Sunday 30 April 2023

Sunday 30th April

Another small arrival of migrants, the pick of which were two female Whinchat, three Wheatear, three Willow, three Reed and a Garden Warbler. Overhead 41 Swallow and a Sand Martin. Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat are on territory, the first Little Grebe nest has hatched with three young on the Main Pond and the first fledged Stonechat of the year was on the Golf Course.

Offshore the two immature male Eider, have returned from a brief trip to Hope's Nose, Torquay; with 17 Common Scoter, 12 Sandwich Tern, six Great Crested Grebe and a/the pale phase Arctic Skua also present. In the estuary, 92 Dunlin, 41 Ringed Plover, 32 Whimbrel, two Sanderling and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Wildlife News: Few insects on the wing in the overcast and wet weather but a migrant Diamond Back Moth was flushed on the Golf Course. The wet weather has brought out a good showing of spring fungi, including Common Inkcap and Brown Birch Bolete, plus many unidentified species. One distinctive species was new for the Recording Area, Coccomyces delta on decaying Bay Laurel leaves.

Bay Triangle Coccomyces delta - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 29 April 2023

Saturday 29th April

Thick river fog shortened a morning visit with a single Wheatear by the seawall and Sandwich Tern calling in the murk the only records received.

Friday 28 April 2023

Friday 28th April

Numbers of grounded migrants were much lower than yesterday but increased numbers flew through during a day when a respectable 80 species were recorded. 

Seawatching from first light revealed small parties of waders and the occasional hirundine passing through along with a second summer Little Gull, following late news of one in the same plumage offshore on Monday, a drake Tufted Duck, a pale phase Arctic Skua, seven Great Northern, one high north up the estuary, and two Red-throated Diver, five Eider, five Fulmar, four Common Scoter, three Little Egret, three 'commic' Tern and a Mute Swan

During the day at least 175 Whimbrel flew in off the sea, with 52 Dunlin, nine Sanderling and four Bar-tailed Godwit whilst five Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 115 Swallow, five Swift, the first of the year, five Rook, three Sand and two House Martin and a Buzzard passed overhead.

Over high tide 56 Sandwich and a Little Tern were offshore, with smaller numbers of Whimbrel and Dunlin, 32 Ringed Plover, a Greenshank and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose in the estuary.

Elsewhere after yesterday's arrival just eight Whitethroat, with a Reed Warbler at the Main Pond and a Wheatear on the Golf Course.

Wildlife News: The occasional sunny periods saw at least two Orange-tip on the wing along with a Peacock and, more unusually, a female Brimstone. Few bees or hoverflies were noted but a dance fly Empis femorata and several St Mark's Fly Bibio marci were active, and a male Panorpa germanica scorpion fly was new for the Recording Area. 

St Mark's Fly - Kevin Rylands

Panorpa germanica - Kevin Rylands

Elsewhere a Water Vole gave a rare good view at the Main Pond, Adder's-tongue has emerged in Greenland Lake, Subterranean Clover is in flower and the diminutive Eyelash Cup Scutellinia scutellata is brightening several damp, rotting logs.

Eyelash Cup - Kevin Rylands

Thursday 27 April 2023

Thursday 27th April

An early start before rain set in mid-morning, saw few obvious migrants, with the usual warblers in situ, the only exceptions a reeling Grasshopper Warbler on Warren Point, a Sedge Warbler by the Main Pond and seven Wheatear across the site. The low morning high tide didn't bring in any extra waders with most preferring the beach instead of the estuary, including 52 Whimbrel, 14 Dunlin, four Sanderling and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Offshore a lingering pale phase Arctic Skua, 12 Sandwich Tern and two Great Crested Grebe.

Whimbrel - Alan Keatley

A very different story after the rain with an obvious fall of migrants highlighted by a site record count of 31 Whitethroat, along with the year's first Garden Warbler, nine Blackcap, five Willow Warbler, a second Sedge Warbler and a Reed Warbler singing in the Buffer Zone.

Despite the low state of tide this arrival was mirrored in the estuary, with 280 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plover and three Turnstone on the wet mudflats, and the first two Little Tern of the year in Shutterton Creek. The lone Dark-bellied Brent Goose was also present with elsewhere, five Jackdaw foraging in the Buffer Zone, an indication eggs have now hatched in the mainland population. 

