Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Wednesday 18th April

Another day of Pale-bellied Brent Goose migration with 100+ passing south or arriving in off the sea during the morning and a flock of 26 still present in the estuary in the evening. One flock took 29 minutes to arrive having earlier past Seaton in east Devon. Other migrants were however thin on the ground with just five Swallow, four Wheatear and single Blackcap and Willow Warbler.

Elsewhere counts from the estuary included 64 Turnstone, 19 Sanderling, 16 Redshank, 14 Grey Plover, nine Whimbrel and a Dunlin  whilst three Red-throated Diver and an Eider were offshore.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Tuesday 17th April

Seawatching early morning was productive with 600+ Manx Shearwater, 30 Fulmar, seven Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver south along with single Purple Sandpiper and Merlin, both new for the year. Also offshore 51 Pale-bellied Brent Geese that flew into the estuary having past sites further east along the coast, 30 Sandwich and a Little Tern, at least one Tufted Duck and an Eider. During the evening 11 Common Tern, a Great Skua and three Gadwall flew south.

Elsewhere at least 235 Whimbrel passed through during the day, other counts from the estuary included 52 Turnstone, 41 Dunlin, 20 Grey and 14 Ringed Plover, 14 Sanderling, 12 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, nine Redshank, five Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, the Slavonian Grebe and a Ruff. Migrants were limited to two Wheatear and a Cuckoo, first heard yesterday evening.

 Black-tailed Godwit - Lee Collins
Bar-tailed Godwit - Lee Collins

Monday, 16 April 2018

Monday 16th April

Passage offshore continued early morning with 250+ Manx Shearwater south along with two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, 30+ Kittiwake and 20 Gannet. Also offshore an Arctic Tern with two Eider, a Common and six Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere at least nine Wheatear were on site, the highest count this Spring, and counts from the estuary included 24 Redshank, 21 Grey Plover, 21 Shelduck, 20 Whimbrel, two Ringed Plover and two Dunlin.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sunday 15th April

A day of heavy rain, sunshine and showers with a constant strong southerly wind. This produced ideal seawatching conditions, especially early morning. The highlight was a site record count of 3579 Manx Shearwater south during the day, most in the evening but with 200+ south in less than 10 minutes as the rain stopped mid morning. This is over twice the previous record from April 2009.

Also passing south an Osprey, a Puffin, 10+ Arctic Tern, two Great and an Arctic Skua, three Great Northern, two Red-throated and 13 Diver sp, 191 Common Scoter, 144 Kittiwake, 92 Gannet, 63 Common Gull, 39 Sandwich Tern, 13 Fulmar and a pair of Gadwall.

Elsewhere a send winter Little Gull was in front of the hide early morning, two Arctic Skua were harassing Kittiwake offshore late evening, migrants were limited to five Willow Warbler and four Blackcap, 23 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary with other counts of 42 Turnstone, 28 Redshank, 20 Grey Plover, 15 Sanderling, 13 Whimbrel, four Dunlin and two Red-breasted Merganser.

Wildlife News: In the few sunny periods the Sand Crocus was attempting to flower and a couple of Peacock were on the wing.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Saturday 14th April

A foggy day and despite the south easterly breeze there was little sign of continuing migration with just two Swallow and a Yellow Wagtail flying through, four Blackcap and three Willow Warbler remaining in the bushes, six Sandwich Tern offshore and three Whimbrel in the estuary. Other records included 21 Grey Plover, 18 Turnstone and four Dunlin in the estuary and a Shoveler on the Main Pond.
 
Wildlife News: Despite the conditions the Sand Crocus was attempting to flower, a few Sand Lizard were along the Dune Ridge and insects on the wing included Tree Bumblebee, Fluffy Dronefly (Eristalis intricarius) and Dark-edge Beefly. In Greenland Lake three Snake's-head Fritillary were in flower.
 
