Friday 31 May 2024

Friday 31st May

Five Great Northern Diver and a summer-plumaged Red-throated Diver were offshore with nine Manx Shearwater, six Sandwich Tern, four Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe.

Elsewhere 10 Whimbrel, the six Eider, two Ringed Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit were in the estuary, seven Sanderling were on the beach, 15 Swallow, four House Martin and three Swift flew W and a foraging flock of  86 Starling, with fledglings of later broods starting to increase.  

Other Wildlife: An Emperor Dragonfly was along the Dune Ridge and four Broad-bodied Chaser were around the Main Pond.

Thursday 30 May 2024

Thursday 30th May

Counts over high tide included 259 Oystercatcher, three Sanderling and a Grey Plover, with the six Eider roosting on Finger Point.

Elsewhere seven Swift were overhead and three Sandwich Tern were offshore. 

Other Wildlife: The fine weather saw a number of new species appearing for the year. Hoverflies included Bumblebee Plumehorn Volucella bombylans, Bumblebee Blacklet Cheilosia illustrata and Migrant Field Syrph Eupeodes corollae.

Bumblebee Plumehorn Volucella bombylans - Alan Keatley

Bumblebee Blacklet Cheilosia illustrata - Alan Keatley

Other insects included Turnip Sawfly Athalia rosae, Fan-bristled Robberfly Dysmachus trigonus, Striped-legged Robberfly Dioctria baumhaueri, a female White-zoned Furrow Bee Lasioglossum leucozonium digging out a nest hole and a nectaring Bristle-tailed Anoplius A. infuscatus.

Fan-bristled Robberfly Dysmachus trigonus - Alan Keatley

White-zoned furrow Bee Lasioglossum leucozonium - Alan Keatley

Also on the wing four Meadow Brown and a Red Admirala Black Mining Bee Andrena pilipes at Langstone Rock, an Ornate Brigadier Odontomyia ornata in the Back Meadow and a Vestal Cuckoo Bee Bombus vestalis in the Entrance Bushes.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Wednesday 29th May

An early morning visit saw four Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern offshore, with breeding activity in full swing on site, including two pairs of Little Grebe, attending to two chicks each on Main Pond.

Other Wildlife: A Water Vole was seen at the Main Pond and 50 Bee Orchid spikes were beside the Dune Pond.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Tuesday 28th May

With passage migrants virtually non-existent, a fly through Cuckoo on Warren Point, the first of the year, was a nice surprise. A few of the usual waders were resting on the high tide with counts including 29 Sanderling24 Dunlin, six Ringed and a Grey Plover

Elsewhere the six Eider were in the estuary and offshore, five Sandwich Tern and a pair of protective Shelduck were escorting three chicks towards the estuary, having presumed nested on cliffs toward Dawlish.

Year List Addition:

153. Cuckoo

Other Wildlife: The limited sunshine and a stiff westerly wind meant flying insects were mainly confined to sheltered woodland areas, with the only butterflies two Speckled Wood

Despite the weather a new species of fly for the Recording Area was discovered, Polyporivora ornataa distinctively marked flat-footed fly associated with tree fungi.

Polyporivora ornata - Alan Keatley 

Other Diptera recorded, all making their first appearance for the year, included Sieve-winged Snailkiller Coremacera marinata, the tachinid Ectophasia crassipennis and a Common Awl Robberfly Neoitamus cyanurus.

Sieve-winged Snailkiller Coremacera marinata - Alan Keatley

Ectophasia crassipennis - Alan Keatley

Common Awl Robberfly Neoitamus cyanurus - Alan Keatley

Monday 27 May 2024

Monday 27th May

An hour seawatch early morning saw six Great Northern Diver and five Sandwich Tern offshore with a mixed flock of 28 Sanderling, six Dunlin and a Turnstone headed SW. 

Elsewhere 17 Swift flew W, six Eider were again in the estuary with high tide counts of 22 Dunlin22 Sanderling and 15 Whimbrel.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Sunday 26th May

A female Eider joined the regular five birds (three imm ♂ and two ♀) on Finger Point over the high tides. Also in the estuary counts of 73 Dunlin63 Sanderling10 Whimbrel, four Ringed and two Grey Plover, four Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot.

