Sunday, 31 December 2017

Wildlife Review 2017


The year's mammal highlight may have actually been in 2016. In January news of an Otter recorded on a trail camera at the Main Pond came to light but sadly no actual date was forthcoming. This is only the second record for the Warren, the first being an old record of a tideline corpse.

Resident species recorded on site not unexpectedly include Rabbit. They had a good early year but numbers dropped rapidly early autumn. Although Myxomatosis occurs annually a new strain of Viral Haemorrhagic disease is prevalent in Devon and may have been the main cause. Fox is also resident on site with at least two dens, their tracks are easily spotted on bare sand along the Dune Ridge. They can be seen at quieter times of the day and are often around the car park at dusk.

 Fox - Lee Collins

Weasel and Stoat are more secretive with only a couple of sightings of each this year, usually seen dashing across paths,  but sometimes bird alarm calls can give their presence away as they move through undergrowth.

There were no sightings of Badger, but signs were still seen occasionally but there were no Grey Squirrel or Water Vole records this year; both still occur just over the railway line.

With cetaceans there was a change in fortunes with more Harbour Porpoise sightings this year with up to four seen in January, September, October and December.  Bottle-nosed Dolphin are however becoming scarcer with a couple of small pods seen in May (including calves) and August. More unexpected was a sighting of a distant pod of 20 Common Dolphin in August. Remarkably at least seven more were seen at the end of December feeding close inshore. There have only been two previous records (1997 and 2015).

Common Dolphin - Alan Keatley

Both Grey and Common Seal were present in ones, or exceptionally twos, on and off during the year, both offshore and in the estuary.

Common Seal - Alan Keatley


In preparation for the Beach Management Scheme the introduced population of Sand Lizard (along with any Common Lizard found) were safely collected and translocated from the Dune Ridge to Warren Point, over a hundred were collected giving an indication of their population levels. No records of other species were received, but surveys were undertaken in the Buffer Zone around the site of the proposed new visitor centre.

There was less good news for amphibians. Common Toad are normally well recorded with toadlets often to be seen in large numbers around the ponds following emergence, care having to be taken to avoid standing on them in peak years, however for the third year in a row there was no such emergence. Common Frog, introduced a few years ago, were also scarce, possibly due to a dry winter and spring with low water levels. Palmate Newt are however still present  with one being fed to a Little Grebe chick on the Main Pond!

Common Frog - Alan Keatley


The first butterfly of the year was a Peacock on 7th January, but it wasn't until early March that others like Comma and Brimstone appeared, followed in April by the first Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Small Copper and Orange-tip, the latter still in very low numbers but with a welcome increase.

 Brimstone - Alan Keatley

Overall it was a mixed year for butterflies on site with good numbers of Meadow Brown, including the first May and another November record, Gatekeeper, Large & Small White, Small Skipper, Small Copper, Brown Argus and Common Blue at varying times during the summer. However Large Skipper was notably scarce especially compared with its smaller cousin and Small Tortoiseshell is best now described as uncommon on site with only a handful of sightings this year.

Three other previous residents were recorded but only as occasional singles; Ringlet, Marbled White and Holly Blue, whilst Green Hairstreak was completely absent. However three sightings of Brimstone were encouraging for this less than annual species.

Most worryingly the nationally declining Wall Brown was not reported beyond the first generation; hopefully the realignment work will not prove the death knell for this species on site.

Amongst the migrant butterflies Red Admiral were seen moving through in good numbers throughout the autumn with smaller numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, Large and Small White. In contrast Painted Lady was only occasionally seen and Clouded Yellow was decidedly scarce with just a couple of sightings. A fritillary species briefly seen on a couple of occasions in early July was most likely a Dark Green, potentially only the 2nd record in 50 years. The butterfly year ended with a Red Admiral on 1st December.

Red Admiral - Alan Keatley

No moth trapping was carried out this year but day flying species included good numbers of Yellow Shell emerging on time in May and in late July hundreds of Six-spotted Burnet could be found in the Back Meadow and Greenland Lake along with a few Yellow Belle. Brown-tail nests were found in good numbers in remaining areas of bramble but other hairy caterpillar species were again scarce with only a few Jersey and just one Cream-spot Tiger noted. Cinnabar also continued to decline.

The usual migrant species; Silver Y, Rush Veneer and Rusty-dot Pearl were scarce but the rare migrant Crimson Speckled was found on Warren Point in October, the first for the Recording Area.

