Monday 30 October 2023

Monday 30th October

A significant amount of damage overnight the whole length of seaward-facing dunes, with more exposed geotube below the Golf Course. One of the highest tides of the year on Wednesday night coincides with the forecast arrival of Storm Ciaran, further significant damage is anticipated.

The first hour of light saw a single Balearic Shearwater and Great Northern Diver head SW with 49 Kittiwake and 35 Gannet. There was more movement overhead with 4595 Woodpigeon WSW along with 92 Jackdaw and 15 Stock Dove. Limited passerine movement with largely clear skies but two Siskin and a Lesser Redpoll were noted with a Song Thrush dropping out of the sky into the scrub.

Other grounded migrants included a Wheatear on the seawall, eight Chiffchaff and a notable flock of 65 Greenfinch around Greenland Lake. Elsewhere the Dartford Warbler was on the Golf Course with a ♂ Shoveler and two Water Rail at the Main Pond and in the Entrance Bushes, a Bullfinch and a Coal Tit

An immature ♀ Scaup in the estuary was a new arrival, with three Spoonbill again dropping in Shutterton Creek on the ebbing tide. Counts included 1100+ Wigeon, 556 Dunlin, 247 Dark and 36 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 56 Teal, 24 Ringed Plover, seven Greenshank, two Mediterranean Gull and the Whimbrel.

Other Wildlife: A Common Darter at the Dune Pond was the only active dragonfly with three Red Admiral and a Painted Lady heading SW the only butterflies. Yesterday's Grey Squirrel was in the Entrance Bushes.

Sunday 29 October 2023

Sunday 29th October

A storm driven Cory's Shearwater heading slowly S at 07:26 was the highlight of a 2h 10 m seawatch first thing with a single Balearic Shearwater, 167 Gannet, 107 Kittiwake, 83 Razorbill, 18 Common Scoter, two Great Northern Diver, a ♀ Eider, and a Red-breasted Merganser also offshore.

On site 29 Long-tailed Tit were present with two Coal Tit, six Chiffchaff, six Goldcrest and a Firecrest also present with 26 Goldfinch, 14 Jackdaw and five Siskin overhead.

No sign of the presumed hybrid Green-winged Teal in the estuary, but three Spoonbill, 2 juveniles and the adult, fed in Shutterton Creek on the dropping tide, with a Water Pipit and a moulting Scandinavian Rock Pipit in the Saltmarsh and the Spotted Redshank on the evening tide.

Counts from the estuary included 1494 Wigeon, 568 Dunlin, 206 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, just 182 Curlew, the rest presumably roosting on flooded fields around the estuary, 62 Turnstone, 39 Teal, 33 Ringed and a Grey Plover, 13 Greenshank, eight Sanderling, six adult Mediterranean Gull, six Great Crested Grebe, three Bar-tailed Godwit and single Whimbrel and Common Scoter.

Other Wildlife: A Grey Squirrel, the second individual of the year, was on the Golf Course.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Saturday 28th October

A couple of seawatches over 2h10m saw some strong SW passage with 13 Balearic Shearwater, 641 Kittiwake, 312 Gannet and just over 3000 auks, including 1,865 in 75 mins. early morning. The vast majority of those lose enough to identify with a estimate >99% Razorbill, <1% Guillemot. Also offshore 13 Common Scoter, two Eider, an immature ♂ & a ♀, two Great Northern Diver and two Sandwich Tern.

Overhead two flocks of Woodpigeon totalling 375, 54 Jackdaw, 12 Meadow Pipit, three Chaffinch and two Skylark. On site the Dartford Warbler, four Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest with 12 Cirl Bunting amongst the finches in Greenland Lake and the first two ♂ Shoveler on the Main Pond.

