Sunday 23 June 2024

Sunday 23rd June

Still a concentration of food offshore attracting c320 Herring and 51 Black-headed Gull, 10 Kittiwake, eight Manx Shearwaterfour Sandwich Tern and two Mediterranean Gull (ad & 2cy). Also offshore 23 Common Scoter and, circling the bay mid morning, a breeding plumaged Great Northern Diver

Counts from the estuary included the six Eider106 Curlew15 Whimbrel, two Bar-tailed Godwit, two Knot and single Redshank and Turnstone.

Other Wildlife: Single Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise were offshore and, on Warren Point, two Pyramidal Orchid remain from the colony though swept away by the sea.

Pyramidal Orchid - Alan Keatley

Saturday 22 June 2024

Saturday 22nd June

At least 100 Black-headed Gull were foraging offshore along with two Sandwich Tern and an adult Mediterranean Gull. A partial breeding plumage Great Northern Diver was on the sea with a second heading SW, as did a flock of six Turnstone.

Other wader records all came from the estuary with 114 Curlew17 Whimbrel, two Bar-tailed Godwit and single Dunlin and Ringed Plover. At least five Eider were on Finger Point at high tide. 

Elsewhere a flock of seven Stock Dove were in Soft Sand Bay, with 21 Long-tailed Tit and a family of Reed Warbler around the edge of Greenland Lake.

Other Wildlife: Disappointing for butterflies again with just a few Meadow Brown and Common Blue noted on the wing as it warmed up. Other insects also became more active with sand hollows and small rabbit scrapes soon occupied by numbers of Common Spiny Digger Wasp Oxybelus uniglumis and Minute Digger Wasp Diodontus minutus.

Common Spiny Digger Wasp Oxybelus uniglumis - Alan Keatley

Minute Digger Wasp Diodontus minutus - Alan Keatley

Four Common Dolphin, including a calf, and a Harbour Porpoise were feeding offshore. 

Nysius huttoni - Alan Keatley

Medetera jacula, a woodpecker fly - Alan Keatley

Friday 21 June 2024

Friday 21st June

As if to mark Midsummer's Day autumn migration shifted up a gear with wader numbers and variety increasing. Counts included 356 Oystercatcher94 Curlew, seven Whimbrel, four Black and a Bar-tailed Godwit, four Redshanktwos of DunlinSanderling and Turnstone and a Greenshank.

Gull numbers also increased with 241 Black-headed and eight (four 2cy, three ad, 3cy) Mediterranean Gull foraging offshore, with eight Sandwich and two Common Tern. Also offshore three Great Northern Diver circled the bay before heading SW.

The first post-breeding Kingfisher was at the Main Pond, with a mobile Coal Tit in the bushes. Numbers of fledged birds are increasing with three broods of Reed Warbler as well as Linnet, Lesser Whitethroat and Stonechat. The presence of a single young Pheasant around the Bight with the polygynous ♂ and two ♀, confirmed breeding, a rare occurrence fortunately for the Sand Lizard population.

Other Wildlife: Water Vole was at the Main Pond along with Emperor Dragonfly and Broad-bodied Chaser. A Small Skipper was on the wing and a third Pyramidal Orchid has appeared on the Dune Ridge.

Thursday 20 June 2024

Thursday 20th June

Large numbers of birds again foraging offshore including 128 Black-headed and two 2cy Mediterranean Gull, seven Manx Shearwater, five Common and two Sandwich Tern.

A substantial increase to 76 Curlew roosting in the saltmarsh with 18 Whimbrel, nine Redshank, five Dunlin and a Knot also present over high tide. The six Eider were on Finger Point with a family of Canada Geese having arrived from elsewhere, with no breeding this year.

A Rock Pipit in The Bight and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were other dispersing juveniles, with the family of Lesser Whitethroat still around Dead Dolphin Wood. 

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Wednesday 19th June

A large foraging flock of 580 Herring Gull was joined by 52 Black-headed and three Mediterranean Gull (two 3cy & 2cy), five Manx Shearwater and two Sandwich Tern.

