Monday 31 July 2023

Monday 31st July

The first summer Great Northern Diver remains near Langstone Rock with a Storm Petrel, five Arctic Skua and nine Common Scoter also offshore.

Great Northern Diver  - Alan Keatley 

Counts from the estuary included 204 Curlew, 149 Redshank, 50 Ringed Plover, 44 Whimbrel, 20 Sandwich Tern, 13 Sanderling, six Mediterranean Gull and two Shelduck.

Other Wildlife: Overcast conditions followed by early afternoon rain dampened insect activity to just a handful of butterflies. An Ant Damsel Bug Himacerus mirmicoides found shelter beside the railway with a Wesmael's Digger Wasp Crossocerus wesmaeli and the first Looped Flutter Fly Palloptera mulibris of the year resting up from the inclement weather in the Entrance Bushes.

Ant Damsel Bug (late instar nymph) - Alan Keatley

Wesmael's Digger Wasp - Alan Keatley

Sunday 30 July 2023

Sunday 30th July

A full day on site with almost 80 species recorded, the highlight the site's fourth record of Cory's Shearwater distantly south just before 1pm. Also passing offshore, mostly between 11.50-15.30, included three Storm Petrel, c50 Gannet, c30 Kittiwake, eight Manx Shearwater, two Arctic and a Pomarine Skua, three Fulmar and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. The Great Northern Diver was still offshore. 

The day's species tally was boosted by an arrival of passerine migrants including a fly through Cuckoo, the first three Wheatear of the autumn, and nine Willow, three Sedge and two Garden Warbler. Other counts on site included 17 Whitethroat15 Long-tailed Tit and 14 Cirl Bunting.

Both high tides were covered in the estuary with peak counts including 545 Oystercatcher, 290 Curlew, 167 Redshank, 48 Ringed Plover, 44 Whimbrel, 34 Dunlin, 32 Sandwich and a Common Tern, 26 Sanderling, 11 Mediterranean Gull, seven Greenshank, five Grey Plover, two Black and a Bar-tailed Godwit and single Common Sandpiper, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Kingfisher, Shelduck and Turnstone.

Sandwich Tern - Lee Collins
Other Wildlife: A Migrant Hawker was braving the conditions and Jersey Tiger were by the Main Pond and on Warren Point.

Saturday 29 July 2023

Saturday 29th July

A two hour seawatch early morning saw single Balearic Shearwater and Storm Petrel head south along with 185 Gannet, 90 Kittiwake, five Arctic Skua, four Sandwich and a Common Tern and three juvenile Mediterranean Gull. On the sea 27 Common Scoter, a Great Crested Grebe and a first summer Great Northern Diver.

The presence of a Garden Warbler along the Back Path, suggested at least some of the 13 Whitethroat and four Blackcap on site may also have been migrants. A roving flock of 20 Long-tailed Tit also contained at least five Chiffchaff and two Willow Warbler.

Elsewhere there were no records from the estuary but 28 Sanderling were on the beach.

Other Wildlife: A brief Red-veined Darter at the Main Pond was a highlight with a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, four Migrant and the first Southern Hawker of the year also recorded. Thirteen species of butterfly included a Painted Lady and a second generation Green-veined White

Golden-ringed Dragonfly - Alan Keatley

Southern Hawker - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere a Grey Squirrel was in Dead Dolphin Wood, and a nymph of the  ant like mirid Pilophorus perplexus was found on White Poplar by the railway, another first for the Recording Area.

Pilophorus perplexus - Alan Keatley

Thursday 27 July 2023

Thursday 27th July

Few waders on show in the Bight on the low high tide with just a Turnstone, four Grey and three Ringed Plover with the Oystercatcher, although a flock of 47 Sanderling were feeding on the beach. Also in the estuary 24 Sandwich Tern and two Mediterranean Gull

Sanderling - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere another fledged brood of Stonechat in Greenland Lake and a Willow Warbler in the Cuckoo's Nest.