In the estuary a new adult Spoonbill, with two of the recent 1cy birds on Finger Point at high tide before later foraging in Shutterton Creek. Counts included 1637 Wigeon, 401 Dunlin, 241 Dark (including the first 10 juveniles) and 12 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 223 Curlew, 206 Redshank, 67 Teal and the Green-winged Teal or hybrid, 60 Turnstone, 39 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Ringed Plover, 11 Greenshank, five adult Mediterranean Gull, three Sanderling and single Common Scoter, Knot and Red-breasted Merganser.

Friday 27 October 2023

Friday 27th October

Three Spoonbill were in the estuary on the dropping tide along with 1100 Wigeon, 310 Dunlin, 41 Mute Swan, just 26 Teal and six Greenshank.

Elsewhere a flock of 50 Linnet and 20 Goldfinch were feeding around Greenland Lake.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Thursday 26th October

Overhead vismig included four Redwing W at dawn, a rather tardy first for the autumn, along with  446 Woodpigeon, attracting a juvenile Peregrine, and 240 Jackdaw, biggest flock 55, all before 10:30. Finches, pipits and Skylark were mostly local grounded birds with six Chiffchaff and a Blackcap on site.

In the estuary at low tide 255 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, hundreds of Wigeon departed the saltmarsh towards the Exmouth refuge, the drake Common Scoter and a Sandwich Tern.

Other Wildlife: Fewer insects in the cool, but bright autumn conditions, with three species of dragonflies, Migrant and Southern Hawker and a few Common Darter but only one butterfly, a lone Red Admiral

Common Darter - Alan Keatley

A new fly for the Recording Area was however on the wing, the strange beetle-like grass fly Camarota curvipennis.

Camarota curvipennis - Alan Keatley

Four species of shieldbug were active with Dock Bug, Gorse, Hairy and, more unusually, a Knobbed Shieldbug, along with the jumping spider Euophrys frontalis aka the White-palped Jumper.

Euophrys frontalis - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Tuesday 24th October

A late morning visit saw six Skylark, three Siskin and a Buzzard overhead with the Cetti's Warbler at the Main Pond and six Chiffchaff in with the Long-tailed Tit flock around the Entrance Bushes.

On the rising tide 310 Dunlin were in the Bight along with 168 Dark and six Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 44 Ringed Plover, 36 Turnstone and eight Sanderling.

Other Wildlife: In the autumnal weather the remaining flowering Ivy harboured mostly Common Wasp, with few other insects on the wing although two Red Admiral did move through.

Monday 23 October 2023

Monday 23rd October

The increasing wind and a 1.5 hour seawatch saw 240 Kittiwake, 215 Gannet, 18 Common Scoter and two Great Northern Diver head SW along with a notable gull passage including 450 Black-headed, 23 Common and seven Mediterranean Gull. Also offshore two Red-throated Diver and a Sandwich Tern.

The same conditions blew seven Gannet into the estuary, along with 87 Great Black-backed Gull and a 3cy Caspian Gull roosting on Finger Point, the 16th site record and the second of the year. 

Also in the estuary a single Spoonbill and the Green-winged Teal (or hybrid), with counts including 1070 Wigeon, 414 Teal, 337 Dunlin, 78 Dark and 27 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 44 Ringed Plover, four Pintail and a Whimbrel.

Elsewhere just six Skylark overhead, a Wheatear on the Point and a Cetti's Warbler at the Main Pond, only the 17th site record but now recorded for the seventh autumn in succession.

Ringing News: Today's Caspian Gull had been ringed as a chick in the nest at IJsselmeer (De Kreupel), Noord-Holland, The Netherlands on 11 Jun 2021. For a history of this bird -

Sunday 22 October 2023

Sunday 22nd October

A 50min seawatch first thing saw single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver head S with 67 Gannet and 49 Kittiwake. There was more movement SW overhead with counts of 2660 Woodpigeon170 Jackdaw, 68 Skylark33 Rook25 Meadow Pipit, 20 Linnet11 Siskin10 Stock Dove, six Chaffinch, three Magpie, two Song Thrush and a Bullfinch. A juvenile Merlin also flew through pausing to make a half-hearted attempt to chase the finch flock around Greenland Lake before moving on.