Eight Redshank were new arrivals in the estuary with 67 Curlew, 20 Whimbrel, three Ringed Plover and a pair of Teal also present. 

Other Wildlife: A new weevil for the Recording Area was found at Langstone Rock, the widespread clover weevil Protapion apricans

Protapion apricans - Alan Keatley

A second Recording Area first was also discovered by the railway station, the well marked spider Textrix denticulata. Other spiders recorded included a second Zelotes electus, this time on the edge of The Bight.

Textrix denticulata - Alan Keatley

Small Skipper, a Peacock and a few Common Blue were on the wing along with the wasps Small Shieldbug Stalker Dryudella pinguis and White-lipped Digger Wasp Lindenius albilabris.

Dryudella pinguis - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Tuesday 18th June

An immature Great Spotted Woodpecker in Dead Dolphin Wood was a post-breeding migrant from elsewhere, with at least one fledged Lesser Whitethroat being fed nearby. Seven Swift were feeding overhead and four Stock Dove were onsite, an increasing occurrence this summer.

Other Wildlife: Some additional images from yesterday.

Bare-saddled Colletes C. similis - Alan Keatley

Minute Digger Wasp Diodontus minutus - Alan Keatley

Crepidodera fulvicornis - Alan Keatley

Ischnocoris angustulus (nymph) - Alan Keatley

Monday 17 June 2024

Monday 17th June

Eight Great Northern Diver were present in two rafts of four offshore, a mix of immatures and breeding plumaged birds, also foraging offshore four Common and two Sandwich Tern, with 13 Common Scoter flying SW.

A 2cy Mediterranean Gull was in the estuary with the six Eider on Finger Point and wader counts including 39 Curlew17 Whimbrel, four Ringed Plover, two Sanderling and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

Other Wildlife: Despite the apparent absence of Clegs for a third year, other horsefly are presumably doing better with another new species for the Recording Area, Large Marsh Horsefly Tabanus autumnalis discovered.

Large Marsh Horsefly Tabanus autumnalis - Alan Keatley

Common Darter basking on the edge of the Dune Pond was the first for the year, as were Bare-saddled Colletes C. similis, the wood nesting Black-horned Wasp Passaloecus corniger and the moths Thistle Ermine and Clouded Border.

Common Darter - Alan Keatley

Thistle Ermine - Alan Keatley

Clouded Border - Alan Keatley

A Grey Seal was again off Langstone Rock.

Sunday 16 June 2024

Sunday 16th June

The first two Coal Tit of the year were recorded, both dispersing juveniles; one briefly on Langstone Rock before returning to the mainland and another in the Entrance Bushes. 

Three breeding plumage Black-tailed Godwit in the estuary were new arrivals, with 31 Curlew13 Whimbrel, the six Eider, four Bar-tailed Godwit and three Sanderling also present at high tide. Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver and a Common Scoter were offshore.

Year list addition: 

154. Coal Tit

Moorhen - Martin Overy

Saturday 15 June 2024

Saturday 15th June

Early morning 17 Manx Shearwater flew SW during 1hr 30m hour seawatch, along with 10 Common Scoter and a Curlew. Also offshore two lingering Arctic Skua, seven Great Northern Diver (four in breeding plumage), five Common and three Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere the Lesser Whitethroat pair were still around Dead Dolphin Wood, the usual three immature ♂ and three ♀ Eider were on Finger Point with estuary counts from the high tide including 31 Curlew, 12 Whimbrel and two Dunlin.

Friday 14 June 2024

Friday 14th June

Early morning 29 Common Scoter and 11 Manx Shearwater flew SW during 1 hour seawatch with a moulting immature Great Northern Diver close inshore and a pair of Eider and a Sandwich Tern flew into the bay. 

The regular six Eider were on Finger Point, with 15 Curlew, eight Whimbrel, five Ringed Plover, two Dunlin and a Sanderling also in the estuary.

