Saturday, 21 May 2022

Saturday 21st May

Most waders seem to have passed through but Sanderling are traditionally late and 64 were on the beach with two Turnstone. In the estuary counts included 163 Oystercatcher, 13 Shelduck, 10 Whimbrel, two Ringed Plover and single Mediterranean Gull, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and Fulmar.

Elsewhere six Great Northern Diver were offshore with nine Sandwich Tern and six Manx Shearwater, two Wheatear were on site, 12 Swallow and two Swift flew threw and another brood of at least seven Mallard duckling will try to avoid the Grey Heron on the Main Pond.

Wildlife News: The first Painted Lady of the year was on the Golf Course along with workers of both Heath and Early Bumblebee. Also new for the year the first Great Green Bush-cricket and Long-winged Conehead nymphs. The garden escape Love-in-a-Mist Nigella damascena was found on the Golf Course, a new species for the Recording Area as was the soldier beetle Rhagonycha lignosa.

Some more images from Thursday night.

Great Prominent - Kevin Rylands

Pebble Hooktip - Kevin Rylands

Marbled Minor agg - Kevin Rylands

Iron Prominent - Kevin Rylands

Friday, 20 May 2022

Friday 20th May

Wildlife News: Light trapping overnight saw a total of 65 moth species recorded for National Moth Night with several Cockchafer and a Shore Sexton Beetle Necrodes littoralis also to the bulb.

Alder Kitten - Luke Harman

Maiden's Blush - Kevin Rylands

Two new species for the Recording Area were noted, Alder Kitten and Mottled Pug, plus the first confirmed records of Maiden's Blush. Other highlights included four Portland Ribbon Wave, two Great Prominent, Cream-spot Tiger, Iron and Pebble Prominent, Pale Tussock, Yellow Belle, Gold Spot and the migrants Bordered Straw, Rush Veneer, Rusty-dot Pearl and Diamond-back Moth

Great Prominent - Luke Harman

Portland Ribbon Wave - Luke Harman

Gold Spot - Luke Harman

Peach Blossom - Luke Harman

Bordered Straw - Luke Harman

Away from the traps, moths were particularly active nectaring around the flowering Tree Lupin and Sycamore. The non natives providing essential nutrients at a quiet time of year before many native species flower.

Angle Shades - Kevin Rylands

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Thursday 19th May

There were no small waders present in the estuary over the high tides, but 27 Sanderling and seven Whimbrel were on the beach with 13 Curlew in the Bight. On site the Canada Goose pair from the Main Pond still have their three goslings and at least two pairs of Stonechat are feeding well grown fledged young. A single Bar-tailed Godwit and a flock of Sanderling were heard overhead at night and a Tawny Owl was calling from Dead Dolphin Wood.

Wildlife News: The first Meadow Brown of the year was on the wing in Greenland Lake with other new emergences including Red Mason Bee Osmia bicornisStripe-faced Hoverfly Eristalis nemorum, Bumblebee Blacklet Cheilosia illustrata and Stripe-legged Robberfly Dioctria baumhaueri.

Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly Eristalinus sepulchralis - Alan Keatley

Empis stercoria - Alan Keatley

Red Mason Bee - Alan Keatley

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Wednesday 18th May

The first summer Bonaparte's Gull was at Cockle Sands, Exmouth early morning but flew into the Recording Area mid morning before circling over Eastdon with the Black-headed Gull flock and heading back towards Cockle Sands. The seventh site record but the first since the regular returning adult was last seen in Feb 2018. 

Also in the estuary 12 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, nine Sanderling, five Little Egret, two Dunlin and single Bar-tailed Godwit and Greenshank.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Tuesday 17th May

Two highlights were seen distantly offsite at Mudbank, Exmouth; a first summer Bonaparte's Gull seen from Warren Point and two Goosander seen from Cockwood Steps. The Warren however wasn't without its own rewards with two Hobby, one of which sat on a fence along the Dune Ridge, a very rare grounded record for site, whilst offshore there was another Puffin with a handful of Guillemot and Razorbill, 30 Gannet, 23 Common Scoter, seven Manx Shearwater and an Arctic Skua

Hobby - Lee Collins

Counts from the estuary included 36 Turnstone, 33 Sanderling, 27 Whimbrel, 12 Sandwich Tern, three first summer Mediterranean Gull, three Dunlin, two Ringed and a Little Ringed Plover. Elsewhere 22 Swallow and a Swift flew through with two Wheatear and a smart summer plumaged Scandinavian Rock Pipit the only grounded migrants.

Whitethroat - Dave Jewell

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Sunday 15th May

Seawatching from first light was rewarding following the first substantial rain for a while; with at least two Balearic Shearwater offshore stopping to feed occasionally with 56 Manx Shearwater. Also passing a dark phase spooned Pomarine Skua, a pale phase Arctic Skua and two distant pale phase skua sp, that were likely also Pomarine; 83 Common Scoter, nine Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver. A good auk passage included a single Puffin with 360+ auk sp, those close enough to identify were roughly 2:1 Guillemot : Razorbill.