Carrion Crow - Martin Overy

On site 40 Linnet, 30 Goldfinch, 11 Cirl and three Reed Bunting in Greenland Lake, a Short-eared Owl and the Dartford Warbler, the latter was sub-singing, confirming, as suspected, it is an immature ♂.

The five Spoonbill again roosted around the Bight, with the Green-winged Teal or hybrid still present. Counts from the estuary included 823 Oystercatcher, 807 Wigeon, the majority flushed from Cockle Sands, 338 Redshank318 Dunlin288 Teal, 81 Turnstone, 50 Dark and 14 Pale-bellied Brent Geese (with 625 and 26 additional birds off site on Cockle Sands), 37 Bar-tailed Godwit, 27 Ringed and five Grey Plover, 15 Greenshank, two Red-breasted Merganser and single Curlew SandpiperCommon ScoterShoveler and Whimbrel.

Common Scoter - Martin Overy

Saturday 21 October 2023

Saturday 21st October

 Goshawk that caused panic on the estuary as it appeared from the west before heading back to the mainland was a clear highlight, just the fourth Warren record and the first since Nov 2010. 

The five juvenile Spoonbill roosted in the saltmarsh with four feeding in the Bight on the dropping tide. Counts from the estuary including; 560 Wigeon340 Redshank189 Dunlin162 Teal39 Ringed and four Grey Plover21 Shelduck16 Greenshank, a Knot and a ♂ Common Scoter.

Spoonbill - Alan Keatley

Offshore six Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and a ♂ Eider were on the sea, with 121 Gannet, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver S in 1.5 hours on the seawall. 

Elsewhere the first Jack Snipe of the autumn was flushed near the Entrance Bushes, with single Siskin and Lesser Redpoll still present along with five Goldcrest, three Chiffchaff and two Blackcap. Overhead 155 Woodpigeon65 Jackdaw, four Chaffinch, four Swallow, two Rook and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Other Wildlife: A few insects continue to search out the remaining flowering Ivy with a couple of Ivy Bee and a selection of hoverflies including Marmalade Hoverfly, Common Dronefly Eristalis tenaxSlender Melanostoma M. scalare, Humming Syrphus S. ribesii and White-clubbed Glasswing Scaeva pyrastri. A few Red Admiral were still going through.

Ivy Bee - Alan Keatley

Marmalade Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Common Dronefly - Alan Keatley

Humming Syrphus - Alan Keatley

Friday 20 October 2023

Friday 20th October

Five juvenile Spoonbill roosting on Finger Point were the highlight, they then briefly dropped into Shutterton Creek after a couple of exploratory circuits, before flying up river, appearing to land in Powderham Park. 

Spoonbill - Alan Keatley

Also in the estuary the Green-winged Teal or hybrid with 164 Teal75 Dark and 29 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were counted in the Bight but Wigeon numbers were low after the peak midweek. Wader counts remain similar to recent days, identical in the case of Dunlin, with little sign of new arrivals, roost counts included 315 Curlew, 285 Redshank, 46 Turnstone, 28 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Greenshank, a Sandwich Tern and the same single Knot and Whimbrel.

Little movement overhead but 33 Skylark, 10 Chaffinch and single Mistle ThrushGreat Spotted Woodpecker and Swallow were noted with eight Goldcrest, four Chiffchaff and two late Wheatear on site, with the Dartford Warbler again making an appearance.

Elsewhere the first Greylag Goose of the year flew south down the estuary with 10 Canada Geese; and offshore 48 Gannet and 18 Kittiwake S in 40 minutes with four Eider, two ♂ two ♀, and four Common Scoter on the sea.

Other Wildlife: A slow SW passage of Red Admiral saw 30+ through during the day, with Speckled Wood the only other butterfly on the wing. Also still active at least four Migrant Hawker and a couple of Common Darter. 

