Thursday 31 March 2022

Thursday 31st March

A seasonal case of diminishing returns in the estuary with counts including 44 Dunlin, 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, 38 Knot, 26 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 12 Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Grey Plover and two Sanderling. Nine Sandwich Tern offshore, however showed that birds are also arriving.

Other migrants included six Chiffchaff and single Blackcap and Willow Warbler in the bushes with two Siskin, a Sand Martin and a Red Kite overhead.

Wildlife News: The contrast in temperature from last week with a strong, relentless and cold north-easterly, had a dramatic affect on insects. On the wing just one Specked Wood, a few Yellow-legged Mining Bee, a single Buffish Mining Bee and, sunning itself on the viewing platform, a male Sandpit Mining Bee.

Speckled Wood - Alan Keatley

Sandpit Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

The nationally declining Snake's-head Fritillary, a single and a group of three, were in flower in Greenland Lake. Nice to see, whatever the origins.

Snake's-head Fritillary - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Wednesday 30th March

The first Mistle Thrush of the year was perhaps the first local post-breeding migrant or a bird from much further afield. Other arrivals included a female Black Redstart and a Wheatear on the Golf Course and an Osprey overhead before circling off Mudbank, Exmouth.

Stonechat - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 155 Curlew, 67 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Turnstone, 13 Grey and eight Ringed Plover, 10 Shelduck, 10 Knot, three Teal and a Sandwich Tern with the Velvet Scoter still offshore.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Tuesday 29th March

The Velvet Scoter remained alone offshore with Sandwich Tern, Willow Warbler and Wheatear also reported.

Monday 28 March 2022

Monday 28th March

Wildlife News: Moth trapping was better than expected with a total of 33 individuals of 16 species, with the first Oak Beauty for the Recording Area and the second record of Bloxworth Snout. Other notable records included a Silver Y and Devon's earliest ever, and first March, Common Wave, with Common and Small Quaker, Clouded Drab, Early Grey and Bright-line Brown-eye also recorded. 

Oak Beauty - Luke Harman

Bloxworth Snout - Luke Harman

Common Wave - Luke Harman

Sunday 27 March 2022

Sunday 27th March

Another day of blue skies with the highlights all outside the Recording Area, two Red Kite north along ridge behind Easton and an immature White-tailed Eagle that was tracked from Exmouth across the estuary and was lost from view in Cockwood Valley putting up 59 Cattle Egret in the process. This was G542, a 2nd year female released on the Isle of Wight last summer.  

On site 108 Curlew, 38 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 52 Dunlin, 15 Teal, seven Ringed Plover, six Red-breasted Merganser, six Redshank, four Knot, four Greenshank and two Sanderling.

Elsewhere the Velvet Scoter remained offshore with a single Red-throated Diver, light overhead movement included the first White Wagtail of the year, four Rook, two Siskin and a Chaffinch; and four Shoveler and single Grey Heron, Snipe and Water Rail were at the Main Pond with the first brood of Mallard ducklings.

Wildlife News: A bull Grey Seal was in the estuary and a Water Vole was seen at the Main Pond.

Saturday 26 March 2022

Saturday 26th March

The first winter drake Velvet Scoter was again off the seawall with three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, 15 Gannet, two Great-crested Grebe and two Common Scoter also offshore.

Counts from the estuary included 197 Oystercatcher, 127 Curlew, 64 Dunlin, 48 Bar-tailed Godwit, 31 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 19 Teal, 15 Knot, 14 Grey Plover, six Red-breasted Merganser, four Greenshank and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit.

Elsewhere late news from yesterday of the first Willow Warbler of the year, today six Chiffchaff and two Blackcap in the bushes, four Shoveler and a Water Rail at the Main Pond and seven Lesser Black-backed Gull, four Jackdaw, three Rook and three Siskin overhead.