Wildlife News: Flying insects were virtually non-existent in the grey overcast conditions, however conditions didn't prevent the discovery of a new sawfly for the Recording Area, Halidamia affinis, a bedstraw feeding species. On Warren Point last year's Green-winged Orchid has again appeared. 

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Wednesday 26th April

A watch from the seawall early morning recorded eight Great Northern and five Red-throated Diver18 Whimbrel, 10 Gannet and six Common Scoter.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Tuesday 25th April

Migrants included a Yellow Wagtail north and two Wheatear, one Greenland, with four Whitethroat starting to establish territories, a Reed Warbler singing at the Main Pond, two  Willow Warbler still holding territory and the usual Chiffchaff and Blackcap in the wooded areas.

Stonechat - Dean Hall

Elsewhere 32 Sandwich and 10 Common Tern were offshore with counts from the estuary including 35 Bar-tailed Godwit, 31 Whimbrel, 18 Grey Plover, 14 Dunlin, 11 Sanderling, three Knot and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Whimbrel - Dean Hall

Wildlife News: Although it was not particularly warm in the easterly wind, mining bees were going about their business with a few Orange-tailed Andrena haemorrhoa and a Short-fringed A. dorsata on willows, with Common Mini-miner A. minutula and a few Yellow-legged A. flavipes preferring the dandelions.

There were fewer hoverflies on the wing, although Stripe-faced Dronefly Eristalis nemorum made its first appearance of the year. The insect highlights, however were an early Wall Brown butterfly, after just a single record last year, and a migrant Hummingbird Hawk-moth, presumably fresh in, resting on the Dune Ridge.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth - Alan Keatley

Wall Brown - Alan Keatley

Sunday 23 April 2023

Sunday 23rd April

Spring migrants continue to move through in low numbers with four Whitethroat, three Wheatear, including at least one Greenland race, two Willow and a Reed Warbler. Overhead 24 Swallow, six House and four Sand Martin, four Rook, two Buzzard and a Jackdaw

Small parties of Whimbrel kept arriving in off the sea, their whistling call could be heard from the estuary throughout the day, with 69 in the Bight at dusk. Other counts from the estuary included 51 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Grey and two Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin, seven Curlew, four Knot, three Sanderling, two Dark-bellied Brent Goose and single Redshank and Greenshank.

Offshore 37 Sandwich Tern, three Common Scoter, three Great Crested Grebe and two Red-throated Diver.

Wildlife News: Again few insects on the wing with singles of Speckled Wood, Slender Melanstoma M.scalare and Sandpit Mining Bee noted and a Waved Umber roosting by security lights. 

Small Adder's-tongue - Kevin Rylands

A nest of vipers - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 22 April 2023

Saturday 22nd April

The highlight was the fourth spring record of Ring Ouzel, a smart male that was at Langstone Rock briefly early morning before heading off inland. The 19th Warren record overall. Other summer migrants included nine Willow Warbler, two Whitethroat and two Reed Warbler with two House Martin and a Swallow overhead.

In the estuary 63 Bar-tailed Godwit, including several in brick-red summer plumage, 42 Whimbrel, 24 Grey Plover, 16 Sandwich Tern, five Little Egret, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese and single Greenshank, Sanderling and Turnstone.

Wildlife News: The cold wind and overcast conditions meant insects on the wing were limited to Buff and Red-tailed Bumblebee, Common Carder Bee, the ubiquitous bluebottle Calliphora vicina and the fly Fucellia tergina, performing their wing-flicking displays along the strandline.

The highlight was the first confirmed south Devon record of the nationally scarce rove beetle Bledius (spectabilis) frisius for at least 70 years, with two of the distinctive males on the shore of the Bight. An inter-tidal specialist, the species has been long suspected as present, but only females had been found previously.

both Bledius frisius - Kevin Rylands

Along the beach the geotube beetle traps held Dune Scarab Aegialia arenaria, the ground beetle Clivina fosser, the darkling Phaleria cadaverina and the nationally scarce clown beetle Hypocaccus rugifrons.

Elsewhere a few Sand Crocus flowers remained tightly furled, Small Adder's-tongue is starting to emerge and the first Lackey caterpillar nests of the year were found.

