Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sunday 31st January

A quiet end to the month with counts from the estuary including 191 Brent Geese, 125 Grey Plover, 61 Bar-tailed Godwit, 57 Knot and the Slavonian Grebe. Offshore there were three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, nine Great-crested Grebe and just the one Common Scoter.

Wildlife News: A Buff-tailed Bumblebee was on the wing during one of the sunny spells mid morning.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Saturday 30th January

Counts from the estuary included 726 Oystercatcher, 500 Dunlin, 184 Grey Plover, 146 Brent Geese, 53 Turnstone, 45 Redshank, 52 Bar-tailed Godwit, 37 Knot, two Greenshank, two Slavonian Grebe and a Kingfisher. Elsewhere ten Great Northern and four Red-throated Diver were offshore, two Gadwall were on the Main Pond and two Treecreeper were in the Entrance Bushes. 

Wildlife News: A Common Seal was hauled out on Bull Hill.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Friday 29th January

Seawatching early morning saw 17 Fulmar and a couple of Red-throated Diver heading south with a Great Northern Diver also offshore. Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 180 Bar and 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 179 Grey Plover, 92 Curlew, 75 Common Gull, 62 Shelduck, 45 Teal, 25 Sanderling and two Slavonian Grebe.

Turnstone - Dave Jewell

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Wednesday 27th January

An hour's seawatch before 9.15 saw an immature Pomarine Skua head south along with 63 Kittiwake, 61 Gannet, c30 mixed Razorbill and Guillemot, nine Fulmar and four Red-breasted Merganser.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Monday 25th January

The two Firecrest were still present near the Main Pond, where the pair of Gadwall remained. Elsewhere two Red-throated Diver were offshore and 17 Siskin were in the Entrance Bushes.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Sunday 24th January

Three Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore but with only 18 Great-crested Grebe today. Elsewhere the Firecrest was again in Dead Dolphin Wood and two Slavonian Grebe and a Greenshank were in the estuary.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Saturday 23rd January

The two Firecrest remain on site both present around the Back Meadow, although only three Goldcrest and a single Chiffchaff were also in the bushes. Elsewhere two Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary, the Cirl Bunting was singing along the Back Path and offshore there were 51 Great-crested Grebe, five Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver.

Redshank - Alan Keatley
Wildlife News: The Common Seal was on Bull Hill early afternoon.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Thursday 21st January

A quick look of the seawall showed six Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver flying south. Elsewhere the Kestrel was in Greenland Lake and the pair of Gadwall were on the Main Pond.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Wednesday 20th January

The cold weather overnight saw an increase in wildfowl with 106 Wigeon, 68 Teal and eight Pintail in the estuary, wader  umber remained low but due to a low high tide rather than not responding to the weather, also from the hide the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere three new birds for the year were around Greenland Lake/Dead Dolphin Wood; a hunting female Kestrel, a Lesser Redpoll and a brief Mistle Thrush. Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver were offshore and the pair of Gadwall remained on the Main Pond.

Kestrel - Alan Keatley

Gadwall (with photo-bombing Little Grebe) - Dave Jewell

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Tuesday 19th January

The Firecrest was again in the Entrance Bushes and two Great Northern Diver were offshore but no other news was received.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Monday 18th January

Two Little Gull were the highlight offshore in strong rain and south-easterlies, but there was little else out at sea with no Gannet, divers or grebe to be seen offshore. Elsewhere four Mediterranean Gull were in the estuary and despite the weather single Firecrest, Coal Tit and Treecreeper all showed in the Entrance Bushes.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

2015 Wildlife Review

Many species groups are under-recorded on the Warren but the Recording Group attempts to maintain records and establish as complete an audit as possible on our website  If you have any records that could aid this process please get in touch 
The year started with 23 flowering species recorded on New Year's Day. There was one new species for the Recording Area found this year - Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis in the Buffer Zone, a self-seeded introduction from adjacent plantings. Another notable discovery in the Buffer Zone was Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium the first record for 25 years.
Sand Crocus Romulea columnae had a good year with several hundred plants in the drier areas of Greenland Lake.