Other Wildlife: A Grey Seal was close inshore off Langstone Rock and two Pyramidal Orchid are in flower, by the Visitor Centre and in Greenland Lake. 

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Wednesday 12th June

The Lesser Whitethroat pair were still busy around Dead Dolphin Wood, with both pairs of Little Grebe with second brood chicks on the Main Pond. Also feeding their second brood the Rock Pipit pair at Langstone Rock, the lone Shelduck stood atop may also indicate a breeding attempt. 

Elsewhere the six Eider were in the estuary, 26 Sanderling were on the beach, up to 14 Sandwich Tern were offshore and an immature Great Northern Diver was off Langstone Rock.

Other Wildlife: With the sun still shining a few more new species emerged for the year, a Band-eyed Brown Horsefly Tabanus bromius was in the Skipper Meadow with a pair of Red-legged Spider Wasp Episyron rufipes and a Crossocerus quadrimaculatus digger wasp along the Back Path.

Band-eyed Brown Horsefly Tabanus bromius - Alan Keatley

Red-legged Spider Wasp Episyron rufipes - Alan Keatley

Also in Skipper Meadow a male Broad-bodied Chaser and, appropriately, a Large Skipper.

Large Skipper - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere a female Spot-headed Spider Wasp Agenioideus cinctelus was taking a captured Copper Sun-jumper Heliophanus cupreus to a nest chamber on the Dune Ridge, Silvery Leafcutter have now emerged in numbers by the Dune Pond and a small influx of Marmalade Hoverfly was evident.

Spot-headed Spider Wasp Agenioideus cinctelus and Copper Sun-jumper Heliophanus cupreus - Alan Keatley

Silvery Leafcutter Megachile leachella - Alan Keatley

Larger fauna included an early migrant Grey Squirrel in the Entrance Bushes, a Bank Vole in the Buffer Zone and a male Sand Lizard on Warren Point.

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Tuesday 11th June

The Lesser Whitethroat pair were busy collecting food and the male Tufted Duck made an appearance on the Main Pond, but aside from these scarce breeders there was little else noted. 

Other Wildlife: The cool weather wasn't favourable for dragonflies so the appearance of a female Black-tailed Skimmer in Skipper Meadow was a nice surprise.

Black-tailed Skimmer - Alan Keatley

Other new insects for 2024 included Pouting Woodlouse Fly Rhinophora lepida, the snipeflies Rhagio tringarius and R. lineola, and the soft-winged flower beetle Cordylepherus viridis.

Rhagio lineola - Alan Keatley

Cordylepherus viridis - Alan Keatley

Hunting wasps included Red-banded Grasshopper Grabber Tachysphex pompiliformis seeking out the increasing numbers of grasshopper nymphs and Vertical Spider Wasp Agenioideus cinctellus hunting jumping spiders.

Tachysphex pompiliformis - Alan Keatley

Monday 10 June 2024

Monday 10th June

The highlight was again a confirmed breeding record, this time Lesser Whitethroatpair, more secretive than the Tufted Ducks, carrying food to a nest near Dead Dolphin Wood. 

Dwindling counts in the estuary with 39 Sanderling12 Ringed Plover, five Dunlin and a Knot around The Bight at high tide, when the six Eider were loafing on Finger Point. 

Offshore 26 Swift flew W early morning, 22 Manx Shearwater distantly foraging and a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver close in off the seawall. 

Sunday 9 June 2024

Sunday 9th June

The highlight was confirmation of the first breeding record of Tufted Duck for the Warren, the  appearing with two small chicks on the Main Pond. Elsewhere the first fledged Whitethroat was on the wing.

Tufted Duck - David Flack

An Osprey hunted over The Bight and estuary corner late morning , before returning back towards Powderham, where it has been since Friday. Also in the estuary the six Eider and counts of 70 Sanderling, eight Ringed Plover, six Dunlin and three Bar-tailed Godwit.

