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

JANUARY 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.