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

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