Monday 29 November 2021

Monday 29th November

A look off Cockwood Steps late afternoon saw two Kingfisher in the estuary with 68 Shelduck, 49 Common Gull, seven Sanderling, three Greenshank, two Red-breasted Merganser and a Great-crested Grebe. Off site the two Black-necked Grebe were viewed distantly off Shelley Beach, Exmouth.

Wildlife News: The male Grey Seal was in the estuary.

Sunday 28 November 2021

Sunday 28th November

The highlight was again seen at first light, a lone Barnacle Goose sat on the sea before heading inland away from the estuary. also offshore 80 Gannet, 38 Great-crested Grebe, 10 Common Scoter, five Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver

A Water Pipit was again in the Bight with counts from the estuary including 1017 Dunlin, 465 Teal, 372 Wigeon, 151 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 84 Redshank, 80 Shelduck, 76 Grey and 38 Ringed Plover, 57 Turnstone, 11 Sanderling, seven Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, seven Red-breasted Merganser, six Greenshank, three Knot, two Pintail and a female Goldeneye.

Elsewhere the first Shoveler was back at the Main Pond with single Water Rail, Little Grebe, Teal and Kingfisher, whilst also on site there were 10 Cirl Bunting, eight Long-tailed Tit, five Chiffchaff, two Redwing, a Goldcrest and a Jay.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Saturday 27th November

Very blustery conditions all day with a Purple Sandpiper along the sea wall and a Short-eared Owl seen heading south from Langstone Rock towards Dawlish early morning. Also offshore 83 Gannet, 10 Common Scoter, three Guillemot, a Razorbill and a Red-throated Diver.

Counts from the estuary were hampered by two Peregrine, an ad and a juvenile but included 1081 Oystercatcher,  516 Wigeon, 462 Teal, 340 Dunlin, 258 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 124 Black and five Bar-tailed Godwit, 103 Curlew, 93 Shelduck, 86 Redshank, 29 Ringed Plover, six Sanderling and three Greenshank

Elsewhere three Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were in the bushes with just three Long-tailed and a Blue Tit, the majority of birds presumably sheltering on the mainland.  

Friday 26 November 2021

Friday 26th November

Counts from the estuary included 1750 Dunlin, 334 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 96 Grey and 30 Ringed Plover, 82 Knot, 72 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Turnstone, 35 Shelduck and five Sanderling. Elsewhere nine Great-crested Grebe, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were offshore and on site 35 Goldfinch, 20 Greenfinch, three Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff and a Redwing.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was in the estuary but the final appearance of typical November weather meant just a single Buff-tailed Bumblebee and two hoverflies were on the wing, single Common Spotted Field Sryph Eupeodes luniger and Slender Melanostoma Melanostoma scalare

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Wednesday 24th November

A brief look off the seawall early morning revealed four Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, 20 Common Scoter and 15 Great-crested Grebe.

Monday 22 November 2021

Monday 22nd November

News from today included 1700+ Dunlin, 200+ Brent Geese, 60 Shelduck, 45 Knot, 20+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 20+ Grey Plover and five Red-breasted Merganser in the estuary with 12 Great-crested Grebe and a first winter Mediterranean Gull offshore and a Kingfisher at the Main Pond.

Sunday 21 November 2021

Sunday 21st November

This afternoon a late Manx Shearwater and 75 Gannet were feeding offshore with 20+ Razorbill, 15 Kittiwake, six Great-crested Grebe, two Red-breasted Merganser and a single Red-throated Diver

Earlier counts from the estuary included four Cattle Egret1580 Dunlin, 1062 Oystercatcher520 Wigeon444 Teal, 361 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Geese241 Redshank112 Bar-tailed Godwit99 Grey and 25 Ringed Plover80 Curlew, 56 Knot53 Shelduck, 52 Common Gull, 31 Turnstone, 23 Greenshank12 Snipenine Red-breasted Merganser, seven Sanderling and a Water Pipit.

Wildlife News: A bull Grey Seal was feeding off Langstone Rock with single Red Admiral and Common Darter on the wing.

Saturday 20 November 2021

Saturday 20th November

Two Water Pipit in the Bight were the avian highlight, feeding alongside two Rock and two presumed Scandinavian Rock Pipit. Also in the estuary 52 Cattle Egret at first light, 1685 Dunlin, 631 Wigeon, 600 Teal, 297 Redshank, 280 Dark and one Pale-bellied Brent Geese,149 Curlew, 90 Bar and 64 Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Grey and 26 Ringed Plover, 58 Shelduck, 57 Knot, 41 Turnstone, 14 Greenshank, 13 Sanderling, two Red-breasted Merganser and Lapwing and Mediterranean Gull.

