April 2006

Click here for 2006 Year List






Report sightings



Sunday 30th:


There continues to be good feeding conditions offshore with 200+ auks, mostly Razorbill and 100+ Manx Shearwater present all day. The shearwaters were part off a flock of 500+ that were present in the bay, mostly off Straight Point, Exmouth. Also offshore 21 Common Scoter, 14 Eider, four Red-throated Diver, a drake Tufted Duck, c40 Sandwich, 15+ Common, 14+ Arctic and three Little Tern. The terns were best seen over high tide when they were feeding much closer to shore. Waders continue to move through with 63 Dunlin, 23 Ringed Plover, 20+ Whimbrel, 13 Sanderling, nine Grey Plover, seven Knot, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, a Turnstone and, on the seawall, a Common Sandpiper. The highlight though were two Avocet, seen flying offshore and resting on the sea. Several groups of Brent Geese also passed through, with a mixed flock of 21 earlier being seen over Ferrybridge, Dorset. In total there were a minimum of 14 Dark-bellied and 14 Pale-bellied birds. Other records included a small influx of Common Gull with 16 birds, a Yellow Wagtail overhead and five Wheatear in Greenland Lake.



Saturday 29th:


Large numbers of birds were feeding offshore this morning with at least 180 Manx Shearwater and 30 Razorbill along with similar numbers of Kittiwake and Gannet. Two Arctic, a Common and a Little Tern were in amongst c40 Sandwich Tern. Also offshore 12 Eider, seven Common Scoter and five Red-throated Diver; two more Red-throated Diver and two diver sp also flew south. Migrants were again scarce with only a Willow Warbler on Warren Point and a Wheatear at the hide, overhead though there were 42 Swallow, six Sand and two House Martin with single Yellow Wagtail, Collared Dove, Rook and Jackdaw all east. In the estuary wader numbers included 49 Dunlin, 28+ Whimbrel, 15 Ringed Plover, four Bar-tailed Godwit and two Sanderling with a lone Dark-bellied Brent Goose still present. Elsewhere a Grey Plover was at Langstone Rock, a Buzzard flew west and a Great Northern Diver flew high north up river.



Friday 28th:


Few migrants were in the bushes but in the estuary there were 100+ Dunlin, with small numbers in from south throughout the morning, also present 20 Whimbrel, 14 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 60+ Pale-bellied Brent Geese in off the sea and north up river. Elsewhere five Red-throated Diver, 45+ Sandwich and 13 "commic" Tern were offshore with 30 Manx Shearwater east and 50+ Swallow flew east along the Dune Ridge.



Thursday 27th:


No news was received for today.



Wednesday 26th:


The highlight of the day was a Jay, which flew along the Back Path and into Dead Dolphin Wood, the first of the year. On site there were the following counts of summer migrants, all now presumed to be on territory, 12+ Whitethroat, six Reed Warbler, five Blackcap, four Willow Warbler and three Chiffchaff, other migrants were in short supply with 16 Swallow, nine Swift, two Sand and a House Martin all passing through. At least 59 Whimbrel passed through today with a flock of c20 Black-tailed Godwit on Cockle sands an unusual record, the only other waders seen were four Dunlin. Offshore there were 29 Eider, 25+ distant auk sp, 10 Common Scoter, four Great-crested Grebe and three Red-throated Diver. elsewhere seven Buzzard drifted over on thermals, some displaying over the site and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose remains in Shutterton Creek.



Tuesday 25th:


Offshore 12 Manx Shearwater flew south with 20 Eider and a Red-throated Diver on the sea and nine Sandwich and an Arctic Tern feeding off the estuary mouth.  Elsewhere migrants included at least 11 Wheatear, two Sedge Warbler and a Swift, 46 Whimbrel flew in off the sea and up the estuary, with 11 others and three Dunlin in the Bight, a Raven flew over and seven Mallard chicks were on the Main Pond.