Sand Crocus - Simon Thurgood

Also, in the threatened area of Greenland Lake, it was a record year for both Autumn Lady's-Tresses Spiranthes spiralis and Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris although there was a continued decline of Southern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa numbers.

Autumn Ladies-tresses - Alan Keatley

 Marsh Helleborine - Debs Redden

On a downside the only known area of the nationally scarce Wall Bedstraw Galium parisiense was lost under the new seawall. A further loss was the last known patch of Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium on site which was illegally destroyed to make a private parking area. A legally protected Schedule 8 plant this work was undertaken with no planning application. Despite reporting this no action was taken.
A continuing decline with low numbers again this year with previously common species such as Broad-bodied Chaser hardly reported. Hairy Dragonfly was still present but there were no reports of Small Red-eyed Damselfly this year. The mild autumn and winter saw the latest ever Southern and Migrant Hawker records for site (1/11 & 22/11 respectively), and a report of Common Darter on Boxing Day was the latest ever in the UK. A single Red-veined Darter on 21/6 was the only obvious migrant record received.

Southern Hawker - Lee Collins

Three new species were added to the Recording Area list, all 'micro-moths'. Pammene regiana was found around Sycamores on the Dune Ridge, Anarsia spartiella was recorded from the Saltmarsh and Lozotaeniodes formosana, a pine feeder, was presumably a migrant from Haldon or further afield.  

Lozotaenoides formosana - Debs Redden

Other highlights included the first confirmed record of Ghost Moth, the 2nd record Lime Hawk-moth, the 2nd & 3rd records of White Satin Moth & a couple of Convolvulus Hawk-moth.

 Ghost Moth - Debs Redden

 Lime Hawk- Moth - Debs Redden

Convolvulus Hawk-moth - Miriam Guard
The highlight was the 2nd recording area record of Common Dolphin with a pod of 12 offshore on 18th August. Other cetacean records included a couple of Harbour Porpoise in January but there were fewer records of Bottle-nosed Dolphin this year, the largest pod was eight individuals in December.
One or two Grey Seal individuals were seen throughout the year with a Common Seal in the estuary until October at least.  The most unexpected sighting was a Grey Seal pup that was washed up on the beach late autumn, the origin is unknown as there are no known breeding sites on the south coast.

There were no further records of Water Vole from the Main Pond this year and Grey Squirrel also failed to put in an appearance. Badger remain on site but there were no sightings during the year.
A Grayling on Warren Point on 15th August, the first Warren record since at least 1960, was the highlight of the year, although a fresh Meadow Brown in December, the third recent record of a very rare late generation for this species, was perhaps more notable. Amongst other species it was a good year for Holly Blue and a couple of Marbled White sightings were a welcome increase. 

Grayling - Lee Collins
Migrants included only a couple of Clouded Yellow with Red Admiral and Painted Lady both in relatively low numbers, although the latter species also arrived during late December.
On the downside the peak count of four Orange Tip highlighted the rapid decline of this species on site and the Recording Group received no records of either Green Hairstreak or Ringlet.
Over 40 species of mosses and liverworts were recorded on a Devon Bryophyte meeting in November, at least 12 of these were new for the group's records including Greasewort Aneura pinguis and Knieff's Hook-moss Drepanocladus aduncus but it is uncertain that any were actually new for the recording area.
The bryophyte highlight was actually found just outside the recording area. Two nationally scarce liverworts were discovered on the bare ground under two Bird Cherry trees next the closed toilet block just to the west of the railway tunnel.  Micheli's Balloonwort Sphaerocarpos michelii and Blue Crystalwort Riccia crystalina both are found nowhere else in Devon.

