Four redhead Goosander and a Black-necked Grebe in the estuary were the highlights on a distinctly non-wintery day. Also from the hide the Water Pipit, the Slavonian, four Little and a Great-crested Grebe with 29 Knot and eight Greenshank amongst the thousands of Dunlin, Oystercatcher and other waders with a Golden Plover circling overhead. Elsewhere a probale Siberian Chiffchaff was along the Dune Ridge and the drake Long-tailed Duck was offshore with three Velvet Scoter and seven Red-throated Diver.
Goosander - Lee Collins
Wildlife News: The Common Seal was in the estuary.
A Spotted Redshank in the Railway Saltmarsh was the first of the year, with it were 18 Greenshank, the highest count since 2006; both species presumably moving down estuary from the River Kenn. Also in the estuary counts of 1485 Oystercatcher, 1350 Dunlin, 329 Wigeon, 206 Redshank, 171 Bar-tailed Godwit, 169 Brent Geese, 109 Grey Plover, 68 Teal, 35 Turnstone, 23 Ringed Plover, 21 Knot, nine Sanderling, a Pintail and the Slavonian Grebe. Offshore the drake Long-tailed Duck was off John's Watch, three Velvet Scoter were off Langstone Rock with five Great-crested Grebe and three Red-throated Diver also present. Elsewhere a Siberian Chiffchaff was a new arrival in the Entrance Bushes, a Dartford Warbler was in Greenland Lake and the Water Pipit was in front of the hide. Offsite the Hoopoe was mobile around local gardens and caravan parks.
Wildlife News: At least 22 species of plant were in flower including Sea Campion, two species of Evening Primrose, Yarrow and Herb-robert.
The drake Long-tailed Duck remained off Warren Point, with two Velvetand four Common Scoter. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 156 Bar-tailed Godwit, 112 Grey Plover, 44 Shelduck, 26 Ringed Plover, 19 Knot and a Great Northern Diver.
No sign of the Hoopoe today but the drake Long-tailed Duck remained off John's Watch with six Great-crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere the Water Pipit was in front of the hide and the Slavonian Grebe was in Shutterton Creek.
Despite the first frost of the autumn the Hoopoe was still present; it was seen flying over the Golf Course towards the Buffer Zone around midday, having presumably run out of mealworms in adjacent gardens.
The adult Bonaparte's Gull made another brief reappearance on Groyne 3 early morning with a smart drake Long-tailed Duck a new arrival off Warren Point, also offshore the three Velvet Scoter and two Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere the first Goosander of the year, a redhead, flew south over the spit and out to sea with it or a second bird in the Bight a short while later, also in the estuary a Great Northern Diver, four Little Grebe and, in front of the hide, a Water Pipit.
The Hoopoe was occasionally showing well around the Entrance Bushes but appears to spend the majority of time unseen in gardens off site. The first Firecrest of the autumn was in a lone Sycamore along the dune ridge briefly with 10 Goldcrest and at least four Chiffchaff on site. Counts fromthe estuary included 683 Wigeon, 277 Brent Geese, 215+ Black and 144 Bar-tailed Godwit, 64 Grey and 29 Ringed Plover, 26 Shelduck, 22+ Turnstone, 18 Sanderling, 16 Knot, four Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the Water Pipit was in front of the hide, overhead there was a light passage of Skylark along with single Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush and offshore there were three Great Northern Diver and the first Goldeneye of the winter, a smart drake.
Peregrine - Lee Collins
Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was off the seawall and a Weasel showed well hunting along the edge of the Golf Course.
Ringing News: The details on a metal ringed Ringed Plover were successfully read in the Bight on 21st September and again on 5th and 16th October. This bird was ringed as a chick at Gedser, Odde, Sydfalster, Denmark on 22 July 2013 and this is the first recovery since ringing.
A metal ringed bird is still present and may be this individual. Other wintering birds at the Warren have previously originated from southern Sweden and north Norfolk.
Wildlife News: The lichenRamalina fraxineawas recently discovered on Sycamores in the Cuckoo's Nest.This lichen has a conservation category of international responsibility and is already known from other Sycamores along the Dune Ridge and on Warren Point.
The third Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn (there have been no Firecrest and just one each of Lesser Whitethroat & Black Redstart) was a surprise around the Main Pond, as was the reappearance of the Hoopoe seen again in flight over the Buffer Zone. Elsewhere two Velvet Scoter remain close in off the seawall and a female Pintail flew east.
There was no sign of the Hoopoe but a group of Spoonbill maintained an unseasonal southern theme. The four Spoonbill, an adult and three juvs, were found off Mudbank Lane, Exmouth where they remained until pushed off by the tide around 11.30am. They then circled the Warren and eventually headed off high south. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe and Great Northern Diver were in the estuary, the three Velvet Scoter were offshore with a Pomarine Skua, two Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, and 200+ Redwing flew over early morning.