Monday 24th:


Reported highlights included the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year along the Back Path, a Whinchat in Greenland Lake, two Sedge Warbler still singing in Dead Dolphin Wood, a Common Sandpiper on the Main Pond, a Great Skua high east along the Dune Ridge and the first Golden Plover of the year, a very scarce April record.



Sunday 23rd:


Another good day for migrants with at least 25 Whitethroat, five Wheatear, two Sedge Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler on site. The first Cuckoo of the year was on Warren Point, where a Redstart was watched flying in off the sea before landing in one of the Sycamores. In the Bight a Little Ringed Plover was the first of the year, also present 18 Whimbrel, three Bar-tailed Godwit and 55 Pale-bellied Brent Geese. Elsewhere a Little Tern was offshore with four Red-throated Diver and four Yellow Wagtail flew over with the year's first Hobby seen heading west.



Saturday 22nd:


The only news received for today was of the first Whinchat of the year.



Friday 21st:


Migrants continue to arrive with the first Redstart of the year, a female, along the back path and the first Sedge Warbler singing near Dead Dolphin Wood. Also on site at least 12 Whitethroat, 12 Willow Warbler, three Wheatear, three Blackcap and two Reed Warbler. Overhead there were 75+ Swallow and 15+ Goldfinch east, with five House and a single Sand Martin, three Rook west, a Yellow Wagtail over the seawall and 15+ Dunlin and 10 Black-headed Gull north. Offshore 25+ Common Scoter, nine Manx Shearwater, seven Fulmar and 53 auk sp flew south before 8.30, another 20+ Common Scoter were on the sea with 25 Eider, 13 Great-crested Grebe and six Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere at least 24 Whimbrel passed through with seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese on Cockle Sands, a Dark-bellied Brent in Shutterton Creek, three Teal on the Main Pond, two Turnstone and Grey Plover in the Bight, 29 Sandwich Tern offshore with single Common and Little Tern and a Peregrine over Warren Point.



Thursday 20th:


An increase in wader numbers today with 57 Ringed Plover, 32 Dunlin, four Whimbrel and three Sanderling over the high tide. Offshore there were 25+ Gannet, with six Common and only three Sandwich Tern.



Wednesday 19th:


Highlight of the day, and year so far, was the first recording area record of Purple Heron. First seen flying over Greenland Lake, it had possibly been disturbed from the Main Pond by kite-flyers and flew back west over the pond, the kites appeared to stop it from landing and it carried on west being mobbed by gulls. It appeared to land west of the railway but could not be relocated. Offshore 103 Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew in from the south east, with 38 settling off Cockle Sands the other two groups settling on the sea. This is the largest group on site recorded since May 1932. Also offshore 35 Sandwich Tern were feeding with five Little and a Common Tern, nine Red-throated Diver with four more flying south, 21 Eider and 12 Great-crested Grebe with two Whimbrel in off and 15 Gannet and 92 Common Scoter south. Migrants included 16 Wheatear between Greenland Lake and Warren Point, a Grasshopper Warbler by the Main Pond, two Reed Warbler, singles at the First and Main Ponds, a Whitethroat and a Yellow Wagtail flew over Warren Point.



Tuesday 18th:


A promising start to the day with seawatching between 6.45 to 7.30am producing the first Great Skua of the year south with two Common and a Little Tern. Also 11 Wheatear were seen coming in off the sea in five small groups. However with the exception of the first Reed Warbler of the year at the First Pond and an additional 14 Wheatear, giving a minimum of 25 birds on site, the day did not live up to expectations.  Warbler totals included just eight Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff and a single Blackcap, all around Greenland Lake, many of these are now holding territory, rather than passage birds. Overhead there was a continuing small movement of Wood Pigeon with just over 35 going east, also a Swift flew through with 55+ Swallow, two House and two Sand Martin. Elsewhere 50+ Sandwich Tern were offshore with two Little Tern; three Red-throated Diver, three Razorbill and a Guillemot were on the sea, two Dunlin and a Whimbrel flew north and a Water Rail was by the Main Pond.