Crimson Speckled - Lee Collins


There were low numbers of Blue-tailed and Azure Damselfly, but both remain the two commonest species on site. There were no reports of Small Red-eyed Damselfly for the third year running, this previous breeding species is now probably lost from site. There were also no reported sightings of Black-tailed Skimmer or Broad-bodied Chaser, both previous residents.

Other larger dragonflies fared better with Hairy Dragonfly still present but in very low numbers. The first Emperor emerged in June and several could regularly be seen patrolling the ponds and woodland edges. Numerous Migrant and Southern Hawker were evident in late summer and autumn and there were reasonable numbers of Common Darter late into the year with the last record on 23rd November.

Migrant Hawker - Alan Keatley

Migrants included record numbers of Golden-ringed Dragonfly whereas from further afield the Recording Area didn't miss out on the national influx of rare species with the site’s first two confirmed sightings of Vagrant Emperor (May & October) and two June records of Red-veined Darter. However these rare visitors do not compensate for another poor year, particularly for damselflies.

Red-veined Darter - Alan Keatley


The Warren's varied flora remains vital to this important group of pollinators from the ubiquitous feral Honey Bee to the less common solitary bees.

It has been an eventful year with two new bumblebees for the Recording Area; the overdue Tree Bumblebee, a continental species on the increase and the less expected and declining Heath Bumblebee. The first Bumblebee’s of the year; Buff-tailed, Red-tailed and Common Carder appeared in March utilising Sallow, Gorse and the few remaining Daffodils as important early pollen sources.

Tree Bumblebee - Alan Keatley

In April solitary bees appeared on the wing with Buffish Mining Bee (Andrena nigroaenea) and Short-fringed Mining Bee (Andrena dorsata) predominant. In June more species were on the wing with dune specialists Sandpit Mining Bee (Andrena barbilabris),Silvery Leaf-cutter Bee (Megachile leachella) and Large Sharp-tailed Bee (Coellioxys conoidea) all noted.

Buffish Mining Bee - Debs Rylands

As summer progressed into July Black-thighed Epeolus (Epeolus variegatus), Little Flower Bee (Anthophora bimaculata) and the Pantaloon Bee (Dasypoda hirtipes) were seen with increasing numbers of Tree and Garden Bumblebee.

As the days shortened Ivy bee (Collates hederae) appeared on cue at the end of September but had virtually disappeared by the third week in October. However Common Carder Bumblebee were seen on warm days in October with Honey bee still on the wing well into November. Buff-tailed Bumblebee was still active until the end of the year on ornamental Hebe shrubs around the Boathouse.

Ivy Bee - Alan Keatley

Identifying many wasp species to species level can be challenging to say the least so it is not surprising that there were fewer recorded on site compared to bees. However the more readily identifiable species seen this year included a Bee Wolf (Philanthus triangulum) colony discovered in the Buffer Zone, with others seen along the Back Path, White-spotted Spider wasp (Episyron rufipes), Red-banded Sand wasp (Ammophila sabulosa) and Slender-bodied Digger wasp (Crabro cribrarius).

The predominant social wasp on site appears to be German wasp (Vespula germanica) which can often be seen gathering wood pulp from fencing for their nests.


A Devon Fly Group meeting on site in early August recorded the very rare and threatened cranefly, Geranomyia bezzii. It’s an intertidal species with larvae that live on mats of green Enteromorpha algae.  The species in known from just a handful of sites along the south coast from Hants to Devon so it was good to confirm it was still present on the Warren.

Geranomyia bezzii - Rob Waton

Apart from the cranefly, the best finds were two muscids; Helina deleta and Musca osiris, both species with very few previous records in the UK.  The latter is probably a migrant, and perhaps the former too. 

Other good dipteran finds included the muscid Coenosia karli, a nationally scarce species with just a couple of previous records from Devon; Villeneuvia aestuum, a nationally scarce muscid of saline situations; Muscidideicus praetextatus, a nationally scarce dolichopidid; the tachnid Platymya fimbriata, not nationally uncommon but a first for Devon; the pipunculid Tomosvaryella littoralis was another county first; and the coastal anthomyiid Anthomyia confusanea had only one previous record in Devon although it is a widespread species nationally.