Eristalis intricarius - Alan Keatley

Friday, 13 April 2018

Friday 13th April

Migrants continue to arrive but a slow rather than steady trickle. Two Sedge Warbler early morning and a smart male Redstart this evening were new for the year but with the exception of two Wheatear, two Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest there were few other arrivals. Elsewhere 12 Great-crested Grebe and an Eider were offshore and six Whimbrel were in the Bight.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Thursday 12th April

Despite the Spring weather migration remains slow although the year's first Whitethroat was in the car park with three Willow Warbler and three Blackcap on site but no sign of the Garganey.

Elsewhere a distant Manx Shearwater, an Eider and seven Sandwich Tern were offshore and counts from the estuary included c20 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover, six Redshank, four Whimbrel, three Dunlin and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wildlife News: The sunshine meant good numbers of Sand Crocus were in flower and also brought out the first two Speckled Wood of the year along with Peacock and Comma. Other insects included good numbers of hoverflies, a Dark-edged Beefly and several solitary bee species.

 Dark-edged Beefly - Alan Keatley

Speckled Wood - Alan Keatley

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Wednesday 11th April

A seemingly quiet morning was enlivened by the presence of a drake Garganey on the Main Pond which remained all day but was elusive at times. As the day warmed a few more migrants appeared with at last six Blackcap, five Willow Warbler and the year's first Reed Warbler. Overhead two Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail were also new for the year.

A Little Ringed Plover was in the Bight with counts from the estuary including 29 Ringed Plover, 24 Dunlin, eight Sanderling and singles of Slavonian Grebe, Eider, Whimbrel, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit. Elsewhere a second Eider and six Sandwich Tern were offshore and a Common Sandpiper was on the Main Pond.

Garganey - Lee Collins
 
Garganey - Luke Harman
 
Wildlife News: The sunny weather brought out the Sand Crocus again across parts of the site.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Tuesday 10th April

The continuing foggy, wet and dank conditions seem to have put a halt on migration with just half a dozen Chiffchaff in the bushes this evening, the same weather though may have delayed the Osprey which was seen again over the estuary late on. Also in the estuary at low tide 81+ Turnstone, 33 Ringed Plover, 14 Redshank, two Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and the Slavonian Grebe, with a Scandinavian Rock Pipit by the hide. Earlier offshore there were 13 Sandwich Tern and two Great Northern Diver.

Wildlife News: The Grey Seal remains in the estuary.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sunday 8th April

An Osprey over the estuary early evening was the pick of the day's sightings. Also in the estuary 94 Turnstone, six Sandwich Tern, two Whimbrel, two Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere migrants were limited to five Willow Warbler in the bushes and 12 Siskin overhead, whilst offshore there were five Eider, 22 Great-crested Grebe, five Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver.

Wildlife News: With some lengthy sunny spells the Sand Crocus finally emerged in numbers today. The Grey Seal was in the estuary and two Harbour Porpoise were offshore.

  Sand Crocus - Alan Keatley

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Saturday 7th April

The overnight rain brought with it a small, but welcome, arrival of Spring migrants; totals on site included 18 Chiffchaff, at least 16 Blackcap, six Willow Warbler and a Wheatear, whilst overhead 40 Swallow, 17 Siskin, five Rook, a Sparrowhawk and the year's first House Martin moved through.

Offshore there was also evidence of Spring, the first Little Tern of the year was with 29 Sandwich and three Common Tern. A pair of Eider flew in joining the two immature males with 24 Common Scoter, two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver also present.

In the estuary the immature Iceland Gull was on Bull Hill but three Whimbrel and eight Black-tailed Godwit were new migrants. Other counts included 93 Turnstone, 29 Curlew, 22 Grey and nine Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, two Mediterranean Gull, the Slavonian Grebe, a Knot and a Greenshank.