Wildlife News: The high temperatures brought out a group of 30 Rudd at the Main Pond up to the surface, also more insects with Marsham's Nomad Bee, Sandpit Mining Bee Andrena barbilabrisCommon Carder Bee, Tree and Red-tailed Bumblebee on the wing with several solitary bee species. Most notable was a clear NE movement of Buff-tailed Bumblebee with 120 estimated to have flown through in just an hour midmorning.

Common Carder Bee - Alan Keatley

Also Comma, Peacock and Speckled Wood with the hoverflies Dumpy Melanostoma Melanostoma mellinum and Platycheirus scutatus new for the year.

Dumpy Melanostoma - Alan Keatley

The Sand Crocus was being enjoyed by several visitors with Shepherd's Cress now in flower and Pot Marigold found by the railway. 

Pot Marigold - Kevin Rylands

Friday 25 March 2022

Friday 25th March

The weather continued sunny with clear skies but the excellent run of site rarities came to a halt, although the one obvious arrival, a male Blackcap, was the first for the year. Other records included a Snipe and two Shoveler at the Main Pond, lots of breeding activity from resident species such as Cirl Bunting, Linnet and Stonechat with the usual mix of species in the estuary including Grey Plover, Dunlin and Brent Geese.

Snipe - Dean Hall

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus remains a draw, although still well below peak numbers, and three species of butterfly were on the wing. 

Comma - Dean Hall

Thursday 24 March 2022

Thursday 24th March

Another warm day with clear blue skies and little wind saw two Red Kite drift low over the site early morning with a pair of Garganey in the estuary and a second drake offshore. The first records since Sep 2019. The male Black Redstart was still present between the Visitor Centre and Main Pond but a single Wheatear in Greenland Lake was the only other arrival. 

Elsewhere six Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver were offshore, counts from the estuary included 144 Curlew, 64 Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Dunlin, 26 Grey Plover, 24 Turnstone, 18 Knot, four Sanderling, two Red-breasted Merganser and two Greenshank; with 117 Dark-bellied and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the beach at low tide:

Wildlife News: Numbers of flowering Sand Crocus are increasing, the forecast continues to suggest this weekend will be a good time to see this Warren speciality. 

Sand Crocus - Alan Keatley

Also enjoying the sunshine, Speckled Wood with the first six of the year on the wing along with three Comma and Peacock, the first Early Long-horn moths and Meadow Field Syrph Eupeodes latifasciatus

Meadow Field Syrph - Alan Keatley

Early Long-horn - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Wednesday 23rd March

With clear blue skies overhead migrants were thin on the ground with only one migrant of note a smart male Black Redstart near the Visitor Centre.

Black Redstart - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 148 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 104 Curlew, just 45 Dunlin, 38 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Grey and nine Ringed Plover, 11 Knot, five Turnstone, two Sanderling and a Greenshank.

Wildlife News: Plenty of bees on show in the fine weather with Tree and Red-tailed Bumblebee near for the year along with Furry-claspered Furrow Bee Lasioglossum lativentre and Chocolate Mining Bee Andrena scotica. Other solitary bees included Buffish Andrena nigroaenea and a female Gwynne's Mining Bee Andrena bicolor with numerous Yellow-legged Mining Bee Andrena flavipes.

Gwynne's Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Furry-claspered Furrow Bee - Alan Keatley

Hoverflies on the wing included Common Twist-tail Sphaerophoria scripta, Common Spotted Field Syrph Eupeodes luniger, Slender Melanostoma Melanostoma scalare and several Common Eristalis tenax and Tapered Dronefly Eristalis pertinax. Other insects included three Peacock, two Comma and  two varieties of Harlequin Ladybird.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Tuesday 22nd March

A warm and sunny days with clear blue skies, perfect for raptors but the Osprey at Turf and Red Kite over the village were missed if they came over the Warren. One unexpected raptor did however grace the site's airspace, an immature White-tailed Eagle which flew east early afternoon. A year and a day since the previous record, and like that bird, this was one of those released on the Isle of Wight; it was seen later over Lympstone and Seaton as it continued east. 

