Monday, 19 April 2021

Monday 19th April

The first Reed Warbler of the year was at the Main Pond along with the presumed long-staying and very elusive Siberian Chiffchaff and a second equally pale individual.

Siberian Chiffchaff - Dean Hall

More unexpected though was a Red-throated Diver late in the day. Although not looking in the best of health it was feeding on occasion; the Canada Geese took a dislike to it if it came too close and the two pairs of Little Grebe gave it a wide berth.

Red-throated Diver - Luke Harman

Elsewhere three Wheatear and two Whitethroat were on site and 70 Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew north up the estuary, with other counts including 170 Oystercatcher, four Whimbrel, three Sanderling and three Sandwich Tern

Wildlife News: Several Small Copper were on the wing and Water Vole were present at the Main Pond. A large number of Eyelash Fungi Scutellinia scutellata were found on rotting wood near Dead Dolphin Wood. 

Eyelash Fungi

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Sunday 18th April

Single Cuckoo and Redstart were the pick of the migrants although both were brief and soon moved through with seven Wheatear and seven Willow Warbler also on site. A fly by Little Ringed Plover and two Stock Dove were also new for the year.

Counts from the estuary included 48 Bar-tailed Godwit24 Whimbrel, six Dunlin and six Grey and six Ringed Plover.

Offshore there were 15 Sandwich Tern, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver.

Willow Warbler - Lee Collins

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Saturday 17th April

The series of cold nights followed by sunny cloudless days continues with the site drying by the hour. Migrants were limited to nine Willow Warbler and two Wheatear on the Warren but there was more movement noticeable in the estuary. Counts included 43 Dunlin, 35 Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Knot, 14 Turnstone, 13 Whimbrel and 12 Grey Plover

A Dark-bellied Brent Goose remained in the estuary and offshore there were just two Sandwich Tern with two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver.

Wildlife News: No fewer than four species were added to the Recording Area tally today including the willow sawfly Euura bergmanni and New Holm Oak Pigmy Ectoedemia heringella. First records for the year included the nationally rare Black Mining Bee Andrena pilipes and Garden and Early Bumblebee.

Euura bergmanni - Alan Keatley

Black Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Tuesday 13th April

A small arrival of migrants were greeted by a ground frost, something that was absent almost all winter. At least 10 Willow Warbler were on site early morning with three Wheatear but the highlight was a brief Grasshopper Warbler early evening, the 2nd earliest record, following one on 11th April 2004. Overhead a Yellow Wagtail, a Siskin and a few high flying Chaffinch.

Counts from the estuary included 12 Whimbrel, 22 Ringed and six Grey Plover, 21 Knot, nine Redshank, eight Sandwich Tern, seven Dunlin, seven Turnstone, two Bar-tailed Godwit and single Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Greenshank. Off site 44 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were on Cockle Sands, Exmouth in the evening. Elsewhere a pair of Gadwall, the first of the year, were on the Main Pond and a Red-throated Diver was offshore. 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Sunday 11th April

The continuing cold spring kept migration to a minimum but a Whitethroat on Warren Point was a new arrival, with two Wheatear and two Willow Warbler also present and five Siskin, a Buzzard, two Swallow and a Sand Martin overhead.

Wheatear - Dave Jewell

Counts over the high tide included two Whimbrel, 225 Oystercatcher, 21 Ringed and nine Grey Plover, 17 Redshank, five Turnstone, three Dunlin, two Bar-tailed Godwit and single Knot, Greenshank and Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Elsewhere 10 Manx Shearwater flew east early morning with six Great-crested Grebe, two Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver also offshore.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Saturday 10th April

The highlight was a singing Siberian Chiffchaff at the Main Pond, presumably an elusive/unreported longstayer, as with the exception of 24 Siskin overhead, other migrants were noticeable by their absence. 

Counts from the estuary included the first three Whimbrel of the year, 260 Oystercatcher, 104 Curlew, 10 Sandwich Tern, 26 Redshank23 Ringed and 18 Grey Plovertwo Bar-tailed Godwit and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Wildlife News: The first Orange-tip and Small Copper of the year were on the wing with Comma, Speckled Wood and Peacock. Several solitary bee species were evident including Sandpit Mining Bee, Painted and Gooden’s Nomad Bee.