Other Wildlife: A Bloody-nosed Beetle Timarcha tenebricosa next to the path at Langstone Rock, was a first for the Recording Area, a not unexpected, but nevertheless welcome addition to the Warren's fauna. Also there was a shieldbug tachinid Ectophasia crassipennis and on Wild Carrot, a few galls of the midge Keifferia percarpiicola.

Bloody-nosed Beetle - Alan Keatley

Ectophasia crassipennis - Alan Keatley

Another new, somewhat smaller, beetle was found near the Visitor Centre, Aphanisticus pusillus, a jewel beetle with both Lesser and Tawny Cockroach present as well as several Slender-horned Leatherbug Ceraleptus lividus.

Aphanisticus pusillus - Kevin Rylands

Other insects included Angle Spot and Cream-spot Ladybird, Long-winged Conehead, Great Green Bush Cricket and several Compost Hoverfly Syritta pipiens, the first for the year and possibly migrants. A summer generation Wall on the Dune Ridge was the pick of today's butterflies and the first Blackening Waxcap of the year have appeared.

Syritta pipiens - Alan Keatley 

Wall - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 25 July 2023

Tuesday 25th July

A low high tide produced fewer waders, but these did include three Common Sandpiper and the two summer plumage Knot in the Bight, with single figure counts of Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Sanderling and Shelduck. Also around the estuary/beach, 27 Mediterranean Gull, 17 Sandwich and a Common Tern.

Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere a Common Snipe in Marram on Warren Point was an early arrival, with a Kingfisher at the Main Pond and single Sedge and Willow Warbler further signs of post breeding movement. 

Other Wildlife: Apart from a lone shower, it was a warm and relatively sunny day with light winds, ideal for insect activity. Ragwort was the main attraction for a wide selection of nectaring wasps, bees and flies, including White-zoned Furrow Bee Lasioglossum leucozonium, a summer generation Gooden's Nomad Bee Nomada goodeniana, Flecked Snout Nemotelus notatus, Wasp Plumehorn Volucella inanis and Four-banded Bee-grabber Conops quadrifasciatus.

Flecked Snout - Alan Keatley

Four-banded Bee-grabber - Alan Keatley

A Migrant Hawker on Warren Point was the first for the year, and presumably a migrant, along with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and a few Red Admiral and Silver YElsewhere two Grey Seal were on Bull Hill and two Water Vole and a Common Shrew were at the Main Pond.

Migrant Hawker - Alan Keatley

Sunday 23 July 2023

Sunday 23rd July

Seawatching early morning saw six Arctic Skua in the bay with 251 Gannet, 117 Kittiwake, 11 Manx and seven Balearic Shearwater, four Whimbrel, just two Fulmar, very low numbers this year, and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull south.

A lower tide saw lower numbers of most species with counts of 429 Oystercatcher, 328 Curlew, 164 Redshank, 50 Mediterranean Gull, 32 Whimbrel, 31 Sandwich and a Common Tern, 14 Dunlin, 11 Greenshank, nine Ringed Plover and single Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Knot.

Knot (& Grey Plover) - Lee Collins

The rain dropped in a couple of passerine migrants, with a juvenile Willow Warbler in the Entrance Bushes, a Sedge Warbler in Greenland Lake and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on Warren Point.

Rock Pipit - Lee Collins

Saturday 22 July 2023

Saturday 22nd July

The arrival of wind and rain saw plenty of attention paid to the sea during the day with a large shearwater species very distantly offshore just after 10am, along with counts all heading south, of 300 Kittiwake, 75 Gannet, 40 Manx and four Balearic Shearwater, 10 juvenile Mediterranean Gull, at least three juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, three Arctic Skua and a drake Tufted Duck.

