Friday, 20 April 2018

Friday 20th April

Another scorching day but with a few more migrant arrivals than yesterday. The highlight were at least two Grasshopper Warbler reeling on site with two Whitethroat and six Wheatear. Elsewhere 11 Sanderling and a Dunlin were in the estuary and a late Siskin and a Buzzard were overhead, although several Red Kite over Exmouth failed to make it into Warren airspace.

Chiffchaff - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: Large numbers of the Sandpit Mining Bee (Andrena barbilabris) were flying low over areas of bare sand in the Buffer Zone and Greenland Lake with a colony of Yellow-legged Mining Bee (Andrena flavipes) discovered at the car park roundabout along with their cuckoo bee species Painted Nomad Bee (Nomada fucata). Elsewhere the first Small Tortoiseshell of the year were on the wing and Sand Crocus continues to flower.


Painted Nomad Bee Nomada fucata - Alan Keatley

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Thursday 19th April

A hot sunny day was more like mid summer than spring. Migrants were limited but a Reed Warbler was singing at the Main Pond whilst overhead single Yellow Wagtail, Sand Martin and Swallow passed through. In the estuary 11 Pale-bellied Brent Geese paused briefly before being flushed by a helicopter low over the site, other counts included 45 Dunlin, 44 Turnstone, 12 Sanderling, four Whimbrel and a Ringed Plover.

 Pale-bellied Brent Geese - Alan Keatley

Wildlife News: The weather brought out good numbers of insects with Speckled Wood, Peacock and Comma on the wing as well as the first St Mark's Flies of the year. The Sand Crocus remains out in numbers along with Upright Chickweed and Shepherd's Cress.

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.