Painted Nomad Bee - Alan Keatley

Small Copper - Alan Keatley

Friday, 9 April 2021

Friday 9th April

Two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were offshore with nine Common Scoter, six Sandwich Tern and five Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere six Dark-bellied and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary, four Wheatear and four Willow Warbler were on site and six Swallow flew through. 

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Thursday 8th April

Four Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were offshore with 17 Sandwich Tern, 103 Gannet, eight Great-crested Grebe and three Common Scoter. Elsewhere migrants included three Willow Warbler and two Wheatear with 10 Swallow, six Sand Martin and two Siskin overhead.

Wildlife News: The early spring flora continue to flower during sunny periods with Sand Crocus, Shepherd's Cress and Upright Chickweed all on show. Insects included several Speckled Wood and single Peacock and Comma with Yellow-legged and Chocolate Mining Bee feeding on Alexanders and a Common Dolphin offshore. 

Monday, 5 April 2021

Monday 5th April

The cold northerlies failed to bring any snow to south Devon and migrants were in equally short supply, although Sandwich Tern had increased with 34 offshore, along with two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, 50 Gannet, six Common Scoter and four Guillemot

Elsewhere 12 Ringed Plover, two Greenshank and a Dunlin over high tide and passing through just 11 Sand Martin, eight Swallow, three Siskin and two Rock Pipit. A Willow Warbler was fresh in but the Chiffchaff and Blackcap are now largely birds on territory. Amongst the breeding birds the first pair of Little Grebe now have chicks on the Main Pond.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Sunday 4th April

Another clear sunny day, and with little wind, warmer than yesterday. The highlight came early morning when a Ruddy Shelduck was picked up heading S with two Shelduck, before circling back round into estuary. It was relocated in Shutterton Creek before flying N up the estuary an hour later. It was later relocated on Exminster Marshes. The British Ornithologist's Union is currently reviewing records of this species; depending on the outcome of this review this could be the second or third acceptable record for the Warren following one in July 1995 and five in off the sea on 7th Oct 2003. 

Ruddy Shelduck - David Flack

Also in the estuary 208 Curlew, 30 Knot, 28 Grey and 11 Ringed Plover, five Greenshank, five Dunlin, three Sanderling, three Pale-bellied and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Elsewhere three Sandwich Tern were offshore, a Snipe was on the Main Pond, two Red Kite flew NE over Exmouth and other migrants passing through included eight Swallow, eight Sand and two House Martin, six Siskin, two Buzzard and single Yellow and White Wagtail

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus was out in numbers with Shepherd's Cress also having a good year. Butterflies included a single Red Admiral, Brown-tail caterpillars were emerging from their winter webs and Girdled Snail was another addition to the site's fauna.

Shepherd's Cress

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Saturday 3rd April

Another sunny day after an overcast start, but a much cooler northerly wind hampered migration with just six Sand and four House Martin through, along with four Siskin and two Swallow. Raptors did find some thermals though with four Buzzard and at 2pm two Red Kite high over. Grounded migrants included a Whitethroat by the Dune Pond and a Willow Warbler with 10 Chiffchaff and three Blackcap

In the Bight over high tide counts included 238 Oystercatcher, 22 Grey and 11 Ringed Plover, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese and single Knot, Sanderling and Red-breasted Merganser. Offshore two Great Northern Diver still and five Sandwich Tern.

Wildlife News: Despite the cold wind Sand Crocus remained in flower but insects were only in the more sheltered spots including the first Epistrophe eligans hoverfly of the year. Late news from the beach included Butterfish and the first Worm Pipefish for the Recording Area. 

Worm Pipefish - Simon Thurgood

Friday, 2 April 2021

Friday 2nd April

Another fine early spring day with the pick of a small arrival of migrants a female Whitethroat behind the Main Pond, the earliest ever site record; the previous earliest was on 7th April 2011. Other grounded migrants included 13 Chiffchaff, six Blackcap and three Willow Warbler in the bushes and two Wheatear on Warren Point.

