Saturday 30 September 2023

Saturday 30th September

A largely overcast early autumn day saw quantity sprinkled with quality with a total of 87 species recorded. Offshore still large numbers of Kittiwake and other gulls feeding with at least 10 Arctic Skua in attendance, 16 Balearic Shearwater south and single Eider and Red-throated Diver on the sea.

Overhead movement became more apparent as the cloud cover dropped with totals of 137 Meadow Pipit, 31 House Martin, 17 Swallow, 15 Skylark, three Rook, two Grey and a Yellow Wagtail, two Siskin and a Lesser Redpoll. Grounded migrants included 12 Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, three Goldcrest and single Whitethroat and Wheatear. Elsewhere the first Little Grebe and Water Rail of the autumn were on the Main Pond with a mobile Kingfisher.

Two Osprey were in the estuary with three Curlew Sandpiper and the Little Ringed Plover in the Bight. Other counts included 280 Curlew, 88 Ringed Plover, 81 Dunlin, 53 Pale-bellied and 30 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 41 Knot, 36 Sandwich and two Common Tern, 32 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Turnstone, 15 Greenshank, 11 Mediterranean and the 2cy Little Gull.

Other Wildlife: Six Common Lizard were seen basking during occasional sunny spells with six species of butterfly including Red Admiral and a Painted Lady. Other migrants included two Vestal and a Rush Veneer

Painted Lady - Alan Keatley

Vestal - Lee Collins

Elsewhere a Harbour Porpoise was offshore and three Grey Seal were on Bull Hill.

Giant Willow Aphid & Hairy Shieldbug - Alan Keatley 

Friday 29 September 2023

Friday 29th September

A productive visit over the evening tide saw a fair amount of disturbance in the estuary from a coastguard operation offshore as well as a rib and paddleborder in Shutterton Creek. Wildfowl counts included 510 Wigeon, 212 Teal and eight Pintail with several Pale-bellied Brent offsite. The 2cy Little Gull was also still present, with 153 Carrion Crow and 12 Jackdaw feeding on the algal choked mudflats.

Around the Bight 320 Redshank, 113 Dunlin, 77 Ringed Plover, 12 Greenshank, 11 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, five Knot, two Curlew Sandpiper, two Whimbrel and the Little Ringed Plover.

Offshore at least seven Arctic Skua harassing the feeding gulls which also held 18 Sandwich and a Common Tern, with five Balearic Shearwater south and a Red-throated Diver and an Eider on the sea. 

Elsewhere 12 Grey Heron flew south in a flock of nine, with two distantly offshore and a single. An Osprey was in the Bight during the morning and a Nightingale was reported but no other migrant news was received.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Thursday 28th September

Still many seabirds in the bay, with early morning counts of 335 Kittiwake, 225 Gannet, five Balearic Shearwater, five Arctic Skua, five Mediterranean and a 1cy Little Gull.

Also moving early morning the first two Lesser Redpoll of the year overhead along with 70 Meadow Pipit, 17 Swallow, 16 House Martin, nine Siskin, two Rook and a Grey Wagtail. Grounded migrants included 75 Linnet on Warren Point, 14 Chiffchaff, four Blackcap, three Goldcrest, two Reed Bunting and a Wheatear.

Elsewhere 440 Wigeon, 76 Pale-bellied and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary, with a 2cy Little Gull, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover and an Osprey.

Other Wildlife: Few insects today, but some started to make an appearance in the afternoon, with Ectophasia crassipennis, Chalk Snail-killer Dichetophora obliterata and a pair of mating Ivy Waspgrabber Leopoldius signatus

Six species of butterfly included Red Admiral and Painted Lady, whilst hoverflies included Parsley Blacklet Cheilosia pagana, Batman Hoverfly Myathropa florea and Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus

Tiger Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Parsley Blacklet - Alan Keatley

A Harbour Porpoise was offshore.

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Wednesday 27th September

Storm Agnes didn't deliver any rain until late afternoon, but the strong winds clearly disrupted birds feeding in Lyme Bay. Seawatching during the morning saw a new site record of 143 Great Shearwater head distantly south, totally eclipsing the previous high of eight in July 2017. An incredible 84 of these passed in 15 minutes just after 8am with the passage over before 9am. 

Also offshore at least 500 Kittiwake and four Mediterranean Gull were feeding in the bay attracting around 20 Arctic and a Pomarine Skua with 109 Balearic Shearwater, 37 Sandwich and five Common Tern, 18 Common Scoter, a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver and a Storm Petrel.