Elsewhere 35 Manx Shearwaternine Sandwich Tern, six Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver where offshore and single House Martin, Rook and Yellow Wagtail.

Other Wildlife: The distinctive larval case of Pistol Case-bearer Coleophora anatipennella was discovered on Blackthorn next to the Car Park, a new species for the Recording Area.

Pistol Case-bearer - Kevin Rylands

Saturday 25 May 2024

Saturday 25th May

The Little Stint moved on overnight along with many of the waders but there were still counts of 116 Dunlin, 54 Sanderling and 19 Ringed Plover in The Bight at high tide with 18 Whimbrel, five Eider, three Bar-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone also in the estuary.

Elsewhere 34 Common Scoter, nine Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were in the bay with five Sandwich Tern feeding offshore, single House Martin, Little Egret and Siskin were overhead and the Spotted Flycatcher was still by the Main Pond. 

Other Wildlife: The Risso's Dolphin was again present, watched heading south early morning.

There was a good show of butterflies and dragonflies in the warm sunshine with the first Meadow Brown and Emperor Dragonfly of the year. Also appearing for the first time in 2024, a ruby-tailed cuckoo wasp Chrysis ignita searching for Red Mason Bee nests, with Leaden Spider Wasp Pompilus cinereus and Red-banded Sand Wasp Ammophila sabulosa active on the Dune Ridge.

Chrysis ignita - Alan Keatley

Red Mason Bee Osmia bicornis - Alan Keatley

Leaden Spider Wasp Pompilus cinereus - Alan Keatley

Several hundred Southern Marsh Orchid are in flower in Greenland Lake where Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus, Purple Loosestrife Weevil Nanophyes marmoratus, a Diamond-back Moth and a Broad Centurion were amongst the lush vegetation. 

Broad Centurion Chloromyia formosa - Alan Keatley

Friday 24 May 2024

Friday 24th May

A Little Stint was in the Bight on the evening tide with peak counts of 338 Oystercatcher, 202 Dunlin, 83 Sanderling, 40 Ringed Plover, six Bar-tailed Godwit, four Whimbrel, two Turnstone and a Knot.

Little Stint and Dunlin

Offshore an immature Black-throated Diver was off Langstone Rock, with six Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver also present along with 32 Common Scoter and two Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere the five Eider were in the estuary, a Spotted Flycatcher was by the Main Pond and a Sand Martin flew through.

Year List Addition:

152. Little Stint

Other Wildlife: A distant pod of nine Common Dolphin headed east. 

Thursday 23 May 2024

Thursday 23rd May

Still good numbers of waders over the high tides with some new arrivals amongst those still feeding up for the onward journey. Counts included 156 Dunlin, 128 Sanderling, 42 Ringed Plover, 12 Whimbrel, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, four Turnstone and a Knot.

Other records included the five Eider still in the estuary, 32 Common Scoter, 12 Manx Shearwater and four Great Northern Diver offshore and seven Swift and a House Martin overhead.

Other Wildlife: A couple of pictures from recent days. 

Broad-bodied Chaser - Dave Jewell

Cricket Bat Spider Mangora acalypha - Lee Collins

10-spot Ladybird - Kevin Rylands

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Wednesday 22nd May

Continuing wader migration with good counts on both tides, the peaks in the evening after a day of showers. Counts included 188 Dunlin, 120 Sanderling, 39 Ringed Plover, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Turnstone and a Knot. Also in the estuary the usual five Eider

Offshore 60 Manx Shearwater headed W during the evening, with a Great Skua, four Great Northern Diver and five Sandwich Tern. A 2cy Mediterranean Gull was offshore earlier in the day. 

Peregrine - Dave Jewell This immature male continues to make occasional visits to The Bight at high tide.

Other Wildlife: The highlight was a Risso's Dolphin offshore early morning, lingering for a while before heading south. The first for the Recording Area and presumably the individual recently off Berry Head.

