Tuesday 31 January 2023

Tuesday 31st January

Three Red-throated Diver flew south early morning with 21 Great Crested Grebe, five Razorbill and the two immature male Eider also offshore. Elsewhere 10 Meadow Pipit and two Stonechat in Greenland Lake hinted at some movement, with two Shoveler on the Main Pond, a mobile Grey Wagtail and, roaming with 11 Long-tailed Tita Chiffchaff.

Few birds in the estuary on the low tide with 75 Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the mudflats and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser off Cockwood. 

Euselis incisus - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The temperatures continue to limit the number of flying insects, but other invertebrates could be found with the first Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis of the year, a nymph of a grass leafhopper Euselis incisus and several Paederus littoralis, a predatory rove beetle. Three Grey and the Common Seal were again hauled out on the barge in the estuary. 

Nursery Web Spider - Dean Hall

Paederus littoralis - Alan Keatley

Monday 30 January 2023

Monday 30th January

A Dartford Warbler seen early afternoon along the Back Path is presumed to be the same elusive bird seen earlier this month. 

Sunday 29 January 2023

Sunday 29th January

The two juvenile Spoonbill were on Finger Point at high tide with 150 Teal, 82 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 57 Turnstone, 55 Redshank, 50 Shelduck, 27 Ringed Plover, 11 Wigeon, five Greenshank, three Avocet and single Black-tailed Godwit and Kingfisher also in the estuary. A Sparrowhawk was the only disturbance on today's tide.

Elsewhere a welcome increase to 17 Red-throated Diver offshore, with 80 auk sp., 28 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Common Scoter, six Red-breasted Merganser and the two immature male Eider, whilst two Shoveler, two Water Rail and two Little Grebe on the Main Pond, single Chiffchaff and Goldcrest in the bushes and two Rook and a Grey Wagtail overhead.

Wildlife News: The three Grey and single Common Seal were in the estuary.

Saturday 28 January 2023

Saturday 28th January

In the estuary two paragliders illegally flushed the birds both before and during high tide, those flushed included 1,340 Dunlin, 216 Teal, 188 Bar-tailed Godwit, 166 Grey Plover, 108 Knot, 67 Shelduck, 52 Snipe, 47 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 30 Ringed Plover, 29 Sanderling, 10 Wigeon, four Greenshank, three Avocet and the two Spoonbill.

Two immature male Eider were offshore with 34 Great Crested Grebe, seven Razorbill, five Red-breasted Merganser, five Common Scoter and three Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere three Water Rail and two Shoveler were at the Main Pond, two Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff and a Redwing were in the bushes and a Cetti's Warbler was again the Buffer Zone.

Friday 27 January 2023

Friday 27th January

The two Spoonbill were on Finger Point over the high tide with counts from the estuary including 1000+ Oystercatcher, with 47 colour-ringed birds recorded, 172 Teal, 153 Curlew, 146 Grey Plover, 86 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 56 Shelduck, 26 Ringed Plover, 12 Turnstone, 10 Wigeon, five Greenshank and three Avocet.

Elsewhere 14 Great Crested Grebe were offshore and the first Pheasant of the year was on the Golf Course.

Cirl Bunting - Dave Jewell

Thursday 26 January 2023

Thursday 26th January

The two juvenile Spoonbill made a return visit over the morning tide with 20 Sanderling, three Avocet and a Black-tailed Godwit also noted along with over 50 different colour-ringed birds. The Sandwich Tern was flying strongly in the morning, but it was later found on the beach being attacked by gulls and despite being taken into care, may have met its end.

Elsewhere the first Buzzard of the year was over the Entrance Bushes, 20 Great Crested Grebe were offshore an a male and two female Shoveler were on the Main Pond.

Oystercatcher - Alan Keatley

Ringing News: The two Oystercatcher above, JP & KN, have spent much of the winter feeding in Greenland Lake. Ringed here in Oct 2021 there is still much to learn from these birds. 

Wildlife News: Three Grey Seal were again hauled out on the barge this afternoon. 

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Tuesday 24th January

The cold weather continues with Curlew numbers rising to 304, but other counts remained stable with 125 Bar-tailed Godwit, 110 Grey Plover, 102 Redshank and 79 Knot with single Greenshank and Sandwich Tern on Finger Point.