Thursday 19 October 2023

Thursday 19th October

A two hour seawatch saw good numbers of birds reorienting after the storm with counts of 480 Gannet and 219 Kittiwake S along with two Balearic Shearwater and two Pomarine Skua, with three Sandwich Tern lingering offshore.

In the estuary the Green-winged Teal or hybrid was still in Shutterton Creek with a Spoonbill roosting on Finger Point and counts including 463 Wigeon, 331 Redshank, 237 Dunlin, 207 Teal, 34 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 25 Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Ringed and seven Grey Plover, eight Greenshank, eight Sanderling, a Pintail and the Whimbrel.

Elsewhere a Short-eared Owl was on Warren Point, the Treecreeper, five Goldcrest and four Chiffchaff were with the tit flock, a Blackcap was along the Back Path and eight Siskin and two Swallow flew through.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Wednesday 18th October

Storm Babet saw very little passing offshore despite the high winds with six Mediterranean Gull and a Red-throated Diver the highlights. A big arrival of wildfowl in the estuary saw counts of 1205 Wigeon173 Teal142 Dark and 42 Pale-bellied Brent Geese with the Green-winged Teal or hybrid still present along with three Pintail, two Shoveler and the first Red-breasted Merganser of the winter.

Also in the estuary counts included 239 Redshank187 Dunlin17 Greenshank15 Grey and three Ringed Plover, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, five Sandwich Tern, four Great Crested Grebe, three Sanderling and single Knot and Whimbrel.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Tuesday 17th October

The Green-winged Teal was again in Shutterton Creek with c230 Teal at high tide, with counts from the Bight including c250 Dunlin81 Dark and 15 Pale-bellied Brent Geese52 Turnstone38 Bar-tailed Godwit19 Ringed and seven Grey Plover16 Greenshank14 Sanderling, four Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern.

Also appearing around the Bight the juvenile Osprey, a fly through Merlin and a late Wheatear.

Monday 16 October 2023

Monday 16th October

The year's first Treecreeper was with the mobile tit flock around the Main Pond along with six Chiffchaff and four Goldcrest. Also in the bushes four Lesser Redpoll, two Siskin, a Blackcap and a BullfinchVismig was muted by an unfavourably strong east wind, although 355 Woodpigeon were on the move. The semi-resident Sparrowhawk and Kestrel kept the grounded finches and pipits alert in Greenland Lake.

Sparrowhawk - Alan Keatley

The ♂ Green-winged Teal (or hybrid) was with 221 Teal in Shutterton Creek, along with 645 Wigeon and two Great Crested Grebe. Also in the estuary the juvenile Osprey again, and counts included 315 Curlew, 279 Redshank, 247 Dunlin, 96 Dark and 21 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 34 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Shelduck, two Sandwich Tern and a Whimbrel.

Elsewhere a two Arctic Skua, a Red-throated Diver and an Arctic Tern were offshore and a Great Northern Diver circled high over the site early morning.

Other Wildlife: The weather meant the day was almost devoid of flying insects with no butterflies or dragonflies seen. The Ivy held just a few common hoverflies as well as Ivy Bee, with Common Green Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea and the harvestman Leiobunum blackwalli noted.

Common Green Lacewing - Alan Keatley

Leiobunum blackwalli - Alan Keatley

Sunday 15 October 2023

Sunday 15th October

The drake Green-winged Teal was in Shutterton Creek with 192 Teal but was not visible from any public areas, please do not access the Golf Course. Also in the estuary 313 Curlew, 244 Redshank, 232 Wigeon, 88 Turnstone, 60 Dark and 23 Pale-bellied Brent Geese37 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Greenshank, six Grey Plover and a Whimbrel. Counts of smaller waders were hampered by the arrival of the juvenile Osprey.

Offshore the two ♂ Eider, single Great Northern DiverSandwich Tern and a ♂ Tufted Duck. Elsewhere 75 Skylark overhead and in the bushes a Firecrest, eight Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest, three Siskin, two Blackcap, a Lesser Redpoll and a Bullfinch.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Saturday 14th October

The moulting drake Green-winged Teal was again with the Teal flock in Shutterton Creek, this morning, but with no sign on the evening tide. If it returns it may be viewable distantly from Warren Point, but there is no access to the Golf Course.

