Monday 31 May 2021

Monday 31st May

The highlight was the 18th site record of Nightjar, a male seen a couple of times during the day in Dead Dolphin Wood and leaving its unknown roost there at 21.45. The first record since August 2015 but late news of the 17th record means it was actually only the first sighting for a week! A Hobby flew east early evening with two juvenile Coal Tit and a Lesser Whitethroat on site. Fledged young included Bullfinch, Chiffchaff and Great-spotted Woodpecker

Counts from the estuary included 179 Oystercatcher, 22 Mute Swan18 Sanderling16 Shelduck, five Dunlin, three Turnstone, two Bar-tailed Godwit, two Whimbrel and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose. 

Wildlife News: The change to dry, sunny weather has seen a welcome increase in insects with Common Blue particularly noticeable. Several new species for the year were also on the wing including Ferruginous Bee-grabber Sicus ferrugineus, Large Pied Hoverfly Volucella pellucens, White-clubbed Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastriSilvery Leafcutter Megachile leachella and Muslin Moth

Ferruginous Bee-grabber - Alan Keatley

Meliscaeva auricollis - Alan Keatley

Sunday 30 May 2021

Sunday 30th May

Counts from the estuary included 219 Oystercatcher, 12 Turnstone, 12 Shelduck, 10 Dunlin, 35 Sanderling, five Mediterranean Gull, four Whimbrel, four Ringed and a Grey Plover three Bar-tailed Godwit and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Great Northern Diver was offshore with 20 Kittiwake11 Common Scoter, two Sandwich Tern and a very distant Skua sp. Elsewhere a Stock Dove was overhead and a couple of Reed Warbler were new migrants.

Saturday 29 May 2021

Saturday 29th May

Counts from the estuary included 184 Oystercatcher, 21 Sanderling, 16 Dunlin, 10 Turnstone, nine Ringed and two Grey Plover, six Sandwich and a Common Tern, three Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Thursday 27th May

The highlight came early with a Marsh Harrier low north just after 6.30am, the start of a good late spring day with four Spotted Flycatcher and a female Whinchat notable late migrants and a small passage of 28 Swallow and 21 House Martin.

Counts from the estuary included 110 Dunlin, 80 Sanderling, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, six Ringed and two Grey Plover, four Mediterranean Gull, an Arctic Tern and single Knot and Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Elsewhere 75 Common Scoter and 12 Sandwich Tern were offshore. 

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Tuesday 25th May

Counts from the high tide included 84 Dunlin, 45 Sanderling, 12 Ringed and five Grey Plover, five Turnstone, five Bar-tailed Godwit, five Whimbrel, two Knot and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Elsewhere 29 Common Scoter, three Sandwich Tern, two Great-crested Grebe and single Great Northern Diver and Arctic Skua were offshore with a Wheatear the only passerine migrant noted.

Monday 24 May 2021

Monday 24th May

Counts from the estuary on the evening tide included 82 Sanderling, 67 Dunlin, 21 Turnstone, 18 Ringed and three Grey Plover, six Bar-tailed Godwit, two Knot, two Whimbrel and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose

Elsewhere two Spotted Flycatcher were on the Golf Course and a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver was offshore.

Sunday 23 May 2021

Sunday 23rd May

Seawatching on three occasions through the day saw combined totals of six Pomarine and two Arctic Skua, 172 Manx Shearwater, 110 Kittiwake, 17 Fulmar and two Sandwich Tern, with three Great Northern Diver and two Great-crested Grebe on the sea. The skuas were lingering in the bay late afternoon and evening, with the Pomarine at least heading south late on. 

Late migrants included two Spotted Flycatcher at the Main Pond with three Wheatear on site. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 16 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin at low tide with 100+ Sanderling along the beach. 

Wildlife news: A Common Blue was one of the few insects on the wing today. 