Micheli's Ballonwort - Andrew Cunningham 

 Blue Crystalwort - Andrew Cunningham

Although outside the recording area, their presence is highlighted here in the hope they and the site will not be destroyed cf the Pennyroyal on the Warren. 
Record numbers of Barrel Jellyfish were recorded washing ashore through the summer, also found along the tideline, Goose Barnacles, a Garfish and several Lesser-spotted Dogfish.
Species recorded this year include Conocybe dunensis, this species was described as new to science from the Warren but hadn't been recorded here for over 60 years, Dune Dapperling Lepiota ermina which hadn't been recorded here in over 25 years and the distinctive Winter Stalkball Tulostoma brumale. The latter were out in good numbers in Greenland Lake, but Blackening Waxcap Hygrocybe conica had a poor year. 

Several new species were added to the Recording Area list including Paneolus acuminatus  which has the great English name Dewdrop Mottlegill, Ascocoryne sarcoides - a purple jelly fungus; and one that was a migrant (!) Orbilia delicatula - small waxy orange discs found on a pine log that washed down river before joining the tideline debris on Warren Point.

Reptiles and Amphibians

The introduced population of Sand Lizard remain along the dune ridge but didn't seem as numerous this year, Common Lizard were also noted less frequently and there were no records of Slow-worm.

Sand Lizard - Lee Collins

Frog Spawn was again noted on site this year but no adults were seen, Common Toad remains more numerous but there were very few toadlets recorded emerging from the ponds this year.


The showy Hornet Hoverfly Volucella zonaria was seen frequently along unmown ride sections late summer with the migrants Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and Pied Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri both seen in good numbers.

Volucella zonaria - Simon Thurgood

New species for the recording area included Flecked Snout Nemotelus notatus and Dashed Slender Robberfly Leptogaster guttiventris.

Many thanks for all observers for submitting records throughout 2015.

Sunday 17th January

The drake Velvet Scoter remained offshore with 16 Common Scoter, 11 Great Northern and seven Red-throated Diver, 18 Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe; three Shoveler and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose also flew into the estuary from offshore. Counts from the estuary included 719 Oystercatcher, 530 Dunlin, 167 Grey Plover, 166 Bar-tailed Godwit, 54 Shelduck, 11 Wigeon and three Greenshank. Elsewhere two Treecreeper are now in the Entrance Bushes and the pair of Gadwall remain on the Main Pond.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Saturday 16th January

A drake Velvet Scoter offshore was the first of the year, also offshore 13 Red-throated and 11 Great Northern Diver, 34 Great-crested Grebe and 20 Common Scoter. Counts from the estuary included 955 Oystercatcher, 760 Dunlin, 156 Grey Plover, 112 Bar-tailed Godwit, 98 Brent Geese, 76 Knot, 67 Teal, 25 Ringed Plover, three Greenshank, three Mediterranean Gull and the resident Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Firecrest and a Coal Tit were in the Entrance Bushes and the pair of Gadwall remained on the Main Pond.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was offshore.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Friday 15th January

The Bonaparte's Gull was reported again flying along the shoreline before heading into the estuary, also offshore a Red-necked Grebe, a Red-throated Diver and 17 Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere the pair of Gadwall were on the Main Pond with three Bullfinch in the willows.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Thursday 14th January

The immature Glaucous Gull was seen again late afternoon, this time offshore on Pole Sands; no other news was received.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Wednesday 13th January

An immature Glaucous Gull was on Bull Hill late afternoon with two Great Northern Diver in the estuary mouth and a Coal Tit, six Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff and a singing Cirl Bunting around the Entrance Bushes.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Tuesday 12th January

Two Sandwich Tern offshore and a Coal Tit in the Entrance Bushes were the highlights of the few reports received. Some pictures and a few more records can be found at

Monday, 11 January 2016

Monday 11th January

A quick morning visit saw little to report but three Great Northern Diver were off John's Watch and the pair of Gadwall remained on the Main Pond.

Ringing News: A first winter Common Gull seen yesterday was ringed in the nest atGismeroya, Mandal, Vest-Agder Norway on 09/07/15.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sunday 10th January

A brief Grey Phalarope, which flew in off the sea and appeared to land in the estuary was an unexpected highlight, especially after the welcome change in the wet and windy weather. There was no further sign but searching did reveal the Bonaparte's Gull on site for the first time this year, feeding in the estuary off Warren Point. Also in the river seven Mediterranean Gull, a fw Sandwich Tern, three Goldeneye, two Greenshank, a Kingfisher and the Slavonian Grebe.