Risso's Dolphin - David Flack

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Tuesday 21st May

 Aside from breeding species the only records came from the high tide with wader counts including 59 Sanderling, 33 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plover, 15 Whimbrel, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot, with the five Eider and a Sandwich Tern also present.

Other Wildlife: Another warm, sunny day saw a further boost on flying insects with increased numbers of Broad-bodied Chaser, Azure Damselfly and Common Blue butterfly in particular. A Hairy Dragonfly was patrolling the Back Meadow where several Brown Argus were on the wing and Blue-eyed Grass was in flower. 

Azure Damselfly - Lee Collins

Brown Argus - Lee Collins

A dozen Silver Y were seen with Small Yellow Underwing, Yellow Belle, Chinese Character, Cypress Carpet, Speckled Fanner Glyphipterix thrasonella and 'Geoff' aka Hedge Beauty Alabonia geoffrella amongst other moths noted.

Silver Y - Lee Collins

Speckled Fanner Glyphipterix thrasonella - Alan Keatley

At least 15 species of hoverfly were recorded including Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly Eristalinus sepulchralisLarge Pied Hoverfly Volucella pellucens, Narcissus Bulb Fly Merodon equestris and Yellow-barred Peat Hoverfly Sericomyia silentis.

Narcissus Bulb Fly - Alan Keatley

Thirteen species of bee included the first Cat's-ear Mining Bee Andrena humilis for 15 years, with other discoveries including Denticulate Leatherbug Coriomeris denticulatus, Bronze Shieldbug Triolus luridus and new for the Recording Area the leaf beetle Cryptocephalus moraei.

Cat's-ear Mining Bee Andrena humilis - Alan Keatley

Cryptocephalus moraei - Alan Keatley

Bronze Shieldbug - Kevin Rylands

Dysmachus trigonus - Lee Collins

Monday 20 May 2024

Monday 20th May

There were still 95 Sanderling on the evening tide, with 23 Dunlin, 22 Ringed Plover, 17 Whimbrel, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, the usual three imm ♂ and two ♀ Eider and a Knot also in the estuary.

Elsewhere a Red Kite drifted high NE at 09:30 with two House Martin and a Swift also overhead and offshore, 18 Common Scoter, six Sandwich Tern, five Manx Shearwater, five Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver.

Other Wildlife: Plenty of insect activity in the warm sunshine with the soldier fly Ornate Brigadier Odontomyia ornata the highlight, the first for several years. Good numbers of pollen seeking bees were also on the plentiful Hemlock Water-dropwort including Ashy Andrena cineria, Orange-tailed A. haemorrhoa, Sandpit A. barbilabris, Short-fringed A. dorsata and Common Mini A. minutula Mining Bees.

Ornate Brigadier Odontomyia ornata - Alan Keatley

Ashy Mining Bee Andrena cineria - Alan Keatley

Representing beetles were the colourful Wasp Beetle Clytus arietis, several Swollen-thighed Pollen Beetle Oedemera nobilis and the soldier beetle Cantharis rustica. 

Wasp Beetle - Alan Keatley

Hoverflies included Narcissus Bulb Fly Merodon equestris and Dark-winged Chrysogaster C. solstitialis and day flying moths several Silver Y, a Small Yellow Underwing and the first Alexanders Straw Aethes deaurana of the year. 

A Hairy Dragonfly and a Broad-bodied Chaser were in the Back Meadow with at least 26 Blue-tailed Damselfly around the Dune Pond. Also on the wing single Wall Brown and Painted Lady.

Broad-bodied Chaser - Alan Keatley

Sunday 19 May 2024

Sunday 19th May

A foggy start saw three Great Northern Diver and a Great Crested Grebe close offshore with two Red-throated Diver heard overhead at dawn.

In the estuary an arrival of waders headlined by 147 Sanderling, other counts included 35 Dunlin, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Whimbrel, 10 Ringed Plover, five Turnstone and a Knot. Also in the estuary, the five Eider and two Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere a Yellow Wagtail was overhead and a Wheatear on Langstone Rock quickly flew off inland.

