Visible migration was more evident throughout the morning and totals that include grounded individuals (with main direction in brackets) were 56 Jackdaw (54 W, 2 NE), the first big flock of the autumn; 47 Meadow Pipit (mostly grounded), 43 Skylark (W), 26 Rook (most W), 26 Woodpigeon (WSW), 15 Swallow (NE), 13 Siskin (NE), ten 'alba' wagtail (WSW) three Grey Wagtail (SW), three Raven (ENE), two Chaffinch (NE), a Lesser Redpoll (NE), a Buzzard and a Lapwing flew in off. Three Coal Tit worked their way NE, again were too brief to race. Same as yesterday, finches arrived early from the SW and stopped to linger in the Greenland Lake area, where 88 Goldfinch, 21 Greenfinch and some of the 18 Linnet fed.
Migrants in the woods and bushes were three each of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest; a Reed Bunting was on Warren Point. Also in bushes an increase to 21 Robin suggests a small influx; numbers of other resident species were more typical with nine Stonechat, eight Long-tailed Tit, six Blue Tit, five Cirl Bunting, three Great Tit, two Great Spotted Woodpecker and single Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Bullfinch.
The Main Pond had the dubious honour of supporting two Aylesbury Duck with five Mallard, all assumed to be visitors from Dawlish town; and the drake Shoveler still. Offshore, 15 Common Scoter and a few Gannet.
Dry neap lunchtime tides can be discouragingly poor and the presence of just a single Ringed Plover and Dunlin in The Bight were certainly that. The curious timings of WeBS counts that coincide with neap tides over recent years has stirred some constructive discussion to address this issue. A moment here is taken here to thank dedicated WeBS counters, some of whom have committed their time to this survey for 30 years, and thanks also for sharing and posting these records today, which have already been collated, sifted and combined with those from other observations on site, then fed by a nominated person into a joint account on BirdTrack to produce a set of comprehensive and accurate records. Since the Dawlish Warren to Starcross WeBS sector extends well beyond the Dawlish Warren Recording Area, best judgement is sometime needed to assume where the birds actually were. Parallel counts assist with this; WeBS counts and site counts have different purposes and applications, and in some respects have different criteria, so this is not duplication nor nugatory effort.
So, whilst the Dawlish Warren outer WeBS sector struggled for birds, by contrast the estuary corner and Railway Saltmarsh (part of the Dawlish Warren to Starcross WeBS sector) was packed with birds and there the day's highlight was 24 Cattle Egret that dropped in at high tide (the 24th bird joined the 23 as news was released about those). Up to 27 have been reported locally between Cockwood Marsh and Powderham since 2nd October. This record is reminiscent of 25 & 26 Cattle Egret that visited the site in Jan 2020 during a period when up to 41 were around the estuary and many remained into late-March.
Counts (believed to be within the recording area) were 776 Oystercatcher, 754 Teal, 376+ (all 548?) Curlew, 339 Redshank, 233+ Wigeon, 177 Black-headed Gull, three-fig count Canada Goose, 68 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 35 Bar-tailed Godwit, 29 Cormorant, 24 Mute Swan, 18 Shag (including those inshore), 17 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 13 Knot, 11 Greenshank, ten Grey Plover, eight Common Gull, eight Sandwich Tern, five Little Egret, five Lesser Black-backed Gull, just four Great Black-backed Gull, three adult winter Mediterranean Gull, three Red-breasted Merganser (one in off), two Grey Heron, a late Whimbrel, a Shelduck, the usual drake Eider and 'Herbert' the Slavonian Grebe.