Hoverflies recorded this year included the bumblebee mimics Cheilosia illustrata (Hogweed Cheilosia) and Volucella bombylans (Bumblebee Hoverfly). The hornet mimic Volucella zonaria (Hornet Hoverfly) and the territorial Volucella pellucens (Large Pied Hoverfly) were regularly seen in the wooded areas. In the more open areas were the drone flies Eristalis tenax (Stripe-eyed Dronefly), Eristalis nemorum (Stripe-faced Dronefly) and Eristalis pertinax (Tapered Dronefly) plus Helophilus pendulus (The Footballer), Syrphus ribesii (Common Banded Hoverfly) and Sphaerophoria scripta (Long Hoverfly).

Volucella pellucens - Alan Keatley

Migrant hoverflies recorded included the almost ubiquitous Episyrphus balteatus (Marmalade Hoverfly), Scaeva pyastri (Pied Hoverfly) and the Eupeodes corollae (Migrant Hoverfly).

Scaeva pyastri - Alan Keatley

More discoveries were found amongst the true flies with the first site record of the soldierfly Ornate Brigadier (Odontomyia ornata). Both Dune Robberfly (Philonicus albiceps) and Kite-tailed Robberfly (Machimus atricapillus) were noted hunting on the Dune Ridge and in the meadows respectively by June, whilst earlier in the year two Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) were on the wing in early April, the first records for several years.

Dark-edged Bee-fly - Debs Rylands
Other Invertebrates

The Warren has an impressive list of grasshoppers making it one the most outstanding sites in the UK, however with exception of Lesser Cockroach none of the rarer species were noted this year. The regular species recorded included Common Groundhopper, Meadow Grasshopper, Long-winged Conehead and Great Green Bush-cricket.

Similarly beetle sightings are usually of the more obvious and colourful species with Black and yellow Longhorn (Rutpela maculata) and Thick-legged Flower beetle (Oedemera nobilis) regularly seen this year. The removal of Trre Lupin has lead to large reduction in Ladybird records. The previous aphid abundance no longer available to them. Apart from the large and colourful Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi) the only other spider species of note was the first Warren record of a Pirata piraticus, seen on the Main Pond in May.

Rutpela maculata - Alan Keatley

The Warren shared in the wildlife phenomenon of the year with unprecedented numbers of Portuguese Man O'War washed up on the beach. Tens could be found from Langstone Rock to Warren Point. There had been only one previous site record. Barrel Jellyfish again came ashore in large numbers early summer.

Portuguese Man O'War - James Marshall


Two new species were added to the Recording Area’s extensive list of plants this year, the second and third records for Devon respectively.  This first was the discovery of the nationally scarce Mossy Stonecrop (Crassula tillaea) in the Buffer Zone in June with Narrow-leaved Ragwort (Senecio inaequidens) found on Warren Point in October.  The latter is a non-native species frequent around docks and was perhaps accidentally introduced with the pipework used to pump sand for the beach recharge.

2017 was the Warren's best year for orchids with a welcome increase in numbers of Southern Marsh Orchid and a profusion of Marsh Helleborine and Autumn Lady's-tresses at varying times. A new colony of Pyramidal Orchid, including a rare white variety, was found on Warren Point, thanks to some temporary fencing the Bee Orchid colony increased from three to 16 spikes near the Dune Pond and a single Green-winged Orchid again flowered in Greenland Lake.

Bee Orchid - Alan Keatley

The Warren's star attraction, Sand Crocus, first appeared on 19th March and numbers continue to increase in Greenland Lake. With careful looking the tiny and rare Small Adder’s-tongue could be found in bare areas of Greenland Lake in early summer, the only mainland site in the county.

Small Adder’s-tongue - Alan Keatley

On the downside Devon’s only Belladonna Lily was lost to the reprofiling of the Dune Ridge. However this is an non-native species, the overnight loss of a large patch of twenty Sea Holly plants on Warren Point show how susceptible native dune flora is to autumn storms, changing weather patterns and associated erosion.
Thanks to Alan Keatley for all his help with the review and to all those who also submitted records and pictures to the Recording Group during the year.

Sunday 31st December

The year ended with a new site record; the after effects of the southern edge of storm Dylan saw 1346 Gannet head south before 10am, most in the first hour of daylight. Also moving south 360 Kittiwake, six Fulmar, 14 Great Northern and 14 Red-throated Diver. Later in the day three Pomarine and a Great Skua were offshore with three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 60 Great Black-backed Gull.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Saturday 30th December

Over 350 Gannet were still feeding offshore with at least one Pomarine Skua, the immature male Long-tailed Duck, nine Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver. Also present 119 Great-crested Grebe, another new site record. Elsewhere c450 Starling roosted at the Main Pond and the Slavonian Grebe was still in the estuary.

