Thursday 29 September 2022

Thursday 29th September

Migration in action today with 700+ House Martin pouring west along the Dune Ridge this morning with many others missed and just two Swallow noted. There was no sign of the Wryneck but a Whinchat was a new arrival on Warren Point. 

In the estuary an Osprey again limited the high tide roost but counts included 680 Wigeon, 34 Ringed and 15 Grey Plover, 20 Turnstone, 10 Sandwich Tern, five Greenshank, two Shelduck, two Mediterranean Gull, two Knot and just the second Ruff of the year. 

Osprey - Lee Collins

Ringing News: Today's Osprey was also sporting a blue colour ring, but unlike Tuesday's bird it was on the right leg. Photos revealed it to be Blue 442, a female ringed at Nest 4 in the Kielder Forest, Northumberland on 7th July 2022 and was previously seen in Lincolnshire. The first Osprey recovery from the Warren.

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Wednesday 28th September

An immature Ring-necked Duck was an unexpected 305th bird for the Warren, especially as there have only been five records of Tufted Duck in the last two years. It was found early morning in Shutterton Creek but it flew up the estuary whilst news was still being put out. It was then found at the extreme north end of the estuary at Topsham Rec 40 minutes later (where this photo was taken) before heading south back down river after a few minutes.

Ring-necked Duck (at Topsham) - Martin Elcoate

Although the duck was the clear highlight, the day kept delivering with the ringed juvenile Osprey again present and a Little Stint in the Bight. The Osprey and regular immature female Peregrine kept the site clear of most waders at high tide with just a handful of Oystercatcher present along with 25 Dunlin,18 Ringed Plover, 14 Sanderling and a Grey Plover. The Oystercatcher roosted over at Sandy Bay, the smaller waders on the seawall north of Cockwood.

Also in the estuary 570 Wigeon, 14 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 12 Sandwich Tern and a Great Crested Grebe, with 54 Balearic Shearwater and three Mediterranean Gull amongst over 1000 gulls feeding on Sprat off Warren Point. Also offshore Red-throated Diver and earlier 27 Balearic Shearwater south.

Elsewhere a Wryneck around the Entrance Bushes was another surprise find, with the last sighting eight days ago it is likely this is a second bird but it quickly went to ground and single Wheatear, Whitethroat and a few Chiffchaff were the only other new migrants.

Wryneck - Dean Hall

Overhead two Yellow and Grey Wagtail, c20 Meadow Pipit, 55 House Martin, 15 Linnet, 10 Swallow, three Rook and a Chaffinch. Most passage was too high or out over the bay, pushed offshore by the wind.

Meadow Pipit - Dean Hall

Wildlife News: A Clouded Yellow and a few Red Admiral were on the wing but other butterflies were limited to single Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Large and a few Small White. Another migrant, a White-clubbed Glasswing Scaeva pyrastri was amongst today's ten hoverfly species.

Clouded Yellow - Alan Keatley

Scaeva pyrastri - Alan Keatley

Also on the wing Ivy Bee remain in numbers around a small clump on ivy by Langstone Rock, also there Looped Flutter-fly Palloptera mulibris and the beetle Opatrum sabulosum.

Ivy Bee - Alan Keatley

Looped Flutter-fly - Alan Keatley

Opatrum sabulosum - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Tuesday 27th September

In the estuary a large increase in Wigeon with 970 roosting in Shutterton Creek along with 130 Canada, a Barnacle and a Snow Goose. In the Bight the first Pale-bellied Brent of the autumn was with 40 Dark-bellied Brent Geese with 76 Ringed Plover, 49 Dunlin, nine Greenshank, four Turnstone and a Whimbrel.

Earlier a new juvenile Osprey was in the estuary, with 12 Chiffchaff and a Wheatear on site and three Balearic Shearwater and a Red-throated Diver offshore.

Osprey - Lee Collins

Monday 26 September 2022

Monday 26th September

The usually unproductive northerlies delivered again with a very early Iceland Gull, an adult flew east across the estuary early morning, found while watching the continuing Osprey. The gull was the first since 2018 and only the second September record.