Sanderling - Lee Collins

Counts from the estuary had dropped overnight, with 28 Dunlin, 27 Sanderling, 15 Turnstone, 12 Whimbrel, three Ringed and a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose.

Whimbrel - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere a Roseate Tern was feeding off John's Watch with four Sandwich and a Common Tern early morning, a welcome sight after a blank spring in 2021, a first summer Mediterranean Gull was also present. No obvious grounded migrants but single Swift and Sand Martin flew through with 16 Swallow and three House Martin. A Red Kite flew across the estuary late morning but just north of the Recording Area.

Wildlife News: Despite the largely overcast conditions a few insects were on the wing including the first Red Admiral for several weeks. Some diurnal mothing recorded the nationally rare Alexanders Conch Aethes deaurana for a second year, Common Tubic Alabonia geoffrella, Yellow Shell and a Common Swift

Aethes deaurana - Kevin Rylands

Common Tubic - Alan Keatley

Common Swift - Kevin Rylands

Three sawfly species were also recorded Macrophya annulata, Tenthredo arculata and Turnip Sawfly Athalia rosae

Macrophya annulata - Alan Keatley

Tenthredo arculata - Alan Keatley

Turnip Sawfly - Kevin Rylands

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Saturday 14th May

An overnight arrival of waders saw the year's first Little Stint in with 69 Sanderling, 51 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, five Bar-tailed Godwit and two Little Ringed Plover. Also in the estuary 41 Curlew, 17 Whimbrel, 16 Turnstone and a domestic Swan Goose, a first for the Recording Area. 

Little Stint & Dunlin - Lee Collins

Little Ringed Plover - Lee Collins

Elsewhere a Greenland Wheatear was on the Golf Course and offshore 14 Great Northern Diver, including a flock of nine, 62 Shag, 16 Manx Shearwater, just three Sandwich Tern, two distant Arctic Skua and a Red-throated Diver.

Ringing News: At least 12 Exe ringed Oystercatcher were recorded over high tide, all first summers. These will likely be present until Spring next year, when they will head off to find breeding territories. A recent resighting gives an indication of where some might end up.

Wildlife News: The first Broad-bodied Chaser of the year emerged from a pond on the Golf Course with other new records including a Cinnabar moth and the first nymph Grey Bush-cricket

Friday, 13 May 2022

Friday 13th May

A Sedge Warbler was at the Main Pond, a Willow Warbler was in the Entrance Bushes and 12 Sanderling and two Turnstone on the beach.

Wildlife News: A Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella was found nectaring in the Buffer Zone on Hemlock Water Dropwort; a first for the Recording Area, the larvae feed on Cuckoo-flower

Meadow Long-horn - Kevin Rylands

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Thursday 12th May

A brief Turtle Dove in Greenland Lake was the highlight, the first spring record since 2017 for this much declined species. Other migrants were however noticeable by their absence.

Elsewhere a Common Sandpiper was on the seawall early morning, with it or another on the Main Pond in the evening, nine Turnstone were on Langstone Rock and 35 Whimbrel and seven Bar-tailed Godwit were in the estuary. Offshore eight Great Northern Diver, six Common Scoter, six Manx Shearwater and two Sandwich Tern

Wildlife News: The first record of Flavous Nomad Bee Nomada flava was found on Warren Point, with first 2022 records of several species including Thick-thighed Pollen Beetle Oedemera nobilisRed-banded Sand Wasp Ammophila sabulosaKite-tailed Robberfly Tolmerus atricapillus and the tachinid Thelaria nigripes.


Flavous Nomad Bee - both Alan Keatley

Kite-tailed Robberfly - Alan Keatley

Thelaria nigripes - Alan Keatley

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Wednesday 11th May

Counts from the afternoon tide included estuary 127 Oystercatcher, 49 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, 15 Shelduck, 13 Curlew, eight Whimbrel, six Sanderling and three Bar-tailed Godwit.

A dark phase Arctic Skua harried the Sandwich Tern, a couple of Herring Gull and even a Gannet at one point. Also offshore 20 Gannet, seven Sandwich Tern, two Manx Shearwater, two Razorbill and a Guillemot.

Elsewhere a Wheatear was on the Golf Course with seven Swallow, five Swift and two House Martin overhead.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Tuesday 10th May

In the evening10 Gannet and four Sandwich Tern were feeding offshore with five Swallow and a Swift flew south. 

Monday, 9 May 2022

Monday 9th May

Aside from the breeding species it was quiet on site, with a single Wheatear on the Golf Course and a single Swift overhead. Elsewhere five Sandwich Tern and a first summer Mediterranean Gull were offshore and 17 Sanderling were on the beach. 


Saturday, 7 May 2022

Saturday 7th May

No news was received from high tide but 12 Whimbrel were on the mudflats at low tide with six Turnstone on the seawall. Offshore three Great Northern Diver, including one in summer plumage, five Common Scoter, a Great-crested Grebe and 680 Herring Gull.