Friday 29th December

The feeding flocks of Gannet, Kittiwake and auks returned offshore and brought with them the two Pomarine Skua seen earlier in the week. Elsewhere 240 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 111 Knot, 33 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover, three Greenshank, the Slavonian Grebe and a sub-adult Yellow-legged Gull were in the estuary.

Yellow-legged Gull - Lee Collins

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Thursday 28th December

Calm conditions and a return of feeding flocks offshore saw counts of 150 Gannet, a site record 102 Great-crested Grebe, nine Red-throated and seven Great Northern Diver. Counts from the estuary included 160 Grey Plover, 72 Turnstone, 67 Shelduck, 55 Knot, 38 Sanderling, five Greenshank, three Goldeneye, a Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the Long-tailed Duck was offsite further upriver, a Mistle Thrush was on the Golf Course and three Shoveler and a Little Grebe were on the Main Pond.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Wednesday 27th December

A bright sunny day but cold in a biting north-westerly wind. Offshore the choppy conditions were not conducive for good counts with just 45 Great-crested Grebe, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, with c150 Gannet actively feeding at distance.  In the estuary the windy conditions and low high tide meant waders were sheltering in low numbers away from Bight, with counts limited to 113 Brent Geese, 37 Shelduck and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere a Firecrest was reported and there was again no sign of the Jack Snipe.

Redshank - Alan Keatley

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Tuesday 26th December

A quick visit before the rain set in saw 73 Great-crested Grebe, two Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver offshore, four Shoveler on the Main Pond and a drake Goldeneye, two Great Northern Diver and 12 Red-breasted Merganser in the estuary.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Sunday 24th December

A Pomarine Skua was reported offshore with single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver but there were far fewer birds today. Elsewhere a Cirl Bunting was by the hide and a pair of Shoveler were on the Main Pond.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Saturday 23rd December

Still plenty of activity offshore with single Pomarine and Arctic Skua amongst 630+ Gannet, 121 Guillemot, 85 Great-crested Grebe, 35 Great Northern and 15 Red-throated Diver, 14 Razorbill, three Eider and the Long-tailed Duck. In the estuary a wader influx saw 194 Black and 147 Bar-tailed Godwit, 181 Grey Plover and 28 Sanderling with two more Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe also present. Elsewhere a Firecrest was In Greenland Lake and the Jack Snipe remained on the Main Pond.

Wildlife News: At least seven Common Dolphin and two Harbour Porpoise were offshore.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Friday 22nd December

A first winter Glaucous Gull was found on Finger Point early this morning and, after a brief visit to Exmouth, was again present c10.30am. Presumably the bird recently seen off West Bexington in Dorset, it then flew south past Berry Head at 11.30am. This bird may have been attracted by the mass of feeding birds offshore with c300 Gannet diving close inshore first thing, moving out into the bay later on before again coming close presumably following shoals underneath. With them were two Pomarine Skua, 91 Great-crested Grebe, 80+ auks, 37 Red-throated and 31 Great Northern Diver, 11 Common Scoter and three Eider.

Counts from the estuary included c800 Wigeon, 165 Curlew, 94 Teal, 86 Bar-tailed Godwit, 80 Teal, three Mediterranean Gull, a 32nd Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the Jack Snipe was on the Main Pond, a Mistle Thrush was near the amusements and two Cirl Bunting were on site.

 Glaucous Gull - Alan Keatley
 Wildlife News: At least four Common Dolphin and two Harbour Porpoise were offshore and a couple of Buff-tailed Bumblebee were still on the wing.

Common Dolphin - Alan Keatley

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Thursday 21st December

A Pomarine Skua was offshore with 80 Great-crested Grebe, three Eider, 12 Red-throated and 10 Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere the Jack Snipe and a Snipe were on the Main Pond and counts from the estuary included 1670 Oystercatcher, 212 Curlew, 63 Bar-tailed Godwit and 19 Ringed Plover.

Wildlife News: Several Common Dolphin and a Harbour Porpoise were offshore.