Counts over the high tide included 597 Teal, 387 Wigeon, 311 Redshank, 91 Ringed Plover, 80 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 24 Sanderling, nine Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwit, two Sandwich Tern and two Curlew Sandpiper

Elsewhere a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver was offshore and a Wheatear was in the Bight.

Wildlife News: At Langstone Rock several Ivy Bee have found the only Ivy that is currently flowering on site, with a Red-legged Shieldbug and a late Pied Plumehorn Volucella pellucens

Red-legged Shieldbug - Alan Keatley

Another Yellow-girdled Dasysyrphus D. tricinctus was along the track by the Main Pond with two Ivy Waspgrabber Leopoldius signatus. In the sheltered Skipper Meadow, three Field Digger Wasp Mellinus arvensis were on the hunt for flies one successfully catching a bluebottle.

Field Digger Wasp - Alan Keatley

Sunday 25 September 2022

Sunday 25th September

The northerly winds again provided the highlight with a lone juvenile Pink-footed Goose in Shutterton Creek on the rising evening tide, the third site record. This closely matches the second record on 18 Sep 2010, although that bird's stay was even more fleeting. All three records have occurred between 18-25 September.

Pink-footed Goose - Lee Collins

Over the morning tide two juvenile Osprey were present, one over the Bight and one distantly offshore between Dawlish and Teignmouth, earlier seen over Torbay, which eventually headed up estuary where a third bird was off Powderham! 

Counts from the estuary included 444 Teal, 425 Wigeon, 359 Curlew, 301 Redshank, 65 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 30 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Sanderling, 20 Grey Plover, seven Greenshank, four Turnstone, three Knot, Snipe, Mediterranean Gull and Sandwich Tern, two Curlew Sandpiper, Shelduck and Pintail and single Kingfisher, Shoveler and the returning Spotted Redshank.

Elsewhere a Tree and 19 Meadow Pipit and lone Siskin were overhead and grounded migrants included 20 Chiffchaff, four Blackcap and single Whitethroat and Wheatear.

Saturday 24 September 2022

Saturday 24th September

Most of the activity came from the estuary with an increase in waders and wildfowl arriving on the northerly winds, amongst the latter a juvenile Scaup in Shutterton Creek, the first of the year. 

Also present first thing the juvenile Osprey with counts including 880 Oystercatcher, 517 Teal, 387 Curlew, 342 Wigeon, 171 Dunlin, 103 Ringed and 17 Grey Plover, 41 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 32 Sanderling, 25 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, eight Greenshank, four Curlew Sandpiper, four Sandwich Tern, four Knot, three adult Mediterranean Gull, two Kingfisher, a Pintail and a Little Stint.

Elsewhere two Water Rail were at the Main Pond; 70 Swallow, 22 Meadow Pipit, four Rook and a Sand Martin flew through with a Wheatear on the Golf Course and 14 Chiffchaff, six Blackcap and two Goldcrest on site. A Coal Tit made a brief visit from the mainland with nine Long-tailed Tit.

Wildlife News: A Vestal was on Warren Point with a Locust Blowfly in Greenland Lake another migrant, also on the wing the second site record of Yellow-girdled Dasysyphrus D. tricinctus, one of ten hoverflies species seen. These included Gossamer Hoverfly Baccha elongata and Yellow-barred Peat Hoverfly Sericomyia silentis.

Yellow-girdled Dasysyphrus - Alan Keatley

Yellow-barred Peat Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

A Grey Seal was in the estuary and the first Vervain Verbena officinalis for the Warren was found growing on the Golf Course.