Overhead 55 Sand Martin, 46 Swallow and six House Martin, with most passing through in a series of pulses early morning. The birds spent some time over the Main Pond feeding up, with most having gone through by 10:30, also overhead seven Jackdaw, three Siskin and the year's first Osprey at 11:10 with the same bird returning to the south end of the estuary from 11:25-11:40.

Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver were offshore with 20 Kittiwake, 11 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Gannet, nine Sandwich Tern, four Great-crested Grebe and two Fulmar. Yesterday's flock of Eider had departed with perhaps the same birds east past Portland this morning. In the estuary counts included 189 Oystercatcher, 124 Curlew, 22 Grey Plover, six Turnstone, two Knot and two Sanderling.

Wildlife News: Good numbers of male Early Long-horn Adela cuprella were lekking at the top of sallows around the Entrance Bushes, a new species for the Recording Area.

Early Long-horn Adela cuprella

Increasing numbers of Sand Crocus were flowering once the temperature rose late morning with the same conditions attractive to insects. Four species of butterfly; four Comma, three Peacock, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood were on the wing with the first Tree Bumblebee and Dark-edged Beefly of the year also noted.


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Thursday 1st April

With Covid lockdown relaxed the hope is the Recording Group blog will return to regular updates but this will of course depend on the whether observer's sightings are submitted. The hide remains closed with access no longer possible due to erosion of the new sea 'defences'.

The month started with fine weather and an early Yellow Wagtail overhead, along with 15 Swallow through during the day. grounded migrants included a Wheatear in Greenland Lake and six Chiffchaff and and three Blackcap in the bushes.

A flock of 14 Eider (8 adult male, 4 female, 2 1st w male) off John's Watch were only the second record of the year for this increasingly rare visitor, with a flock of 13 Red-breasted Merganser that flew into the estuary, the highest count of the winter. Also offshore 15 Shag, 10 Sandwich Tern, seven Common Scoter, five Great-crested Grebe, five Gannet and two Razorbill

Elsewhere a Kittiwake was on Finger Point with a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 12 Grey Plover, six Ringed Plover and a Knot on the dropping tide.

Wildlife News: The fine weather saw the Warren Crocus in flower with Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock on the wing along with Yellow-legged Mining Bee and the first Common Carder Bumblebee of the year. A single Diamond-back Moth arrived along with the Saharan dust.

Sand Crocus

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

March 2021

The bird hide remains closed and the viewing area outside no longer accessible. All of the reported sightings below were made following Government regulations and guidance. Stay safe and hope to see you all soon. 

The month’s highlight was the brief presence of a White-tailed Eagle on 21st, one of the birds released as part of the Isle of Wight based reintroduction project. The bird, G466, was in the Turkey Oak copse of the Golf Course early morning before being relocated in trees just off site at Cofton, where this image was taken. 

White-tailed Eagle - Lee Collins

An immature female, she had flown along the East Devon coast the previous day, being seen on the pebblebed heaths before roosting in the woodland to the east of Woodbury. After leaving Cofton she travelled a total of 75km that day passing over the Teign Estuary before roosting to the east of Plymouth.

Many thanks to Stephen Egerton-Read from Forestry England for the map and information. 

Other notable sightings included three Whooper Swan which flew out to sea before returning and undertaking a tour of the estuary on the 6th and a Red-legged Partridge on the 30th, just as wild, an Indian Peahen was on the Golf Course on the 17th. Long-staying scarcities included the Treecreeper which remained until the 10th, even singing on occasion, two Coal Tit until the 7th, the Siberian Chiffchaff until the 6th and the Firecrest until the 21st.

Whooper Swan - Ben Falcon

Other site scarcities included a female Tufted Duck on 25-26th, a Jack Snipe on 19-20th, a Golden Plover on the 4th and a Black-tailed Godwit on 27th.

