Saturday 30 April 2022

Saturday 30th April

The first Whinchat of the year was in Greenland Lake with other migrants limited to 12 Swallow and single new Reed Warbler and Whitethroat, a Stock Dove on Warren Point was presumably more local. 

Elsewhere a Common Sandpiper was on the seawall with the same mix of waders as yesterday in the estuary, but no counts where received.

Wildlife News: The sunshine saw several new insects for the year on the wing with Dune Robberfly, Coastal Silver Stilleto, the cranefly Limonia phragmitidis and a phantom cranefly Ptychoptera contaminata all recorded. 

Ptychoptera contaminata - Alan Keatley

Lesser Stag Beetle - Alan Keatley

Friday 29 April 2022

Friday 29th April

Whilst a few new birds are arriving, wader passage has largely paused as birds feed up before continuing northwards. Counts from the evening tide included 164 Oystercatcher, 48 Whimbrel, 36 Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Turnstone, 13 Dunlin, 12 Sanderling, four Grey Plover and a Knot.

Offshore 53 Manx Shearwater east, eight Sandwich Tern feeding and two Common Scoter and a Great-crested Grebe on the sea. 

Wildlife News: The good year for Orange-tip continues with at least five early evening. A number of dead damselfy larvae in the Dune Pond was a worrying sign, the rapidly dropping water levels perhaps impacting on salinity or oxygen levels.

Orange-tip - Kevin Rylands

Thursday 28 April 2022

Thursday 28th April

Some continuing hints of Spring passage with small numbers of Whimbrel, a flock of seven Black-headed Gull and two Grey Heron coming in off the sea. Half a dozen Swallow and a Sand Martin passed through with all the warblers seen on territory. Two Little Grebe chicks were on the Main Pond.

In the estuary also signs of movement with 46 Whimbrel, 36 Bar-tailed Godwit, 34 Dunlin, six Sanderling, five Ringed and Grey Plover, four Turnstone, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a Knot.

Whimbrel - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A chilly start saw insect action but the cranefly Tipula lunata was in Greenland Lake, the second record this week for this new Warren species, so presumably previously oveerlooked. The few hoverflies on the wing including Stripe-backed Fleckwing Dasysyrphus albostriatus.

Tipula lunata - Alan Keatley

Dasysyrphus albostriatus - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Wednesday 27th April

Migrants continue to trickle through with four Wheatear, a Swallow and a new Reed Warbler the only passerine arrivals. Other records included 30 Manx Shearwater south and 22 Sandwich Tern feeding offshore, seven Dunlin in the estuary, two Sanderling on the beach and a late Snipe over the Buffer Zone.

Monday 25 April 2022

Monday 25th April

An evening visit found three Willow Warbler in the bushes and three Swallow over the Main Pond where the Reed Warbler remains in song but no there were other migrants.  Resident breeding birds were active with Stonechat and Song Thrush collecting food and a pair of Herring Gull were nest building on the Boathouse Inn roof. The incessant tape of alarming gulls and Peregrine calls clearly bothering visitors more than the birds!

Elsewhere 19 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Sandwich Tern and five Whimbrel were in the estuary. 

Sunday 24 April 2022

Sunday 24th April

The first Little Tern of the year was offshore with at least 33 Sandwich Tern and a pair of Eider, which lingered all afternoon despite being regularly flushed by boat traffic. 

Counts from the estuary were limited to 160 Oystercatcher, 63 Whimbrel, 35 Bar-tailed Godwit, 23 Curlew, 12 Shelduck and two Teal, with four Turnstone on the beach and a Ringed Plover flew over. 

Elsewhere a Red Kite flew east mid afternoon with a Wheatear the only passerine migrant reported, just single Whitethroat and Reed Warbler remain on territory.  

Wildlife News: The fine weather saw the first Black Mining Bee Andrena pilipes on the wing with several Orange-tip along with Holly Blue, Small Copper and Peacock. A dead Herring Gull on Warren Point hosted two Silpha tristis carrion beetle. 