Stonechat - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: A Grey Seal was hauled out on one of the mussel barges.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Friday 6th April

An evening visit saw a lone Wheatear in Greenland Lake and a couple of Siskin in the Entrance Bushes but no other migrants. Other records included 17 Redshank and a Greenshank in the estuary, a flock of 32+ Linnet along the Back Path and the singing Little Grebe on the Main Pond.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Thursday 5th April

Spring weather finally made an appearance today with a singing Blackcap in the Entrance Bushes further evidence of the seasons arrival. However another two Blackcap and a singing Willow Warbler were the only new migrants until late morning when an Osprey flew north, returning to fish in front of the hide 20 minutes later. Also in the estuary a Whimbrel was another new arrival with counts limited to 20 Redshank, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover, a Grey Plover, a Greenshank and the Eider. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was off the seawall with 22 Sandwich Tern offshore and a pair of Shoveler on the Main Pond.

Osprey - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The sunny weather brought out several Sand Crocus for the first time with Peacock, Red Admiral and Comma on the wing along with numerous bumblebee and hoverfly species.

 Tree Bumblebee - Alan Keatley

Sand Crocus - Alan Keatley

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Wednesday 4th April

An immature Iceland Gull was again on Finger Point over high tide sat alongside the immature drake Eider and an intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull. Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, 15 Sanderling, 11 Grey and three Ringed Plover, eight Sandwich Tern, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank and the first summer Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were offshore and a pair of Shoveler were again in the Main Pond.

Sandwich Tern - Lee Collins
 
Ringing News: although regularly suspected as a scarce Spring migrant through the Warren today's intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull was the first confirmed by a ring recovery. It was rung as a pullus at Lille Slettingen, Norway in 2009. This is the first recovery of it outside Norway.  

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Tuesday 3rd April

The first Common Tern of the year was in front of the hide this morning with 14 Sandwich Tern and a first summer Mediterranean Gull. Other counts from the estuary included 60 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Grey Plover, 16 Sanderling, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, eight Dark and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, an immature Iceland Gull, the Eider and the Slavonian Grebe.

 Common Tern - Lee Collins

Mediterranean Gull - Lee Collins

Monday, 2 April 2018

Monday 2nd April

The combination of a high spring tide swollen by the overnight rain meant areas for roosting waders were at a premium. This may have been the reason a flock of c260 Black-tailed Godwit were displaced from further up the estuary. They didn't linger though and headed back up the estuary. Unfortunately all three wader roosts were disturbed and the birds eventually displaced by a thoughtless kitesurfer sailed back and forth the lower estuary even using the Bight.

 Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot and Dunlin - Alan Keatley

Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher - Alan Keatley

Before this there was a hint of wader passage with an increase to 51 Bar-tailed Godwit and 35 Dunlin, including birds in breeding plumage. Other counts included 39 Knot, 34 Turnstone, 26 Sanderling, 26 Grey and 10 Ringed Plover, two Greenshank and the immature Eider.

Elsewhere migrants were limited to a Willow Warbler by the Main Pond and fly through Swallow, 24 Sandwich Tern and two Eider were offshore and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit was in front of the hide.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Sunday 1st April

A break in the wet weather but it remained grey and cold all day. A single Wheatear had made landfall on the Golf Course and a Chiffchaff was on Warren Point but these were the full complement of migrants for the day. An immature Iceland Gull was off John's Watch with 31 Great-crested Grebe, 29 Common Scoter, five Sandwich Tern, three Eider and single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver also offshore.

Elsewhere three Shoveler were on the Main Pond and the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 71 Curlew, 34 Turnstone, 28 Redshank, 24 Sanderling, 14 Brent Geese, seven Red-breasted Merganser and three Greenshank.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Saturday 31st March

A cold, breezy and occasional wet day but with a hint more Spring when the sun did come out. The highlights came from the direction of the northerly wind with a new first winter Glaucous Gull on Finger Point and a new immature Iceland Gull in the estuary. Also from the hide 24 Sanderling, 21 Ringed Plover, 14 Brent Geese, three Dunlin and two Grey Plover.