The unexpected highlight was the 17th and latest ever recording area record of Hoopoe. It was very flighty around the Buffer Zone and Car Park, also spending time offsite hidden in gardens to the west of the railway. Other arrivals were however thin on the ground with four Chiffchaff across the site and an increase to 70+ Goldfinch around Greenland Lake. In the estuary counts included 372 Brent Geese, 43 Turnstone, 40+ Grey Plover, 15 Shelduck, six Knot and a Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere a pair of Gadwall flew in off the sea, 475 Wood Pigeon, 30 Jackdaw, five Snipe, two Stock Dove and two Mistle Thrush were overhead, the Water Pipit was in front of the hide and three Velvet Scoter and two Great Northern Diver were offshore.
Wildlife News: Beachcombing revealed a good mix of species stirred up in the recent storms with Goose Barnacle recorded on several pieces of flotsam. Wrecked shellfish included the regular Common Otter Shell along with Thin Tellin, Queen Scallop and Striped Venus. Elsewhere several Red Admiral remain on the wing.
Goose Barnacle Lepas anatifera - Andrew Cunningham
Common Otter Shell Lutraria lutraria - Andrew Cunningham
Waders numbers continue to build with 1440 Dunlin and 60 Grey Plover in the estuary along with 258 Redshank, 25 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere the three Velvet Scoter were offshore, the Water Pipit was in front of the hide, a Grey Wagtail was at the First Pond with just a couple of Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest to be found in the Entrance bushes.
Red-breasted Merganser - Lee Collins
Wildlife News:Common Darter are still on the wing with at least one pair egglaying in floodwater behind the Main Pond.
Seawatching early morning was disappointing with the wind presumably too strong for any offshore movement, even the arrival of a front mid morning didn't improve matters. Totals up to 10am included c100 Gannet, 43 Kittiwake, two Red-throated Diver, a Fulmar and a distant skua sp south with the three Velvet Scoter still on the sea.
The second Surf Scoter of the year, an adult female, flew towards Exmouth early afternoon, this is the 13th site record. Also offshore a Black-necked Grebe, the three Velvet Scoter a Little Gull was off Groyne 2 and at least three Pomarine Skua flew south during the day.
Seawatching early morning initially was a washout with only 10 Kittiwake passing in the first two hours. However by 11am two each of Pomarine and Great Skua had flown south as well as a Short-eared Owl which eventually came in off over the Dune Ridge. Also offshore the three Velvet Scoter and two Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere a Sandwich Tern was off John's Watch and counts from the estuary included 56 Grey and 35 Ringed Plover, 20 Sanderling and six Knot.
The Bonaparte's Gull was present again today this time with Black-headed Gull in the estuary mid morning. Also in the estuary 1020+ Dunlin, 507+ Wigeon, 54 Grey and 32 Ringed Plover, seven Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe. Another pulse of vismig saw 1940 Wood Pigeon, 19 Stock Dove and eight Jackdaw head west with small numbers of Chaffinch and three Bullfinch also overhead. Elsewhere the three Velvet Scoter were offshore with single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, the Water Pipit was in front of the hide and four Chiffchaff were around the Main Pond but there was no sign of the Yellow-browed. Late news for yesterday includes the first Black Redstart of the year reported on the seawall.
Another excellent day's birding with the highlight the second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn around Dead Dolphin Wood and the Main Pond with half a dozen Chiffchaff. In stark contrast to yesterday the sea was mirror calm with no skuas and not even a Gannet passing, however the three Velvet Scoter were still present and a second winter Little Gull was around groynes 1 & 2 early morning being replaced by the Bonaparte's Gull which made another brief reappearance, having last been reported here on 22nd October. Overhead another pulse of vismig saw 1720 Wood Pigeon, 24 Stock Dove, eight Jackdaw, six Rook and a Great Northern Diver west, with two Peregrine and a Merlin hunting migrants over the spit. Elsewhere a Dartford Warbler and two Cirl Bunting were in Greenland Lake, the Water Pipit was in front of the hide, two Great Northern Diver and a Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary with counts of 700+ Dunlin, 36 Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Ringed Plover, 27 Shelduck, 11 Sanderling, five Knot and two Mediterranean Gull.
Wildlife News: A Common Seal was on Bull Hill and at least eight Red Admiral were on the wing heading west.