Saturday 23 April 2022

Saturday 23rd April

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling near the Visitor Centre early morning with the first Reed Warbler of the year singing at the Main Pond but other migrants were limited to two Wheatear and a new Whitethroat, with three singing males now present.

Offshore single Great and Arctic Skua flew east with c40 Manx Shearwater, 12 Fulmar and four Great Northern Diver. Counts from the estuary included 38 Sandwich Tern, eight Dunlin, seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese, five Whimbrel, four Sanderling, four Teal and a Ringed Plover

Wildlife News: A flowering Green-winged Orchid was discovered on Warren Point, a new location, the regular plant in Greenland Lake has not been seen this year. 

Green-winged Orchid - Alan Keatley

Insects were in short supply in the dull weather with those on the wing often found deep in flowering Dandelions.

Orange-tailed Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Friday 22 April 2022

Friday 22nd April

The first Yellow Wagtail of the year, a calling male, flew low NE along the Dune Ridge, but other arrivals with limited to four Wheatear and two Willow Warbler. Elsewhere no smaller waders were present over the high tide with 18 Sandwich Tern offshore. 

Wildlife News: A far better return amongst flying insects with two long overdue new fly species, a Plain-winged Spring Bee-grabber Myopa testacea near the Railway footbridge and a Common Snout Hoverfly Rhingia campestris on a Dandelion by the Tractor Compound. 

Myopa testacea - Alan Keatley

Common Snout Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Other flies on the wing included a noticeable emergence of St Mark's Fly Bibio marci and the dance fly Empis femorata.

Empis femorata - Alan Keatley

A good count of six Orange-tip were also flying along with a Garden Bumblebee Bombus hortorum and a few Orange-tailed Andrena haemorrhoa and Sandpit Mining Bee A. barbilabris.

Thursday 21 April 2022

Thursday 21st April

The lack of migrants remains a concern with just five Swallow through during the day, still no Reed Warbler and just the one Whitethroat on territory. Resident species are doing well though with five pairs of Stonechat and at least four singing Cirl Bunting.

Counts from the estuary included a flock of 62 Pale-bellied and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese arrived from the east and rest awhile in the Bight before continuing north over Exminster Marshes later in the day. Also present 26 Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Turnstone, seven Whimbrel, four Sanderling and a Dunlin

both Sanderling - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere a Jay was in Dead Dolphin Wood, a Water Rail was at the Main Pond and offshore there were four Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, 15 Sandwich Tern, eight Manx Shearwater and three Fulmar.

Wildlife News: The warm weather has brought an increasing range of species, if not numbers. First sighting of the year included the hoverflies Spring Epistrophe Epistrophe eligans and Smudge-veined Clubtail Neoascia podagrica, Orange-tailed Mining Bee Andrena haemorrhoa and new for the Recording Area, Sea Beet Weevil Lixus scabricollis just the third Devon record.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Wednesday 20th April

A Hobby was again the highlight, hunting small waders at high tide, no doubt because of the lack of hirundines. Counts from the estuary were limited to 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Whimbrel, six Turnstone, three Ringed Plover, two Sanderling and single Knot and Dunlin.

Elsewhere 46 Manx Shearwater flew south early evening with 28 Sandwich and another 'commic' Tern also offshore. Other migrants were limited to five Wheatear and two Willow Warbler with the lone Swallow a bird back on territory. 

Wildlife News: Three Orange-tip were in the Back Meadow.

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Tuesday 19th April

An evening visit saw the first Hobby of the year head north over the Visitor Centre, with seven Chiffchaff and four Blackcap on territory and the vocal Green Woodpecker in the bushes.

Offshore 25 Manx Shearwater and four Common Scoter flew south with 34 Sandwich Tern feeding and six Whimbrel and a House Martin in off the sea.

