Sunday 27 February 2022

Sunday 27th February

No sign of the Velvet Scoter in choppy conditions offshore with a Great Northern Diver sheltering in the estuary mouth. Heading south nine Red-throated Diver, 54 Kittiwake, c50 auk sp., 15 Gannet and three Fulmar.

Counts from the estuary included 171 Dark-bellied Brent Geese143 Grey and 28 Ringed Plover136 Turnstone, 105 Knot, 83 Bar-tailed Godwit, 44 Teal, 39 Shelduck, 26 Redshank, 21 Sanderling, 10 Wigeon, five Red-breasted Merganser, five Lesser Black-backed Gull, two Greenshank and a Pintail

Elsewhere at least eight Cirl Bunting on site, a Teal was on the First Pond, a Chiffchaff in the Entrance Bushes and 15 Jackdaw overhead.

Wildlife News: Despite the sunny weather the strong wind kept the temperature down. The first Slender Melanostoma Melanostoma scalare of the year was on the wing with a few Stripe-faced Dronefly Eristalis tenax. The first Stoat sighting of the year was at Langstone Rock, although footprints have been noted on the Dune Ridge. Potential Badger signs were also noted (footprints and foraging) in the Entrance Bushes, there have been no confirmed records for at least five years. 

Aphodius prodromus - Alan Keatley

Irish Yellow Slug - Alan Keatley

Friday 25 February 2022

Saturday 26th February

The Velvet Scoter remained offshore with some movement south including 196 Kittiwake, 100 auk sp, 25 Common Scoter, 23 Razorbill, 16 Guillemot, 13 Gannet, 12 Common Gull, five Fulmar, three Red-throated Diver and a Great-crested Grebe.

Counts from the estuary included 166 Grey and 21 Ringed Plover, 112 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 104 Knot, a good count of 94 Turnstone, 82 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Teal, 25 Sanderling, 25 Shelduck, 23 Redshank,10 Wigeon, four Red-breasted Merganser, a Greenshank, a Peregrine and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit.

Elsewhere 42 Jackdaw and a Rook were overhead, four Shoveler were on the Main Pond, six Cirl Bunting and a Goldcrest were in the bushes and nine Skylark and a Reed Bunting were on Warren Point. 

Friday 25th February

A bright sunny early spring day saw an early Red Kite head east offshore mid afternoon, with another first for the year, a Stock Dove, was also overhead along with five Raven

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 162 Grey Plover, 134 Knot, 111 Brent Geese, 103 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Sanderling and nine Red-breasted Merganser, the Velvet Scoter and two Red-throated Diver offshore and a Kingfisher, a Chiffchaff, six Teal and two Shoveler at the Main Pond. 

Kestrel - Dave Jewell

Wildlife News: The sunshine was appreciated by some early Spring insects, several Honey Bee and Buff-tailed Bumblebee were joined nectaring on Gorse and emerging Alexanders flowers by a Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax, a few Marmalade Hoverfly and at least three Hairy-eyed Syrphus Syrphus torvus.

Syrphus torvus - Alan Keatley

The most anticipated insect was a brief Small Tortoiseshell in Greenland Lake, the welcome first butterfly of the year. 

Salticus scenicus, a Zebra Jumping Spider - Alan Keatley

Sunday 20 February 2022

Sunday 20th February

The Velvet Scoter was still offshore this morning along with five Red-throated and three Great Northern Diver102 Kittiwake, 41 Gannet and eight Great-crested Grebe.

Counts from the estuary included 1460 Dunlin309 Oystercatcher189 Dark-Bellied Brent Geese160 Bar-tailed Godwit139 Grey Plover123 Common Gull110 Knot36 Shelduck27 Teal19 Sanderling, eight Red-breasted Merganser and six Wigeon. 

Elsewhere two Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff were in the bushes, a Water Rail was at the First Pond with four Shoveler and a Kingfisher at the Main Pond.