Curlew B/BOB - Dean Hall

Elsewhere the year's first Coal Tit was in the Entrance Bushes, 15 Great Crested Grebe were offshore, the female Shoveler was on the Main Pond, and feeding around the frozen floods of the Back Meadow and Greenland Lake, nine Snipe, three Chiffchaff and single Redwing and Grey Wagtail.

Chiffchaff - Alan Keatley

Ringing News: A ringed Curlew in the Bight was one trapped by the Devon & Cornwall Wader Ringing Group at Exminster Marshes in February 2020.  

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was hauled out on the barge in the estuary. 

Monday 23 January 2023

Monday 23rd January

An afternoon visit at low tide saw an Avocet in the estuary with 60+ Teal, 58 Shelduck, three Wigeon and a Little Grebe. Elsewhere 28 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were at Langstone Rock, 27 Great Crested Grebe, a Common Scoter and the Sandwich Tern were offshore and a Chiffchaff was in the Entrance Bushes. 

Sunday 22 January 2023

Sunday 22nd January

Another cold day with just a trickle weather related migrants; in the estuary higher counts of 229 Curlew and 67 Redshank were no doubt linked to the higher tide and frozen fields around the estuary, with 16 Wigeon and a Pintail offshore perhaps from further afield. 

Also offshore the three Eider, 20 Great Crested Grebe, nine Common Scoter and single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver. Other counts from the estuary included 1016 Dunlin, 181 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 129 Bar-tailed Godwit, 116 Teal, 96 Grey Plover and Knot, 69 Shelduck, 43 Turnstone, 13 Wigeon, seven Greenshank, four Pintail and Red-breasted Merganser, two Avocet and single Kingfisher and Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere a Cetti's Warbler was in the Buffer Zone, 17 Cirl Bunting, four Redwing and two Sparrowhawk, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest in the bushes, and one of the (presumed) Scandinavian Rock Pipit was beginning to show its true colours in the Bight, wintering birds usually depart the Warren before starting their moult, but ringed birds have proved their presence from late autumn.

Wildlife News: Eight fresh molehills near the Go-karts were a welcome surprise, last being recorded in spring 2019, Mole was feared extinct on site. As they can live for up to six years, perhaps they have remained hidden underground all along? Permanent tunnels are used repeatedly for feeding over long periods of time, sometimes by several generations of moles.

Saturday 21 January 2023

Saturday 21st January

Freezing overnight temperatures resulted in frozen ponds and a sparkling white ground frost, but little signs of any bird movement. The highlight was the first ever January record of Marsh Harrier, reflecting their increasing presence at the north end of the estuary, a 2nd calendar year flew high over the mudflats at 15:15. Also in the estuary 145 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 116 Curlew. 45 Redshank, 20 Wigeon, 15 Great Crested and a Little Grebe, seven Greenshank, two Avocet and the Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere three Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore with single Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser; 12 Snipe were flushed by a foraging Magpie in Greenland Lake, three Rook and a Siskin were overhead and six Redwing, two Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff were in the bushes.

Wildlife News: Not surprisingly no insects on the wing and just a few springtails found, but did include a new species for the year, Isotomurus palustris. 

Isotomurus palustris - Alan Keatley

Friday 20 January 2023

Friday 20th January

Three immature Eider remain off Warren Point but no other news was received. 

Thursday 19 January 2023

Thursday 19th January

A female Dartford Warbler around the Visitor Centre late morning, was either a cold weather arrival or a very elusive bird last seen on 15 Dec. Also on site, three Water Rail and a pair of Shoveler at the Main Pond, two Redshank and a Greenshank in Greenland Lake, a Chiffchaff pausing briefly before continuing west over the railway with 33 Linnet, 12 Goldfinch and the year's first Siskin providing further evidence of migration.

Green Woodpecker - Alan Keatley

A juvenile Spoonbill flew high up estuary with the one roosting later on Finger Point perhaps the second bird. Also in the estuary 118 Teal, 68 Shelduck, 34 Ringed Plover, 16 Knot, 10 Sanderling, four Avocet, a pair of Red-breasted Merganser, two Greenshank and a Wigeon.

Wildlife News: Despite the temperatures the first Honey Bee of the year was nectaring on Gorse in the sunshine, two Grey Seal were on the barge in the estuary and seven species of springtail and the wood-boring weevil Euophryum confine were uncovered.