Vervain - Kevin Rylands

Brassica Bug - Kevin Rylands

Thursday 22 September 2022

Thursday 22nd September

An adult Spoonbill low north over the seawall early morning was a great start, but seemed to be the only new arrival with the bushes holding 14 Chiffchaff, three Blackcap, a Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler

In the estuary no sign of the Spoonbill but an Osprey was present late morning. Over the evening tide a juvenile Little Stint was with 112 Ringed Plover and 88 Dunlin in the Bight, with other counts including 328 Teal, 182 Wigeon, 178 Redshank, 31 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Sanderling, nine Greenshank, eight Sandwich Tern, five Mediterranean Gull, two Kingfisher and a Turnstone.

Wildlife News: A female Ectophasia crassipennis was seen by the Main Pond, this is the second Recording Area record for this rare tachinid fly, which was first recorded in the UK in 2019. Also nectaring on the abundant Michaelmas Daisy at least six species of hoverfly and a couple of late digger wasps, Common Ectemnius E. continuus and a Mournful Wasp Pempherdon lugubris. In Dead Dolphin Wood an Ivy Waspgrabber Leopoldius signatus was only the third site record.

Ectemnius continuus - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Tuesday 20th September

The highlight was again a Wryneck, this time near the Visitor Centre, presumably the same bird as Sunday, but around 1.5km from its original location. A Redwing reported by the Golf Course was the earliest ever arrival, but other grounded migrants were limited to 16 Chiffchaff and four Blackcap. Overhead six Meadow Pipit, four Skylark, two Grey Wagtail and two Rook.

Elsewhere 316 Curlew, 166 Redshank, 48 Sandwich Tern and two Grey Plover were in the estuary, 15 Sanderling were on the beach and a Kingfisher was at the Main Pond.

Wildlife News: Several hoverflies were on the wing including a Yellow-barred Peat Hoverfly Sericomyia silentis amongst many Common Eristalis tenax and Striped-faced Dronefly E. nemorum, Humming Syrphus S.ribesii and Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus with several Batman Myathropa florea and Tiger Hoverfly Heliophilus pendulus along with Common Spotted Field Syrph Eupeodes luniger and White-clubbed Glasswing Scaeva pyrastri.

Vestal - Alan Keatley

Also today a Vestal on Warren Point, along with the darkling beetle Crypticus quisquilius, a first site record for this dune specialist.

Crypticus quisquilius - Alan Keatley

Sunday 18 September 2022

Sunday 18th September

A typically elusive Wryneck was on Warren Point mid morning but soon went to ground. This species has now occurred annually since 2013, something that can't be said for other migrants such as Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher, and so far this year, Redstart. 

Other grounded migrants included 25 Chiffchaff, eight Blackcap, two Reed Warbler, two Goldcrest and single Wheatear and Whitethroat. Overhead there were 16 Meadow Pipit, 12 Swallow, five Grey and a Yellow Wagtail, four House Martin, three Jackdaw, two Rook, two Chaffinch and a Siskin.

Counts from the estuary included 401 Curlew, 260 Redshank, 95 Wigeon, 83 Ringed and three Grey Plover, 69 Teal, 38 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Dunlin, eight Greenshank, seven Turnstone, six Sanderling, two Knot and a Curlew Sandpiper. Also present the juvenile Osprey, four Mediterranean Gull, a  Kingfisher and just one Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere 31 Common Scoter were offshore and the first returning Water Rail was at the Main Pond.

Wildlife News: The nationally scarce Dune Jumper Marpissa nivoyi was rediscovered on Warren Point on the shore f the Bight. It had been feared lost following storms in late 2019, when much of its habitat was washed away. The first Vestal of the year was in Greenland Lake.

Dune Jumper - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 17 September 2022

Saturday 17th September

Another day of egrets but this time just singles, a Great White Egret flew in off the sea and carried on up the estuary mid morning with a Cattle Egret doing the same a short while later. Other movement overhead was limited to 25 Meadow Pipit, three Grey Wagtail, a Buzzard and a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver that circled the Bight before heading out to sea. 