Wednesday 20th December

Still good numbers offshore with 65 Great-crested Grebe, 21 Great Northern and 13 Red-throated Diver present. Elsewhere the Jack Snipe was on the Main Pond and counts from the estuary included 1650 Oystercatcher, 1040 Dunlin, 64 Redshank, 62 Bar-tailed Godwit, 41 Common Gull, 40 Sanderling, 39 Knot and seven Greenshank.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sunday 17th December

Flat calm conditions offshore lead to some big counts but many birds were a long way out. Totals included 79 Great-crested Grebe, 31 Great Northern and 20+ Red-throated Diver with the first four returning Fulmar, just five Common Scoter, three Eider and an immature male Long-tailed Duck. The latter flew into the estuary later. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was off Cockwood and four Shoveler remain on the Main Pond.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Sunday 10th December

A Pomarine Skua was offshore this afternoon with 80 Gannet feeding in the bay and 24 Great-crested Grebe, eight Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver and three Eider on the sea. A ninth Great Northern Diver was in the estuary with the Slavonian Grebe and counts of 720 Dunlin, 320 Dark and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 127 Great Black-backed Gull, 63 Grey and 11 Ringed Plover, 26 Sanderling and a Goldeneye. Elsewhere the four Shoveler were on the Main Pond and the Mistle Thrush was again in Dead Dolphin Wood.

Wildlife News: Buff-tailed Bumblebee remain active on the Hebe around the Boathouse.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Saturday 9th December

A Black-necked Grebe off the seawall early morning was only the second of the year, also present 84 Gannet, 26 Great-crested Grebe, three Eider, six Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver. Counts from the estuary remained low with 720 Dunlin, 131 Brent Geese, 128 Redshank, 94 Grey Plover, 74 Shelduck, 57 Turnstone, 51 Curlew, 22 Sanderling, six Knot, two Greenshank, two Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit.

Elsewhere a Firecrest was in the Entrance Bushes with four Chiffchaff, the Jack Snipe was on the Main Pond with four Shoveler and a Snipe, the Mistle Thrush was in Dead Dolphin Wood and a couple of Redwing flew over, the only sign of the cold weather. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Thursday 7th December

An early morning sea watch from 8:00 to 9:30, when the front when through and winds went round to north-westerly saw 960 Gannet head south, a longer watch may well have broken the site record. Also offshore 240 Kittiwake, nine Great Northern and four Red-throated Diver, eight Great-crested Grebe and just two Guillemot and a Common Scoter.

Counts from the estuary included 1250 Oystercatcher, 1100 Dunlin, 296 Dark and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 161 Grey Plover, 105 Redshank, 86 Knot, 65 Shelduck, 46 Turnstone, 22 Sanderling and four Greenshank. Elsewhere four Shoveler were on the Main Pond, two Chiffchaff were in the bushes and a Mistle Thrush was in Greenland Lake.

Shoveler - Alan Keatley

Monday, 4 December 2017

Monday 4th December

An afternoon look off Cockwood Steps saw the Great Northern Diver and Slavonian Grebe in the estuary with c240 Dark and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Greenshank and a Kingfisher.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Sunday 3rd December

Two Eider were offshore this afternoon with two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere three Shoveler were on the Main Pond, 1190 Oystercatcher, 237 Brent Geese, five Greenshank and a Mediterranean Gull were in the estuary and 81 Linnet roosted on the Golf Course.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Saturday 2nd December

Flat conditions offshore this evening saw five Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver from the seawall with 40 Great-crested Grebe and 18 Red-breasted Merganser roosting. Also present two Purple Sandpiper that flew across the bay, a Kingfisher on Groyne 1 and 450 Wigeon flushed from the estuary. Elsewhere three Shoveler were on the Main Pond and the Slavonian Grebe and a sixth Great Northern Diver were in the estuary.

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was hauled out on the mussel barge.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Friday 1st December

A frosty start and cold northerly wind saw the Main Pond partly frozen but the two Shoveler remain along with the Jack Snipe. Nearby a Firecrest and two Mistle Thrush were in Dead Dolphin Wood with five Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff also in the bushes. Elsewhere a Red-throated Diver, 18 Great-crested Grebe and seven Pintail were offshore with 92 Shelduck in the estuary.

 Jack Snipe - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A lone Red Admiral and at least four Buff-tailed Bumblebee were still flying despite the temperatures.

Red Admiral - Alan Keatley

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Thursday 30th November

Two Red-throated Diver were close in off the seawall with a few Great-crested Grebe and Gannet. Elsewhere a Common Snipe and the pair of Shoveler were on the Main Pond with Bullfinch, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest in the Bushes.

