Thursday 29 October 2020

Thursday 29th October

Unsettled conditions continue with a series of deep depressions crossing the North Atlantic driven on a jet stream reaching 220 mph over Newfoundland and that meanders only slightly before arriving over the UK where it is still a potent 120 mph  (netweather, online). At sea level the WSW moderate to strong breeze was again disappointing at sea where c.60 Gannet and a few auk spp. passed in 45 mins. Closer inshore to find sheltered waters were two Great Northern Diver and two Red-throated Diver.

Red-throated Diver - Alan Keatley

Wooded areas predictably held the mixed flock of tits, four Goldcrest and two each of Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Bullfinch. The Main Pond continued to host the drake Shoveler, a Little Grebe, the aquiline female Mallard, a few Moorhen and squealing Water Rail. Around Greenland Lake, the finch flock had reduced to c.30 Goldfinch, c.10 Greenfinch and a few Linnet. As usual, a few Stonechat and Cirl Bunting were scattered about the reserve. A late House Martin was also reported. A female Merlin over The Bight in the evening was likely the same bird seen earlier in the day.
Little Grebe - DW - 2020-10-29 - AKe

Same as for the past few days, most attention was on the incoming evening high tide. Wind, dankness and drizzle hampered observations and the presence of Carrion Crows continue to frustrate matters further, particularly when a lone exhausted small calidrid that raised mild interest was immediately dived on and chased into the dunes of Warren Point where it was attacked and killed. A desperate jog around by one observer was too late to save it. And the macabre theme continued as birders spotted crows pecking at a Short-eared Owl lying on the beach of The Bight, which prompted another jog, but seems that had been dead already for a few hours.

The 'AVP' colour-ringed Scandinavian Rock Pipit was again on the shoreline of The Bight and details returned by the 'Norwegian Rock Pipit Project' coordinator shared details today that it was mist-netted as a 1cy on 9th August this year at Farsund, Vest-Agder, which is at the south end of Norway. It called more convincingly today like a littoralis and its appearance, commented on yesterday as especially cryptic is possibly explained by its being a young bird.

Scandinavian Rock Pipit - Lee Collins
Scandinavian Rock Pipit - Lee Collins

Over 400 Dunlin appeared in The Bight and with them again were a juv Little Stint and at least one moulting juv Curlew Sandpiper. By coincidence, of the 35 Ringed Plover, the yellow-flagged 'XTX' bird was again present, ringed at Makkevika Giske, Norway, from where Dawlish Warren has had Ringed Plover before.  Those that breed there are still hiaticula, not tundrae, which breed further north. Apart from 57 Knot earlier, no other wader counts were made. 

Too dark and mostly too distant, the American Wigeon that was seen to fly towards Dawlish Warren from Exmouth this evening could not be found among the 1,380 Wigeon and 265 Teal. Also four Great Crested Grebe, another Little Grebe and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary.

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