An afternoon watch still saw good numbers of Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern and Arctic Skua in the bay joined by single Black and Little Tern, with the first Sooty Shearwater of the year south at 15.50, a Cory's Shearwater south at 14.25, and 18 Balearic and two Manx Shearwater, completing the site's second five shearwater day.

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Tuesday 26th September

A visit over the evening tide saw a Curlew Sandpiper in the Bight with six Arctic Skua attracted in by good numbers of Kittiwake. Also offshore six Common Scoter and an Eider.

Monday 25 September 2023

Monday 25th September

Both the low high tide and the bushes were quiet with low numbers of birds, in contrast to an early morning seawatch that produced an impressive 242 Balearic Shearwater south with several Arctic Skua and good numbers of feeding Kittiwake in the bay.

A juvenile Osprey was the highlight in the estuary with 48 Great Black-backed Gull, 43 Ringed Plover and four Sandwich Tern in the Bight with 77 Linnet feeding around the strandline. 

Other Wildlife: A typical section of autumn insects with a good tally of ten butterfly species on the wing including a couple of migrant Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady with a Comma the pick of the residents.

Comma - Alan Keatley

Hoverflies featured Spotted Field Syrph Eupeodes luniger, Broad-banded Epistrophe E. grossulariae and Marsh Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus hybridus, with Ivy Bee numbers continuing to increase as more Ivy comes into flower. A Dark Bush-cricket also found the Ivy to its liking and a couple of Chrysolina banksii were near the Amusements.

Chysolina banksii - Alan Keatley

Dark Bush-cricket - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere a record count of four Grey Seal (three males) were in the estuary. 

Sunday 24 September 2023

Sunday 24th September

The tail end of Nigel arrived with strong winds but no rain so although hundreds of of birds including shearwaters were on the distant horizon early morning. A four hour watch from 7am saw two probable Great Shearwater south at 8.38 & 9.11, with a minimum of 108 Balearic Shearwater, 42 Sandwich and nine Common Tern, four Arctic Skua and a Storm Petrel

Also passing offshore this morning 13 Swallow, five House and two Sand Martin with nine Pale-bellied Brent Geese south and 10 north.

A watch late afternoon produced presumably the same 10 Pale-bellied Brent Geese south, 70 Kittiwake, 30 Balearic Shearwater, four Common Tern and an Arctic Skua with another large shearwater reported.

Saturday 23 September 2023

Saturday 23rd September

The low high tide reduced the number of small waders in the Bight but two Curlew Sandpiper were with 62 Dunlin and 54 Ringed Plover. Ten Common and seven Sandwich Tern also dropped into the Bight and an Osprey was hunting over Bull Hill.

Elsewhere a Balearic Shearwater was offshore early morning, overhead single Grey Wagtail, Siskin and 45 Meadow Pipit, with three Wheatear on site along with 10 Chiffchaff, four Blackcap, a Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher.

Blackcap - Alan Keatley

Other Wildlife: A calm, warm autumn day with a strong movement of 75+ Red Admiral and a few Large and Small White during the morning, with three Painted Lady and two Clouded Yellow on site. Amongst the dragonflies was a Southern Hawker in Greenland Lake.

Southern Hawker - Alan Keatley

Other flying insects included the first Marsh Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus hybridus of the year and Field Buff Snailkiller Tetanocera elata were also in Greenland Lake.

Marsh Tiger Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Field Buff Snailkiller - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere two Harbour Porpoise were off the seawall.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Wednesday 20th September

The remnants of Hurricane Lee delivered an excellent sea passage with 12 Cory's Shearwater the main highlight, just the fifth record. Supporting cast included up to 20 Storm Petrel, but numbers difficult to judge in the swell. Balearic Shearwater were constantly on the move with 423 recorded during the 3 and quarter hours seawatch from 7am. Gannet also moved in numbers with over 400 counted, accompanied by 20 Arctic  and two Pomarine Skua, two Common and a Black Tern, two Common Scoter and a Fulmar

After the seawatch, the high tide was covered with counts from the estuary including 380 Wigeon, 174 Dunlin, 94 Ringed Plover, 60 Knot,12 Sandwich and two Common Tern, five Sanderling, four Shelduck, two Grey Plover, two Mediterranean Gull and single Curlew Sandpiper, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Pintail and Whimbrel.