Other arrivals included two Sandwich Tern offshore and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, one of which was ringed in Iceland and was recorded here in March 2020, showing the Warren to be a key staging post between wintering grounds in France and its natal home. 

Other records included c100 Dunlin, 19 Grey Plover and 16 Knot highlighting that birds are leaving as well as arriving as the seasons progress. One unfortunate Sanderling won't however be making the journey falling prey to a Carrion Crow

Wildlife News: After a week of at times seemingly ideal weather the first Sand Crocus flowers appeared in todays sun. Looking at the forecast numbers should build over the coming days.

Monday 21 March 2022

Monday 21st March

At low tide 143 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and two Red-breasted Merganser were off Cockwood with four Chiffchaff, three Shoveler and a Kestrel were on site. 

Sunday 20 March 2022

Sunday 20th March

The strength of the easterly wind reduced movement overhead but two Red Kite and 81 Lesser Black-backed Gull still moved through along with 18 Meadow Pipit, seven Siskin and a Rook.

Counts from the estuary included 274 Oystercatcher, 226 Dunlin, 108 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 61 Bar-tailed Godwit, 59 Snipe, 32 Redshank, 30 Grey Plover, 23 Knot, eight Sanderling, three Greenshank, two Mediterranean Gull and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit.

Elsewhere a Velvet Scoter was offshore with two Red-throated Diver and two Great-crested Grebe, a Wheatear was in Greenland Lake and seven Cirl Bunting, six Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest were in the bushes.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Saturday 19th March

Another Caspian Gull, this time a first winter, was on Finger Point over the morning high tide with 40+ Herring and 27 Great Black-backed Gull

both Caspian Gull - Lee Collins

Also in the estuary 171 Dark bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 50+ Snipe, 45 Turnstone, 18 Knot, 14 Teal, nine Red-breasted Merganser, four Sanderling, an immature Peregrine and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit.

Elsewhere five Chiffchaff were on site and the first Red-necked Grebe since 2020 flew into the bay early morning with seven Red-throated Diver and five Common Scoter also offshore.

Wildlife News: Although sunny there is still no sign of the first Sand Crocus, but the wind kept the temperature down and it was too windy for most insects, although Tapered Dronefly Eristalis pertinax are now holding territory in sheltered glades. 

Friday 18 March 2022

Friday 18th March

The highlight was a Red Kite that drifted high east at 4.30pm but few other arrivals were noted. Counts from the estuary included 267 Oystercatcher, 240 Dunlin, 122 Curlew, 69 Bar-tailed Godwit, 64+ Snipe, 60+ Redshank, 52 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 30 Turnstone, 26 Shelduck, 24 Grey and eight Ringed Plover, 14 Knot, 10 Sanderling, seven Red-breasted Merganser and three Greenshank.

Elsewhere 20 Kittiwake, five Great-crested Grebe and a Common Scoter were offshore and four Chiffchaff were in the bushes. 

Wildlife News: Plenty of bees are now on the wing with concentrations of Yellow-legged Mining Bee Andrena flavipes in the car park and at Langstone Rock, also there both sexes of Buffish Mining Bee Andrena nigroaenea. New records for the year included Trimmer's Mining Bee Andrena trimmerana, Common Carder Bee Bombus pascorum and Garden Bumblebee Bombus hortorum around the sallows by the Dune Pond. 

both Trimmer's Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Other new insects for the year included Dock Bug, Common Wasp and Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus. Also on the wing several Peacock and a couple of Comma, plus the hoverflies of recent days.

Thursday 17 March 2022

Thursday 17th March

The mini purple patch continued with a singing Cetti's Warbler near the Dune Pond most of the morning, just the 13th site record, but annual in recent autumns. Other arrivals were limited to a single Wheatear in Greenland Lake and seven Chiffchaff around site. 