Peak counts from the estuary included 1000+ Dunlin on 1st dropping to 530 on 7th and single figures by the end of the month. Other counts included 330 Oystercatcher, with colour-ringed birds reported back on breeding sites during the month, 290 Dark-bellied and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 166 Bar-tailed Godwit, 158 Curlew, 95 Grey Plover, 58 Knot, 58 Turnstone, 35 Redshank, 27 Shelduck, 22 Teal, 17 Sanderling and six Greenshank. With no confirmed sightings all month it seems Herbert the Slavonian Grebe has finally succumbed after 14 years on site. 

Green Woodpecker - Dave Jewell

There was little reported offshore with maxima of six Great Northern and just two Red-throated Diver, the first Manx Shearwater arrived on cue, passing south on the 26th, the first Sandwich Tern was recorded on the 6th with a peak of 18 on 27th. 

Summer migrants started to arrive mid month with the first Wheatear on 17th with a peak of of six on 28th; a White Wagtail on the 18th, a Sand Martin on the 24th, a Willow Warbler on 27th and five Swallow and two Blackcap on 31st. 

Wheatear - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was seen on several occasions with unidentified dolphins offshore on the 9th. The spring weather saw the appearance of the first butterflies with Red Admiral, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Comma and two Small Tortoiseshell noted, the latter equalling the number recorded throughout 2020. Bees also emerged with Yellow-legged and Chocolate Mining Bee recorded on the 31st along with Hairy-footed Flower Bee and Red-tailed Bumblebee

Hairy -footed Flower Bee (male) - Alan Keatley

Sand Crocus emerged late month but remained largely closed in dull weather, with Early Forget-me-not, Shepherd's Cress, Common Whitlow Grass, Rue-leaved Saxifrage and Snake's-head Fritillary also in flower. 

Snake's-head Fritillary - Alan Keatley

A total of 656 species had been noted on site by the end of the month including several new species for the Recording Area including Red Gurnard, Water Measurer, Spring Starflower and Grape Hyacinth Anther Smut Antherospora hortensis, the latter new for Devon. 

Red Gurnard - Simon Thurgood

Sunday, 28 February 2021

February 2021

Daily updates will continue to be replaced with summaries during the Covid-19 lockdown, which has meant that fewer records were received than usual. The bird hide remains closed and the viewing area outside no longer accessible. All of the reported sightings below were made following Government regulations and guidance. Stay safe and hope to see you all soon. 

The so called 'Mini beast from the east' didn't get this far west with only two nights below freezing. The month was actually slightly milder and wetter than average with 81mm rain across 14 days and an average temperature of 6.8C.

The month’s highlight was actually late news from 27th January when a Spotted Redshank was just south of Cockwood on the dropping tide, the first Warren record since Nov 2014.

Treecreeper - Jo King

February started with the first Jay since 2018 on the 2nd, two Lesser Redpoll the next day and a Treecreeper on the 8th which remained until at least the 22nd. Also around the scrub a Siberian Chiffchaff (re)appeared on 11-12th with Firecrest reported on four dates, two Coal Tit throughout and a Tawny Owl on 26th.

Siberian Chiffchaff - Lee Collins

There was little reported offshore with maxima of three Great Northern and just a single Red-throated Diver, but an adult Little Gull was off the Point on 14th, with presumably the same bird in the estuary on the 16th.

Little Gull - Lee Collins

In the estuary peak wader counts included 1500 Dunlin, 210 Bar-tailed Godwit, 205 Knot, 198 Grey Plover, 60 Snipe, 42 Redshank, 34 Ringed Plover and five Greenshank. The cold weather didn’t reveal a great deal of movement but an Avocet arrived on the 11th with three the next day, two on 14th and one until the 18th.

As is typical for the time of year wildfowl numbers dropped off with maxima of 249 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 72 Teal and 17 Wigeon. Three Goldeneye at the start of the month was the winter high for this increasingly scarce duck, but Red-breasted Merganser are in a more precipitous decline, the month’s peak of eight a stark contrast to the site maximum of 204 as recently as Dec 2000.