In the estuary counts included 545 Oystercatcher, 277 Curlew, 141 Redshank, 55 Whimbrel, 35 Sanderling, 21 Sandwich and a Common Tern, 20 Dunlin, 20 Mediterranean Gull, 12 Turnstone, 10 Ringed and four Grey Plover, seven Greenshank, three Bar-tailed Godwit, three Common Sandpiper, at least two further juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a site record, two Knot and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Yellow-legged Gull - Lee Collins

Ringing News: A metal ringed Mediterranean Gull from Belgium was in the Bight and a juvenile Curlew from Wiltshire in the estuary. The increase in Oystercatcher has been reflected with over 20 returning adults from the Exe Estuary scheme.

Other Wildlife: The damp and windy weather again put pay to any flying insects, but a few species could be found sheltering amongst the Marram, including another Dune Jumper and a Field Damsel Bug Nabis ferus on the Dune Ridge. Also new for the year was the cranefly Nephrotoma flavipalpis in Dead Dolphin Wood.

Phytocoris varipes - Alan Keatley

Field Damsel Bug Nabis ferus - Alan Keatley

Nephrotoma flavipalpis - Alan Keatley

Friday 21 July 2023

Friday 21st July

An influx of Mediterranean Gull was a feature of the day with at least 120 birds, a count of 80 birds contained a welcome 37 juveniles, conversely there were only 20 juvenile Black-headed Gull within c350 birds.

Mediterranean Gull (juvenile) - Lee Collins

Records from the estuary included the first Shelduck for several weeks, with counts of 168 Redshank (nine juveniles), 49 Dunlin, 48 Sanderling, 25 Whimbrel, 13 Ringed and four Grey Plover, seven Greenshank, just six Sandwich Tern, four Turnstone, two summer plumaged Knot, single Bar and Black-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Knot - Lee Collins

Thursday 20 July 2023

Thursday 20th July

Today's star bird was an adult Roseate Tern that spent most of the high tide on Finger Point, moving into the Bight as the tide receded, it was accompanied by a single Common Tern and the majority of the 53 Sandwich Tern, including eight juveniles.  

As expected during early autumn, passage wader numbers fluctuate on a daily basis with just 15 Dunlin, including the first juvenile, but an increase to 37 Sanderling around the Bight. With them were three juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 12 Mediterranean Gull, five Ringed and four Grey Plover, five Turnstone, a Knot and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Also in the estuary, a high count of nine Common Sandpiper, 155 Redshank, 10 Greenshank, nine Whimbrel and single Bar and Black-tailed Godwit. Elsewhere the usual breeding birds were in the bushes with three Sand Martin through and a Grey Heron high south.

Other Wildlife: Cool and overcast at times there few insects on the wing but 11 species of butterfly included Brown Argus, a Painted Lady and a passage of Red Admiral. A few Spotted Meliscaeva M. auricollis also indicated some insect migration.

Painted Lady - Alan Keatley

Spotted Meliscaeva - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Tuesday 18th July

A low tide visit saw just a four Dunlin in the Bight and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover with six Mediterranean Gull and four Sandwich Tern offshore.

Other Wildlife: The site never ceases to surprise with today's highlight a Dune Villa V. modesta found on the Dune Ridge  at Warren Point. The first record of this scarce beefly for over 20 years, although it is known from the Maer, Exmouth. Another highlight was a large-headed wasp Bethylus cephalotes, the first since 2011.

Dune Villa - Alan Keatley

Other hymenoptera included the first Patchwork Leafcutter Megachile centuncularis of the year by the Railway Station and Coastal Leafcutter M. maritima around Greenland Lake.

Coastal Leafcutter - Alan Keatley

A Silvery Leafcutter M. leachella was keeping a close eye on it's cuckoo Large Sharp-tail Coelioxys conoidea along the Back Path.

Large Sharp-tail (above) & Silvery Leafcutter - Alan Keatley

A good selection of 11 butterfly species including a Comma, very scarce this year, with at least six Red Admiral and four Peacock on the Buddleia by the railway.