A summer plumaged Great Northern Diver was offshore, with five Manx Shearwater, four Sandwich Tern and a Great Crested Grebe; and a Cuckoo was again on Warren Point, this time a ♀.

Cuckoo - David Flack

Other Wildlife: A bull Grey Seal was close in to seawall and a Fox cub trotted around the edge of The Bight, being harried by a Magpie.

Saturday 8 June 2024

Saturday 8th June

Still a few waders pausing their northward journeys with counts of 78 Sanderling12 Dunlin12 Ringed Plover, two Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot in the Bight. In contrast a count of 40 Curlew in the saltmarsh indicates early returning failed breeding birds. Also in the estuary, the six Eider and 16 Whimbrel.

Elsewhere 28 Swift, a House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail were overhead and 60+ Manx Shearwater were circling distantly offshore, with three Great Northern Diver, a dark phase immature Arctic Skua and single Common ScoterSandwich and Common Tern.

Other Wildlife: Insects became more active during sunnier spells early afternoon, new hymenopteran emergences for the year included Large Sharp-tailed Bee Coelioxys conoidea and Three-spotted Digger Wasp Nysson trimaculatus, alongside increased numbers of Leaden Spider Wasp Pompilus cinereus and Common Spiny Digger Wasp Oxybelus uniglumis.

Large Sharp-tailed Bee Coelioxys conoidea - Alan Keatley

Three-spotted Digger Wasp Nysson trimaculatus - Alan Keatley

A third Wharf Borer of the week was seen, this time under driftwood, with other beetles recorded including Dune Scarab Aegialia arenaria, Dune Chafer Anomala dubia, the large rove Philonthus politus and a tumbling flower beetle Anaspis maculata.

Dune Chafer Anomala dubia - Kevin Rylands

Anaspis maculata - Alan Keatley

Hercostomus nigriplantis - Alan Keatley

Sieve-winged Snailkiller Coremacera marginata - Kevin Rylands

Friday 7 June 2024

Friday 7th June

Counts from the estuary included 360 Oystercatcher69 Sanderling24 Dunlin21 Whimbrel19 Curlew14 Ringed and a Grey Plover, the six Eider, four Turnstone, three Bar-tailed Godwit, an unseasonal pair of Teal and a Greenshank.

Elsewhere the Cuckoo was on Warren Point, an immature male Peregrine attempted to take one of 210 Starling around the Bight and offshore 200 foraging Manx Shearwater, four Common Scoter, three Great Northern Diver, three Sandwich and a Common Tern.

Other Wildlife: The resident Exe Common Seal made its first appearance of the year at this end of the estuary with a single Grey Seal in the Bight,

Elsewhere at least six plants of Grass Vetchling were found on the Golf Course, only the second record in 20 years. 

Grass Vetchling - Kevin Rylands

Thursday 6 June 2024

Thursday 6th June

Still good numbers of northbound waders around The Bight at high tide, perhaps held up by the change in wind direction, Counts included 76 Sanderling60 Dunlin and 24 Ringed Plover with 20 Curlew19 Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit in the saltmarsh and the six Eider on Finger Point.

The large feeding flock of 600+ Herring Gull was again offshore with 45 Black-headed Gull, four Common and three Sandwich Tern also foraging. Further out 45+ Manx Shearwater20+ Common Scoterfive Great Northern Diver and a pale phase Arctic Skua.

Elsewhere 120+ Starling, all juveniles, were around The Bight and seven Swift, five Rook, two Siskin, two Sand and a House Martin flew through.

Other Wildlife: The Golden-ringed Dragonfly was again around the Main Pond, where Broad-bodied Chaser are egglaying.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly - Dean Hall

Broad-bodied Chaser - Dean Hall

Another day another new species for the Recording Area, the spider wasp Auplopus carbonarius around the Bight, also on the exposed sand, Common Yellow-faced Bee, Silver-headed Satellite Fly Metopia argyrocephala and another Wharf Borer

Auplopus carbonarius - Alan Keatley

Silver-headed Satellite Fly Metopsia agryocephala - Alan Keatley

Lackey - Dean Hall

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Wednesday 5th June

The most unexpected sighting was offshore, a distant flock of four Mute Swan and a Canada Goose flying S, also present 12 Manx Shearwater, two Great Northern Diver, two Great Crested Grebe and a Sandwich Tern.