The sea was again the main focus and the southward passage continued through the rain until early afternoon. Totals included a site record 25 Pomarine Skua, three Balearic and two Sooty Shearwater, two Grey Phalarope, two Little Gull (ad & fw), a Yellow-legged Gull, five Great and four Arctic Skua, 612 Kittiwake, 390 Gannet, 15 Great Northern, two Red-throated and a Black-throated Diver. Also offshore four Purple Sandpiper flew south, the first of the year and the highest site count since Oct 2004, three Velvet Scoter were on the sea and a Grey Phalarope was off John's Watch early afternoon. This moved into the estuary where it fed in the tidal creeks and on the mudflats with Dunlin before heading back out to sea. Elsewhere three Greenshank and a Kingfisher were in the estuary and a Mistle Thrush was overhead.
Seawatching early morning was initially disappointing with many of the passing birds almost out to the horizon, fortunately the best bird was close in off the seawall, a Little Auk that flew south just after 07.30. It or another flew north along the beach 40 minutes later, briefly landing on the sea off groyne 10 before heading over the spit into the estuary. Also passing offshore a Merlin, a Black-throated, eight Great Northern and four Red-throated Diver, 170 Gannet, 35+ Common Gull and just 12 Kittiwake. Elsewhere a Grey Phalarope was feeding distantly off Warren Point, where a late Wheatear remained on the beach.
A Velvet Scoter was offshore with 25 Common Scoter, seven Great-crested Grebe and a Pomarine Skua. Overhead 668 Wood Pigeon were late for the main event with eight Jackdaw and five Stock Dove also going west whilst 33 Lesser Black-backed Gull headed south.
Today will be remembered for the spectacle of an exceptional passage of Wood Pigeon, a new site record of 53,400 headed west on a broad front before midday, there was a short respite from counting around 09.30 but otherwise flocks were almost constant through to 11.30. The previous record was 35,860 also heading west on 06/11/2011. As always the case on these days Stock Dove were considerably undercounted but at least 150 of these were picked out amongst the lines. Also moving overhead 256 Starling, 230 Jackdaw, 35 Skylark, 20+ Lesser Black-backed Gull, five Buzzard, three Sparrowhawk, two Pintail, two Redpoll and a Mistle Thrush.
Wildlife News: Whilst scanning through the pigeons the occasional Red Admiral was picked up also migrating high overhead.
Another good morning for visible migration although the lack of low cloud again meant smaller passerines, with the exception of a couple of flocks of Linnet, were notable by their absence at sea level. Totals heading west up to 10am included 8845 Wood Pigeon, 205 Starling, 101 Jackdaw, 40+ Linnet, 28+ Stock Dove, 14 Rook, three Raven and a high flying Red-throated Diver which came in from the Lympstone direction and kept heading south. Elsewhere a pair of Cirl Bunting were in Greenland Lake where a Bullfinch dropped in from height, 40+ Black-tailed Godwit were in the estuary and 40+ Gannet and Kittiwake were feeding close in offshore.
Seawatching early morning saw five Pomarine Skua although Gannet numbers had dropped right off with fewer than 60 birds also moving south along with four Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver. Overhead a Grey Heron flew high south and another small pulse of pigeons saw 1130 Wood Pigeon and 14 Stock Dove head west with 30 Jackdaw but very few small passerines.
Seawatching first thing saw a site record passage of Gannet heading south with 1106 in little over an hour from first light, with them were 152 Kittiwake, an adult Little Gull, three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver. Also heading south 13 Pomarine and two Arctic Skua with four unidentified skua, however the biggest one that got away was a probable adult male Red-footed Falcon that flew south close off the seawall just before 9am. In the estuary counts included 271 Brent Geese, 170 Great Black-backed Gull, 116 Black-tailed Godwit, 109 Teal, 34 Ringed Plover, 18 Sanderling, 17 Red-breasted Merganser, four Knot, two Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Woodlark was on the Golf Course, the Water Pipit was in front of the hide, a Wheatear was on Warren Point and overhead limited movement included 15 Skylark, three Snipe, a Swallow and high east, an adult Mute Swan.
The weather conditions were spot on for some pigeon movement and they didn't disappoint with 13,440 Wood Pigeon and 69 Stock Dove high to the west mostly before 9am. Also moving west 175 Starling, 96 Jackdaw, 79 Skylark and 42 Goldfinch with smaller numbers of Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Chaffinch, but due to the lack of cloud any smaller passerine movment was difficult to pick up. A Woodlark in Greenland Lake first thing was the pick of the grounded migrants with 60+ Goldfinch, 50+ Linnet, 40+ Greenfinch, seven Goldcrest, three Chiffchaff, two late Wheatear and a Cirl Bunting also present on site. Elsewhere the Water Pipit was again in front of the hide, a Red-throated Diver was off the seawall and counts from the estuary included 1167 Wigeon, c600 Dunlin, 195 Brent Geese, 80+ Great Black-backed Gull, 40+ Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Red-breasted Merganser, the Slavonian Grebe and a Whimbrel.