Euophryum confine - Alan Keatley

Entomobrya albocinta - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Wednesday 18th January

No sign of the Spoonbills over the late afternoon high tide but three Avocet and the Sandwich Tern were still present, along with 900 Dunlin, 159 Bar-tailed Godwit, 106 Teal, 81 Shelduck, 52 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 43 Curlew, 18 Ringed Plover, nine Great Crested Grebe, seven Sanderling, five Wigeon, two Knot and a Greenshank.

Elsewhere an immature male Eider was offshore.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was in the estuary.

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Tuesday 17th January

No obvious signs of cold weather movement, but a Greylag Goose that flew in from east, circled briefly, before continuing west, may not have been local, the same applies to a pair of Pintail offshore, both first records of the year. Also offshore three Eider, two immature male & a female, 28 Great Crested Grebe and a Great Northern Diver.

Elsewhere 1200 Dunlin were in the Bight with 51 Bar-tailed Godwit, 47 Grey and three Ringed Plover, 16 Skylark, nine Sanderling and five Knot. A juvenile Spoonbill was in Shutterton Creek, with perhaps the same in Cockwood Harbour later on.

Common & three Grey Seal - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: Three Grey and the Common Seal were in the estuary. Despite the sun the chill limited invertebrate activity but a new springtail for the Recording Area was discovered, Sminthurus viridis.

Sminthurus viridis - Alan Keatley

Angle Shades - Alan Keatley

Monday 16 January 2023

Monday 16th January

A watch from Cockwood Steps on the dropping tide gave counts of 90 Shelduck, 80 Teal, 49 Turnstone, 46 Redshank, 42 Shag, 12 Great Crested and a Little Grebe, five Red-breasted Merganser, three Avocet and two Kingfisher. The two Spoonbill were in Cockwood Harbour before moving to the estuary, a Cattle Egret flew over, a Sandwich Tern was on Bull Hill and the drake Goldeneye was in Shutterton Creek.

Elsewhere the first Purple Sandpiper of the year was on Langstone Rock late afternoon.

Offsite a Great Northern Diver and a female Scaup were mid channel north of Cockwood.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Sunday 15th January

Seawatching early morning was quiet but was rewarded by two Whooper Swan (ad & imm) east over the seawall just after 8am, with three Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, four Eider (three imm male & female) and 31 Great Crested Grebe on the sea.

WeBS counts from the estuary included 1035 Oystercatcher, 208 Snipe, 182 Grey and just one Ringed Plover, 143 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 114 Teal, just 91 Dunlin (but c1650 outside the Recording Area), 91 Bar-tailed Godwit, 76 Knot, 59 Shelduck, 33 Redshank, 22 Turnstone, 11 Sanderling, eight Curlew, eight Red-breasted Merganser, six Wigeon, four Avocet, three Greenshank, the two Spoonbill, a drake Goldeneye and the Sandwich Tern

Elsewhere a new site record 21 Cirl Bunting were on the Golf Course, Linnet numbers tripled again to nine, and around the Main Pond, a Cetti's Warbler, a female Shoveler and single Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff.

Saturday 14 January 2023

Saturday 14th January

A wet and windy start to the day, but conditions improved with at least 75 species recorded. The highlight was an unseasonal Manx Shearwater south early morning with 76 Gannet, 12 Kittiwake, seven Great Northern Diver, six Fulmar and three Common Scoter. Also offshore four Eider from Warren Point, two imm male and two female.

In the estuary a Lapwing on Finger Point over high tide was more unexpected these days than the two Spoonbill and Sandwich Tern also roosting there. Counts included c2000 Dunlin, although most roosted offsite north of Cockwood Harbour, 223 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 149 Bar-tailed Godwit, 138 Grey Plover, 95 Teal, 81 Curlew, 61 Shelduck, 45 Knot, 17 Turnstone, 12 Great Crested and a Little Grebe, four Avocet, eight Sanderling, two Greenshank, the pair of Goldeneye and single Wigeon and Red-breasted Merganser.

Elsewhere a Sparrowhawk hunted the Bight, two Bullfinch, a Goldcrest and a Reed Bunting were on site and Linnet numbers tripled to three.