Wildlife News: An afternoon of continuing strong winds and rain saw focus shift to ground level with various fungi, bryophytes and lichens recorded. Scarlet Elfcup provided some much needed colour for the day with Nectriopsis lecanodes a more subtle affair. The Recording Area is one of only five sites in England for this species. 

Scarlet Elfcup - Kevin Rylands

Nectriopsis lecanodes - Kevin Rylands

Mossy Stonecrop is emerging around the Car Park and Buffer Zone in bare areas with the nationally rare liverworts Micheli's Balloonwort Sphaerocarpos michelii and Blue Crystalwort Riccia crystallina, the latter was also found at a new site on the Golf Course. 

Blue Crystalwort & Micheli's Balloonwort - Kevin Rylands

Mossy Stonecrop - Kevin Rylands

Insects were few and far between with a Yellow Dung Fly grimly hanging onto a flowering Alexanders and the nationally scarce Lesne's Earwing a surprise daylight find.

Lesne's Earwig - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 19 February 2022

Saturday 19th February

Very quiet offshore with three Fulmar south the best of little movement, on the sea the Velvet Scoter was still present, with 13 Great-crested Grebe, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver.

Counts from the estuary included 815 Dunlin, 208 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 171 Bar-tailed Godwit, 154 Grey and 25 Ringed Plover, 124 Knot, 83 Common Gull, 41 Shelduck, seven Sanderling and two Greenshank. Off site two Goldeneye (male and female) flew in from Exmouth and landed N of Cockwood Harbour. 

Greenshank - Lee Collins

Elsewhere three Goldcrest were in the bushes, a murmuration of 1250 Starling at the Main Pond attracted a hunting Sparrowhawk, with four Snipe three Shoveler, three Water Rail and singing Little Grebe also present and two Rook overhead hinted at Spring.

Ringing News: The Grey Plover below (BBLB) was ringed at Exminster Marshes in Feb 2020, so has now been returning to the Exe for at least the last three winters. Ringed as an adult it could however have been returning for the last 20 years. 

Grey Plover - Lee Collins

Thursday 17 February 2022

Thursday 17th February

The calm before the storm, a pleasantly sunny and warm early Spring day. Offshore in flat conditions the immature male Velvet Scoter was still present, with a Great Northern Diver and 11 Great-crested Grebe

Elsewhere a Black-necked Grebe, six Red-breasted Merganser and a Greenshank were in the estuary at low tide with a pair of Shoveler, two Little Grebe and a Snipe around the Main Pond.

Snipe - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: Despite the weather few insects were on the wing, but the first Sand Lizard was reported and Sand Crocus leaves are now up in numbers with Early Meadow-grass conspicuous in the short turf. 

Gorse Weevil Exapion ulicis - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 16 February 2022

Wednesday 16th February

A quick look at low tide saw over 80 Common Gull on the mudflats amongst the usual waders and wildfowl, with a Scandinavian Rock Pipit in the saltmarsh. 

Sunday 13 February 2022

Sunday 13th February

WeBS count totals from the estuary included 1400 Dunlin, 1157 Oystercatcher, 364 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 202 Grey and 29 Ringed Plover, a very good count of 187 Snipe, 148 Bar-tailed Godwit, 136 Knot, 122 Great and six Lesser Black-backed Gull, 100+ Common Gull, 37 Teal, 28 Wigeon, 22 Turnstone, 21 Sanderling and 14 Red-breasted Merganser. Also present single Kingfisher and Peregrine

Turnstone - Lee Collins

Offshore an early Manx Shearwater went south with 210 Kittiwake159 Gannet, 158 Guillemot, 81 Razorbill16 Common Scoter and 12 Fulmar, with the Velvet Scoter still present along with five Great-crested Grebe and four Red-throated Diver.

Saturday 12 February 2022

Saturday 12th February

Another dull and windy day saw little change with good numbers of auk heading south offshore with several Fulmar, three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver.

Elsewhere 80 Common Gull, 46 Shelduck, 28 Wigeon, eight Red-breasted Merganser and a Pintail were in the estuary, two Shoveler, a Snipe and a Kingfisher were at the Main Pond and the bushes held a Sparrowhawk with single Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Wildlife News: A Fox was active on Warren Point early morning.