 Iceland Gull - Lee Collins

 Glaucous Gull - Lee Collins

Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood; now in full summer plumage, 21 Sandwich Tern and single Eider, Great Northern and Red-throated Diver were offshore and three Wheatear were new arrivals on site.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Friday 30th March

The first Willow Warbler of the year was feeding around Dead Dolphin Wood this morning, with at least five Chiffchaff on site and two Redwing in the Entrance Bushes but no other migrants were noted in the cold and wet conditions.

In the estuary the Spoonbill paid another visit to Finger Point over the morning high tide and a beast of an immature Iceland Gull was on Bull Hill as the waters receded. Counts included 43 Curlew, 21 Sanderling, 18 Shelduck and just 11 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, three Bar-tailed Godwit and two Dunlin. Elsewhere an immature drake Eider was offshore with four Sandwich Tern, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver.

Wildlife News: A young Grey Seal was offshore, the third recent sighting.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Thursday 29th March

A cold and wet morning with persistent rain didn't produce much in the way of birding highlights, a single Wheatear and seven Sandwich Tern were the only new migrants. Elsewhere an Eider was offshore, three Shoveler were on the Main Pond and wader numbers, including two Greenshank, were mostly in single figures

Wildlife News: Despite the sunny spells from midday there was not enough sunshine to coax out any Sand Crocus. The exceptional cold and wet start to Spring has also delayed butterflies and bees, last year several species of each were on the wing by now.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Wednesday 28th March

A Sandwich Tern was present over the evening tide with 71 Curlew, 21 Shelduck, 19 Snipe, 13 Redshank, 10 Brent Geese and three Greenshank. Elsewhere 26 Great-crested Grebe were offshore.

Wildlife News: The first Sand Crocus of the year was in flower.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Tuesday 27th March

Six Chiffchaff and a Redwing were on site this morning with three Shoveler on the Main Pond and a Greenshank in Shutterton Creek.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Monday 26th March

A Great Northern Diver was off John's Watch with a Golden Plover and 20+ Sanderling in front of the hide, four Shoveler on the Main Pond and a Kestrel hunting the Dune Ridge.

Wildlife News: Both Sand and Common Lizard were out today but no sign yet of the Sand Crocus.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Sunday 25th March

A day of spring vis-mig with a high total of 1196 Chaffinch heading NE during the morning, with them at least one Brambling, 27 Siskin, 89 Starling, 52 Wood Pigeon, two Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard. Grounded migrants were limited to just a couple of Wheatear and six Chiffchaff, with 11 Redwing still present.
 
Nine Pale-bellied Brent Geese dropped in front of the hide late morning, a Little Ringed Plover remained in the Bight with 21 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover, five Sandwich Tern and two Greenshank also in the estuary. Elsewhere a Lapwing was on the Golf Course, a single Red-throated Diver was offshore with 21 Common Scoter, 16 Great-crested Grebe and three Eider and three Shoveler were on the Main Pond.
 
Wildlife News: The first Comma butterflies of the year were on the wing with several Peacock and good numbers of Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Saturday 24th March

Another grey overcast and occasionally wet day but the species tally of 78 was the highest of the year as a few migrants arrive whilst wintering species linger, albeit in dwindling numbers. The unexpected highlight was the Warren's eighth Great White Egret which flew past the seawall and eventually up the estuary mid afternoon; also moving overhead three Sand Martin, 124 Meadow Pipit and a single flock of 142 Wood Pigeon, the largest ever spring count. The previous record being 63 in early-Apr 2006. Other migrants included seven Chiffchaff, five Wheatear, a Firecrest and the year's first Coal Tit.

Offshore 19 Sandwich Tern were new arrivals, with two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, 29 Common Scoter, two Eider, two Shoveler and an adult Mediterranean Gull also present. Elsewhere two Little Ringed Plover were on the flooded Golf Course, counts from the estuary included 97 Dunlin, 85 Turnstone, 54 Knot, 54 Grey Plover, 40 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 30 Sanderling,11 Red-breasted Merganser and a third Eider; with at least 14 Siskin, 10 Redwing and a Fieldfare were in the Entrance Bushes.