Elsewhere 18 Great-crested Grebe, 17 Great and five Red-throated Diver were offshore, single Redwing and Mistle Thrush were overhead, single Kingfisher, Little Grebe and Water Rail were at the Main Pond and five Song Thrush and three Goldcrest were in the bushes. 

Wildlife News: The day's highlight was a single Atlantic Bluefin Tuna breaching a few times this evening seen from the sea wall, the second site record. At one point spooking an adult Gannet giving an impressive size comparison, the fish being over double the size of the Gannet. 

Giant Horsetail Equisetum telmateia was discovered by the Entrance Bushes, the 742nd plant for the Recording Area. A nocturnal wander revealed a single Rusty-dot Peal, a very late Blood-vein, both Common and Lesne's Earwig and enough False Widow Spider to shut down every school in the country.

Friday 19 November 2021

Friday 19th November

Calm conditions continue offshore with five Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, 20+ Great-crested Grebe, two Common Scoter, two Razorbill and a Guillemot seen from the seawall. Elsewhere 80 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary at low tide. 

Wildlife News: Sand Crocus leaves were up on the Golf Course, at least two months early.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Thursday 18th November

A quiet day with both high tides in darkness and no movement overhead. The calm flat sea did allow for four Red-throated and three Great Northern Diver to be located from the seawall with 60 Gannet, nine Great-crested Grebe, five Razorbill, three Common Scoter and a Guillemot also offshore.

Elsewhere 208 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were feeding off the beach at low tide, three Mute Swan, an adult and two juveniles were on the Main Pond, three Chiffchaff and two Bullfinch were in the scrub and finch numbers have dropped with 40 Linnet, 30 Goldfinch and 10 Greenfinch still feeding around site.

Wildlife News: A good range of insects remain on the wing in the exceptionally mild temperatures, but with cold weather forecast next week probably not for much longer. Several queen Buff-tailed and a couple of Common Carder Bumblebee were on the wing along with seven hoverfly species including an exceptionally late Gossamer Hoverfly Baccha elongata at the back of crocus compound as well as a few Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus

Common Carder Bee - Alan Keatley

Tiger Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Also still on the wing a Common Darter by the Main Pond and a Painted Lady along the Back Path.

Sunday 14 November 2021

Sunday 14th November

Overhead migration this morning included c50 Chaffinch with seven Siskin, three Brambling and a Mistle Thrush with Wood Pigeon and Stock Dove also still on the move. Elsewhere five Chiffchaff and a female Blackcap were on site with three Red-throated Diver offshore and in the estuary on the rising tide, 303 Dark-bellied and two Pale Bellied Brent Geese, 74 Shelduck, six Greenshank and three Red-breasted Merganser.

Wildlife News: The two Grey Seal remain in the estuary with the male in 'song' through much of the morning. At least a dozen Common Darter remain on the wing along with two Red Admiral and a Peacock

Saturday 13 November 2021

Saturday 13th November

The Snow Bunting remains elusive being seen a couple of times this morning between groynes 8-10. Also on site 11 Cirl Bunting, 143 Linnet, 12 Long-tailed Tit, three Chiffchaff, two Goldcrest and two Tawny Owl. Overhead 2055 Wood Pigeon, 112 Stock Dove, 10 Skylark, five Redwing, five Raven, three Siskin and two Lesser Redpoll.

Counts from the estuary included 41 Cattle Egret on the Wreck and adjacent boats late afternoon, 1736 Dunlin, 960 Oystercatcher, 411 Wigeon, 376 Teal, 245 Dark-bellied and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 278 Black and 61 Bar-tailed Godwit, 243 Redshank, 108 Turnstone, 96 Grey and 39 Ringed Plover, 54 Shelduck, 17 Knot, 14 Greenshank, 11 Sanderling, seven Red-breasted Merganser, two Mediterranean Gull and two Kingfisher.

Offshore six Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, four Common Scoter and a Great-crested Grebe.

Wildlife News: A late Furry-claspered Mining Bee Lasioglossum lativentre was still active along with a few Buff-tailed Bumblebee and Honey Bee on the Hebe; with a Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax, a Long Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta, a Migrant Field Syrph Eupeodes corollae and a few Slender Melanostoma Melanostoma scalare searching out remaining flowers. A Red Admiral flew through and two Grey Seal were in the estuary.

Furry-claspered Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Thursday 11 November 2021

Thursday 11th November

After no news yesterday the Snow Bunting made a surprise reappearance on the beach by groyne 7. It remained here for much of the day but was often elusive and disappeared for long periods. Also on site 45 Greenfinch and 35 Goldfinch remain, along with seven Redwing, six Cirl and five Reed Bunting, five Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest, with a Tawny Owl roosting in Dead Dolphin Wood.

