remarkably still here, the juv Redstart first seen on 18th July.   

juv Redstart - Lee Collins
On Warren Point a single flock contained c.240 Starling and two Kestrel hovered overhead.

Wildlife news:Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis a 'National Scarce B' was a new species for the site. Butterflies on the wing were one or two Red AdmiralClouded Yellow and Brown Argus, plus regular species GatekeeperCommon Blue and Small White. One of the two Emperor Dragonfly hunted behind the hide.
Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis - Alan Keatley