Friday 13 January 2023

Friday 13th January

A single Spoonbill and two Avocet were roosting on Finger Point with counts from the estuary including 143 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 120 Grey Plover, 95 Teal, 76 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 73 Shelduck, 71 Knot, 58 Curlew, 40 Common Gull, three Red-breasted Merganser and a Kingfisher.

Elsewhere the four Eider and 24 Great Crested Grebe were offshore.

Meadow Pipit - Dave Jewell

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Wednesday 11th January

The two juvenile Spoonbill were feeding off Cockwood Steps at low tide before moving north towards Starcross with the two Avocet and pair of Goldeneye still present. Also in the estuary, 76 Shelduck, four Red-breasted Merganser, nine Great Crested and a Little Grebe.

Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver, four Eider and 20 Great Crested Grebe were offshore with single Goldcrest, Snipe and Grey Wagtail around Greenland Lake. 

Monday 9 January 2023

Monday 9th January

The two Spoonbill spent high tide roosting on Finger Point, with the pair of Goldeneye, two Red-breasted Merganser and a Peregrine also in the estuary and 80 Dark-bellied Brent Goose feeding on the Golf Course.

Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver, 22 Great Crested Grebe and three Common Scoter were offshore, 18 Teal were on the Main Pond with single Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker were around the bushes.

Little Grebe - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: Despite the sunshine, invertebrates were elusive with two springtail species and a couple of hibernating Harlequin Ladybird uncovered.

Dicyrtomina ornata - Alan Keatley

Entomobrya intermedia - Alan Keatley

Sunday 8 January 2023

Sunday 8th January

Seawatching early morning saw 201 Kittiwake and 186 Gannet head south in just over an hour, also three Fulmar, two Common Scoter, two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, with 21 Great Crested Grebe on the sea. 

The big high tide meant waders were well distributed around the estuary but difficult to count, although 210 Snipe were pushed from the saltmarsh by the rising waters and the two Spoonbill were unaffected on Finger Point. Other counts included 210 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 100 Teal, 71 Shelduck, 53 Common and an adult Mediterranean Gull, 49 Shag, eight Great Crested and a Little Grebe, six Red-breasted Merganser, three Avocet, three Greenshank, the pair of Goldeneye and the Sandwich Tern.

Saturday 7 January 2023

Saturday 7th January

A Leach's Petrel was the highlight of two hours seawatching from first light, the first January record for the Warren, almost as rare this time of year a single Storm Petrel also flew south, along with 220 Gannet, 202 Kittiwake, seven Fulmar, the first three Common Scoter of the year, three Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver.

The rest of the site was largely blown out but records from the estuary included 92 Teal, 42 Shag, sheltering from the weather, 24 Cattle Egret, 10 Wigeon, nine Red-breasted Merganser, three Avocet, two Spoonbill, and around the Wreck a pair of Goldeneye and the female Scaup that has been off Exmouth since late December.

Thursday 5 January 2023

Thursday 5th January

A couple of unexpected arrivals in the estuary with two Spoonbill and four Avocet feeding in Shutterton Creek at low tide, also present 131 Teal, 82 Common Gull, 49 Shelduck, four Mediterranean Gull, two Red-breasted Merganser and the Sandwich Tern.

Spoonbill (Teal & Shelduck) - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere 22 Great Crested Grebe and single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver were offshore, with four Shoveler on the Main Pond and 20 Skylark, 20 Goldfinch, eight Long-tailed Tit and a Chiffchaff were on site.

Green Woodpecker - Dean Hall

Long-tailed Tit - Dean Hall

Wildlife News: The first hoverfly of the year a Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax was on the wing but few other insects are active. A Water Vole showed for a while at the Main Pond but remained well hidden.

Common Dronefly - Alan Keatley

Water Vole - Alan Keatley

Wildlife Review 2022 - Hoverflies

It was a disappointing year with 51 species recorded, compared with 61 in 2021, although one species was new for the Recording Area. Presumably the poor year was due to the very dry conditions, these affected the life-cycle of certain species that develop in aquatic environments and wet rotting vegetation. Low numbers overall were recorded throughout the spring with nectaring adults also limited by flowering plants going over quickly and early.