Tawny Owl - Dave Jewell

Counts from the estuary included 2200 Dunlin, a further increase as winter numbers start to build, 397 Wigeon, 251 Teal, 122 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 71 Grey Plover, 60 Bar-tailed Godwit, 54 Shelduck, seven Greenshank, six Great-crested Grebe and three Red-breasted Merganser. A reminder: the golf course is private land and unfortunately there remains no public access to the Bight and Hide, please view the estuary from Warren Point or Cockwood railway crossing.

Snow Bunting - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere six Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore with five Common Scoter and three Mediterranean Gull

Wildlife News: Two Grey Seal were in the estuary and although rarely seen the abundance of Stoat footprints along the Dune Ridge confirm they are still present on site. A couple of winter active Buff-tailed Bumblebee were on the planted Hebe by the sea wall and a Celery Fly Euleia heraclei was on the wing. Large numbers of active mines can be seen on the Alexanders around the car park. 

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Tuesday 9th November

A Snow Bunting on the beach opposite John's Watch was the highlight but was flighty and disappeared mid morning, also new for the year a Fieldfare was over the Entrance Bushes. Other migrants were notable by their absence with just a couple of Chaffinch overhead, although six Chiffchaff were with a large flock of 26 Long-tailed Tit and the singing abientus-type Chiffchaff remains by the Main Pond. 

Snow Bunting - Alan Keatley

Counts from the estuary included 1800 Dunlin, 145 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 94 Grey and 29 Ringed Plover, 15 Knot, 10 Sanderling and three Red-breasted Merganser. Elsewhere eight Rock Pipit were in the Bight, 70 Goldfinch were on site and two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore.

Wildlife News:Grey Seal was in the estuary and at least one Common Darter was still on the wing.

Sunday 7 November 2021

Sunday 7th November

A switch back to NW winds brought hope of improved vis mig but the lack of cloud cover and birds was not forecast. Jackdaw were the main movers with c40 W & c70 NE, the latter birds presumably reorienting after recent movements, also overhead just 120 Wood Pigeon, 25 Skylark, c20 Chaffinch, a flock of six Bullfinch, two Jay, two Snipe and singles of Redpoll, Mistle Thrush and Redwing.

On site the first Firecrest of the autumn moved along the Dune Ridge, upwards of 90 Goldfinch were present with four Reed Bunting and a Siskin and in the bushes nine Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest. Offshore two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver

Counts from the estuary included a doubling of Dunlin numbers in recent days with 1107 counted along with 488 Wigeon, 275 Teal, 238 Redshank, 56 Shelduck, 36 Grey and 30 Ringed Plover, 16 Greenshank, nine Knot, five Black-tailed Godwit, three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Mallard and a Pintail.

Wildlife News: At least half a dozen Common Darter remain on the wing with a single Red Admiral. A hibernating Small Tortoiseshell was the only other butterfly seen. 

Saturday 6 November 2021

Saturday 6th November

A quieter day than of late but 85 species were still recorded. The highlight was a brief Black Redstart, the first of the year, on the seawall, with a Siberian Chiffchaff by the Main Pond another notable arrival. The strengthening SW wind stalled overhead migration with 77 Stock Dove outnumbering Wood Pigeon, although this included one flock of 70, other vis mig was limited to 80 Goldfinch, small numbers of Chaffinch and Blackbird, eight Rook, two Black-tailed Godwit, a Siskin and a Bullfinch

Grounded migrants included 65 Greenfinch on Warren Point, as was the one that got away, a Tree/Olive-backed Pipit that was heard calling and seen twice in flight but could not be relocated. A Jay, the resident Buzzard, a Kingfisher, four Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were by the Main Pond.

Elsewhere three Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver were offshore with 310 Black-headed and a Mediterranean Gull, three Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary with eight Greenshank, six Knot and a Red-breasted Merganser with other regular species in similar numbers to recent days.

Friday 5 November 2021

Friday 5th November

At least 88 species recorded on another day of migration with highlights including a rare autumn Woodcock, two Swallow and a House Martin. Overhead another 7275 Wood Pigeon and 855 Jackdaw, (somewhere must be missing their local birds), 539 Redwing, 154 Stock Dove, 47 Rook, 40 Chaffinch, four Siskin, three Jay, three Buzzard, two Snipe and single Lapwing, Golden Plover, Mistle Thrush and Brambling

Counts from the estuary on the evening tide included 533 Wigeon, 282 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 270 Teal, 174 Redshank, 53 Turnstone, 44 Cattle Egret, 10 Greenshank, six Knot and two Red-breasted Merganser.