Red-throated Diver - Martin Rooney

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Wednesday 29th November

The Jack Snipe was again on the Main Pond with a Common Snipe, a Little Grebe and the pair of Shoveler.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tuesday 28th November

The Bonaparte's Gull was briefly offshore this morning having arrived from the Dawlish direction, also offshore 15 Great-crested Grebe and five Red-throated Diver but most were probably outside the recording area. Elsewhere three Chiffchaff were on site with a Great Northern Diver, the Slavonian Grebe and 250+ Dark and 17 Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the estuary.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Saturday 25th November

A continuing winter feel today with a site record 13 Collared Dove an unexpected highlight. In the estuary the cold weather perhaps lead to some increased counts with 1270 Dunlin, 244 Dark and 27 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 81 Shelduck, 76 Grey Plover, 48 Knot, 22 Sanderling, four Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver were offshore, a Firecrest was in Dead Dolphin Wood, two Shoveler were on the Main Pond and five Chiffchaff and a Redwing were in the Entrance Bushes.

Wildlife News: at least six Buff-tailed Bumblebee were around the Boathouse.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Thursday 23rd November

The first visitors since the weekend saw five Great Northern Diver fly south early morning but there was surprisingly little else moving after yesterday's weather. There were few new arrivals in the estuary but a female Goldeneye was the first of the winter. Counts from the hide included 840 Wigeon, 800 Dunlin, 347 Dark and 29 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 186 Teal, 107 Grey Plover, 65 Shelduck, 54 Common Gull, 18 Knot, five Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler remains at the Main Pond with two Chiffchaff, a Kingfisher and a Snipe.

Wildlife News: At least three Common Darter remain on the wing with a Common Banded Hoverfly Syrphus ribesii and a Honey Bee nectaring on flowering Gorse.

Syrphus ribesii - Alan Keatley

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday 19th November

A Black Redstart, a male and the first of the year, moved along the Dune Ridge past John's Watch but failed to linger. Other new arrivals were in the estuary with an increase to 1110 Dunlin over high tide along with 575 Wigeon, 378 Teal, 196 Dark and 20 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 140 Redshank, 136 Black and 74 Bar-tailed Godwit, 95 Grey Plover, 53 Turnstone, 17 Sanderling and four Greenshank.

Elsewhere the Bonaparte's Gull was around Langstone Rock early afternoon, three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were offshore and the pair of Shoveler remain on the Main Pond.

Ringing News: A Sandwich Tern seen here in four of the last five autumns was recently re-sighted in South Africa.

Wildlife News: In the sunny weather a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee was still on the wing.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Saturday 18th November

A crisp early winter day with a good mix of expected species. Counts from the estuary included 850 Wigeon, 785 Dunlin, 391 Teal, 160 Dark and 13 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 121 Redshank, 71 Grey Plover, 62 Shelduck, 15 Knot, seven Sanderling, four Greenshank, a Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere a second Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were offshore with a female Eider  12 Common Scoter and 12 Great-crested Grebe, the Cetti's Warbler, Jack Snipe and a pair of Shoveler were still at the Main Pond and two Mistle Thrush were overhead.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Thursday 16th November

Another quiet low tide visit although with single Red-throated Diver offshore, the Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary and a late movement of at least 11 Bullfinch and three Redpoll overhead. Late afternoon the Bonaparte's Gull was in the estuary channel off Bull Hill, the first record since 29 October.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Tuesday 14th November

An early morning visit showed little in the way of movement as autumn draws to a close. The Cetti's Warbler was still at the Main Pond with a pair of Shoveler and a single visible Snipe. Elsewhere single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver were offshore, a second Great Northern Diver was in the estuary and a Cirl Bunting was in song along the Back Path.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sunday 12th November

The WeBS count was over an hour before one of the lowest high tides of the month and the wader numbers, with a couple of exceptions, certainly reflect that. Counts included 1308 Oystercatcher, 313 Redshank, 155 Curlew, 84 Dunlin, 45 Turnstone, 22 Snipe, 16 Ringed and 13 Grey Plover, six Greenshank, four Black and three Bar-tailed Godwit, a Knot and a Sanderling.  Wildfowl numbers included 489 Wigeon, 358 Dark and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 276 Teal and 76 Shelduck, also in the estuary a Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere a Firecrest was in the Entrance Bushes, three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were offshore and 40 Chaffinch, three Siskin and a Grey Wagtail were overhead.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Saturday 11th November

Counts from the estuary included 560 Dunlin, 266 Dark and 26 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 66 Shelduck, 54 Grey Plover and 16 Sanderling. Elsewhere a Merlin was on Warren Point, single Great Skua and Sandwich Tern were offshore and the Jack Snipe was on the Main Pond.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Friday 10th November

Counts in the Bight included 241 Dark-bellied and 28 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 67 Shelduck and 17 Sanderling but the majority of waders were sheltering from the strong wind in the Railway Saltmarsh. Elsewhere the Jack Snipe and Cetti's Warbler were almost equally elusive on the Main Pond with two Mistle Thrush and two Raven overhead.