Counts from the hide included 950 Dunlin, 256 Brent Geese (on the golf course), 156 Grey Plover, 55 Shelduck, 22 Turnstone and 13 Sanderling. Elsewhere five Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore, 130 Pied Wagtail were on the golf course pre-roost, two Firecrest were in the Entrance Bushes and a pair of Gadwall were on the Main Pond.

Wildlife news. a butterfly resembling a worn Meadow Brown (!) flew NE was chased, but couldn't be relocated.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

2015 Review

The recording area year list only reached 185 species, the lowest tally since 2007, but despite this statistic it was another great year on the Warren with a variety of site records and Great Grey Shrike added to the recording area list.

Other records included the 2nd Caspian Gull, the returning Bonaparte's Gull, two Pectoral Sandpiper, a Rose-coloured Starling, a Barred and three Yellow-browed Warbler.

Over the breeding season there weren't any unexpected species on site but there was the first ever successful breeding of Herring Gull and Little Grebe remained on the Main Pond. Cirl Bunting held territory early in the year but there was no evidence of breeding, similarly there were again no breeding Ringed Plover or Coot.
Other low points include the seemingly irreversible decline in wintering grebes, sea duck, wildfowl and waders, for the first time ever no Eider were recorded all year and only one Slavonian Grebe in the late winter period. Migrants were also scarce with single Cuckoo and two Lesser Whitethroat all year and no spring Whinchat or Tree Pipit.

Ringing returns continued to increase with 218 different individual birds of 14 different species recorded from 10 different countries. All of these recoveries were read in the field, many from the hide. 

Great Black-backed Gull 97P from Normandy, France - Lee Collins
The movements noted included the first Roseate Tern recovery from Ireland; Dunlin from Poland, Ringed Plover from Iceland, Germany & Norway; Sanderling from Mauritania, Greenland & Iceland; Grey Plover from Spain, Great Black-backed Gull from Norway, France, Guernsey, Cornwall and Portland; Common Gull from Holland and Sandwich Tern from Holland, Belgium & Scotland. A more detailed account will be published soon.
January began with wintering Bonaparte’s Gull, Long-tailed Duck, Water Pipit and Dartford Warbler still present and a storm driven pairing of Pomarine and Arctic Skua.

Bonaparte's Gull - Dave Jewell
Other January highlights included a brief Snow Bunting in front of the hide, which then moved to Powderham, a lingering Black-necked Grebe and single Black-throated Diver and Velvet Scoter.
Snow Bunting - Peter Woods

February saw a long-staying Red-necked Grebe, a Siberian Chiffchaff and the continued presence of some of January's best birds including the Bonaparte's Gull and a couple of Long-tailed Duck
Water Pipit - Lee Collins
March saw the arrival of migrants in the second week with a couple of Black Redstart with the expected Swallow, Wheatear and Sandwich Tern. The Bonaparte's Gull and now three Long-tailed Duck also remained. Despite the lack of vismig the previous autumn over 1000 Chaffinch headed back NE mid month.

Black Redstart - Lee Collins
One of the Long-tailed Duck remained into April, an Osprey that was tracked north from Berry Head was one of four during the month, with a couple of Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier also overhead. However the same conditions that were ideal for raptors where not conducive to falls of spring migrants. Late in the month a pair of Mandarin offshore were only the 8th site record and two Spoonbill paused briefly in the Railway Saltmarsh.

Long-tailed Duck - Lee Collins
In May the focus is often offshore with Roseate Tern and Pomarine Skua expected on passage and 2015 didn't disappoint with several records of both. Also offshore the 16th record of Nightjar, the first Puffin since Sept 2011 and a late Merlin. Autumn started early on the Warren with two migrant Mistle Thrush over mid month.