Knot - Alan Keatley

The Spoonbill was riding out the tide and weather on Finger Point. A walk back through the reserve was quiet with the bushes blown out with just a single migrant, a Chiffchaff, noted.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Tuesday 19th September

One Spoonbill was still present in the Bight over high tide with 13 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, three Pintail and a Whimbrel also present. Elsewhere at least five Balearic Shearwater were offshore early morning with a Wheatear in Greenland Lake. 

Monday 18 September 2023

Monday 18th September

Two adult Spoonbill were present over the morning high tide with a Ruff, five Sandwich Tern and an Osprey from Cockwood Steps at low tide but no other news received from the estuary. 

Elsewhere the immature male Eider was off Langstone Rock, five Sanderling and two Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach with four Chiffchaff and a House Martin the only migrants on site.

Other Wildlife: After yesterday's torrential rain insects were taking advantage of a sunny and warm day, with areas sheltered from the breeze harbouring numerous species. 

Twin-spot Centurion, a late flying soldier-fly, was near the Main Pond, with Long-winged ConeheadField Digger Wasp Mellinus arvensis, several Bee-wolf, the increasingly recorded fly Ectophasia crassipennis and the Scorpion-fly Panorpa germanica

Twin-spot Centurion - Alan Keatley

Long-winged Conehead - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was nectaring along the beach, several male Ivy Bee were nectaring on Michaelmas Daisy, with the Ivy still to flower. and numerous butterflies of at least eight species were on the wing including eight Red Admiral and a couple of Painted Lady.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth - Alan Keatley

Painted Lady - Alan Keatley

A excavated Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris nest in Greenland Lake was perhaps a sign of another Badger on site.

Common Wasp - Alan Keatley

Sunday 17 September 2023

Sunday 17th September

A quick late evening visit saw a significant increase of wildfowl with 510 Wigeon and 266 Teal in Shutterton Creek along with the eclipse male Pintail, five Grey Heron, four adult Mediterranean Gull and a Whimbrel.

No news was received from high tide wader roosts but a check of a small flock of presumed Redshank feeding on the damp golf course fairways revealed instead a flock of 18 Ruff! Another unexpected site record, with 12 on 28 Dec 1960 the only previous double-figure count.  

Saturday 16 September 2023

Saturday 16th September

An overcast and damp early autumn day delivered some fine patch birding with 80 species recorded, including several local scarcities and a new site record. The latter was the most unexpected in the light NE wind with an incredible 498 Balearic Shearwater south from first light to just after 9am, with several flocks of 50 +. This is over 2% of the global population, they were presumably feeding in Lyme Bay as there was little else passing and 31 returned to roost just offshore in the evening. The previous record was 287 on 29 Aug 2022.

Also south offshore early morning a sub adult Pomarine Skua, two Sandwich and the first Black Tern of the year, with a male Tufted Duck flying into the estuary early evening.

Two high tides to cover in the estuary saw variation in species and numbers during the day, a single Ruff was present over the morning tide with a Curlew Sandpiper and the first Pintail of autumn in the evening. Counts included 1208 Oystercatcher, 294 Curlew, 286 Redshank, 171 Ringed Plover, 135 Teal, 97 Knot, 63 Dunlin, 29 Sanderling, 17 Bar and three Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Pale and a/the Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 13 Greenshank, eight adult Mediterranean Gull and single Little Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank and Whimbrel.

On site a small arrival of migrants included six Blackcap, five Wheatear and single Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat, with a Kingfisher and eight Cirl Bunting at the Dune Pond. Overhead a single flock of 28 House Martin, half a dozen Meadow Pipit and Siskin and a Yellow Wagtail.

Other Wildlife: Few insects on the wing in the conditions, but a freshly arrived Painted Lady was on the Dune Ridge, with Vestal and Rush Veneer on Warren Point. Befitting the weather a new species of fungi was discovered, Beauveria bassiana, a shieldbug nymph it's unfortunate host.

Beauveria bassiana - Alan Keatley

Friday 15 September 2023

Friday 15th September

Two Ruff with the Oystercatcher were the first records of the year, a typical date for this scarce wader. Also present over the evening tide 13 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, three Curlew Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank and the Little Ringed Plover.

Other Wildlife: A quick early afternoon visit revealed two further first sightings for the Recording Area, Four-spotted Orb-weaver Araneus quadratus and Nettle Seed Weevil Taeniapion urticarium.