Green-winged Teal - Alan Keatley

Also in the estuary a late juvenile Osprey, 485 Wigeon, 334 Curlew, 287 Dunlin, 90 Pale and 47 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 48 Ringed, three Grey and a Golden Plover, 37 Bar and two Black-tailed Godwit, 31 Turnstone, three Sanderling, two Knot and single Curlew Sandpiper, Great Crested Grebe and Whimbrel.

A male Ring Ouzel was the pick of the few migrants, along the Back Path early morning, it flew out of bushes before rapidly gaining height and heading W over Eastdon early morning. Also present the Dartford Warbler, seven Chiffchaff and three Siskin, with two more Siskin overhead, along with two House Martin, 40 Skylark, 30 Pied Wagtail, 20 Meadow Pipit, two Redpoll and a Swallow.

Offshore a raft of 10 Common Scoter and the two drake Eider.

Other Wildlife: Despite the drop in temperature, it was bright and sunny enough in the afternoon to encourage some more Red Admiral to pass through with a peak of 10 an hour. Other insects included a couple of Migrant Field Syrph Eupeodes corollae and a late Hornet Plumehorn Volucella zonaria. Several Common Darter were along the paths and a couple of Migrant Hawker around the bushes.

Friday 13 October 2023

Friday 13th October

A morning seawatch lacked any large shearwaters even on the distant horizon but it was still busy with 564 Gannet south in 2.25 hours along with 268 Kittiwake, seven Arctic Skua, four Sandwich Tern, three Balearic Shearwater and two Mediterranean Gull. Also passing south two different Merlin, a flock of 10 Swallow, and small numbers of waders including Dunlin, Sanderling and a Golden Plover which dipped on sea but managed to continue.

In the estuary a further influx of wildfowl with 848 Wigeon and c250 Teal , the latter count interrupted by the discovery of the Warren's long awaited first Green-winged Teal, a moulting drake. 

Elsewhere the Red-legged Partridge was flushed on the Golf Course and flew over to the Railway Saltmarsh, four Goldcrest and three Chiffchaff were in the bushes and a Bullfinch flew NE.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Thursday 12th October

Large numbers of birds foraging offshore included 10 Balearic Shearwater, 225 Kittiwake, 32 Gannet, three Arctic Skua, two adult Mediterranean Gull, the two ♂ Eider and a Sandwich Tern.

Wildfowl numbers are beginning to increase with counts of 467 Wigeon, 417 Teal, 94 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose in the estuary. With them over high tide 344 Redshank, 276 Curlew, 227 Dunlin, 57 Ringed and a Grey Plover, 24 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Greenshank, two Knot and a Sanderling. A single ♂ Ruff and the Spotted Redshank last reported on 16 Sep were also present over the evening tide.

An Egyptian Goose that flew over the spit and headed down the coast early morning was shaping up to be the exotic of the day, but it was trumped by the year’s first Red-legged Partridge on the Golf Course early evening.

Also overhead today c25 Meadow Pipit, 13 Goldfinch, three Chaffinch, two SkylarkJackdaw and Rook and single Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Golden Plover and Snipe. Grounded migrants included five Siskin and four Lesser Redpoll in the Entrance Bushes, two Wheatear, a Coal Tit, the injured Whitethroat and the first Bullfinch since 18 Feb.