Marmalade Hoverfly - Dean Hall 

The earliest were winter active Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and Spotted Meliscaeva M. auricollis, both on 1 Jan, with the next species, Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax on 2 Feb. Although there were good numbers of this species in the spring, the summer generation was noticeably low. True spring hoverflies first emerged in late February with Hairy-eyed Syrphus S. torvus on 25th and Slender Melanostoma M. scalare on 27th. 

Into March, with the weather warming up, more species emerged with Alexanders flowers and sallow blossom a main attraction. The first March hoverflies were Dull-bellied Blacklet Cheilosia proxima and Common Spotted Field Syrph Eupeodes luniger on 4th, followed by both Furry and Tapered Dronefly Eristalis intricaria & E. pertinax on 12th. Grey-spotted Boxer Platycheirus albimanus were gathering in numbers from 17th, preferring low growing flowers for nectar. An early Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus on 18th proved to be a false dawn as numbers were low this year, with some scarcer Heliophilus not recorded at all. As with droneflies, this group's larvae are aquatic.  

Grey-spotted Boxer Platycheirus albimanus - Alan Keatley

During favourable weather, a Common Twist-tail Sphaerophoria scripta on the 23rd was probably the first migrant of the year. The sunny conditions also saw Meadow Field Syrph Eupeodes latifasciatus emerge on 24th, with Short Melanostoma M. mellinum and Platycheirus scutatus on the wing from 26th.

Striped-backed Fleckwing Dasysyrphus albostriatus - Kevin Rylands

The overly fine weather continued into April with the first Humming Syrphus S. ribesii on 7th and Striped-backed Fleckwing Dasysyrphus albostriatus on 9th. Later in the moth Early Epistrophe E. eligans and Smudge-veined Clubtail Neoascia prodagria were seen on 21st, with the only new species for the Recording Area, found the next day. This was Common Snout Rhingia campestris, a common and widespread species whose appearance was expected and long overdue, it however remained the only record.

Common Snout Rhingia campestris - Alan Keatley

Into May and variety was reaching its peak, with new species emerging on a regular basis. The first Superb Ant-hill Hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum on 3rd, with Batman Hoverfly Myathropa florea, Rural Roundface Eumerus strigatus and Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly Eristalinus sepulchralis on 5th. A trio of Blacklets were found nectaring on umbellifers mid month, Burdock Blacklet Cheilosia impressa on 12th, Buttercup Blacklet C. albitarsis on 15th and Bumblebee Blacklet C. illustrata on 19th.

Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly Eristalinus sepulchralis - Alan Keatley

Preferring the flower meadows, Stripe-faced Dronefly Eristalis nemorum males could often be seen characteristically over feeding females from 19th, with Striped-winged Dronefly E. horticola and Gossamer Hoverfly Baccha elongata from 22nd.

Pair of Stripe-faced Dronefly Eristalis nemorum - Alan Keatley

The bumblebee mimic Narcissus Fly Merodon equestris, Pied Plumehorn Volucella pellucens and Pipizella viduata were first seen around their preferred bramble patches and woodland edges on 26th & 27th. May ended with several Migrant Field Syrph Eupeodes corollae on 28th.

Pied Plumehorn Volucella pellucens - Alan Keatley

A White-clubbed Glasswing Scaeva pyrastri on 8 Jun was a further sign of migrant activity. Typical summer hoverflies were represented by three different mimics, Bumblebee Plumehorn Volucella bombylans from 8th, Hornet Plumehorn V. zonaria from 10th and Wasp Plumehorn V. inanis on 11th. The latter two species seeking out wasp nests to lay eggs. The first Golden-tailed Leaf Licker Xylota sylvarum was feeding on aphid honeydew and pollen on 16th, the tiny Common Paragus P. haemorrhous could be found nectaring on their preferred hawkbits and dandelions from 22nd, with Broad-banded Epistrophe E. grossulariae active on Hogweed from 25th.

Broad-banded Epistrophe E. grossulariae - Alan Keatley

In July Bolete Blacklet Cheilosia scutellata on 16th and Dark-winged Chrysogaster C. solstitialis from 29th, joined other hoverfly species on the few remaining umbellifers in flower. Into August activity switched to the flower meadows with species nectaring on Water Mint and Ragwort. A presumed migrant Large Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus trivittatus was seen on 7th, with Glass-winged Syrphus S. vitripennis from 11th and the wasp mimic Hook-barred Spearhorn Chrysotoxum festivum on 26th.