Counts from the estuary included 80 Sanderling12 Whimbrel, six Eider and single Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone.

Other Wildlife: In the sunshine a wide range of insects were active with the highlight being the first record of the nationally scarce ground spider Zelotes electus found in a sand hollow on the Back Path. Also new for the recording area the first Heather Ladybird Chilocorus bipustulatus

Zelotes electus - Alan Keatley

Heather Ladybird - Alan Keatley

Making its first appearance since 2017, a Wharfborer Nacerdes melanura, found on the beach, and so named because it bores holes driftwood and wooden marine structures.

Wharf Borer Nacerdes melanura - Alan Keatley

Also recorded, another new species was the strange long legged mite Erythraeus phalangoides found in the dunes.

Erythraeus phalangoides - Alan Keatley

Summer is the time for bees and wasps, both Slender-bodied Crabro cribrarius and Armed Crabro Digger Wasp C. peltarius were active on Hemlock Water-dropwort with the first records of Silvery Leafcutter Megachile leachella, Common Yellow-faced Bee Hylaeus communis and the cuckoo wasp Hedychridium ardens of the year.

Common Yellow-faced Bee Hylaeus communis - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Tuesday 4th June

 Greenland-race Wheatear (leucorhoa) in The Bight showcased continuing long range migration alongside 93 Sanderling46 Dunlin and 22 Ringed Plover. Also in the estuary the six Eider on Finger Point and counts of 18 Curlew10 Whimbrel and two Bar-tailed Godwit.

Offshore a foraging flock of 41 Black-headed and a 2cy Mediterranean Gull25 Common Scoter, two Great Crested Grebe and a Sandwich Tern. Seven Great Northern Diver were also present with an eighth  flying S high out of estuary and four more close in to Dawlish seafront, outside the Recording Area.

Monday 3 June 2024

Monday 3rd June

Continuing northward wader passage with counts from the estuary including 162 Sanderling49 Dunlin18 Ringed Plover16 Whimbrel, four Bar-tailed Godwitthree unseasonal Redshank and a summer plumaged Knot

A Little Tern was also a new arrival, foraging offshore with 650 Herring Gullc55 Kittiwake, 14 Black-headed and a 2cy Mediterranean Gull, six Sandwich Tern and, further out, 97 Manx Shearwater. Also offshore 39 Common Scoter and six Great Northern Diver.

Elsewhere a Red Kite flew NE over The Bight at15:17, noisily mobbed by the Oystercatcher flock, six Eider were on Finger Point, a Stock Dove was on Warren Point and three Swift flew through.

Other Wildlife: Overcast conditions didn't encourage too many butterflies and dragonflies to take the wing, the best being a Golden-ringed Dragonfly along the Dune Ridge. Ground based invertebrates were more prominent with a Dune Jumper Marpissa nivoyi, several nymph Lesser Cockroach and the tiny heleomyzid fly Trixoscelis obscurella (first record since 1987) all amongst the Marram.

Trixoscelis obsurella - Alan Keatley

Another insect that had gone unnoticed for a few years was the diving beetle Agabus bipustulatus, found on damp ground near the First Pond.

Agabus bipustulatus - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere another new beetle for the Recording Area was nectaring on Hemlock Water-dropwort, Anaspis frontalis, a tumbling flower beetle and Two-banded Spearhorn Chrysotoxum bicinctum and Box-headed Blood Bee Sphecodes monilicornis were new for the year.

Anaspis frontalis - Alan Keatley

Two-banded Spearhorn Chrysotoxum bicinctum - Alan Keatley

Box-headed Blood Bee Sphecodes monilicornis - Alan Keatley