Saturday 22 May 2021

Saturday 22nd May

The only records came from the estuary were there were 162 Sanderling, 124 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, three Turnstone and a Knot

Friday 21 May 2021

Friday 21st May

Counts from the estuary included 100+ Sanderling, including a Mauritanian ringed bird, similar Dunlin numbers with 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, two Knot, a Grey Plover and a Continental Cormorant. Offshore at least 10 Great Northern Diver and two Arctic Skua. 

Sinensis Cormorant - Lee Collins

Thursday 20 May 2021

Thursday 20th May

A Spoonbill was a surprise highlight during the morning seawatch, heading south at 7.20am, as it flew past a couple of Pomarine Skua rose of the sea to investigate, having presumably roosted in the bay. A further five hours watch were by comparison uneventful with at least 15 Great Northern Diver, 120 Manx Shearwater, two Arctic Skua and just a single Sandwich Tern

Counts from the estuary included 43 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, six Bar-tailed Godwit, two Knot and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose. With the loss of Herbert, the Slavonian Grebe, the estuary is looking increasingly empty as the summer approaches.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Wednesday 19th May

Wader passage picked up with at least 580 Dunlin in the Bight, the highest May count since 2007, with them 130 Sanderling but other species were in short supply. Elsewhere the/a Lesser Whitethroat was singing from the Entrance Bushes where a roosting Tawny Owl was discovered. 

Wildlife News: The welcome change in the weather saw a boost in insect activity with the first Azure Damselfly of the year on the wing along with Green-veined White, Lesser Rural Bulb Fly Eumerus strigatus, Superb Anthill Hoverfly  Xanthogramma pedissequum, and Think-thighed Pollen Beetle

Dasysyrphus venustus - Alan Keatley

Lesser Rural Bulb Fly Eumerus strigatus - Alan Keatley

Monday 17 May 2021

Monday 17th May

The highlight was a late Osprey over mid morning with two summer plumaged Great Northern Diver offshore. Counts from the estuary included 52 Sanderling, 32 Dunlin, 12 Ringed and a Grey Plover, two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Turnstone and a Knot.

Wildlife News: The first Wasp Beetle and Brown Argus of the year were two of the few invertebrates braving the continuing cold and wet weather. 

Wasp Beetle - Alan Keatley

Brown Argus - Alan Keatley

Sunday 16 May 2021

Sunday 16th May

Seawatching for just 40 minutes early morning saw 10 Great Northern Diver and two Arctic Skua flying south. Elsewhere a single Wheatear was on site and count from the estuary included 48 Sanderling, 26 Dunlin, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, five Knot and a Grey Plover

Knot (& Bar-tailed Godwit) - Lee Collins

Saturday 15 May 2021

Saturday 15th May

Seawatching early morning saw a fully spooned Pomarine Skua head south along with two Arctic Skua, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver. Continuing the run of poor Springs just four Sandwich Tern were present.

Counts from the estuary included 80 Oystercatcher, 69 Dunlin, 49 Sanderling, 12 Whimbrel, six Knot, two Grey and a Ringed Plover. Elsewhere a Lesser Whitethroat was in the Buffer Zone, with a single Wheatear the only other migrant.

Lesser Whitethroat - Dave Jewell

Friday 14 May 2021

Friday 14th May

The highlight was a fly through Red-rumped Swallow early morning, the fifth site record. This bird was well watched in Dawlish yesterday and up till 15 minutes before this sighting this morning but not after. Another brief highlight was an immature Spoonbill that flew south mid-morning, which would normally have been bird of the day.

Other sightings were more expected with counts from the estuary including 43 Dunlin, 40 Sanderling, 26 Turnstone, 14 Whimbrel, nine Bar-tailed Godwit, eight Ringed and two Grey Plover, seven Knot, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese and the colour-ringed Greenshank

Elsewhere an Arctic Skua, two Great Northern Diver, 30 Manx Shearwater and 14 Sandwich Tern were offshore, three Wheatear and a couple of new Reed Warbler were on site.