Hook-barred Spearhorn Chrysotoxum festivum - Alan Keatley

Back to the wood and scrub edges in September with Plain-faced Dronefly Eristalis arbustorum from 3rd, Pale-knobbed Lucent Didea fasciata from 9th, Yellow-barred Peat Hoverfly Sericomyia silentis on 20th and Yellow-girdled Fleckwing Dasysyrphus tricinctus on 24th, continued the recent run of autumn occurrences for these heathland species.

Yellow-girdled Fleckwing Dasysyrphus tricinctus - Alan Keatley

On warmer days in October some species were on the wing with Marmalade and Tiger Hoverfly, Humming Syrphus, Common Spotted Field Syrph and Slender Melanostoma on 13th. Into November late flying individuals could still be found on Ivy with Marmalade Hoverfly on 12th, Humming Syrphus on 17th and a Slender Melanostoma on 30th.

Pair of Humming Syrphus S. ribesii & a Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus : Alan Keatley

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Wednesday 4th January

The pair of Goldeneye visited the west of the estuary today being seen off the mouth of Cockwood Harbour. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore but no other news was received. 

The DWRG 2022 Dawlish Warren Bird Report can be downloaded for free at http://dawlishwarren.co.uk/2022-Bird-Report.pdf

Wildlife Review 2022 - Flies

It was a relatively poor year for Diptera with 126 species recorded compared with 140 in 2021, although the total does include 10 new species. The Recording Area audit (including hoverflies, covered tomorrow) currently holds records for 702 species.

Similar to other groups, the dry conditions throughout the year affected the life-cycle of many species. For example, various craneflies and the nationally scarce Ornate Brigadier, that require moist soil conditions, were not recorded this year. 

Several flies are winter active, the bluebottle Calliphora vicina and Yellow Dung-fly Scathaphaga stercoraria could be seen on sunny days in January, but a Downland Bibio B. anglicus on 20th, an exceptionally early date for this spring flying species, it was also a new species for the Recording Area. Other Bibio flies appeared on schedule with Bibio johannis on 17 Mar, Bibio lanigerus on 24th and the larger, more familiar St. Mark's Fly Bibio marci on 24 Apr, numbers of which, although up, remain a fraction of what they once were.

Calliphora vicina - Alan Keatley

The first cranefly of the year was Limonia nubeculosa on 10 Feb, but only another seven cranefly species, and the phantom cranefly Ptychoptera contaminata, were identified during the year including Tipula lunata on 18 Apr, although common and widespread, a new species for the Warren.  

Tipula lunata - Alan Keatley

On 23 Mar a Yellow-faced Blowfly, or more dramatically the Fly-of-the-dead Cynomya mortuorum was found nectaring on a sallow on Warren Point. A new species for the Recording Area and just the second South Devon (VC3) record. It is so named because the maggots fed on dead animals and was previously considered very useful in the field of forensic science.

Yellow-faced Blowfly Cynomya mortuorum - Alan Keatley

A migrant Locust Blowfly Stomorhina lunata found on 14 Jul, continued a run of sightings in recent years. 

Locust Blowfly Stomorhina lunata - Alan Keatley

Empid or Dagger Flies are typically found in spring nectaring on dandelions and umbellifers. Four species were recorded this year with Empis tessellata from 22 Apr, Empis stercorea and E. trigamma from 19 May and Empis livida from 8 Jun.

Empis stercorea - Alan Keatley

Several Thick-headed Flies (Conopids), parasites of bees and wasps, were found including a new species for the Recording Area, a Plain-winged Spring Bee-grabber Myopa testacea on 24 Apr. Others weren't active until July with Ferruginous Bee-grabber Sicus ferrugineus from 5th, Four-banded Bee-grabber Conops quadrifasciatus from 10th, and Waisted Bee-grabber Physocephala rufipes from 14th.

Waisted Bee-grabber Physocephala rufipes - Alan Keatley

The second site record of Small Bee-grabber Thecophora atra was seen on 13 Aug and the second site record of Ivy Waspgrabber Leopoldius signatus on 15 Sep, with several others before the end of the month.