Little Ringed Plover - Lee Collins

Friday, 23 March 2018

Friday 23rd March

Spring is slowly arriving, but when Redwing are song it is clear the seasons are still delayed, at least half a dozen were in the Entrance Bushes with several in full voice. Other migrants on site were limited to three Chiffchaff and two Wheatear.

In the estuary the Slavonian Grebe was in Shutterton Creek, a Stock Dove was in the Railway Saltmarsh, a Golden Plover was in front of the hide and counts included 410 Oystercatcher (29 ringed birds still), 120 Curlew, 57 Redshank, 57 Turnstone, 39 Shelduck, 32 Grey Plover, 31 Sanderling, 25 Brent Geese, 22 Knot, 10 Dunlin and an Eider. Elsewhere two Sandwich Tern were off John's Watch with three Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver and a pair of Shoveler also offshore.

Golden Plover - Lee Collins

Golden Plover - Dave Jewell

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Thursday 22nd March

A grey overcast day with little hint of spring but the Little Ringed Plover was still present sharing the 7th fairway with golfers and half a dozen Ringed Plover. Other migrants included a single Wheatear, three Chiffchaff and with c130 Curlew on the Railway Saltmarsh, an early Whimbrel.

Elsewhere the Glaucous Gull was on Bull Hill late afternoon, 31 Common Scoter, an Eider, three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were off the seawall, three Shoveler and two Snipe were on the Main Pond, 13 Redwing were in Dead Dolphin Wood and counts from the estuary included 51 Redshank, 40 Turnstone, a Greenshank, an Eider and the Slavonian Grebe.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Wednesday 21st March

A restart to Spring following the snow, but although it looked like Spring with the temperature barely reaching double figures it didn't feel like it. Migrants included at least six Chiffchaff actively searching for food at ground level and a single Wheatear in Greenland Lake, but the Warren's earliest ever Little Ringed Plover was a surprise on the Golf Course.

Little Ringed Plover - Alan Keatley
 In the estuary a Spoonbill was on Finger Point at high tide with 64 Curlew and 11 Sanderling but other counts weren't possible as everything was flushed by people in high vis yellow chemical suits on Warren Point... Elsewhere five Shoveler were on the Main Pond, a Great Northern Diver was off John's Watch and four Redwing remain in the Entrance Bushes.

Spoonbill - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The sunny weather brought out a few insects but the temperature limited numbers. Several queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee and a Peacock were on the wing and the early spring hoverfly Cheilosia grossa was foraging on Sallow in the Buffer Zone. This is new species for the recording area, which has very few Devon sites.

Cheilosia grossa - Alan Keatley

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Tuesday 20th March

The first winter Glaucous Gull was roosting with 10 Great Black-backed Gull, 147 Curlew, 17 Cormorant and the Eider on Finger Point. Elsewhere two Golden and eight Ringed Plover were feeding on the Golf Course, 70 Dunlin, 60 Brent Geese and 28 Sanderling were in front of the hide. Greenland Lake held two Wheatear, 10 Meadow Pipit and a Stonechat with a Chiffchaff, eight Redwing and two Fieldfare in the bushes and four Shoveler on the Main Pond.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Monday 19th March

Around 20cms of snow was on site first thing but soon started to melt, other evidence of yesterday's weather was included a Woodcock, 37 Golden Plover, including a flock of 25 west, 11 Redwing and two Fieldfare; though a record count of seven Cirl Bunting may also have been linked to the cold.