In the estuary five Avocet and 14 Shelduck were new arrivals with counts including 454 Curlew, 339 Redshank, 76 Teal, 61 Dunlin, 38 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Ringed and a Grey Plover, 19 Wigeon, 15 Sanderling and single Knot and Curlew Sandpiper

Avocet - Lee Collins

Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver flew south offshore and a small fall of migrants included 22 Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, three Goldcrest, two Wheatear and a Willow Warbler.

Wildlife News: Three Clouded Yellow were in Greenland Lake with at least 30 Small White on site. Ivy Bee numbers are increasing with Green-eyed Flower Bee, Common and Green Furrow Bee still on the wing. 

Green Furrow Bee Lasioglossum morio - Alan Keatley

Thursday 15 September 2022

Thursday 15th September

The highlight was another site record count, this time 75 Cattle Egret that dropped into the Railway Saltmarsh over high tide. A few birds separated off and joined the cattle at Cockwood, and eventually the whole flock headed back north. This is the earliest on site arrival of the now regularly wintering Exe Estuary flock, if previous years are to go by, there should be intermittent Warren appearances until November. Later they were flushed from somewhere inland of Cockwood Marsh and were watched distantly dropping into Powderham.

Osprey - Lee Collins

Also in the estuary the juvenile Osprey, three Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint with counts including 292 Redshank, 203 Wigeon, 40 Ringed Plover, 35 Dunlin, 25 Sandwich and a Common Tern, 23 Sanderling, 12 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Greenshank, five Pintail, four adult Mediterranean Gull, two Knot, a Whimbrel and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, the first of winter.

Curlew Sandpiper - Lee Collins

Overhead movement was limited by strong wind and high clouds but included 35 Swallow, 12 House and two Sand Martin, 15 Meadow Pipit, four Grey and three Yellow Wagtail and three Rook. Grounded migrants were limited to nine Wheatear, a Willow Warbler and a Chaffinch.

Wildlife News: A Common Seal was on Bull Hill. The wind limited insect activity but an Ivy Wasp-grabber Leopoldius signatus was in the Entrance Bushes, flying at or above head height, and often landing briefly on willow leaves whilst harassing the wasps. Also on the wing the first Hornet of the year, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and a couple of Common Darter and a few Migrant Hawker.

Most hoverflies can now be found mainly on the Michaelmas Daisy, with the Common Fleabane mostly gone over and the Ivy not yet in flower, they included a pair of Stripe-faced Dronefly Eristalis nemorum, with the male characteristically hovering over the female.

Stripe-faced Dronefly - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Wednesday 14th September

A day of quality and quantity after overnight rain cleared early morning. The highlight was a site record count of four Green Sandpiper, matching the number recorded on 27 Aug 1983. Like the majority of previous records, they were in the saltmarsh early morning before flying off, but most records are of single birds, including the last here in Aug 2020.

Also in the saltmarsh and Shutterton Creek, 426 Curlew, 284 Redshank, 115 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 28 Bar and five Black-tailed Godwit, seven Greenshank, three Mediterranean Gull and a Snipe. At high tide, two Osprey were fishing in the estuary corner, one successfully catching a large Mullet.

At the Bight there were 156 Sandwich and seven Common Tern, with the counts of 89 Dunlin and 79 Ringed Plover hampered by the presence of a Short-eared Owl, the second of the autumn. Amongst the waders, a Little Stint, seven Knot, two Grey Plover and a Common Sandpiper, whilst nine Pintail flew over. 

Wheatear - Dave Jewell

Elsewhere 46 Sanderling and two White Wagtail were on the beach, with just 10 Chiffchaff, single Whitethroat and Goldcrest in the bushes and four Grey Wagtail overhead. Wheatear were however a feature, with at least 27 present, many moving on as soon as the rain eased. 

White Wagtail - Dave Jewell

Ringing News: At least eight of the Sandwich Tern carried colour rings giving an indication of where this late influx originates. Five of them came from Holland, the first North Sea recoveries this autumn, one of which, ringed in 2014, has been seen here in five previous autumns

The other birds came from the Irish Sea, namely Anglesey, Wales; Hodbarrow, Cumbria and Wexford, Ireland. The latter was present in Aug 2021 and earlier this autumn, previously being last seen here on 11 Aug.

