Saturday 19 September 2020

Saturday 19th September

Apart from a spell mid afternoon, birding spanned from dawn to dusk on a day that  started overcast in a chilly northerly, which at this time of the year can be good for early overhead passage.  The most notable and highest count of the year was 109 Siskin northeast. Also on the move, 70+ House Martin, 30+ Swallow, ten Meadow Pipit, two Buzzard, a Grey Wagtail (plus another in The Bight) and a Rook.

A single feeding flock contained the majority of warblers and tits, totals were 14 Long-tailed Tit, seven Chiffchaff, two Blackcap. Also present two Great Spotted Woodpecker; the pair of Collared Dove and a vocal Coal Tit. Other notables were a Stock Dove, a Wheatear; and other selected counts were 68 Starling, 60 Goldfinch, 50+ Linnet; also six Stonechat, three Cirl Bunting, two Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk.

Both tides were covered and the spring tide tonight (about 9 p.m.) at 4.4 metres predicted for the Exmouth Docks gauge will be a really big one. The Environment Agency's 'sand-sausage', the last line of defence to prevent a sea breach of the spit, is perilously exposed and vulnerable. The near future is looking ominous unless remedial measures are implemented quickly. The Bight, now protected by only a narrow neck of the spit, continues to support large numbers of roosting waterbirds, where today (at points in time) were found most of the 1,063 Oystercatcher, 211 Dunlin including a diminutive arctica type; 78 Knot, c.50 Ringed Plover, 41 Great Black-backed Gull, 21 Cormorant, 16 Pale-bellied Brent Goose (accompanied by two Dark-bellied Brent Goose); seven Grey Plover and six Sandwich Tern.T Along the beach were 10 Sanderling.

In the estuary corner, the saltmarsh and beside the railway, 353 Curlew, 329 Redshank, 160 Wigeon, 155 Black-headed Gull, 148 Canada Goose dropped briefly in the evening; 71 Teal, 31 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Mute Swan, 13 Shelduck, 13 Pintail included those that flew in off the sea; 12 Mediterranean Gull (9 ad, 1 sw, 2 fw); six Greenshank, four Turnstone, four Common Snipe, two Great Crested Grebe, two Black-tailed Godwit, 'Herbert' the Slavonian Grebe, an imm/♀ Eider, a Whimbrel, a Kingfisher, and yesterday's returning unpleasantness that could be a Wigeon x Pintail hybrid.

Wildflife news: a fresh Wall butterfly sunned itself on the dunes; also a few Large White, Small White, Meadow Brown and a Red Admiral.

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