Thursday 14 September 2023

Thursday 14th September

Much of the action remained in the estuary with two high tides to cover, the Spotted Redshank was on Finger Point early morning with 246 Curlew and 14 Pale-bellied Brent Geese but no Curlew Sandpiper. Counts from the evening tide included two Spotted Redshank, the first multiple record since Feb 2000, 281 Redshank, 196 Ringed Plover, 117 Teal, the first three-fig count of autumn, 115 Dunlin, 77 Wigeon, 53 Knot, 18 Sanderling, 17 Bar and three Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Greenshank and five Curlew Sandpiper.

Also around the Bight an Osprey early morning, 38 Great Black-backed Gull (five juvs), two Sandwich and a juvenile  Common Tern, a Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper and the Little Ringed Plover.

Osprey - Lee Collins

Elsewhere a Balearic Shearwater flew south, the immature male Eider off Langstone Rock, a Kingfisher was at the Main Pond and migrants were limited to three Chiffchaff, two Wheatear and a Blackcap.

Other Wildlife: With Common Fleabane and Water Mint going over and Ivy largely still to flower there is a bit of a lull in insect activity. Apart from numerous Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax there were few hoverflies on the wing but these included second-generation Stripe-backed Fleckwing Dasysyrphus albostriatus, Large Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus trivittatus and Compost Hoverfly Syritta pipiens.

Stripe-backed Fleckwing - Alan Keatley

Large Tiger Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Six species of butterfly were recorded with Red Admiral and Small White on the move with double figures of both. A few Meadow Brown remained on the wing and a Brown Argus was in the Buffer Zone.

Red Admiral - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Wednesday 13th September

A busy evening tide with counts from the Bight including 11 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, the first birds of the year, a juvenile Little Stint and the juvenile Little Ringed Plover. They were with 152 Ringed Plover, 142 Dunlin, 45 Knot, 14 Sanderling and three Turnstone.

A flock of 94 Pale-bellied Brent Goose eventually settled in the Bight, they included 40 juveniles, indicating a good breeding season, other wildfowl present included 72 Teal, 48 Mute Swan, seven Wigeon and three Common Scoter.

Also in the estuary the juvenile Spotted Redshank with 200+ Redshank, 17 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, eight Greenshank, three Mediterranean Gull and single Kingfisher, Sandwich Tern and Whimbrel

Other Wildlife: Several Red Admiral were on the wing with a Comma was just the fourth record this year. 

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Tuesday 12th September

No news was received from high tide but a low tide visit saw some migrants. A dozen Chiffchaff in ones and two throughout the reserve, with two Blackcap in the Entrance Bushes, two Whitethroat at the Dune Pond and two Wheatear along the beach.

Wheatear - Dean Hall

An Osprey flew along the Dune Ridge towards estuary early morning with five Rook also overhead, the immature Eider was back at Langstone Rock, with the Great Northern Diver off Groyne nine, four Teal at the Main Pond and 60 Linnet on Warren Point.

Eider - Alan Keatley

Other Wildlife: The first Ivy Bee Colletes hederae of the year was on the first flowering Ivy at Langstone Rock with the hoverfly Riponnensia splendens

Ivy Bee - Alan Keatley

Riponnensia splendens - Alan Keatley

A Brown Argus on Warren Point was the pick of the butterflies.

Brown Argus - Alan Keatley

Sunday 10 September 2023

Sunday 10th September

The overnight rain, followed by a sea mist that kept temperatures down, gave an autumnal feel to proceedings matched by the birds with a Spotted Flycatcher in Dead Dolphin Wood the pick of the migrants. Also on site eight Chiffchaff, three Blackcap and three Wheatear, with three White Wagtail in the Bight, a Kingfisher at the Main Pond and a juvenile Osprey that flew southwest. 

Two juvenile Little Stint were the pick of the monthly WeBS with the juvenile Little Ringed Plover still present and a Spotted Redshank on the dropping tide. Counts included 1622 Oystercatcher, 285 Redshank, 183 Ringed Plover (93+ juv), 65 Dunlin, 52 Great Black-backed Gull, 50 Mute Swan, 32 Sanderling (30 juv), 12 Greenshank, eight Bar-tailed Godwit, five Mediterranean Gull, three Whimbrel, two Knot, two Wigeon and two Sandwich Tern.