Scarcer wildfowl included a pair of Pintail on 11th and a single Pale-bellied Brent Geese on 9th. The last reported sighting of Herbert the Slavonian Grebe was on the 8th, moving to Exmouth briefly to escape the strong old easterlies but, as yet, not returning.

As Spring broke through at the end of the month there was hope of early migrants, there was a notable influx of Stonechat on 22nd with at least 13 on site and another small influx on the 28th, when a Red Kite drifted low east making the most of the high pressure.

Ringing News: The wintering Scandinavian Rock Pipit Yellow 632 was last seen around the 17th but was then seen at Sheringham on the north Norfolk coast on the 19th, pausing briefly on its return to Norway. 

Yellow 632 Nov 2019 -  Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was seen offshore, and the spring weather saw the appearance of the first Honey Bee and hoverflies on the 28th. 

Scarlet Elf Cup - Lee Collins

Several new species for the Recording Area were noted during the month including two new moths species, Mottled Grey and Coastal Flat-body Agonopterix yeatiana.

Coastal Flat-body

Monday, 1 February 2021


Daily updates will continue to be replaced with summaries during the Covid-19 lockdown, which has meant that fewer records were received than usual. The bird hide remains closed and the viewing area outside no longer accessible. All of the reported sightings below were made following Government regulations and guidance. Stay safe and hope to see you all soon. 

The month was both colder (5.6C) and wetter (120mm) than average but this was was very much a month of two halves with a minimum temperature of -4C on New Years Day with the maximum of 15.1C on the 28th. Over 25% of the months rainfall was on the 20th (31.4mm).

The year started well with the 13th record of Marsh Tit at the First Pond (no doubt the bird from Shutterton Lane), a Jack Snipe and a very rare midwinter Blackcap amongst at least 82 species recorded on the 1st and nine White-fronted Geese, two Purple Sandpiper and a Woodcock recorded on the 2nd. The 3rd saw Goldeneye and Kingfisher added to the year list but January was otherwise quiet with the annual tally rising to just 99 species by the months end.

Counts from the estuary were generally lower than average throughout the month with peaks of 1800 Dunlin, 710 Oystercatcher, 459 Teal, 326 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 210 Grey Plover, 206 Knot, 181 Bar-tailed Godwit, 117 Curlew, 110 Common Gull on 29th, 109 Shelduck, 102 Wigeon, 100 Snipe - above average count, 50 Redshank, 33 Ringed Plover, 30 Sanderling, 20 Turnstone, seven Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe throughout. A peak of just 13 Red-breasted Merganser was barely 10% of the numbers recorded only a few years ago. 

Scarcer species included the first two Mediterranean Gull late month, singles of Golden Plover on 6th & 31st, Black-tailed Godwit on 22nd, Pale-bellied Brent Goose on 24th and Lapwing on 31st.

Offshore a good total of 86 Great-crested Grebe, with 14 Red-throated and three Great Northern Diver, but Common Scoter were largely absent, with two Eider only present on 17th. A pale phase Pomarine Skua on 15th was presumably one of the wintering birds from Torbay.

A couple of Firecrest were recorded on several dates early in the month with two Coal Tit throughout, but the Siberian Chiffchaff was last seen on the 6th. At least 12 Cirl Bunting are wintering almost outnumbering Linnet which peaked at just 14, hopefully numbers will pick up before the breeding season. A pair of Mistle Thrush on the Golf course late month is a positive sign for this early breeder with trilling Little Grebe and drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker showing Spring is just around the corner. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Wildlife Review 2020: Flies


A total of 43 species of hoverfly were recorded compared with 54 seen in 2019. Several regular species of the genus Cheilosia and Platycheirus, that are mostly prevalent in Spring, were not seen this year.

The first hoverfly of the year was a Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax in February, followed by Tapered and Plain-faced Dronefly Eristalis pertinax arbustorumMarmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and Platycheirus scutatus by early March.