Wildlife News: In sheltered sunny spots a few dragonfly were still on the wing with at least nine Common Darter and a Migrant Hawker.   

Common Darter - Lee Collins

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Thursday 9th November

There was no sign of the Black Brant early morning with just 60 Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the Bight. There was also a lack of movement overhead with just three Redpoll and a couple of Siskin outnumbering the Chaffinch. Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler was still present, two Firecrest were around the Main Pond, at least five Chiffchaff were on site and five Cirl Bunting were around Greenland Lake.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wednesday 8th November

The Black Brant was again in the Bight with 290 Dark-bellied and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, also in the estuary 530 Dunlin, 270 Redshank, a Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe. A Jack Snipe at the Main Pond was presumably a returning bird, also there six Reed Bunting, two Snipe, the Cetti's Warbler and a Shoveler.

 Black Brant - Lee Collins

Elsewhere 22 Long-tailed and a Coal Tit were in the bushes and a Red-throated Diver was offshore, but the clear skies meant any movement overhead largely escaped detection but single Brambling and Redpoll flew low enough to make the list, unlike further west there was no pigeon movement today.

Jack Snipe (& two Snipe) It did show better than this at times! - Lee Collins

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Tuesday 7th November

The wet and windy conditions pushed the feeding groups in Lyme Bay closer inshore with 200+ Gannet and 160 Kittiwake in the first hour of light. Also offshore two Pomarine Skua (pale phase ad and pale headed juv) and single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver.

Counts from the hide included 200+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 176 Great Black-backed Gull and a fourth year Yellow-legged Gull (also sheltering from the weather), 90 Grey Plover, 68 Shelduck, 26 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, a Kingfisher on the wreck and the Slavonian Grebe.

Slavonian Grebe - Lee Collins
Ringing News: The Pale-bellied Brent below was ringed as a juvenile on Alftantes football pitch in Iceland on 11 May 2017, remaining there until the 22nd. This next sighting was at the Warren in October. Today's was the first record here since 23rd October.

 Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Lee Collins

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was in the estuary.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Monday 6th November

The pigeon tap turned on again with 15,280 Wood Pigeon heading west before 9am, also overhead a Jack Snipe with two Snipe, three Redpoll and 11 Jackdaw. Elsewhere a Coat Tit moved through the bushes, the Cetti's Warbler was at the Main Pond and a Red-throated Diver was offshore.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sunday 5th November

Counts from the estuary included 390 Dunlin, 336 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 217 Redshank, 197 Black-tailed Godwit, 78 Grey Plover, 38 Shelduck, nine Greenshank, six Red-breasted Merganser, two Pale-bellied Brent Geese and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 500 Wood Pigeon were overhead and a Red-throated Diver and an Arctic Skua were offshore.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Saturday 4th November

A fem/imm Marsh Harrier that headed north up the estuary was the highlight but little else was on the move overhead. There was more activity offshore with large feeding flocks distantly in the bay and 210+ Kittiwake, 160 Razorbill and 100 Gannet moving south early morning, a Pomarine Skua was attracted to these flocks and a single Red-throated Diver was on the sea. 

Counts from the estuary included 380 Dunlin, 300 Black-tailed Godwit, 257 Dark and 16 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 45 Turnstone, 44 Shelduck, six Mediterranean Gull, four Red-breasted Merganser, a first winter Yellow-legged Gull, a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler was still at the Main Pond but remained impossible to see.

Wildlife News: Several Common Darter and Red Admiral were still on the wing but a late Meadow Brown was the highlight. This is the fourth year in the last six that Meadow Brown has been on the wing after mid October, with December records in 2015.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Friday 3rd November

Ringing News: A quick evening visit allowed 13 Oystercatcher ring reads to be made from the hide. The highlight was an adult ringed at Vardheia, Rogaland in Norway on 2nd July this year. This is only the second Norwegian ringed Oystercatcher recorded here but Warren ringed birds have been recovered in Norway, including one from an Eagle Owl nest.