Lackey Moth - Kevin Rylands

Friday 21 April 2023

Friday 21st April

The first two Reed Warbler of the year were singing at the Main Pond and a very smart male Whinchat was on Warren Point.

Thursday 20 April 2023

Thursday 20th April

An afternoon and low tide visit, the clear blue sky and may be the time of day, meant migrants were in short supply with just a few Swallow through, a Yellow Wagtail over north, and two Willow Warbler on site.

Willow Warbler - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere the Dark-bellied Brent Goose and three Whimbrel were in the estuary and 26 Sandwich Tern and a Great Crested Grebe were offshore.

Wildlife News: Solitary bees were active in the sunshine with the first Black Mining Bee Andrena pilipes of the year, along with Yellow-legged A. flavipes, Chocolate A. scotia and male Sandpit Mining Bee A. barbilabris patrolling the bare sand areas for females. Gooden's Nomada goodeniana and the first Flavous Nomad Bee N. flava were on Alexanders at Langstone Rock and the station respectively.

Black Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Flavous Nomad Bee - Alan Keatley

The fine weather also encouraged hoverflies with many emerging Humming Syrphus S. ribesii on the wing, with lesser numbers of Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus, Grey-spotted Boxer Platycheirus albimanus, Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax and Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus. Butterflies were represented by at least six Orange-tip, four Peacock and two Speckled Wood.

Flower Crab Spider Misumena vatia - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Tuesday 18th April

The highlight was the eighth site record of Mandarin, with a pair on the sea off Warren Point during the morning, the first since a male on the Main Pond on 3rd April 2016. Also offshore 30 Kittiwake, six Common Scoter, four Eider, three Sandwich Tern and single Manx Shearwater, feeding with the Kittiwake, Red-throated Diver and Great-crested Grebe.

More typical migrants included the first Sedge Warbler of the year on Warren Point, three Wheatear, three Whitethroat and two Willow Warbler. A Redstart by the Crocus Compound was the first since 2021. A reported Hobby was also new for the year with Grasshopper Warbler and the first Whitethroat apparently present yesterday. Overhead 20 Swallow, four Rook, four Jackdaw, three House and a Sand Martin.

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 17 Grey Plover, nine Dunlin, eight Turnstone, four Bar-tailed Godwit, three Whimbrel, two Knot and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Wildlife News: The best day of the year so far with a wide variety of insects on show. Leading the list a second site record of Common Mourning Bee Melecta albifrons, this time on the Crazy Golf Rosemary, with a few Hairy-footed Flower Bee. Other bees were represented by Sandpit Mining Bee Andrena barbilabris, Orange-tailed Mining Bee A. haemorrhoa and Common Mini-miner A. minutula.

Common Mourning Bee - Alan Keatley

Hoverflies included the first Early Epistrophe E. eligans of the year, the scarce Slender-horned Leatherbug Ceraleptus lividus and the dune beetle Phaleria cadaverina were the latest species to make an appearance on the beach by the geotubes. 

Early Epistrophe - Alan Keatley

Phaleria cadaverina - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere a Grey Seal was in the estuary and four butterflies were on the wing including the first Comma of the year.

Sunday 16 April 2023

Sunday 16th April

The first Arctic Skua of the year flew south early morning with 50 Kittiwake, 25 Gannet, seven Fulmar, four Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver. Also offshore 30 Sandwich and two Common Tern, 14 Common Scoter and four Eider.

Elsewhere six Pale and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary with counts including 410 Oystercatcher, 18 Grey and six Ringed Plover, 14 Turnstone, nine Teal, eight Whimbrel, six Sanderling, six Redshank, five Bar-tailed Godwit, four Dunlin, three Knot and a Greenshank

Migrants were limited to five Willow Warbler and two Wheatear with four Swallow, four Rook and two Jackdaw overhead. 

Linnet - Martin Overy

Saturday 15 April 2023

Saturday 15th April

A clear night and blue skies meant little in the way of grounded migrants, but small numbers of birds were moving through all day. The most obvious were Whimbrel with 58 heading north in small groups, also overhead, or in off, two Yellow Wagtail, four Wheatear, three Willow Warbler, 13 Swallow, 12 Rook, nine Black-headed Gull, five Meadow Pipit, five Jackdaw, four Bar-tailed Godwit, three Buzzard, two Chaffinch, two Sand and a House Martin

Little movement offshore with the notable exception of a Great White Egret west just after 7am, and 12 Canada Geese south. Also offshore the first five Common Tern of the year, 62 Sandwich Tern, three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, three Common Scoter, two Red-breasted Merganser, two Great Crested Grebe and the two immature male Eider.