Other Wildlife: The same shoals that attracted in seabirds also fed at least two Common Dolphin and the first Atlantic Blue-finned Tuna of the year. Fewer flying insects but 20+ Red Admiral and a Painted Lady were still noted.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Wednesday 11th October

Seawatching for 1.5 hours early morning saw a Balearic Shearwater, two Arctic Skua, 563 auk sp., 167 Gannet, 105 Black-headed Gull and 15 Kittiwake head south with the two drake Eider offshore. All the auks close enough to identify were Razorbill

In the estuary counts over the high tide included 347 Wigeon, 320 Redshank, 296 Curlew, 271 Teal, 197 Dunlin, 78 Ringed and three Grey Plover, 54 Great Black-backed Gull, 51 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 24 Bar and four Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Turnstone, 10 Greenshank, eight Sanderling and three Sandwich Tern. A late juv Yellow-legged Gull was on Bull Hill as the tide dropped.

Elsewhere the year's first Mistle Thrush paused briefly at the Cuckoo's Nest with the first Merlin (fem/imm) heading over the Entrances Bushes a short while later. There was little else moving overhead with two Redpoll and single figure counts of, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Skylark and Siskin

Cirl Bunting - Dave Jewell One of nine on site today

Grounded migrants included 10 Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest and a Blackcap, a Song Thrush along the Dune Ridge may have been new in as were some of the high count of 15 Stonechat.

Other Wildlife: Migration still in action with both Clouded Yellow and Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Greenland Lake. 

Clouded Yellow - Lee Collins

Hummingbird Hawkmoth - Lee Collins

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Tuesday 10th October

A short afternoon visit, with sunny and warm conditions after the mist finally cleared. Overhead 13 Meadow Pipit and a Siskin despite the late hour, with the exception of the first Dartford Warbler of the autumn, grounded migrants were similarly in short supply with just three Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest.

The tide was only half way in but 37 Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin and two Turnstone were in the Bight, with three Sandwich Tern also in the estuary.

Other Wildlife: The Ivy continues to attract numbers of Common Wasp, Honey and Ivy Bee along with several hoverfly species, including the first Pale-knobbed Didea D. fasciata of the year. 

Honey Bee (left) & Ivy Bee - Alan Keatley

Other hoverflies included Common Dronefly Eristalis tenax, Glass-winged S. vitripennis and Humming Syrphus S. ribesii, and Long Sphaerophoria scripta, Marmalade Episyrphus balteatus, Tiger Helophilus pendulus and Large Tiger Hoverfly H. trivittatus.

Long Hoverfly - Alan Keatley

Also on the wing the cranefly Tipula confusa, five species of butterfly including Red Admiral and three dragonfly species; Common Darter, Migrant and Southern Hawker.

Tipula confusa - Alan Keatley

Sunday 8 October 2023

Sunday 8th October

Counts in the estuary over the low neap high tide included 99 Dunlin, 39 Ringed Plover, seven Sandwich Tern and four Grey Plover with a smart drake Common Scoter feeding in shallows of the Bight. Late afternoon 36 Cattle Egret gathered on the mudflats at low tide and disturbance of the corvid roost at Eastdon saw c140 Jackdaw and c60 Rook gather on Bull Hill. 

Elsewhere two drake Eider and a Great-crested Grebe were offshore, single Coal Tit and Whitethroat were in the bushes with four Goldcrest, four Chiffchaff and two Blackcap and overhead 62 Meadow Pipit, 15 Skylark, eight Pied Wagtail and single Siskin and Swallow.

Linnet - Alan Keatley

Ringing News: Despite the neap tide 44 DCWRG ringed Oystercatcher were recorded amongst the roosting birds. In addition a further five birds ringed during previous studies were present, all now over 20 years old. 

Other Wildlife: Migration was also ongoing amongst insects with Red Admiral passing S throughout  day, a three hour count of 64 indicated a rate of almost 20 per hour. Few other butterflies were on the wing, with three Painted Lady and a Common Blue also amongst the 10 species recorded.

Moths disturbed from roosting sites included several Silver Y and Rush Veneer, with singles of VestalRusty-dot Pearl and Red Underwing. Also on the wing at least two Hornet and around the Ivy large numbers of Common Wasp, Ivy and Honey Bee but little else. 

Hornet - Alan Keatley

Eggcase of Wasp Spider - Kevin Rylands