The other recoveries this evening included several birds previously rung here, notably two from 1989; and a bird ringed this year as a chick in Warwickshire.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Thursday 2nd November

Birds continued to move overhead in small numbers before the cloud cleared late morning. Highlights included two Brambling, 17 Bullfinch, eight Redpoll, seven Reed Bunting, six Mistle Thrush, four Redwing and two Siskin. Other counts included 1090 Wood Pigeon, 42 Chaffinch, 19 Skylark, 18 Jackdaw, eight Greenfinch and two Rook. Some of the Greenfinch and Redpoll dropped into Greenland Lake to join a mobile flock of 110 Goldfinch, these in turn attracted the attention of two Sparrowhawk. Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler was at the Main Pond and 50+ Black-tailed Godwit, 31 Shelduck and a Pintail were in the estuary.

 Lesser Redpoll - Alan Keatley
 Sparrowhawk - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The sunny weather during the afternoon brought out a few Red Admiral, four Common Darter and a Migrant Hawker with Buff-tailed Bumblebee and Honey Bee on the Gorse.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Wednesday 1st November

Still some limited movement overhead this morning with 21 Chaffinch, 19 Jackdaw, a flock of five Bullfinch, three Siskin, two Redpoll and a Brambling. Goldfinch were also passing with at least 80 counted in Greenland Lake but with birds seeming to drop in and move on with some regularity. Elsewhere the Cetti's Warbler was calling at the Main Pond and in the estuary there were 120 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, two Greenshank, a Kingfisher on the wreck, a Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Tuesday 31st October

Despite similar conditions there was much less moving overhead this morning with tallies of 2450 Wood Pigeon, 110 Goldfinch, 30 Jackdaw, 30 Chaffinch, 12 Stock Dove, seven Redwing, two Bullfinch, two Siskin and a Redpoll.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Monday 30th October

Vis mig during the morning saw 11,055 Wood Pigeon heading high west in the blue skies with a minimum of 28 Stock Dove, 138 Jackdaw and 100 Starling. The lack of cloud cover meant smaller species were harder to pick up with tallies of 44 Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch, 12 Bullfinch, five Siskin, three Redpoll, two Brambling and two Golden Plover. Elsewhere seven Lapwing and 20+ Black-tailed Godwit, along with thousands of waders and wildfowl were flushed from the estuary and the Cetti's Warbler was again calling from the Main Pond.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sunday 29th October

The good run on site continued but it was quality rather than quantity today with a lone Yellowhammer that dropped in briefly by the Main Pond the Vis Mig highlight. Totals included 1025 Wood Pigeon and 15 Stock Dove west, 22 Chaffinch, 16 Greenfinch, 14 Redwing, nine Bullfinch, eight Siskin, five Swallow, four Redpoll, three Brambling, two Golden Plover and a Mistle Thrush.

In the estuary the Brent Goose flock came over from Exmouth bringing with them the Black Brant and a freshly arrived Barnacle Goose. Elsewhere the Bonaparte's Gull flew past groyne seven, a drake Pochard was offshore with nine Eider before flying around the bay and heading south and a Firecrest was in the Entrance Bushes.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Saturday 28th October

A remarkable day with plenty of surprises amongst a total of 96 species recorded. Vis Mig provided the bulk of the highlights but plenty of wildfowl and gulls continued the excitement. Overhead the Wood Pigeon movement beat the previous site record with 53,690 counted mainly going south/south-west offshore in long lines, the largest flock 7450 strong; with them at least 73 Stock Dove but this was a significant under estimate. The surprises started with a Red Kite south at 9.10, closely followed by two juvenile White-fronted Geese at 10.15, and then the seventh Great White Egret for the recording area flew in off the sea and up the estuary at 10:50 (the same bird flew west past Abbotsbury, Dorset at 9.25). Other species included a very late Turtle Dove, 101 Jackdaw, 72 Skylark, 41 Chaffinch, 15 Bullfinch, six Mistle Thrush, four Redpoll and four Siskin.

Offshore a large feeding congregation attracted three adult Little Gull, two Arctic Skua, 110 Common Scoter, 95 Kittiwake, 35 Razorbill, 11 Eider, three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, a drake Tufted Duck and an immature Velvet Scoter. Counts from the estuary included 1150 Wigeon, 260 Teal, 210 Black-tailed Godwit, 159 Redshank, 48 Turnstone, 35 Dunlin, six Mediterranean Gull, three Pale-bellied Brent and the Slavonian Grebe.

Elsewhere the Bonaparte's Gull was offshore briefly before heading into the estuary, a Coal Tit was on site and a Cirl  Bunting was singing along the Back Path.

Cirl Bunting - Alan Keatley