Some hoverflies are highly migratory and numbers can be noticeably boosted by influxes. On 13 June hundreds of Marmalade Hoverfly were on site with lesser numbers of White-clubbed Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri. By mid August other migrant hoverflies such as Large Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus trivittatus and Syritta pipiens had begun to arrive, sharing Water Mint and Common Fleabane with Batman Hoverfly Myathropa florea, Hornet Hoverfly Volucella zonaria and Giant Pied Hoverfly Volucella pellucens

White-clubbed Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Other nectaring hoverflies seen at this time included Common Tubetail Sphaerophoria scripta, Humming Syrphus Syrphus ribesii, Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus and Stripe-faced Dronefly Eristalis nemorum.

Common Tubetail - Alan Keatley

Only one new species was recorded this year, Rural Bulbfly Eumerus strigatus on 12 September. Although there was a lack of new species, several hoverflies confirmed their continuing presence following their first occurrence in 2019. 

These included Hook-banded Wasp Hoverfly Chrysotoxum festivum, Common Thistle Cheilosia Cheilosia proxima and Parsley Cheilosia Cheilosia pagana in June,  Broad-banded Epistrophe Epistrophe grossulariae and Golden-tailed Hoverfly Xylota sylvarum in July, Lesser Hornet Hoverfly Volucella inanis in August and Yellow-barred Peat Hoverfly Sericomyia silentis in September.

Golden-tailed Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Throughout October hoverflies species started to dwindle, although Common Dronefly were still plentiful on bramble and ivy until the end of the month. By November hoverfly numbers had dropped off considerably with just single sightings of Melanostoma scalare on 19th, Common Spotted Field Syrph Eupeodes luniger and Humming Syrphus on 21st, and Marmalade Hoverfly on 26th. The last hoverfly of 2020 was a Glass-winged Syrphus Syrphus vitripennis on 19th December.

Marmalade Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Dawlish Warren: Hoverflies

Other flies

Including one hoverfly, 11 fly species were added to the Warren list in 2020 bringing the overall total to 645 species. 

The first new fly of the year was the cranefly Cylindrotoma distinctissima on 20 June. Less obvious, but still new for site were gall midges Contarinia hyperici (St John's-wort), Cystophora sonchi (sow-thistles), Jaaplella schmidti (plantains) and the leaf miners Chromatomyia ramosa (Teasel), Aulgromyza heringii (Ash) and Phytomyza agromyzina (Dogwood) all given away by their larval stages on specific plants. The other new species included the smart Looped Flutter-fly Palloptera muliebris in the Cuckoo's Nest on 27 August.

Prior to this year there were only three records of the migratory Locust Blowfly Stomorhina lunata on site, but between 1-22 October there were a further five individuals. The occurrence of this North African vagrant coincided with strong southerly winds.

Locust Blowfly - Alan Keatley

A cross section of more regular species this year included White-tipped Semaphore Fly Poecilobothrus nobilitatusCoastal Silver Stiletto Acrosathe annulataMarsh Snipefly Rhagio tringariusField Buff Snail-killer Tetanoceta elataSlender-striped Robberfly Leptogaster cylindrica, the soldierfly Black-horned Gem Microchrysa politaFour-banded Bee-grabber Conops quadrifasciatus and the peculiar looking ladybird mimic, Graphomya maculata.

Field Buff Snail-killer - Alan Keatley

Monday, 4 January 2021

Wildlife Review 2020: Bees & Wasps

A total of 32 bee species were seen during the year, with many of the usual Spring species missed. The year started well with a winter active Buff-tailed Bumblebee on 1 January and a very “early” Early Bumblebee queen on 15 January both nectaring on Hebe. A Trimmer’s Mining Bee Andrena trimmerana discovered on 12 March, was the first of six new bee species for the Warren in 2020.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee - Alan Keatley

Spring species that were recorded included Bronze Furrow Bee Halictus tumulorum, Grey-patched Mining Bee Andrena nitida, Marsham’s Nomada marshamella, Painted N.fucata and Gooden’s N.goodeniana Nomad Bees. Five further species of bumblebee were recorded; Garden, Red-tailed, Common Carder, Tree and Heath, the latter a welcome return after a blank in 2019.