Monday 18 April 2022

Monday 18th April

The first Sedge Warbler of the year was the pick of a slight uptick in migrants with six Wheatear and five Swallow on site, both species watched coming in off the sea, Just the one Whitethroat is currently holding territory, hopefully many more to arrive. Non passerine migrants included three individual Red Kite head east along with four Rook.

Offshore a probable Arctic Tern flew distantly south with a couple of Kittiwake, 57 Manx Shearwater and four Red-throated Diver flew east and five Great-crested Grebe, two Common Scoter and a summer plumaged Great Northern Diver on the sea.

Counts from the estuary included 239 Oystercatcher, 42 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Whimbrel, 13 Sandwich Tern, seven Grey and four Ringed Plover, seven Redshank, six Dunlin, Snipe and Teal, three Turnstone, two Sanderling and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Other records included two second summer Mediterranean Gull south out of the estuary, at least 16 Shelduck and the first two Common Sandpiper of the year on the seawall. Offsite 12 Cattle Egret flew north from Cockwood valley and a loose flock of 10 Jay flew along Eastdon ridge before heading high east over estuary. 

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was in the estuary, five species of butterfly included Orange-tip, Small Tortoiseshell and two Small Copper, a shoal of 62 Rudd were in the Main Pond and at least one Sand Crocus was still in flower. 

Sunday 17 April 2022

Sunday 17th April

Seawatching early morning was rewarding with two Puffin east, the first multiple count since five in May 2009. Also east 630 Manx Shearwater, 38 Guillemot and 28 Razorbill amongst many Auk sp, two Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and the first Great Skua of the year.

Counts from the estuary included 295 Oystercatcher, 27 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Dunlin, 15 Curlew, 11 Whimbrel, nine Redshank, five Dark-bellied Brent Goose, four Teal, two Grey Plover and single Knot and Greenshank.

Elsewhere a Red Kite was overhead late morning with single Wheatear and Willow Warbler on site along with nine Blackcap, seven Chiffchaff and a Whitethroat

Wildlife News: The first Small Copper of the year was on the wing with Green-veined White and Peacock. A Water Vole was at the Main Pond with Common and Sand Lizard amongst the Marram.

Saturday 16 April 2022

Saturday 16th April

Tough going today with the fog slow to clear and poor visibility out to sea. Little change in the bushes with 11 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, two Willow Warbler and a Whitethroat present and a single Swallow back on territory.

In the estuary, the Water Pipit still, 56 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Turnstone, 24 Redshank, 13 Grey Plover, 11 Whimbrel, six Teal, three Knot, three Ringed Plover and a Sanderling. Offshore at least 11 Sandwich Tern, but given the visibility there may have been more out there.

Wildlife News: Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Peacock and Speckled Wood again on the wing, and both Common and Pygmy Shrew in the Entrance Bushes. 

Friday 15 April 2022

Friday 15th April

Four Jay, three in Dead Dolphin Wood and one behind the Crocus compound, were the pick of the migrants with two Willow Warbler, two Whitethroat and nine each of Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Cirl Bunting also on site. Overhead, six Swallow, a Buzzard and two Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and Rook.

Cirl Bunting - Dave Jewell

Offshore an increase to 46 Sandwich Tern but they had no Arctic Skua to contend with today, also offshore seven Red-throated and four Great Northern Diver, six Common Scoter, five Great-crested Grebe, two Manx Shearwater and a Red-breasted Merganser.

Counts from the estuary included 254 Oystercatcher, 51 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Curlew, 16 Whimbrel, 15 Turnstone, 12 Grey Plover, eight Dark and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, five Knot, four Teal, two drake Shoveler on Finger Point, single Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Redshank and a late Water Pipit.

Stonechat - Dave Jewell

Wildlife News: Butterflies on the wing included Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Peacock, with large numbers of tadpoles in the Main Pond. 

