Friday 30 April 2021

Friday 30th April

An evening visit saw 41 Sandwich Tern offshore and 25 Whimbrel on the Golf Course with 30 Swallow feeding around the Main Pond. Earlier 40 House Martin and 30 Swallow flew east and eight Dunlin and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose were in the estuary.

Whimbrel - Lee Collins

Thursday 29 April 2021

Thursday 29th April

The first two Whinchat of the year were the pick of the migrants with single Reed Warbler and Whitethroat also thought to be new arrivals amongst the birds now on territory. Overhead a Hobby early morning, an Osprey, with perhaps the same bird heading south later on, two Swift, 25 Swallow and two House Martin.

Whinchat - Lee Collins

Osprey - Lee Collins

In the estuary the Ruddy Shelduck made a repeat visit early morning after three weeks at Exminster Marshes but returned north soon after; counts included 87 Dunlin on the morning tide but just eight in the evening, c70 Sandwich Tern, 66 Whimbrel, 29 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Ringed and nine Grey Plover, 10 Knot, nine Turnstone, seven Sanderling and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Ruddy Shelduck - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: The first Hairy Dragonfly of the year was in Greenland Lake with Coastal Silver Stiletto Acrosathe annulata also on the wing

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Wednesday 28th April

The rarest sighting of the day was rain, the first for several weeks; this failed to produce a hoped for fall of migrants but did see an arrival of terns and waders. Offshore the first five Little Tern of the year were seen intermittently with 108 Sandwich and two Common Tern and a Great Northern Diver also present.

Counts from the estuary included 111 Dunlin, 83 Whimbrel, 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Knot, 20 Grey and 15 Ringed Plover, 15 Sanderling, 10 Turnstone and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. Elsewhere 47 Swallow and a Swift were overhead and a single Wheatear was in the Bight. 

Bar-tailed Godwit - Lee Collins

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Tuesday 27th April

The first Common Sandpiper of the year flew along the beach this morning with 17 Sandwich and two Common Tern offshore with six Mediterranean Gull heading east. A distant flock of 14 'commic' Tern were probably Arctic. 

Counts from the estuary included 53 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Dunlin, 17 Knot, 15 Whimbrel, 14 Grey Plover and a Greenshank. One of the Whimbrel was colour-ringed D63, this is the fifth time in six years this bird has been recorded at the Warren on spring migration. Two Egyptian Geese landed briefly on Finger Point during the evening tide.

Elsewhere the first Hobby of the year flew through with 40 Swallow and 40 House Martin, two Willow Warbler were new migrants and five Whitethroat and three Reed Warbler were on territory. 

Sunday 25 April 2021

Sunday 25th April

The first Common Tern of the year was offshore, seen from Exmouth early morning with a Great Skua, 30+ Sandwich Tern, 10 Kittiwakeeight Common Scoter and five Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver 

Overhead there were 46 Lesser Black-backed Gull29 House and eight Sand Martin20 Swallow, 13 Swift and a Meadow Pipit. Elsewhere four Wheatear were on site with three Reed Warbler in song at the Main Pond. 

Wildlife News: Another new plant for the Recording Area was found today, Mediterranean Spurge Euphorbia characias, like several recent additions this is a non-native species that has spread from plantings around the tourist areas. 

Saturday 24 April 2021

Saturday 24th April

Seawatching early morning again paid dividends with singles of PomarineArctic and Great Skua all heading east along with c40 Manx Shearwater, 20 Common Scoter and seven Great Northern Diver. Also offshore the first Swift of the year and 30 Sandwich Tern. The lack of other terns remains a concern, when the first Common Tern appears it will be the latest first arrival on record. 

Friday 23 April 2021

Friday 23rd April

Seawatching early evening saw a fully spooned pale phase Pomarine Skua head east along with a distant Great Skua, 30 Manx Shearwater, five Mediterranean Gull and 40+ Swallow; 25 Sandwich Tern were lingering along with single Great and Arctic Skua

Elsewhere a single Wheatear was in the Bight and counts from the estuary included 83 Bar-tailed Godwit, 40 Dunlin, 17 Knot, nine Ringed and five Grey Plover

Thursday 22 April 2021

Thursday 22nd April

Three Wheatear showed a continuing trickle of migration with three Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler also present on site. Elsewhere at least 12 Whimbrel and a Greenshank were in the estuary, two Sanderling were on the beach and two Sandwich Tern were offshore.

Whitethroat - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A Common Green Furrow Bee Lasioglossum morio along the seawall by Langstone Rock was new for the Recording Area, also on the wing Sandpit Mining Bee, Early Bumblebee and the first St Marks Fly Bibio marci of the year. The last few Sand Crocus remain in flower during sunny periods. 

Common Green Furrow Bee - Alan Keatley

St Marks Fly 

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Tuesday 20th April

An evening visit saw 20 Manx Shearwater fly east offshore with single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver also present with 24 Sandwich Tern, six Great-crested Grebe and two Red-breasted Merganser. On the beach between groynes 11 and 12 there were 20 Pale-bellied and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Elsewhere two Swallow and a Whimbrel came in off, two Willow Warbler and a Wheatear were remaining migrants and the two Whitethroat and several Blackcap and Chiffchaff are already on territory. 

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 on the Main Pond 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