Sanderling - Lee Collins
Later in the month the annual passage of Sanderling saw a new site record count with 326 birds feeding along the beach including several Mauritanian ringed birds. More info on this passage can be found here. The first spring Little Stint since 2009 was also amongst the wader flocks. Another feature of the month was the regular occurrence of Jackdaw on site. A pair nesting in the village foraged in Greenland Lake, the first such record for the Warren.

Little Stint - Lee Collins
June started with an autumnal weather system and this weather produced the only Storm Petrel records of the year along with another Puffin. Unseasonal records included the resident Slavonian Grebe for its 8th summer, single Yellow Wagtail, a first summer Curlew Sandpiper and an early juvenile Wheatear.

Curlew Sandpiper - Lee Collins
The first ever July record of Avocet turned out to be the only record of the year; a series of Goosander records however appear to be a new feature of the month. Wader passage late in the month saw several Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper, whilst the increasing number of early returning Curlew suggest decreasing breeding success for the threatened species.

Wood Sandpiper - Lee Collins

August is usually a month for terns but numbers of Roseate Tern in particular were initially disappointing. Late in the month however huge numbers of terns were feeding and roosting in the estuary with 1000+ counts on several dates. A new site record for Common Tern was made with 2484 flying into the estuary to roost one evening, with them 24 Arctic, 20 Black and 11 Little Tern.
Arctic Tern - Lee Collins
Intermittent visits by a Nuthatch were another feature of August, a Treecreeper took up residence and the year's second Nightjar put in an appearance. Wader passage included a welcome return to form for Ringed Plover numbers along with several Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff.

Ruff - Lee Collins
September saw the Bonaparte's Gull returned for it's fourth winter mid month along with the joint arrival of a Grey Phalarope and Pectoral Sandpiper. Other highlights included a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling, Barred Warbler, Wryneck and Spoonbill but unfortunately none remained for any length of time. The Ridgway's Cackling Goose also dropped in briefly from Exmouth - possibly the rarest bird of the year.

Pectoral Sandpiper - Lee Collins
October started with a second Pectoral Sandpiper and the first Short-eared Owl of a good autumn for the species. Overhead there was a welcome return for vismig with good numbers of Siskin, Brambling, a few Crossbill and a Yellowhammer.
Short-eared Owl - Lee Collins
The highlight though was a Great Grey Shrike on Warren Point was part of a national influx and the first Warren record. A Yellow-browed Warbler at the end of the month continued a good run for this species.

Great Grey Shrike - Lee Collins
The second Caspian Gull for the recording area was a highlight of November along with a record passage of Wood Pigeon, 58,870 headed west on 21st, later than the usual passage. The Bonaparte's Gull remained but was erratic in it's appearances, a Green Sandpiper was only the 3rd record for November with Little Auk, Firecrest and Siberian Chiffchaff all arriving late in the month.

Caspian Gull - Lee Collins
In December the only new arrival of the year was a Leach's Petrel at the end of the month but other highlights included the first ever Yellow-browed Warbler for the month, a couple of Siberian Chiffchaff, wintering Firecrest, Water Pipit, Sandwich Tern and Purple Sandpiper. The year ended with the latest ever Swallow flying along the Dune Ridge on the 30th.

Purple Sandpiper - Alan Keatley

Saturday 9th January

A Purple Sandpiper was again on the seawall, the fourth record this winter of presumably the same individual, this is the first regular wintering bird since 1984/85. Also from the seawall an adult Little Gull offshore with 11 Red-throated and five Great Northern Diver south along with 100+ Kittiwake and c50 Gannet.

In the estuary a flock of 165 Black-tailed Godwit were roosting on Finger Point, presumably moved down river by floodwater, other counts included just 725 Dunlin and 350 Oystercatcher, 213 Brent Geese, 122 Curlew, 81 Grey Plover, 33 Bar-tailed Godwit and 29 Knot. Also from the hide the Slavonian Grebe, two Greenshank, the Water Pipit and a Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere a Firecrest was in the Entrance Bushes with a second bird in Dead Dolphin Wood and a Cirl Bunting was singing in bushes behind the hide.