Coastal Leafcutter - Alan Keatley

The first Yellow-legged Mining Bee Andrena flavipes was eventually recorded on 19 May, with Water-dropwort Mining Bee A. ampla on 21 May, and Sandpit Mining Bee A. barbilabris and Coastal Leafcutter Megachile maritima on 4 June. The first of many Silvery Leafcutter Megachile leachella were on the wing from 28 May, evidence of their handiwork was evident on favoured Birch saplings and almost every Bramble flower seemed occupied. 

During the Summer new species continued to emerge including Green-eyed Flower Bee Anthophora bimaculata on 13 June, Large Sharp-tailed Bee Coelioxys conoidea on 20 June, Pantaloon Bee Dasypoda hirtipes on 18 July, and White-zoned Furrow Bee Lasioglossum leucozonium on 22 August. The nationally uncommon and localised Black Mining Bee A,pilipes was found on 29 August. Initially found on meadow flowers the first male Ivy Bee Colletes hederae were early on 1 September before moving to Ivy with the emergence of females.

Large Sharp-tailed Bee - Alan Keatley

Several locally common species were first discovered on site this year, filling obvious gaps in the Warren list. With some as close as The Maer at Exmouth is wasn’t a surprise that they were eventually recorded at the Warren. These include Common Mini-miner Andrena minutula on 13 June, Common Yellow-faced Bee Hylaeus communis on 20 June, and later in September, a Bare-saddled Colletes Colletes similis on 3rd, Brown-footed Leafcutter Megachile versicolor  and Common Furrow Bee Lasioglossum calceatum on 10th and Orange-legged Furrow Bee Halictus rubicundus on 12th.

Common Yellow-faced Bee - Alan Keatley


Wasps form a very large and diverse group of species. Over the years over 150 species have been recorded at Dawlish Warren, in the past many of these would have been identified by collecting specimens. Recent records are by sight alone, so only the most recognisable can be identified to species level.

This year 33 species were recorded, out of these six were new for site. The least expected newcomer was the ichneumon wasp Callajoppa cirrogaster seen 16 July. One of the largest and most spectacular looking British ichneumon, it is a parasitic wasp of hawk-moth caterpillars. Other ichneumon wasps found this year were Pimpla rufipes, Apechthis compunctor and Enicospilus ramidulus.

Callajoppa cirrogaster - Alan Keatley

The sandy habitat at the Warren supports a good number of digger wasps, and as usual a variety of species were found this year. Digger wasps appear from mid May and can be seen nectaring on flowers, especially umbellifers. The following were seen this year: Common Spiny Digger Wasp Oxybelus uniglumis, Astata boops, Slender-bodied Digger Wasp Crabro cribrarius, Sand-tailed Digger Wasp Cerceris anenaria, Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp C. rybyensis, Four-banded Digger Wasp Gorytes quadrifasciatus, Ectemnius continuus, Bee-wolf Philanthus triangulum, Crossocerus quadrimaculatus, C. podragricus and Crossocerus megacephalus on Warren Point. This last species however avoids sand, burrowing into soft rotting wood to store captured flies for its larvae.

Crossocerus megacephalus - Alan Keatley

A few spider-hunting wasps species can be found patrolling at ground level over open areas. Many are difficult to identify, one that can be identified is Leaden Spider Wasp Pompilus cinereus. Another easily identified species Red-legged Spider Wasp Episyron rufipes, is a frequent visitor to umbellifers, the first of the year seen on 19 May.

Leaden Spider Wasp - Alan Keatley

Other solitary and parasitic wasps recorded included Gasteruption jaculator, a ruby-tailed wasp Chrysis ignita, Ancistrocerus nigricornis and A. trifasciatus with the common and conspicuous Red-banded Sand Wasp Ammophila sabulosa frequent in the dunes.

The plant galls of ten gall wasp species were recorded, amongst these were two new species, both found on oak, Striped Pea Gall Wasp Cynips longiventris and Neuroterus saliens.

Social wasps had a good year, both Common and German Wasp were numerous with several nests scattered around the site. Both species were active until on ivy until mid November, with a final Common Wasp on 19th December. A welcome record was Hornet, with two October records of this, less than annual, impressive social wasp.

Hornet - Alan Keatley