Elsewhere a Short-eared Owl was on Warren Point and records from the estuary included nine Teal, seven Redshank, six Ringed Plover, three Dunlin, two Greenshank and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Wildlife News: Sand Crocus remain in flower across the Warren in the sunny conditions but insect numbers were kept down by the cold easterly wind. An Orange-tip was on the wing with at least five Peacock and two Speckled Wood, with the first Gooden's Nomad Bee Nomada goodeniana of the year on Warren Point.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Thursday 13th April

The first Tree Pipit of the year headed north mid morning with the second Osprey soon after, but migrants were otherwise thin on the ground and overhead with a single Willow Warbler and five Whimbrel and three Swallow respectively.

Elsewhere no small waders over the high tide but 25 Sandwich Tern and a lone Dark-bellied Brent Goose in the estuary and two Great Northern Diver offshore, both moulting into breeding plumage.

Wildlife News: A male Vagrant Emperor was found quartering the dune slope, eventually landing long enough for a few photos. The seventh site record for this increasing species, with the first as recently as May 2017.

Vagrant Emperor - both Alan Keatley

A single Peacock was the only butterfly recorded but new emergences for the year included Gwynne's Mining Bee Andrena bicolor and the sawfly Aglaostigma aucupariae.

Aglaostigma aucupariae - Alan Keatley

Gwynne's Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Monday 10 April 2023

Monday 10th April

Despite the overnight rain little change on site, but the increased winds saw some light passage offshore first thing with a two hour watch producing four Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, 32 Gannet, 14 Kittiwake, 10 Sandwich Tern, five Common Scoter, three Fulmar and two Red-breasted Merganser.

Five Wheatear and a Willow Warbler were newly arrived on site, with five Swallow and a Sand Martin through. In the estuary, 19 Grey Plover, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese and singles of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Whimbrel.

Wildlife News: A few solitary bees could be encountered in sheltered areas of the reserve, with a female Small Sallow Mining Bee Andrena praecox nectaring, as to be expected, on willow, an Orange-tailed Mining Bee A. haemorrhoa and a Painted Nomad Bee Nomada furcata. At Langstone Rock, the Alexanders were feeding several Yellow-legged and a Buffish Mining Bee.

Small Sallow Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

Orange-tailed Mining Bee - Alan Keatley

The first Orange-tip of the year was on the wing with Peacock, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. The usual beetles were on the beach struggling in the windswept sand, but a couple of 16-spot Ladybird were sheltering under some wood.

16-spot Ladybird - Alan Keatley

Two briefly seen dragonflies, by the station and in the Crocus Compound, may have been Vagrant Emperor, female & male respectively. 

Sunday 9 April 2023

Sunday 9th April

A case of diminishing returns with few new migrants and reducing numbers in the estuary. Counts included 354 Oystercatcher, 122 Curlew, 20 Grey Plover, 14 Redshank, 14 Sanderling, 12 Turnstone, 12 Teal, 10 Snipe, four Bar-tailed Godwit, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese, two Whimbrel and single intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull, Ringed Plover, Greenshank and Dunlin.

Elsewhere a Scandinavian Rock Pipit in the Bight, overhead 23 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Swallow and six Rook and offshore 10 Sandwich Tern, five Common Scoter, two Red-breasted Merganser and single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe

Wildlife News: Invertebrates included several Dune Scarab Aegialia arenariaMarram Weevil Philopedon plagiatum and Black Marram Weevil Otiorhynchus atroapterus below the geotubes, and a Turtle Shieldbug on Warren Point, where the early stage of Dead Man's Fingers Xylaria polymorpha was discovered on a rotting Elder log.

Turtle Shieldbug - Kevin Rylands

Dead Man's Fingers - Kevin Rylands

Elsewhere Sand Crocus did open briefly but the weather meant today was early closing, a Sand Lizard was basking on the Dune Ridge, and just the one butterfly in the increasingly cloudy conditions, a single Small Tortoiseshell

Sand Crocus - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 8 April 2023

Saturday 8th April

Late news of a single Red Kite over, but no other sightings received. 