Thursday 13 May 2021

Thursday 13th May

A day of continuing dampness with 10 times as much rain in 24hrs than through all of April! The overnight deluge did drop in a further migratory pulse of waders. The highlight was a Little Stintthe first May record since 2009, with the first Ruff of the year also amongst the 230 Dunlin

There was sign of either on the evening tide but only about 60 Dunlin were present. Other counts included 46 Whimbrel, 38 Sanderling, nine Turnstone, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, six Knot, two Grey Plover, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a colour-ringed Greenshank

Greenshank - Lee Collins. Ringed as a juvenile at Farlington Marshes, Hampshire in autumn 2006.

Offshore eight Great Northern Diver (six south & two on the sea), two Great-crested Grebe, eight Sandwich Tern and a first summer Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere the Lesser Whitethroat was along the Back Path and two Wheatear, one a Greenland race bird, were on the Golf Course.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Wednesday 12th May

Records from a very wet evening tide included three Little Tern and a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver offshore, with counts from the estuary including 20 Whimbrel, 14 Ringed Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, one a French ringed bird returning for its third Spring, 11 Turnstone, four Dunlin, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese, two Sanderling and a Grey Plover

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Tuesday 11th May

Two Great Northern Diver were off the seawall this evening with a strong auk passage, mostly Guillemot. No obvious migrants but breeding birds in full swing with fledged Stonechat, Greenfinch and Little Grebe all noted, with the Little Grebe nesting building for their next brood.

Counts from the estuary and beach included 28 Whimbrel, 21 Sanderling, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, two Dunlin, two Grey Plover and single Curlew, Knot and Ringed Plover.

Wildlife News: The evening sunshine saw a welcome increase in insect activity including the first Blotch-winged Hoverfly Leucozona lucorum for the Recording Area, along with Big-thighed Pipiza Pipiza austriaca, Cream-spot Ladybird, Green Longhorn Adela reaumurella and Common Groundhopper. An Orange-tip egg was found on Cuckoo Flower in the Back Meadow and a Water Vole was on the Main Pond. 

Blotch-winged Hoverfly

Monday 10 May 2021

Monday 10th May

An evening seawatch confirmed the continuing dearth of skuas despite large numbers of Kittiwake and Herring Gull feeding distantly offshore. Also present a summer plumaged Great Northern Diver with 40+ Gannet, 28 Guillemot, 20 Manx Shearwater, 10 Sandwich Tern and a Fulmar south. On the seawall three Turnstone and 15 Dunlin, including a bird ringed on 20 Oct 2020 at Kilbrittain, Cork, Ireland. On its first migration north, 384 km from the ringing site, but it has no doubt travelled much further in those 202 days. 


Sunday 9 May 2021

Sunday 9th May

Another day of Spring migration but, aside from the waders, it wasn't clear which where new arrivals or lingers from yesterday's fall. Around the site there were a dozen Whitethroat, two Sedge and a Garden Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and four Wheatear.

Offshore counts included 101 Kittiwake, 38 Gannet, just eight Sandwich Ternthree Mediterranean Gulltwo Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, two Common Scoter and a Manx Shearwater.

A summer plumaged Purple Sandpiper on the evening tide was a surprise highlight, the first May record since 2005, however numbers of other waders were much lower than the morning tide. Counts included 225 Dunlin, 58 Sanderling, 51 Whimbrel, 18 Shelduck, 13 Ringed Plover, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, four Turnstone, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese and single Curlew, Knot and Grey Plover

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

Saturday 8 May 2021

Saturday 8th May

A very wet and windy start with conditions improving only slightly during the day. Seawatching early morning was disappointing despite the south easterly wind direction with two Great Northern Diver, 18 Common Scoter and just three Sandwich Tern, although auks were moving south in numbers.