Wildlife News: Holly Blue and Small Tortoiseshell were the pick of the butterflies with good numbers of insects including many Hairy Shieldbug and the first Warren records of Brassica Shieldbug. Also new for the Recording Area the distinctive galls of Cottonwool Gall Wasp Andricus quercusramuli.

Cotton Wool Wasp gall - Kevin Rylands

Drinker Moth caterpillar - Kevin Rylands

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Thursday 5th May

An immature Black Guillemot which flew across the bay before pitching distantly offshore was an obvious highlight the first since May 2018 and only the 12th site record, although the fourth in May. Otherwise it was relatively quiet offshore with two Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver through and a handful of Sandwich Tern feeding. 

Wader numbers have largely dropped off although 95 Bar-tailed Godwit remain along with 36 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, 12 Sanderling and a Knot. A Common Sandpiper on the beach was a new arrival as were single Wheatear and Sedge Warbler

Ringing News: A Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach had been rung at Terschelling, Holland on 6th May 2019, and was recorded there again in Spring 2020. This is the first sighting away from there, perhaps its next stop on the way to Russian breeding grounds.

Bar-tailed Godwit - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: The fine weather brought out a good number if insects including Dark Bush Cricket nymphs, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselfly, Wasp Beetle, the striking Cinnamon Bug Corizus hyoscyami, Batman Hoverfly Myathropa florea, Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly Eristalinus sepulchralis and Early Mason-wasp Ancistrocerus nigricornis, all new for the year. 

Batman Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

In addition a further overlooked(?) new Warren species was discovered, the widespread Downlooker Snipefly Rhagio scolopaceus. These took the annual biodiversity audit to over 1000 species, with 5083 species now seen in the Recording Area. 

Downlooker Snipefly - Alan Keatley

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Tuesday 3rd May

Counts from the estuary included 228 Oystercatcher, 186 Dunlin, 140 Bar-tailed Godwit, 110 Whimbrel, 59 Ringed and two Grey Plover, 23 Turnstone, seven Sanderling and a Knot. Numbers on the morning tide were largely the same as yesterday suggesting no overnight arrivals, but numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Ringed Plover were much lower on the evening tide. 

Bar-tailed Godwit - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere five Sandwich Tern and a first summer Mediterranean Gull were offshore and 17 Swallow, a House Martin and a Buzzard passed overhead.

Reed Warbler - Dean Hall

Ringing News: Amongst the roosting Whimbrel this evening was D63, first recorded here in 2016 and stopping off on the Exe for at least it's sixth Spring migration. 

Wildlife News: A few more insect species, if not numbers, are beginning to emerge with Cocksfoot Moth new for the year along with Red-legged Spider Wasp Epsilon rufipes, the longhorn beetle Grammoptera ruficornis and Superb Ant-hill Hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum.

Cocksfoot Moth - Alan Keatley

Common Grammoptera - Alan Keatley


Monday, 2 May 2022

Monday 2nd May

A damp grey Bank Holiday may not be what the tourists wanted, but it produced some excellent birding with at least 75 species recorded. The highlight, sadly, was a mobile Cuckoo. It was flushed from Warren Point by a Sparrowhawk, landed briefly behind the hide before flying across the Golf Course and appearing to land further up site. Here it called briefly before finally being seen offsite in trees behind the bakery in the village. 

Other migrants included a Yellow Wagtail overhead, six Wheatear and a Willow Warbler, a new Reed Warbler back on territory and 54 Swallow, 26 House and five Sand Martin through.

In the estuary the first Gadwall of the year, a brief Little Tern, six Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Mediterranean Gull and a further arrival of waders. Counts included 218 Dunlin, 127 Bar-tailed Godwit, including a Dutch ringed bird, 55 Ringed and two Grey Plover, 40+ Whimbrel, 22 Sanderling, four Common Sandpiper and single Knot and Greenshank

Common Sandpiper - Dave Jewell

Ringed Plover & Dunlin - Dave Jewell

Offshore there were 27 Sandwich and two Common Tern, with 51 Shag, 10 Common Scoter and single Great-crested Grebe, Red-throated and summer plumaged Great Northern Diver.

Jackdaw - Dave Jewell

Jackdaw have become a regular May feature in recent years, foraging on site when feeding chicks in nests in nearby woodland. Previously recorded as mostly an overhead migrant, this change in behaviour is presumably linked to loss of habitat caused by recent development. A further pressure on the Warren?

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Sunday 1st May

A visit after the rain for the evening tide showed little sign of migrants though two Swift were feeding over the Main Pond with single Wheatear and Willow Warbler also on site.

There was however considerable evidence of migration in the estuary with 136 Dunlin, mostly summer plumaged, 76 Bar-tailed Godwit, 73 Whimbrel, 30 Ringed Plover, nine Turnstone, six Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Grey Plover and single Knot and Sanderling

Bar-tailed Godwit - Dave Jewell