Elsewhere the first Goldeneye of the winter was offshore with single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver, just four Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were in the bushes and two Tawny Owl were calling after dark.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was in the estuary and sunny spells continue to reveal a few surviving insects including Speckled Wood, Small WhiteCommon Darter and a Common Furrow Bee Lasioglossum calceatum.

Thursday 4 November 2021

Thursday 4th November

Another excellent early November day with at least 80 species recorded on site, the highlight being an exceptional site record 111,500 Wood Pigeon heading west, almost doubling the previous maximum. Witnessed by one early rising observer, the majority were pushed far out to sea by the northerly wind, with only c1,500 after 9am; with them at least 100 Stock Dove, though probably many more were involved. Also moving overhead 40+ Chaffinch, 20 Pintail, 15+ Rook, four Brambling, two Golden Plover, a Lapwing, a Mistle Thrush and a tardy Swallow

Grounded migrants included 90+ Greenfinch, a female Blackcap, a presumed abientus Chiffchaff singing by the Main Pond and two Goldcrest.

Counts from the estuary included a second site record 68 Cattle Egret, 800+ Wigeon, 260 Dark-bellied and a Pale bellied Brent Geese, 77 Turnstone, 40 Grey Plover, 35 Shelduck, 14 Greenshank, at least 10 Mediterranean Gull, six Knot, five Great-crested and a Little Grebe, three Lapwing and a Red-breasted Merganser

Elsewhere a Kingfisher had a narrow escape from a Sparrowhawk at the Main Pond and single Peregrine and Merlin hunting over the estuary. 

Wildlife News: At least 25 Common Darter were still on the wing with two Migrant Hawker, seven Red Admiral and a Small White. On the remaining Ivy flowers a huge queen Hornet, six hoverfly species, Common Carder Bee and a Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Hornet - Alan Keatley

Stenichneumon culpator - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Wednesday 3rd November

The return of the Spotted Redshank was the highlight on the late afternoon high tide, feeding with 182 Redshank, 139 Turnstone and 18 Greenshank, the last two both high counts from the Warren. Also in the estuary the first returning Lapwing, 553 Wigeon, 257 Teal, 218 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 53 Bar-tailed Godwit, 36 Ringed and 32 Grey Plover, six Knot, four Pintail and a Red-breasted Merganser

Elsewhere an adult Mediterranean Gull was offshore, a Grey Wagtail and two presumed Scandinavian Rock Pipit were in the saltmarsh; and a small roost of 50 Starling and a Kingfisher were at the Main Pond. 

Wildlife News: A Vagrant Emperor was perched up on the Dune Ridge above Groyne 10. The first record for exactly two years, with one on 3rd November 2019.

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Tuesday 2nd November

A still and sunny morning saw large numbers of birds on the move overhead, but the lack of cloud cover meant many smaller passerines were missed or left unidentified passing high over site. Totals heading west included 25,520 Wood Pigeon, with 72 Stock Dove, although both counts are no doubt lower than the actual number of birds moving, also 534 Jackdaw, 74 Skylark, 48 Rook, five Siskin, a Grey Wagtail, a Buzzard and a Golden Plover. Heading east at least 33 Chaffinch, two Bullfinch and the first two Brambling of the year with small groups of 20-40 Greenfinch, Linnet and Goldfinch on the move around the site.

Grounded migrants included a good count of 15 Stonechat, seven Chiffchaff, five Song Thrush, three Goldcrest, two Coal Tit that moved east along the spit and a Blackcap. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 155 Black-tailed Godwit, 110 Teal, 95 Turnstone, 14 Greenshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull, with 40+ Cattle Egret just offsite flying down Cockwood valley.

Wildlife News: At least a dozen Red Admiral flew west with five Common Darter and a Common Carder Bee still on the wing and a few Field Grasshopper still active. Fungi remain obvious around site with Collared Earthstar out on Warren Point. 

Collared Earthstar Geastrum triplex

Monday 1 November 2021

Monday 1st November

There was no sign of the Barred Warbler between 8.30 and 11am and no news of what was probably a great morning of overhead migration. 

Over the afternoon tide counts included 730 Wigeon, 545 Dunlin, 340 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 48 Bar-tailed Godwit, 38 Ringed and 30 Grey Plover, eight Greenshank, six Great-crested and a Little Grebe, a Knot and a Red-breasted Merganser

Ringing News: Four Devon & Cornwall Ringing Group Dunlin were recorded, all ringed on 8 Oct 2021, one of which had been recorded at Bowling Green Marsh on 18 Oct showing winter movement between high tide roosts within the estuary.