Thursday 14 April 2022

Thursday 14th April

Sea-watching from the Dune Ridge was rewarded with a Long-tailed Duck making several circuits of the bay with 32 Common Scoter before they all eventually flew east. The first record since Nov 2020. Also offshore a lingering dark phase Arctic Skua, harassing at least six Sandwich Tern, five Great-crested Grebe, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver.

Counts from the estuary included 34 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Turnstone, 17 Redshank, 11 Grey and five Ringed Plover, six Dark-bellied Brent Goose, four Knot, two Sanderling, two Dunlin, two Whimbrel and a Teal.

Elsewhere there was little obvious migrant passage with four Blackcap and two Whitethroat now on territory, although a single Willow Warbler and a couple of Swallow flew through.

Whitethroat - Alan Keatley

Blackcap - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The overcast conditions hampered insect activity, with no butterflies and only a handful of small hoverflies and Buff-tailed Bumblebee on the wing. A Common Shrew was in the education area and a couple of Sand Crocus managed to appear despite the lack of sunshine. 

Cuckoo-flower - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Tuesday 12th April

The first Common Tern of the year was feeding offshore with two probable Arctic and 53 Sandwich Tern. Also off John's Watch three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, 12 Manx Shearwater and three Fulmar.

In the estuary on a low neap tide included five Whimbrel, 220 Oystercatcher, 56 Curlew, 20 Turnstone, 15 Ringed Plover, six Bar-tailed Godwit, two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, a pair of Teal and single Dunlin and Red-breasted Merganser. Elsewhere a Whitethroat was singing in the Buffer Zone, a Jay was in Dead Dolphin Wood and 57 Linnet were along the Back Path. For other species the breeding season is in full swing with Blackbird collecting food, Mute Swan and Canada Geese on eggs and Chiffchaff and Goldfinch seen nest building. 

Monday 11 April 2022

Sunday 10 April 2022

Sunday 10th April

Today saw a good arrival of Pale-bellied Brent Geese through into the estuary, with several flocks arriving through the day, in total 171 Pale Bellied and at least five Dark-bellied Brent Geese were recorded.

Pale-bellied and five Dark-bellied Brent Geese - Alan Keatley

Other counts included 53 Sandwich Tern, 36 Turnstone, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Teal, six Shelduck, five Sanderling, three Redshank, two Knot and single Red-breasted Merganser and Greenshank.

Elsewhere the first three Swallow and two House Martin of the year flew through with two Rook and a Sand Martin; 11 Willow Warbler, nine Chiffchaff, six Wheatear and three Blackcap were on site with a mobile Jay and two Snipe around the Main Pond. Offshore 14 Shelduck (S) and single Great-crested Grebe and Red-throated Diver.

Wildlife News: Insects were relatively fewer today with the chilly strong SE breeze having an affect. However, two new bees for the year were recorded, a pair of Hairy-footed Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes on the planted Rosemary and a Common Furrow Bee Lasioglossum calceatum near the Main Pond.

Hairy-footed Flower Bee - Alan Keatley

Saturday 9 April 2022

Saturday 9th April

This first Whimbrel of the year flew in off the sea before flying back out and heading east a short while later. Also on the move three Jay through Dead Dolphin Wood early morning, a Sparrowhawk in off the sea with seven Raven, four Meadow Pipitthree Chaffinch, three Rook and single Jackdaw and Siskin overhead.

Counts from the estuary included 210 Oystercatcher, 50 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Ringed Plover, nine Teal, two Greenshank and two Knot. Elsewhere 33 Sandwich Tern and 20 Gannet were offshore with seven Sanderling and a Knot on the beach.

Knot - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: The first Green-veined White was on the wing, sharing a sheltered corner with a couple of Speckled Wood, a Comma and a Dark-edged Beefly. The first Stripe-backed Fleckwing Dasysyrphus albostriatus of the year was also seen, one of ten hoverfly species noted.

