Saturday 19 December 2020

Saturday 19th December

A busy and colourful synoptic chart with a large deep depression (973 mb) that sat over northeast Atlantic looked rather ominous, but after 08:30 the site managed to dodge the worst showers and birding was quite productive.  A ♀ Scaup was the first of the year as it sheltered in the estuary corner.  Apart from one off Maer Rocks, Exmouth last November, this is the first to be seen from the site since 26th Nov 2016.  The site year-list is now on 184.

The morning spring tide brought in 1,070 Dunlin, c.845 Oystercatcher, suggesting a couple of hundred birds were missing; a hundred of these were reported today at their minor satellite roost north of Exton, others were inland on Eastdon Fields, presumably also around Starcross and a small flock flew in from west over Dawlish Warren village. Also 182 Dark-bellied Brent Goose plus nine Pale-bellied Brent Goose; 145 Bar-tailed Godwit, 128 Grey Plover, 108 Shelduck, 62 Great Black-backed Gull, 40+ Turnstone, including the usual seven below Langstone Rock when the tide dropped; 38 Sanderling, 38 Common Gull, 29 Redshank probed around puddles on the 14th fairway; 22 Cormorant, 20+ Black-headed Gull, 18+ Ringed Plover, ten Red-breasted Merganser, just three Curlew, a Greenshank, an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Kingfisher and the lonesome Slavonian Grebe.

Main Pond had seven Mallard plus the domestic thing; only one Shoveler (♂), a Little Grebe and single-figures of Water Rail and Moorhen.

After all of the recent rain, wellies are now required to bird some wooded areas.  There were sightings there of 14 Long-tailed Tit, four Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff, single Song Thrush, Coal Tit,  ♂ Great Spotted Woodpecker and ♂ Green Woodpecker. Around Greenland Lake roamed a flock of 66 Goldfinch with six Greenfinch, two Stonechat and from flooded meadows rose a dozen Meadow Pipit.  Also today, single Buzzard, Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk had a go at the woodpecker and the murmuration of 420 Starling over Main Pond at dusk.

Too choppy to see much on the sea, a light passage of Gannet and Kittiwake passed through south, also two Great Northern Diver and a Common Scoter.   On the tideline amongst the debris foraged both Norwegeian colour-ringed Scandinavian Rock Pipit '632' and 'AVP' and four petrosus Rock Pipit.

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