Other Wildlife: Once the fog cleared a total of 11 butterfly species were on the wing including three Brown Argus and, on Warren Point, a Wall Brown. Also recorded two Hairy Dragonfly and, off Langstone, a Grey Seal

Saturday 18 May 2024

Saturday 18th May

Fledged species recorded today included the first Blue Tit, Starling, Moorhen and Little Grebe of the year but little else on site. Overhead passing between thundery showers 30 Swallow, seven Swift, three House and a Sand Martin.

The same weather no doubt lead to the increase in waders over high tide, with 64 Sanderling, 47 Dunlin, 10 Whimbrel, four Ringed Plover, six Turnstone, three Knot and two Greenshank present, with the five Eider also in the estuary.

At least 12 Great Northern, many in breeding plumage, and a Red-throated Diver roosted in the bay at dusk, with four Great Northern and three Red-throated flying SW early morning. also offshore rafts of 28 Common Scoter, seven Sandwich Tern and a 3cy Mediterranean Gull.

Friday 17 May 2024

Friday 17th May

Aside from the increased numbers of fledged birds a quiet day for birding with another neap tide. Records included eight Whimbrel, six Sanderling, five Dunlin, the five Eider and two Sandwich Tern in the estuary, with single Great Northern Diver and Common Scoter offshore.

Other Wildlife: A Wall Brown was again along the Dune Ridge with a single Red Admiral, three Broad-bodied Chaser and an Azure Damselfly also on the wing.

Hawthorn Shieldbug - Kevin Rylands

10-spot Ladybird - Kevin Rylands

Thursday 16 May 2024

Thursday 16th May

Another quiet day with hints of migration, a sub-singing Reed Warbler in Dead Dolphin Wood was perhaps new in, with a Siskin overhead and two 2cy Mediterranean Gull on Pole Sands at low tide. 

Elsewhere a 1hr 15min seawatch first thing saw 12 Common Scoter, five Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver head SW; the neap tide again saw The Bight largely bereft of waders with counts including 16 Whimbrel, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Sanderling, the five Eider and single Dunlin, Ringed Plover Sandwich Tern and Turnstone.

Other Wildlife: A total of four Painted Lady were the first records of the year, as insect migration starts to pick up. 

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Wednesday 15th May

Seawatching early morning saw a Great Skua SW at 6am, along with 84 Kittiwake, 66 Gannet, 25 Common Scoter, 13 Great Northern and six Red-throated Diver, nine Manx Shearwater, nine Fulmar and a ♂ Tufted Duck in 2hr.45m. Also offshore, three Sandwich Tern and a dark phase Arctic Skua chasing Kittiwake.

On a neap tide just four Dunlin and a Grey Plover roosted in The Bight, the missing plovers perhaps sitting out the high tide elsewhere. Also in the estuary 11 Whimbrel and the five Eider with 26 Sanderling on the beach.

Other Wildlife: In the overcast weather, most insects were resting up out of the wind, with several beetles below the geotubes.

Red-headed Cardinal Pyrochroa serraticornis - Alan Keatley

Bembidion lampros - Alan Keatley

Clivina fossor - Alan Keatley

Orange-tip - Alan Keatley

Panorpa germanica, a Scorpion Fly - Alan Keatley

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Tuesday 14th May

The second transatlantic rarity in a week was again a brief staying highlight, this time a first summer American Golden Plover in with a small flock of Grey Plover. It was discovered roosting over the high tide, eventually moving to The Bight and then offsite on the dropping tide. Only the second site record after one in October 2010

American Golden (& Grey) Plover - both Lee Collins 

Also in the estuary, counts included 19 Sanderling, 16 Dunlin, 14 Grey and four Ringed Plover, six Sandwich Tern, five Eider, back on Finger Point after yesterday's storm, four Bar-tailed Godwit, four Turnstone, three Whimbrel and a Great Crested Grebe

Seawatching was productive during the morning with five Pomarine and a Great Skua, 130+ Kittiwake, 100+ Manx Shearwater, 11 Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver mostly heading SW, with three Great Northern Diver on the sea.