Wheatear - Dean Hall

Elsewhere 292 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were feeding on the beach at low tide, four Shoveler and three Teal were on the Main Pond and the sunny weather saw single Sparrowhawk and Buzzard drift overhead. 

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus resisted the sunshine, mean emergence for the last three years has been the 18th March, but it brought out a few more insects with Yellow-legged Mining Bee Andrena flavipes around the car park roundabout, a couple of Buffish Mining Bee Andrena nigroaenea on sallows near the Dune Pond and a selection of butterflies including a Red Admiral and a couple each of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma

Yellow-legged Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Hoverflies included single White-footed Hoverfly Platycheirus albimanus, Slender Melanostoma scalare and several Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax.

White-footed Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Wednesday 16th March

A second winter Caspian Gull was a good find on Finger Point, just the eighth site record. Other welcome arrivals in the Bight included two Little Ringed Plover, the earliest ever arrivals, and a Wheatear with two Sand Martin overhead.

Caspian Gull - both Lee Collins

Counts from the estuary included 570 Dunlin, 85 Turnstone, 58 Grey and eight Ringed Plover, 32 Knot, 30 Redshank and 13 Sanderling.

Little Ringed Plover - Lee Collins

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Tuesday 15th March

A Spotted Redshank was just outside the Recoding Area between Starcross and Cockwood but there were no reports of it south of Cockwood Harbour. 

Monday 14 March 2022

Monday 14th March

Three Glossy Ibis were reported flying west over the Main Pond at 11am, before being found at Exminster Marshes 30 minutes later. The fourth site record and first multiple sighting.

Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore. 

Sunday 13 March 2022

Sunday 13th March

The highlight was the presence of at least two Little Gull, an adult and a first winter that spent most of their time feeding in the estuary but also moved offshore at times. A scarce bird in recent years. Also offshore two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver with a small southerly passage of Kittiwake and northerly passage of Black-headed Gull.

Elsewhere WeBS counts on a low neap tide included 860 Dunlin, 101 Oystercatcher, 70 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 61 Knot, 48 Grey and five Ringed Plover, nine Red-breasted Merganser and two Sanderling, with two Shoveler on the Main Pond and offsite a Red Kite south over Eastdon.

Saturday 12 March 2022

Saturday 12th March

A Nuthatch in the Entrance Bushes early morning was the rarity highlight, the first March record for the Recording Area. Other arrivals included the first Sand Martin of the year overhead, five Chiffchaff on site and a smart male Wheatear in Greenland Lake.

Wheatear - Alan Keatley

Also on site three Shoveler on the Main Pond, a male Peregrine, a vocal Green Woodpecker and a noticeable increase in breeding activity.

Wildlife News: Despite the increasing wind a few insects were on the wing, especially around the early flowering sallows. These included the first Gwynne's Mining Bee Andrena bicolor for several years and the year's first Fluffy Dronefly Eristalis intricaria and Tapered Dronefly Eristalis pertinax

Fluffy Dronefly - Alan Keatley

Tapered Dronefly - Alan Keatley

Friday 11 March 2022

Friday 11th March

An hour's seawatch early morning show nothing more than 20 Gannet passing offshore in wet and windy conditions. Later on a site visit with the Environment Agency allowed a quick check of the dropping tide with 119 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, seven Red-breasted Merganser, four Great-crested Grebe and two Greenshank amongst the usual waders in the estuary. 

Elsewhere single Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker were on site.

Wildlife News: Sand Crocus leaves are now easily visible with plants found in new areas on the Golf Course.

Ringing News: Details of a metal ringed Dunlin seen on 23 Feb 2022 have been received. It was ringed as an adult at Uosikaupunki, Varsinais-Suomi, SW Finland on 2 Aug 2021. The Warren is 1899 km WSW from the site of ringing.

This is only the second Finnish recovery from the Warren, the other was a Black-headed Gull.