Other Wildlife: The second Clouded Yellow of the year, briefly in the Back Meadow, was one of nine butterfly species on the wing. Numbers of both Migrant and Southern Hawker increased notably with at least 30 hawkers recorded.

Saturday 9 September 2023

Saturday 9th September

Migrants included eight Chiffchaff, two Blackcap and single Reed and Willow Warbler, with the male Kestrel and a Green Woodpecker also on site and an adult Mediterranean Gull over the Main Pond. No news was received from the estuary. 

Other Wildlife: There was still plenty of insect activity in the late afternoon sun with Common Fleabane and Michaelmas Daisy hosting many pollinators, including a male Red-tailed Bumblebee and good numbers of Common Carder Bee and Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus.

Three Crescent Plume Marasmarcha lunaedactyla were unexpected, unrecorded outside Jun/Jul in Devon. Butterflies included several Meadow Brown and Red Admiral, with increasing numbers of Small Copper. Migrant Hawker numbers also increased with a Water Vole at the Main Pond.

Small Copper - Kevin Rylands

Friday 8 September 2023

Friday 8th September

A post tide late afternoon visit saw 41 Mute Swan and a Mediterranean Gull in the estuary with three Sandwich Tern offshore. On site 70 House Sparrow and 25 Starling were in the Buffer Zone, 45 Goldfinch were in Greenland Lake and 11 Chiffchaff and three Blackcap were on site.

Other Wildlife: A Hummingbird Hawkmoth caterpillar discovered feeding on Cleavers was the first evidence of breeding for the Warren. 

Hummingbird Hawkmoth - Kevin Rylands

Other moths recorded included Elbow Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, Mullein Wave and Small Blood-vein with leafmines of several species including Birch Brown Slender Parornix betulae, Common Birch Pigmy Stigmella betulicola and, new for the Recoring Area, White-bodied Midget Phyllonorycter joannisi.

Elbow Grass-veneer - Kevin Rylands

White-bodied Midget - vacated leafmine on Sycamore - Kevin Rylands

Other records included the first Ivy Waspgrabber Leopoldius signatus of the year, half a dozen Beewolf on Creeping Thistle in the Buffer Zone, six Migrant Hawker around the Main Pond, seven Red Admiral and the migrant Large Tiger Hoverfly Helophilus trivattus.

Thursday 7 September 2023

Thursday 7th September

A Great White Egret was a good start to the day, offshore  moving along coast towards Exmouth low to water around 7:45. Nothing else was however moving offshore in the flat calm conditions. Migrants on site were limited to six Chiffchaff and single Blackcap and Willow Warbler, with three Stock Dove on Warren Point and a Rook overhead.

Elsewhere a Kingfisher was at the Main Pond, counts over the high tide included 93 Ringed Plover, 52 Dunlin, 39 Mute Swan, 19 Sanderling, three Turnstone, two Sandwich Tern and single Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot and Little Ringed Plover.

Knot (& Sanderling) - Alan Keatley

Other Wildlife: A Mouse Moth by the Main Pond was the pick of several new species for the year, along with Bright Four-spined Legionnaire Chorisops nagatomii, a tiny dance fly, Tachydromia umbrarum and Striped-wing Dronefly Eristalis horticola.

Mouse Moth - Alan Keatley

Stripe-winged Dronefly - Alan Keatley

Other highlights included a new Wasp Spider near the Visitor Centre, another Ectophasia crassipennis and a Bronze Shieldbug nymph in Greenland Lake.

Wasp Spider - Alan Keatley

Ectophasia crassipennis - Alan Keatley

Bronze Shieldbug - Alan Keatley

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Wednesday 6th September

A juvenile Osprey flew south early afternoon, but the three Gadwall that flew through were rarer on site! Counts from the estuary included a juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 243 Redshank, 130+ Ringed Plover (73+ juvs), 44 Dunlin, mostly juvs, 25 Sandwich Tern, 21 Teal, 11 Wigeon, 11 Greenshank and three Knot, with two Wheatear in the Bight. 

Little Ringed Plover (juvenile) - Lee Collins

Ringed Plover (juvenile) - Lee Collins

tundrae Ringed Plover (juvenile) - Lee Collins

Other Wildlife: A male Lesser Emperor was briefly on the Golf Course, just the second site record, with both Hornet and the hoverfly mimic Hornet Plumehorn Volucella zonaria also on the wing.

Hornet Plumehorn - Lee Collins