 Fieldfare - Simon Thurgood

Golden Plover - Simon Thurgood

Elsewhere a/the? Cetti's Warbler, four Chiffchaff and three Shoveler were around the Main Pond, the immature male Eider was on Finger Point and counts from the estuary included 546 Oystercatcher, 220 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, c200 Dunlin, 141 Curlew, 63 Grey Plover, 51 Knot, 37 Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Sanderling and four Wigeon.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sunday 18th March

A day of heavy snow from 10.30am to dusk although not as bitterly cold as earlier in the month. A lone Golden Plover hiding behind a bramble clump in Greenland Lake was the prelude to another extraordinary and unseasonal cold weather movement. Flocks of Golden Plover passed through SW, regularly all day from c.11:00. In the evening, small flocks returned NE to join a massive roost in The Bight, which at dusk had reached on unprecedented 689. The day's total of 1686 is the second highest count ever and surpasses the site's total bird-days up until the end of 2017.

Also moving west during the day two Woodlark, a Yellowhammer, 2161 Fieldfare, 1290 Redwing, 175 Meadow Pipit, 130 Black-headed Gull, 20 Snipe, 15 Skylark, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, just nine Lapwing and a Mistle Thrush.

Elsewhere four Chiffchaff were attempting to find food in the snow, the Glaucous Gull was on Finger Point, counts from the estuary included 496 Oystercatcher, 214 Dunlin, 102 Curlew, a notable increase, 73 Grey Plover, 47 Knot, 13 Sanderling and a Ringed Plover.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Saturday 17th March

The first winter Glaucous Gull was again around the seawall in the afternoon with single Eider and Great Northern Diver also offshore. Elsewhere the arrival of snow did not result in any noticeable movement but a littoralis Rock Pipit was in the Bight and counts from the estuary included 404 Oystercatcher, 139 Brent Geese, 110 Dunlin, 74 Grey Plover, 54 Knot, 31 Shelduck, 25 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Sanderling and the Slavonian Grebe.

Ringing News: Two recoveries from the Oystercatcher Project in the last week, both from overseas.  V7 was at Zwevegem, Belgium on 16 Mar, having been recorded three times at the Warren since ringing, most recently on 18 Feb. The second (7K) was at Eastern Scheldt, Netherlands on 12 Mar which was at the Warren on 05 & 20 Feb.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Friday 16th March

A single Swallow flying east along the Dune Ridge and a couple of singing Chiffchaff hinted at the arrival of spring but a first winter Iceland Gull that joined last weekend's first winter Glaucous Gull on Langstone Rock and a Woodcock flushed from the Golf Course showed that winter is not done yet. Elsewhere 240 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 47 Knot and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary, two Great Northern Diver were off John's Watch and two Rook and a Siskin passed overhead.

 Iceland Gull - Dave Jewell

 Glaucous Gull - Dave Jewell

Sanderling - Dave Jewell

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Thursday 15th March

A single Wheatear was along the seawall with six Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the Golf Course the only other obvious migrants. Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver were offshore, a Siskin was in the Entrance Bushes and counts from the estuary included 64 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 24 Shelduck and a Greenshank.

 Wheatear - Alan Keatley

Pale-bellied Brent Geese - Alan Keatley

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tuesday 13th March

A quick morning visit showed four Great Northern Diver off John's Watch with two Rook overhead and the overdue first migrant Chiffchaff in the Entrance Bushes.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Monday 12th March

At least two Wheatear made landfall with singles by the Main Pond and along the seawall. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore but no other news was received.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Sunday 11th March

The first two Sand Martin of the year flew in off the sea this morning, with 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull and a highflying Grey Heron also on the move north; a male Wheatear in front of the hide was further evidence of the changing seasons.

Counts from the estuary included 201 Dunlin, 95 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 70 Knot, 40 Snipe, 30 Turnstone, three Sanderling and single Slavonian Grebe, Lapwing and Golden Plover. Elsewhere three Great Northern Diver were off John's Watch, two Red-throated Diver were off the seawall and two Siskin, a Jay and a Redwing were in the Entrance Bushes.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Saturday 10th March

An immature Glaucous Gull was off Langstone Rock until mid afternoon, a different bird to last week so the fourth of the winter. Also offshore two Great Northern Diver, 24 Great-crested Grebe and 18 Common Scoter. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood and a Shoveler remains on the Main Pond.