Thursday 10 February 2022

Thursday 10th February

The Velvet Scoter remained offshore with the Slavonian and 11 Great-crested Grebe, three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, 15 Kittiwake and four Razorbill

Velvet Scoter - Dean Hall

Elsewhere the bushes were quiet although the silence was broken by the occasional 'yaffle' from a Green Woodpecker, four Shoveler were on the Main Pond and a flock of 140 Snipe high over Greenland Lake were no doubt disturbed from the saltmarsh.

Counts from the estuary on a low high tide included 161 Brent Geese, 79 Common Gull, 47 Shelduck, 29 Wigeon and four Red-breasted Merganser.

Wildlife News: At least five Common Dolphin were showing well off the seawall. 

Common Dolphin - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Tuesday 8th February

The Velvet Scoter was off the estuary mouth this morning but no other news was received. 

Monday 7 February 2022

Monday 7th February

A morning look off the seawall eventually revealed the Velvet Scoter, a Great Northern Diver, three Razorbill and numerous Great-crested Grebe.

Sunday 6 February 2022

Sunday 6th February

There was no sign of the Slavonian Grebe in choppy conditions offshore with the Velvet Scoter sheltering towards the mouth of estuary. Off the seawall 18 Common Scoter and three Red-throated Diver on the sea with 12 Red-throated Diver and 200 auk sp south, Elsewhere 128 Common Gull were in the estuary with three Shoveler and a Kingfisher at the Main Pond.

Saturday 5 February 2022

Saturday 5th February

News was only received from the seawall, where the Velvet Scoter remained offshore with 10 Great-crested Grebe, five Common Scoter and two Red-throated Diver

Friday 4 February 2022

Friday 4th February

The Velvet Scoter and Slavonian Grebe were offshore, but there was little else out there with just 12 Great-crested Grebe and singles of Red-throated and Great Northern Diver found with diligent scanning. 

Elsewhere the two wintering Siberian Chiffchaff were feeding together on the sunny side of Dead Dolphin Wood, with six Shoveler, two Snipe and the female Kingfisher, on its usual perch, at the Main Pond.  

In the estuary the two Black-necked Grebe were off Cockwood, but wader and wildfowl counts weren't possible as a low flying RAF plane circled several times just as the tide was dropping. They ensured virtually all birds had left this section of the SPA before eventually leaving.

Thursday 3 February 2022

Thursday 3rd February

The Velvet Scoter showed well off the seawall, with the Slavonian and 15 Great-crested Grebe, eight Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver.

Pied Wagtail - Dave Jewell

Counts from the estuary included 920 Dunlin, 159 Grey and 35 Ringed Plover, 127 Bar-tailed Godwit, 105 Knot, 93 Redshank, 89 Teal, 17 Wigeon, seven Greenshank and two Pale bellied Brent Geese

Dunlin - Dave Jewell

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Wednesday 2nd February

The Velvet Scoter was still offshore but remained distant, also off the seawall 10 Great-crested Grebe, three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver. A Grey Wagtail overhead was the first of the year.

Velvet Scoter - Alan Keatley

Counts from the estuary included 840
Dunlin, 273 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 166 Grey Plover, 144 Teal, 112 Bar-tailed Godwit, 94 Knot, 41 Shelduck and six Greenshank.

Wildlife News: The warm and sunny weather brought out the insects, mainly on the flowering Gorse and Hebe, with several Marmalade Hoverfly (assumed migrants given the southerlies) and a few Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax. There were also plenty of Honey Bee and Buff-tailed Bumblebee collecting pollen. No butterflies unfortunately. Elsewhere a Wood Mouse scampered through the undergrowth in Dead Dolphin Wood.

Common Dronefly - Alan Keatley

Marmalade Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 1 February 2022

Tuesday 1st February

The two Black-necked Grebe remained off Cockwood but no other news were received.