Wildlife News: A Painted Lady, two Red Admiral and a small number of Rush Veneer hinted at ongoing migration, confirmed by the presence of at least 20 Migrant Hawker.

Migrant Hawker - Dave Jewell

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Tuesday 13th September

A combination of rain and terns were the main features of the day, with three Spoonbill, an adult and two immatures, roosting on Finger Point the highlight. These three had been seen earlier in the day at the top end of the estuary.

Spoonbill - Alan Keatley

At least 160 Sandwich Tern were round the site with many roosting around the Bight, amongst the flocks were seven Common and a Little Tern. By contrast there were relatively few small waders on the dropping tide with counts of 157 Curlew, 146 Redshank, 42 Dunlin, 22 Ringed Plover, 15 Black and a Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Greenshank, five Sanderling and five Knot.

Common Tern - Alan Keatley

Common (and Sandwich) Tern - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere 60 Goldfinch, six Wheatear, four Chiffchaff and two Blackcap were on site whilst 30 Swallow, five Meadow Pipit, three Rook and two Sand Martin passed overhead.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Sunday 11th September

Counts from the estuary were difficult due to the presence of a juvenile Osprey which again landed in the Bight. The regular wader species were present, with at least 200 Wigeon, 37 Sandwich and a Common Tern, with 31 Sanderling on the beach.

Elsewhere the first Goldcrest of the autumn was in the Entrance Bushes, but other migrants were limited to six Chiffchaff and three Blackcap and a feeding flock of 332 Gannet was offshore.

Saturday 10 September 2022

Saturday 10th September

An immature Marsh Harrier that flew west sometime today was the highlight, despite their regular presence at the top end of the estuary, this was the first of the year and just the 30th site record. Also overhead today the first Siskin of the autumn, an Osprey with fish, six Meadow Pipit and a Grey Wagtail.

The first Ruff of the year was on Finger Point with an adult Yellow-legged and a juvenile Little Gull, also in the estuary the Spotted Redshank but no counts were received. Elsewhere six Balearic Shearwater and six Sandwich Tern were offshore, 22 Teal were on the Main Pond and grounded migrants included 14 Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, three Willow Warbler, two Wheatear and in the car park, a Sedge Warbler

Wildlife News: Seven species of butterfly included a couple of Red Admiral with a Silver Y also on the wing. 

Silver Y - Alan Keatley

Coastal Groundbug Beosus maritimus - Alan Keatley

Friday 9 September 2022

Friday 9th September

A Little Stint was in the Bight on the evening tide amongst c80 Ringed Plover and c60 Dunlin, with 237 Wigeon, 54 Great Black-backed Gull, 38 Bar and 24 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Sanderling, 12 Greenshank and single Kingfisher, Knot, Whimbrel and Spotted Redshank. The hybrid Wigeon x Pintail was again present.

Off John's Watch at least 47 Balearic Shearwater were feeding close offshore with large numbers of gulls, including 950 Black-headed, two adult Mediterranean and two first winter Yellow-legged Gull as well as 24 Sandwich and a Common Tern.

Elsewhere a Hobby was over the Entrance Bushes. 

Wildlife News: A Red Admiral was watched flying in off the sea and a further influx of Rush Veneer saw at least 30 kicked up underfoot. 

Thursday 8 September 2022

Thursday 8th September

Seawatching before 8.30am saw the first Grey Phalarope of the year head south with 73 Balearic Shearwater, a good (?) count of 690 Gannet, 62 Sandwich Tern, 15 Kittiwake, a Pomarine, a Great and three Arctic Skua

In Shutterton Creek a distinctive hybrid Wigeon x Pintail was with 355 Wigeon and 171 Teal, the latter hosting an equally distinctive bird with white primaries. Also in the estuary the Spotted Redshank was in the Railway Saltmarsh with 355 Redshank, 15 Greenshank, 28 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit.