Dasysyrphus albostriatus - Kevin Rylands

Friday 8 April 2022

Friday 8th April

No sign of the Caspian Gull today but a 2nd summer Yellow-legged Gull was on Finger Point at high tide. Also in the estuary 243 Oystercatcher, 39 Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 11 Grey and eight Ringed Plover, 10 Sandwich Tern, seven Knot, four Sanderling, four Teal, three Greenshank, two Red-breasted Merganser and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Thursday 7 April 2022

Thursday 7th April

The first winter Caspian Gull was reported off Cockwood Steps on the dropping tide mid afternoon. Counts over high tide included 239 Oystercatcher, 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Dunlin, 18 Ringed and 13 Grey Plover, 10 Sandwich Tern, seven Knot, four Sanderling and a Greenshank.

Elsewhere three Manx Shearwater passed south distantly offshore, five Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler and Blackcap in the bushes and a Jay in Dead Dolphin Wood. 

Wildlife News: The first Orange-legged Furrow Bee Halictus rubicundus of the year was at Langstone Rock with a Red-tailed Bumblebee and Yellow-legged, Sandpit and Buffish Mining Bee also on the wing. 

Orange-legged Furrow Bee - Alan Keatley

Red-tailed Bumblebee - Alan Keatley

The first Humming Syrphus Syrphus ribesii of the year were also seen along with a single Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus, a lone Speckled Wood was the only butterfly.

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Wednesday 6th April

The highlight was again a first winter Caspian Gull, yesterday's bird, the 10th for the Warren, became the first to linger into a second day. It appeared on Finger Point on the dropping tide, at midday, staying for around 30 minutes. 

Caspian Gull - Lee Collins (top two) & Dave Jewell

Also in the estuary 38 Dunlin, with the summer plumaged bird having already moved on, at least 22 Sandwich Tern, 14 Grey and 13 Ringed Plover, seven Knot, three Sanderling and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Of the 20 Great Black-backed Gull on Finger Point almost half were first winter birds.

Elsewhere a Red-throated Diver and nine Common Scoter flew south offshore and a single Willow Warbler was in the bushes.

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus continues to delight its admirers during sunny periods. 

Tuesday 5 April 2022

Tuesday 5th April

A third Caspian Gull of the year, another first winter, was the highlight, with an Osprey also in the estuary. Counts included four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 102 Curlew, 51 Dunlin, including an Exe ringed first summer still and the first breeding plumaged arrival, 14 Grey and 11 Ringed Plover, eight Sanderling and seven Knot.

Pale-bellied Brent - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere 14 Sandwich Tern were offshore and two Willow Warbler were in the bushes.

Saturday 2 April 2022

Saturday 2nd April

The third Black Redstart of the spring, an immature male, was on the sea wall with the Velvet Scoter, single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver visible offshore along with nine Sandwich Tern.

In the bushes and ponds nine Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler, two Water Rail and a Blackcap, with a very vocal and mobile Green Woodpecker. The fine weather saw seven Buzzard and two Sparrowhawk drift over from the mainland.

Elsewhere counts from the estuary and beach, included 140 Oystercatcher, 67 Dunlin, 60 Turnstone, 51 Bar-tailed Godwit, 23 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 15 Grey and 10 Ringed Plover, eight Knot, five Greenshank, four Red-breasted Merganser and a Sanderling.

Turnstone - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The first Dark-edged Beefly of the year was in the sheltered patch by the First Pond, several White-footed Hoverfly Platycheirus albimanus were on the wing, but little else apart from a couple of Hairy-eyed Syrphus S.torvus and a single Speckled Wood.

Dark-edged Beefly - Alan Keatley

Friday 1 April 2022

Friday 1st April

A Willow Warbler was occasionally in song around the Main Pond, where at least six Mallard duckling survive, despite the best attempts of the breeding Canada Geese

Wildlife News: The Sand Crocus continues to flower but the cold temperatures are limiting their appearances.