Comma - Alan Keatley

Also seen, Small Red-eyed Damselfly at the Main Pond, a Golden-ringed Dragonfly in the Back Meadow and another Dune Jumper Marpissa nivoyi on the Dune Ridge.

Sunday 16 July 2023

Sunday 16th July

Continuing evidence of wader passage with counts including 274 Curlew, 87 Redshank, 65 Dunlin, 28 Whimbrel, 13 Sanderling, 12 Greenshank, four Grey, four Ringed and a Little Ringed Plover, three Turnstone, two Bar-tailed Godwit, two Common Sandpiper and a breeding plumaged Knot.

Also in the estuary the Dark-bellied Brent Goose and 26 Sandwich Tern including five juveniles, with c700 Black-headed, just four juveniles, and 16+ Mediterranean Gull joining the terns in feeding at to sea. These feeding flocks attracted at least six Arctic Skua and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull.

Elsewhere 120 Starling were on Warren Point, with 20 Swallow, two Swift and a Sand Martin feeding along the Dune Ridge.

Other Wildlife: A new population of the nationally scarce Dune Jumper Marpissa nivoyi was discovered on the Dune Ridge, all other records have come from Warren Point. Also sheltering amongst the Marram, several Lesser Cockroach, both adult and nymph, the carrion beetle Thanatophilus sinuatus, 11-spot and Red Marsh Ladybird Coccidula rufa.

Dune Jumper - Alan Keatley

Red Marsh Ladybird - Kevin Rylands

Other insects of note included a Painted Lady along the beach, with seven Red Admiral and three Peacock also on on the wing in the blustery conditions, a Dull Four-spined Legionnaire Chorisops tibialis, a late worn Buffish Mining Bee and the solitary wasps, Tachysphex pompiliformis, a grasshopper hunter and Slender Woodborer Trypoxylon attenuatum

Dull Four-spined Legionnaire - Alan Keatley

Black Marram Weevil Otiorhynchus atroapterus - Kevin Rylands

Six-spot Burnet - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 15 July 2023

Saturday 15th July

Seawatching first thing was rewarding with Arctic Skua almost constantly on show for several hours, a minimum of 12 birds were in the bay, along with a probable Long-tailed Skua, that remained just too distant from both the Warren and Exmouth.

Also offshore 15 Sandwich Tern and single Arctic and Common Tern, five Mediterranean Gull, three Common Scoter, the Eider and a flock of 36 Dunlin and a Grey Plover south. Elsewhere 62 Dunlin in the estuary and five Turnstone and five Sanderling on the beach.

Other Wildlife: At least 12 Common Dolphin and a Grey Seal were offshore, with brighter weather in the afternoon bringing nine butterfly and four dragonfly species to the wing, including Red Admiral, Common Darter and Small Red-eyed Damselfly.

Also recorded Dark Bush Cricket, with several Six-spot Burnet and Silver Y in the grasslands.

Friday 14 July 2023

Friday 14th July

An afternoon visit for the high tide coincided with the morning's rain finally moving through. Offshore three Great Skua were the highlight, an overdue first for the year, following the devastation of poultry flu at breeding colonies last summer. At least five Arctic and three Pomarine Skua were also offshore harrying Kittiwake, with five Manx and a Balearic Shearwater south, and 45 Common Scoter and the immature drake Eider also present.

In the estuary at least 40 Mediterranean Gull, with counts including 83 Redshank, 63 Dunlin, eight Greenshank, six Sandwich and three Common Tern, six Turnstone, six Whimbrel, three Grey and three Ringed Plover, an adult Little Ringed Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Thursday 13 July 2023

Thursday 13th July

A short visit was quiet with many of the resident species now in post-breeding moult, only Cirl Bunting remain in good voice with several males still declaring their territories. The Dark-bellied Brent Goose and several Mediterranean Gull were in the estuary along with a vocal Greenshank.