Small Bee-grabber Thecophora atra - Alan Keatley

Robberflies (Asilidae) are predatory hunters active from spring into autumn. Five species were recorded this year, Dune Robberfly Philonicus albiceps from 30 Apr, Fan-bristled Robberfly Dysmachus trigonus from 7 May, and Kite-tailed Robberfly Tolmerus atricapillus from 12 May; these three are mainly ground hunters. 

Kite-tailed Robberfly Tolmerus atricapillus - Alan Keatley

Preferring to hunt from vegetation; Striped-legged Robberfly Dioctria baumhaueri from 19 May and Common Red-legged Robberfly D. rufipes were seen from 22 May. A frequent prey item of Dune Robberfly, Coastal Silver-stiletto Acrosathe annulata were on the sand dunes, also from 30 Apr.

Striped-legged Robberfly Dioctria baumhaueri - Alan Keatley

Two species of Snipefly (Rhagionidae) were found this year, the first on 5 May, the common and widespread Downlooker Snipefly Rhagio scolopaceus was new for the Recording Area. The other, Small Fleck-winged Snipefly Rhagio lineola was on the wing from 20 Jun. 

Downlooker Snipefly Rhagio scolopaceus - Alan Keatley

Despite the absence of the Ornate Brigadier, six Soldierfly (Stratiomyidae) species was a good return with Green Gem Mircochrysa flavicorni from 7 May, Broad Centurion Chloromyla formosa from 27 May, Flecked Snout Nemotelus notatus and Dark-winged Black Pachygaster atra from 1 Jul, Twin-spot Centurion Sargus bipunctatus from 17 Sep and a Bright Four-spined Legionnaire Chorisops nagatomii on 6 Oct. 

Flecked Snout Nemotelus notatus - Alan Keatley

The first Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major were on the wing on 2 Apr, with a few more sightings around woodland edges this year.

Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major - Alan Keatley

A wide variety of flies are parasitoids or parasites on other insect groups, these were represented by the flesh flies (Sarcophagidae), Thelaira nigripes (moths) on 12 May, Tessellated Satellite-fly Miltogramma germarilaying eggs in solitary bee nests from 16 Jul, and Dark-palped Shadow Fly Senotainia conica observed entering nests of Spiny Digger Wasps, to lay eggs on captured flies, from 11 Aug.

Dark-palped Shadow Fly Senotainia conica - Alan Keatley

The Sciomyzid Common Buff Snail-killer Tetanceri ferriginea was frequently noted from 26 May with Tachinids emerging later in the year including Dexiosoma caninum (beetles) and Eriothrix rufomaculata (moths) on the hunt from 21 Jul, and a female of the nationally scarce Ectophasia crassipennis (bugs) seen on 22 Sep, the second site record for a species which was first recorded in the UK in 2019

Ectophasia crassipennis - Kevin Rylands

The heaviest fly in Europe, the Dark Giant Horsefly Tabanus sudeticus was recorded on 8 Jun, but whilst a relief to some, the lack of biting cleg records this year is of concern. Records from the Muscid family this year included one of the orange species Phaonia subventa on 25 Mar, the greenbottle Lucilia sericata from 14 Jul, and again late and in low numbers, Noon Fly Mesembrina meridiana from 11 Oct.

Dark Giant Horsefly Tabanus sudeticus - David Flack

Several families have patterned or pictured wings, which are often used in elaborate courtship rituals. The following species were recorded this year, Oxtongue Tephritid Tephritis vespertina from 12 May, Small Semaphore Fly Rivellia syngenesiae from 22 May, Burdock Fly Terellia tussilaginis from 1 Jul, a Looped Flutterfly Palloptera muliebris on 29 Sep, Opomyza germinationis on 10 Oct, Geomyza tripunctata on 25th and Geomyza subnigra, the final new species of the year, on 31 Oct.

Looped Flutterfly Palloptera muliebris - Alan Keatley

Those species that are gall causers or leaf miners make up the bulk of records, including some of the above groups. Despite over 40 species being recorded it was a poor year with many food plants shrivelling their leaves or dropping their flowers early due to the drought. 

Three new galls were however discovered in the Recording Area, Resseliella betulicola, a birch leaf gall midge on 13 May, Germander Speedwell Gall Midge Jaapiella veronicae on 1 Jun, and Wild Carrot Gall Midge Kiefferia pericarpilcola on 23 Jul.

Galls of Wild Carrot Gall Midge Kiefferia pericarpilcola - Alan Keatley