Thursday 10 March 2022

Thursday 10th March

A slight rise in temperature, a relatively dry day and a south/south easterly wind brought its reward in the form of the first Wheatear of the year; briefly view along the shoreline of the Bight, before it disappeared over the ridge and towards Warren Point. What was presumably the same bird was on the Point later on. A Chiffchaff singing vigorously in the Entrance Bushes may also have been a fresh migrant.

It was a low high tide so numbers were similarly low but also reduced as many have already moved back towards breeding grounds. Counts included 850 Dunlin, 88 Bar-tailed Godwit, 87 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 82 Grey and 16 Ringed Plover, 57 Knot, 38 Turnstone, eight Sanderling, eight Wigeon and four Red-breasted Merganser.

Wildlife News: The first Comma and Peacock butterflies were on the wing.

Comma - Alan Keatley

Peacock - Alan Keatley

Sunday 6 March 2022

Sunday 6th March

The Water and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit were on the Golf Course with counts from the estuary including 1000 Dunlin, 413 Oystercatcher, 348 Dark and a Pale bellied Brent Geese, 163 Curlew, 107 Grey and 14 Ringed Plover, 94 Bar-tailed Godwit, 67 Common Gull, 33 Redshank, 26 Sanderling, 18 Knot, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, eight Wigeon, three Greenshank and a Pintail.

Turnstone and Ringed Plover - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere a single flock of 49 Stock Dove flew W early afternoon, with four Meadow Pipit and three Rook over in the morning, nine Cirl Bunting and a Goldcrest were on site, two Shoveler were at the Main Pond and offshore there was no sign of the Velvet Scoter with eight Red-throated Diver and three Common Scoter on the sea with a few Gannet and Kittiwake passing south.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Saturday 5th March

With a light north westerly wind there was some Spring vis mig with the second highest Spring count of 1234 Chaffinch, 82 Jackdaw, 767 Starling, seven Rook, five Stock Dove, two Brambling and single Redpoll, Siskin and Grey Wagtail, all were heading E and the vast majority were before 10am.

Counts from the estuary included 735 Dunlin, 410 Oystercatcher, 169 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 161 Curlew, 98 Bar-tailed Godwit, 90 Grey and 15 Ringed Plover, 27 Shelduck, 17 Knot, 16 Sanderling, 12 Teal, seven Red-breasted Merganser, six Wigeon and four Greenshank
Elsewhere the Velvet Scoter was offshore with 34 Common Scoter, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver; two Chiffchaff, including one briefly in song, were on site, seven Cirl Bunting and a Water Pipit on the Golf Course and at the Main Pond a female Shoveler, six Teal, two vocal Little Grebe, with two others presumed to be hidden away on their nests, and a Water Rail

Wildlife News: The strengthening wind reduced the number if insects on the wing but good numbers of Stripe-faced Dronefly were noted along with several Marmalade Hoverfly and Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

Friday 4 March 2022

Friday 4th March

A low tide visit saw the Velvet Scoter offshore with 322 Dark-bellied Brent Geese feeding along the beach, four Sanderling on Finger Point and 45 Common Gull, six Red-breasted Merganser and a Greenshank in Shutterton Creek.

Elsewhere single Buzzard and Jackdaw were overhead and six Teal were on the Main Pond. 

Buzzard - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The sunny weather saw a Red Admiral heading north with several Marmalade Hoverfly and Common Spotted Field Syrph Eupeodes luniger also hinting at migration. Also on the wing two early Dull-bellied Blacklet Cheliosia proxima, a good number of Stripe-faced Dronefly Eristalis tenax, a few Hairy-eyed Syrphus Syrphus torvus and the first Green Shieldbug of the year. 

Cheliosia proxima - Alan Keatley

Green Shieldbug - Alan Keatley

Thursday 3 March 2022

Thursday 3rd March

A single Lesser Redpoll feeding with several Chaffinch in the Entrance Bushes was the first of the year.