Elsewhere a Hobby flew W at 10am and a Lesser Whitethroat was along the Back Path. 

Year list addition:

151. American Golden Plover

Other Wildlife: A Broad-banded Fleckwing Dasysyrphus venustus was one of the more striking insects on the wing with other flies noted including the cranefly Nephrotoma quadrifaria and the rust fly Psila firmetaria.

Broad-banded Fleckwing Dasysyrphus venustus - Alan Keatley

Nephrotoma quadrifaria - Alan Keatley

Psila fimetaria - Alan Keatley

Also, flying in sheltered areas were several Short-fringed and Sandpit Mining Bee, a Broad-bodied Chaser and the soldier beetle Cantharis cryptica.

Monday 13 May 2024

Monday 13th May

A wet day with rain from 8.30am, offshore an immature Pomarine Skua flew SW at 9:40 ahead of the arrival of heavier rain. Also offshore 37 Gannet, 31 Kittiwake, 25 Manx Shearwater, six Great Northern Diver, four Sandwich Tern and three Common Scoter.

The immature Peregrine was again disturbing waders around The Bight where counts included 18 Whimbrel, 15 Dunlin, 10 Grey and nine Ringed Plover, seven Bar-tailed Godwit and single Knot, Sanderling and Turnstone

Elsewhere the rain dropped in a Yellow Wagtail to the 7th fairway, a scarce grounded migrant on site and the few Swallow at the Main Pond got agitated when a Hobby headed west around 8am.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Sunday 12th May

Another day of high pressure and clear skies saw low numbers but some continuing signs of movement, with at least 11 Whitethroat on site and a new colour-ringed Dunlin in The Bight.

Counts from the estuary included 19 Dunlin, 18 Sanderling, 15 Curlew, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Grey and four Ringed Plover, nine Whimbrel, the regular five Eider and a Turnstone.

Elsewhere a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver flew high SW offshore where there were two Sandwich Tern and a pale phase Arctic Skua chasing a Kittiwake.

Other Wildlife: A Grey Seal was off Langstone Rock and six species of butterfly were on the wing including Large and Small White, with 'lots' of Silver Y showing increasing insect migration. 

Saturday 11 May 2024

Saturday 11th May

An early highlight was a flock of five Red Kite low WSW low just before 7am having presumably roosted nearby, also moving SW early morning a single Grey Heron, but other flyover were limited to two Rook and single Sand Martin and Swift.

An immature ♂ Ruff was briefly on Finger Point over the morning high tide, with wader counts including 42 Sanderling, 12 Whimbrel, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Grey and seven Ringed Plover, seven Dunlin and four Turnstone. Also in the estuary an increase to 25 Black-headed Gull, five Eider and a Great Crested Grebe.

Jackdaw - Alan Keatley Formerly only a migrant this species has switched to foraging on the reserve as previous feeding areas have been developed. 

Elsewhere 10 Common Scoter, six Manx Shearwater, three Great Northern Diver and two Sandwich Tern were offshore and a Common Sandpiper was at Langstone Rock at dawn.

Other Wildlife: The first Common Blue was one of seven species of butterfly on the wing with another Wall Brown on the Golf Course a welcome sight. The first Azure Damselfly of the year had also taken flight with a Broad-bodied Chaser also seen.

Azure Damselfly - Alan Keatley

Several hoverflies also made their first appearance of 2024 including Pied Plume-horn Volucella pellucens, Humming Syrphus S. ribesiiSuperb Ant-hill Hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum and Burdock Blacklet Cheilosa impressa.

Burdock Blacklet Cheilosa impressa - Alan Keatley

Occupying bare areas of sand good numbers of Sandpit Mining Bee, several Coastal Silver-stiletto Acrosathe annulata and along the beach, the beetles Bembidion quadrimaculatum and Phaleria cadaverina.

Coastal Silver-stiletto Acrosathe annulata - Alan Keatley 

Phaleria cadaverina - Alan Keatley