Peregrine - Lee Collins This immature male has found the fencing around the Bight to its liking and just today sparred with Arctic Skua, Carrion Crow, Little Egret and Greenshank. 

An adult Curlew Sandpiper was in the Bight with 221 Ringed Plover, 112 Dunlin, 69 Great Black-backed and a juv/fw Yellow-legged Gull, 48 Sandwich, 12 Common and two Little Tern, 10 Sanderling, nine Knot, four Grey Plover and single Turnstone, Kingfisher, juvenile Peregrine and a sick Arctic Skua.

Arctic Skua - Lee Collins

Elsewhere two Grey Wagtail were overhead, with three White Wagtail and two Wheatear feeding on the Golf Course fairways.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Wednesday 7th September

Seawatching from first light to 9am saw 230 Balearic Shearwater head south along with 259 Gannet, 153 Kittiwake and three Arctic Skua, with up to 32 Sandwich and three Little Tern also offshore.

In the estuary the first influx of wildfowl with 285 Wigeon and 112 Teal in Shutterton Creek with a Spoonbill present at low tide. In the Bight, a Little Stint and two Curlew Sandpiper were in with 194 Ringed Plover and 127 Dunlin, whilst other counts included 42 Mute Swan, eight Common Tern, seven Greenshank, four Knot, four Black-tailed Godwit and two Mediterranean Gull.

In the blown out conditions if there were more migrants than five Chiffchaff and a Wheatear they didn't show themselves and at least seven Cirl Bunting were with a large flock of c80 Linnet and c40 Goldfinch. A moribund Gannet was in Greenland Lake.

Ringing News: A Lesser Black-backed Gull Blue VLKO was present for a second day. This is an intermedius race bird ringed in Demark.

Wildlife News: A Clouded Yellow was struggling to find shelter in Greenland Lake.

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Tuesday 6th September

Seawatching at various times during the day saw 17 Balearic and a large Shearwater, probably Cory's, head south with 45 Kittiwake, 12 Common Scoter, two first winter Mediterranean Gull, two Fulmar and a lingering Arctic Skua. Gannet numbers were difficult to estimate with up to 20 birds offshore circling the bay, numbers were much lower in the evening after at least 10 birds were found dead on the shoreline, the eventual fate of the one below. With crows and gulls scavenging the corpses the threat of this deadly poultry strain of Avian Flu grows each day.

Gannet - Alan Keatley

Also offshore 24 Sandwich, three Little and a Common Tern, with birds also visiting the Bight. 

Little Tern - Alan Keatley

In the estuary a group of 12 Curlew Sandpiper included five adults in various stages of moult, with counts of 374 Curlew, 307 Redshank, 186 Ringed Plover, 86 Dunlin, 83 Teal, 56 Great Black-backed Gull, 39 Bar and five Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Shag, 10 Greenshank, six Shelduck, six Knot, four Whimbrel, three Sanderling and single first winter Yellow-legged Gull, adult Mediterranean Gull, Turnstone and Snipe.

Passerine migrants were limited to four Chiffchaff  and in the Entrance Bushes, a single Reed Warbler.

Ringing News: The gathering of Great Black-backed Gull included three familiar birds; Black JT288, a regular Norwegian ringed winterer; White P:87B, a Portland ringed bird that is now only a winter visitor having been seen regularly on site before returning to Portland to breed, it was last seen there two days ago; and White L:AJ6 a Looe ringed bird that was recorded 71 times between Sep 2012 & Nov 2015, but apart from three sightings in Sep-Oct 2019, this was its first return visit.

Wildlife News: The first Ivy Bee Colletes hederae of the year was nectaring on Fennel on the Golf Course with sheltered areas also holding Vestal Cuckoo Bee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Common Carder Bee, Batman Hoverfly and the digger wasp Ectemnius cavifrons.

Ectemnius cavifrons - Alan Keatley

A worn second generation Holly Blue was the best of the butterflies with Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Large White also on the wing.

Holly Blue - Alan Keatley