Glaucous Gull - both Luke Harman
 
 


 Gull or hybrid gull considered to be or involve Larus glaucoides spp - all Luke Harman

Present for a couple of hours and very confiding at times, this striking gull foraged among a melee of mixed gulls around Langstone Rock this afternoon.  Structurally like Iceland Gull, 10% smaller than Herring Gull with a more rounded head, kind expression, small dark eye, light built bill and long primary projection, but plumage-wise, clearly not.  That said, these features do indicate lineage from somewhere along the Larus glaucoides cline.
 
The dark primaries suggest Thayer's Gull but the scallop-banded tail, mottled tertials and various other things eliminate this subspecies. The rather dark, broad and faintly block-barred secondary bar, and some smudginess and speckling on the inner and primary webs are an added complication.  As was the contrast between its pure white mantle and flanks with its faint grey-brown hood and small speckled head and neck, although the colour of the mantle and some other feathers suggest partial albinism. This is a bird seemingly made up of random parts, but what is it? Is it a dark Kumlien's, Kumlien's x Thayer's or even Iceland x Herring hybrid?  Thoughts welcome, thanks.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Friday 9th March

An adult Iceland Gull was off the seawall around midday with an Eider and six Great-crested Grebe also offshore. In the estuary three Snipe and two Lapwing were in front of the hide with 146 Knot, 59 Grey and nine Ringed Plover.

Lapwing - Alan Keatley
 
 Snipe - Alan Keatley
 
Elsewhere a drake Shoveler was on the Main Pond and a few cold weather refugees still on site with a Fieldfare and six Redwing in Dead Dolphin Wood.

 Redwing - Alan Keatley

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Thursday 8th March

A brief visit today saw a couple of Great Northern Diver offshore, plenty of resident breeding species in song and at least six of the Warren ringed and an Icelandic ringed Oystercatcher still present.

 Oystercatcher 9U - Alan Keatley

Linnet - Alan Keatley

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Wednesday 7th March

No news from today but some images from recent days.

 Skylark

 Sanderling

 Lapwing - Dave Jewell

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Tuesday 6th March

The first Wheatear of the year was on Warren Point, along with 17 Golden Plover. A Sandwich Tern remained around the hide with 390 Dunlin, 160 Bar-tailed Godwit, 121 Grey Plover, 64 Brent Geese, 36 Shelduck, 10 Sanderling and a Lapwing also in the estuary. Elsewhere  three Great Northern Diver, the Eider and nine Great-crested Grebe offshore, a Cirl Bunting was singing along the Back Path and the three Great-spotted Woodpecker continue to chase each other around site.

 Eider - Martin Rooney

Stonechat - Martin Rooney

Monday 5th March

Four Woodlark were reported today but no other news was received.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Sunday 4th March

Three Woodlark in the Buffer Zone most of the day were the highlight, this species is most often recorded here passing overhead and these were the first since 2014.


Woodlark - both Luke Harman

Other cold weather arrivals included at least two Woodcock, 87 Lapwing, 32 Golden Plover, 15 Redwing, six Fieldfare and two Mistle Thrush. The year's first Sandwich Tern, the earliest migrant since 2008, hinted at the promise of Spring, whilst other counts from the estuary included 622 Oystercatcher, 497 Dunlin, 166 Bar-tailed Godwit, 48 Knot, two Avocet, a Great Northern Diver and the Slavonian Grebe.

 Sandwich Tern - Alan Keatley

Elsewhere large numbers of gulls were feeding around the beaches with 95 Lesser Black-backed and 55 Common and three Mediterranean Gull; two Great Northern Diver and an Eider were off John's Watch, single Jackdaw and Raven were overhead. A count of dead birds following the cold weather revealed 109 Lapwing, 34 Golden Plover and single Redshank, Little Egret and Avocet. The totals of the first two species exceed the number of live records here between 2011 & 2017.