Saturday 26 December 2020

Saturday 26th December (Boxing Day)

On a mild overcast day with a moderate westerly, there was a light passage of c.30 Gannet, 30+ auk spp., eight Red-throated Diver and five Kittiwake first thing this morning.  Also offshore, 40 Great Crested Grebe, a flock of 19 Common Scoter and the regular Great Northern Diver.

A pair of Shoveler on Main Pond, single-figures of Mallard, Moorhen and Water Rail also, and the Little Grebe carried weed in what appeared to be premature and no doubt short-lived bout of nest-building activity.  At dusk, the murmuration was  c.400 Starling; a cross-check against photos, if possible, will check accuracy. 

Similar range of birds in the woods to recent weeks with a dozen Long-tailed Tit, eight Blue Tit, five Great Tit and a Coal Tit. Also nine Goldcrest, four Siskin, three Chaffinch, a pair of Bullfinch, two Song Thrush and still the Siberian Chiffchaff and Firecrest beside Butterfly Ride area again.  New in were two Redwing, the first since 8th Nov.  A flock of 60+ Goldfinch roamed around site; also 12 Linnet, eight Greenfinch and six Cirl Bunting

The 3.1 metre 15:50 tide (Exmouth Docks gauge) saw waders arrive before dark to  collect mostly around The Bight and were 1,824 Dunlin, c.975 Oystercatcher, 128 Grey Plover, c.95 Knot, 88 Bar-tailed Godwit, 62 Curlew, 36 Ringed Plover and 24 Sanderling.  The five Greenshank roosted on the saltmarsh edge opposite 17th tee, as usual; and two-figure counts of Turnstone and Redshank were also present.  Wildfowl in the estuary included 62 Dark-bellied Brent Goose with another 262 in Eastdon Fields that flew down from Starcross direction; 152 Teal, 121 Shelduck (with another 30 or so off Exmouth); 18 Wigeon, seven Red-breasted Merganser, two Mute Swan and the female Scaup still present. Of c.25 Great Black-backed Gull, two were regularly seen colour-ringed - P.87B has been recorded >130 times here since Oct 2015, after it was ringed a pullus on Portland breakwater in June 2015. It was first seen this season on 11 Aug after a long absence, later than in any previous season, although this year it matured into an adult so perhaps it was on a breeding site.  The other bird, JT288 has been recorded here >55 times.  This bird was ringed as a pullus at Knibringen, Strand, Rogaland, NORWAY in July 2014.  It's first sighting this season was on 16th September. For more details see 'ringing reports', e.g. 2019.

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