Wildlife News: The warming sunshine encouraged many butterflies on to the wing, with 12 species recorded. Summer generation Common Blue have begun to appear in the meadows with a Brown Argus, Small and Large Skipper also amongst the many Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. Large and Small White were moving through along with at least six Red Admiral.

Common Blue - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere Puss Moth and Eyed Hawkmoth caterpillars were munching willow leaves in Greenland Lake and a pair of Small Red-eyed Damselfly were ovipositing on the Main Pond.

Puss Moth - Alan Keatley

Eyed Hawknoth - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Tuesday 11th July

Two Little Ringed Plover, an ad & juv, were in the Bight at high tide along with 236 Curlew, 30 Sandwich and 10 Common Tern, 22 Mediterranean Gull, 20 Dunlin, eight Whimbrel, five Ringed and three Grey Plover, single Bar and Black-tailed Godwit and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Little Ringed Plover - Lee Collins

Elsewhere at least one juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was also in the estuary with 46 Redshank and 10 Greenshank, 25 Gannet and 18 Common Scoter offshore, 60 Linnet on Warren Point and at least three second broods of Stonechat have fledged.

Yellow-legged Gull - Lee Collins

Ringing News: Aside from the first returning Oystercatcher, from Holland and Aberdeen, recoveries today included seven different Sandwich Tern including three from the Irish Sea, one from Sussex and one from Holland, a Black-headed Gull from Poland and three Mediterranean Gull, one from France, the first ever from Spain and the second ever from Hungary. 

Mediterranean Gulls - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was off the seawall and Toadlets have emerged from the Main Pond but the weather meant it wasn't a great day for flying insects. The first Jersey Tiger of the year was by the station with a Least Carpet roosting by security lights, but those actually on the wing included a couple of Red Admiral, with Gatekeeper seemingly roosting on every bramble.

Gasteruption jaculator - Alan Keatley

Hairy-saddled Colletes C.fodiens - Alan Keatley

Ptychoptera contaminata, a phantom cranefly - Alan Keatley

Sunday 9 July 2023

Sunday 9th July

A three hour seawatch from 05:20 saw southward passage of  24 Mediterranean Gull (14 ad, six fs, three 2s & a 3s) along with single departing Grey Heron and Whimbrel. Also out to sea and presumably lingering in the bay, three Pomarine (two dark phase) and a pale phase Arctic Skua, 13 Common Scoter, four Common and three Sandwich Tern, two Balearic and two Manx Shearwater, with the immature male Eider also still present.

On a low high tide a Little Ringed Plover in the Bight was the only small wader on todays WeBS, with counts from the estuary including 226 Curlew, 205 Oystercatcher, 47 Redshank, six Whimbrel, six Turnstone, five Greenshank, three Grey Plover, three Teal, the Dark-bellied Brent Goose and single Bar and Black-tailed Godwit.

Wildlife News: A pod of Common Dolphin remain offshore with at least six seen this morning. The warm temperature meant there was plenty of insect activity between the showers. Eleven species of butterfly were on the wing including a Comma, very scarce this year, and a Ringlet, both along the Back Path. 

Hoverfly numbers were again boosted by migrants, with Common Twist-tail Sphaerophoria scripta easily the most abundant, especially around aphid-rich Sycamores. 

Common Twist-tail - Kevin Rylands

Bee-wolf and Silvery Leafcutter remain numerous with smaller numbers of Yellow-legged Mining Bee, Little Flower Bee and Bare-saddled Colletes and the year's first Black-thigh Epeolus E. variegatus all on the wing.

Silvery Leafcutter - Kevin Rylands

Liocoris tripustulatus a nettle bug - Kevin Rylands

The recent rain has also brought an emergence of new flowers, essential as much of the Bramble has already finished. As well as the expected Common Fleabane and Hemp-AgrimonyBlue Eryngo Eryngium planum and Musk Thistle are also now out, the latter the first for several years.

Blue Eryngo - Kevin Rylands

Musk Thistle - Kevin Rylands