The weather had however dropped in some welcome passerine migrants all keeping low in the conditions. The highlight were at least seven Spotted Flycatcher, the second highest site count after 14 on 20/05/1996. with just two previous counts of six (01/05/1983 & 09/05/2000). They were not the only arrivals though with a Cuckoo singing first thing, the first Tree Pipit and three Sedge Warbler of the year, two Wheatear, a Whinchat, four Willow and a Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat. Overhead just 35 Swallow, seven House and two Sand Martin and two Swift

Waders also arrived overnight with counts of 233 Dunlin, 48 Sanderling, 34 Turnstone, 15 Ringed Plover and 12 Whimbrel

Friday 7 May 2021

Friday 7th May

A Garden Warbler in Dead Dolphin Wood was one of the few fresh migrants on site with the Lesser Whitethroat still present and a Wheatear on the Golf Course. 

Counts from the estuary included 71 Dunlin, 21 Sanderling, 19 Ringed and a Grey Plover, 14 Whimbrel, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, four Turnstone and a Knot. Elsewhere just five Sandwich Tern were offshore. 

Wildlife News: Two new hoverflies for the Recording Area were found today both around the Crocus Compound; Buff-tailed Bear Hoverfly Croirhina floccosa and Big-thighed Pipiza Pipiza austriaca.

Buff-tailed Bear Hoverfly Croirhina floccosa - Alan Keatley

Big-thighed Pipiza Pipiza austriaca - Alan Keatley

Thursday 6 May 2021

Thursday 6th May

Wader counts included a minimum of 104 Whimbrel and 10 Sanderling on the beach with 33 Dunlin, six Bar-tailed Godwit, four Knot and four Ringed Plover in the estuary. Elsewhere a Wheatear was on the Point and offshore there were 12 Sandwich Tern, three Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver.

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Tuesday 4th May

Seawatching saw another Hobby head south offshore along with a Kestrel, 11 Arctic and a Little Tern but just six Sandwich Tern and 12 Manx Shearwater. On the beach seven Sanderling, two Whimbrel, one of which was ringed in Iceland, and a Dunlin.

Dunlin - Ben Lucking

Monday 3 May 2021

Monday 3rd May

With the change in weather seawatching was the order of the day, this produced the first Arctic Tern of the year along with the third Hobby of the Spring. Other counts included six Great Northern Diver, 90 Kittiwake, 44 Gannet, 30 Manx Shearwater, 30 Guillemot, 20 Fulmar, 15 Sandwich and a Common Tern, eight Common Gull, four Swallow, three Common Scoter and single Whimbrel, Dunlin, Sanderling, Great-crested Grebe and Wheatear

Whitethroat - Ben Lucking

Sunday 2 May 2021

Sunday 2nd May

The first Garden Warbler of the year showed a few migrants are still arriving but they were otherwise limited to single Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wheatear on the Point. The Lesser Whitethroat was still along the Back Path.

Garden Warbler - Ben Lucking

Counts from the estuary included 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Dunlin11 Shelduckeight Curlew, five Whimbrel, four Grey Plover, two Turnstone and a Knot. Elsewhere just five Sandwich Tern were offshore and a Great Northern Diver flew east.

Saturday 1 May 2021

Saturday 1st May

The highlight was the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year in song along the Back Path most of the day, but other migrants were at a premium with five Wheatear but other species all seemed to be birds on territory. Overhead 75 Swallow, seven House and a Sand Martin, two Swift, 20 Goldfinch and 12 Jackdaw.

Counts over the high tide included 216 Oystercatcher, 25 Dunlin, 17 Whimbrel, 11 Knot, six Grey and four Ringed Plover, six Sanderling, five Turnstone and single Bar-tailed Godwit and Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore with 15 Sandwich and two Common Tern and two Great-crested Grebe.

Wildlife News: With the dry Spring the short turf is looking very parched but the recent rain has seen a flush of growth if not yet flowers. Species that were in flower near the Main Pond included Subterranean and Bird's-foot Clover, Bird's-foot, Lesser and Slender Trefoil. In Greenland Lake both Small and Common Adder's-tongue have now emerged. 

Subterranean Clover - Matt Knott

Bird's-foot - Matt Knott

Small Adder's-tongue - Matt Knott