Friday 7 April 2023

Friday 7th April

A warm and sunny bank holiday, so people outnumbered birds with few new migrants; five Swallow flew through with eight Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler and two Blackcap in the bushes, the Chiffchaff already in territorial pairs.

Willow Warbler - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere four Great Crested Grebe were offshore with records from the estuary including a single Whimbrel, 105 Curlew, 15 Grey and 12 Ringed Plover, 14 Teal, three Greenshank, a pair of Red-breasted Merganser, two Pale and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Wildlife News: Lots of insect activity in the sunshine, with four species of butterfly, including the first Small Tortoiseshell of the year and the first Brimstone since 2021, and five species of bumblebee. Solitary bees were also out in good numbers with Buffish, Small Sallow and Yellow-legged Mining Bee the most numerous. Hairy-footed Flower Bee were again around the Crazy Golf Rosemary with others found at Langstone Rock, along with their cuckoo, Common Mourning Bee Melecta albifrons, the latter a first for the Recording Area.

Hairy-footed Flower Bee (female) - Alan Keatley

Another new species was the ground beetle Clivina collaris, with new emergences including Stripe-backed Fleckwing Dasysyrphus albostriatus, Bishop's Mitre, Rhombic Leatherbug, Two-spot Ladybird and the jumping spider Euophrys frontalis.

Clivina collaris - Alan Keatley

Stripe-backed Fleckwing - Alan Keatley

Rhombic Leatherbug - Alan Keatley

Although playing second fiddle to the increase in invertebrates, thousands of Sand Crocus were also making the most of the weather. 

Thursday 6 April 2023

Thursday 6th April

The first two House Martin of the year flew through with light overhead passage including four Rook, three Swallow, three Chaffinch, two Jackdaw and single Meadow Pipit and Buzzard. Other migrants were also thin on the ground with two Willow Warbler and at least eight Chiffchaff.

Elsewhere six Shelduck were in the estuary with single Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Greenshank.

Wildlife News: The warmer weather saw several first emergences of the year including Speckled Wood, Large White and Early Bumblebee. Also on the wing Marmalade Hoverfly and Common Spotted Field Syrph Eupeodes luniger but the usually ubiquitous droneflies remain in very low numbers. An early Rush Veneer was flushed and a Shoulder Stripe was attracted to security lights.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee - Kevin Rylands

Conditions were not ideal for the Sand Crocus, but large numbers were seen on a survey of the Golf Course, with several new locations and the majority of other populations increasing. 

Sand Crocus  - Kevin Rylands

Also in flower, Shepherd's Cress, Upright Chickweed, Early Forget-me-not, Little Mouse-ear, Blinks and Cuckoo-flower.

Early Forget-me-not - Kevin Rylands

Tuesday 4 April 2023

Tuesday 4th April

An evening visit saw the first Whimbrel of the year head east with seven Great Crested Grebe, six Sandwich Tern, Mediterranean Gull and a Red-throated Diver also offshore, two Wheatear on site and a Swallow overhead. 

A second Whimbrel was in the estuary at high tide along with 326 Oystercatcher, 74 Curlew, 39 Redshank, 23 Teal, 18 Grey Plover, 17 Turnstone, six Dark-bellied Brent Geese, six Dunlin, three Greenshank and two Bar-tailed Godwit.

Offsite an Osprey was watched fishing off Exmouth, before heading up the east side of the estuary.

Wildlife News: A good day to see the Sand Crocus.

Monday 3 April 2023

Monday 3rd April

The long overdue first Hooded Crow for the Warren flew over Greenland Lake mid morning, but otherwise there was not much to report on a low high tide; with five Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and a Blackcap singing in wooded areas.

Blackcap - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A second highlight was a new nationally scarce beetle for the Recording Area, the distinctive ground beetle Panagaeus bipustulatus. Other beetles included a Pointed-keeled Rhyzobius R. litura and a water scavenger beetle, Helophorus brevipalpis.

Panagaeus bipustulatus - Alan Keatley

Helophorus brevipalpis - Alan Keatley

Despite the seemingly ideal conditions no butterflies recorded, but a couple of Hairy-legged Flower Bee were nectaring on the crazy golf Rosemary and two Common Lizard ventured out for the first time this year.

Common Lizard - Alan Keatley