Monday 17th:


The second Osprey of the week flew in over Warren Point and up the estuary at 13.20. Despite a good count of 18 Willow Warbler, migrants were thin on the ground today with two Wheatear the only other new arrivals. Overhead passage was also light with 23 Wood Pigeon east, 22 Swallow, although more continued to pass throughout the day, 16 Meadow Pipit, 15+ Linnet in off the sea, two Sand Martin and three Yellow Wagtail. Offshore there were 12 Common Tern with 35 Eider, 28 Common Scoter, six Manx Shearwater south, five Red-throated Diver, three Razorbill and two Slavonian Grebe. Wader numbers included 25 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling and a Grey Plover with at least 35 Whimbrel through. Elsewhere two Raven flew high over before landing on Warren Point, a Teal was on the Main Pond and two Dark-bellied Brent were in the Bight.



Sunday 16th:


A slight lull in proceedings with a clear out of many of the migrants overnight, however a Grasshopper Warbler was heard briefly and seven Whitethroat were still on site. The first Tree Pipit of the year was heard overhead but with only four Meadow Pipit and three Rook there was little else moving apart from 60 Swallow through before midday with six House and a single Sand Martin. A cracking summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe offshore was a surprise also new in on the sea was a single Velvet Scoter with c45 Common Scoter. Other counts offshore included 31 Eider, six Red-throated Diver, three Slavonian Grebe, but only one Common Tern. Whimbrel continue to pass through with at least 194 during the day, 59 Turnstone on the beach were also new arrivals, with them were 10 Dunlin, three Grey Plover and a Sanderling. Other records included two Peregrine over Warren Pont, a pair of Teal on the Main Pond, two Little Tern north over the Dune Ridge before heading out to sea and 27 Pale-bellied Brent in off the sea with a single Dark-bellied, these flew up the estuary before moving to Mudbank Lane, Exmouth, they had been seen earlier in the morning off the Fleet, Dorset. The regular two Pale-bellied Brent remain with seven Dark-bellied birds in Shutterton Creek.



Saturday 15th:


Another good spring day with the overcast conditions producing another four new species for the year. The best of these was a male Osprey, circling Shutterton Creek around 11am, before heading upriver and being seen at Exminster 40mins later. The low cloud was good for visible migration with six Yellow Wagtail east during the day along with an early Swift, 52+ Swallow, 11 Sand and two House Martin. Grounded migrants included a Grasshopper Warbler, 12+ Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, six Whitethroat, four Wheatear and three Blackcap. There was also an increase in birds offshore with 72 Common Tern feeding in the estuary mouth with at least 13 Little Tern and the first Arctic Tern of the year. On the sea there were 22 Eider, 14+ Great-crested Grebe, 12 Common Scoter and three Slavonian Grebe, whilst passing south there were 150 auk sp, before 8am, c50 Common Scoter, six Fulmar and five Manx Shearwater with 45 Gannet north. Wader counts, including birds passing through north, included 24 Turnstone, 22 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 17 Whimbrel, two Grey Plover, two Sanderling with single Knot and Snipe. Other records included 15 Pale-bellied Brent Geese south, with a single Dark-bellied, the two regular Pale-bellied remained in the estuary with 15 Dark-bellied Brent, two Common Sandpiper on the beach, a displaying pair of Sparrowhawk, a drake Pintail high north and a Grey Heron high east.



Friday 14th:


An good spring day with the highlights four new species for the year, two of these were in Greenland Lake with two Grasshopper Warbler heard reeling and a single singing Whitethroat, other migrants on site today included eight Willow Warbler, including birds holding territory, seven Wheatear and a Blackcap with 37 Swallow and three House Martin through. Offshore the first seven Little Tern of the year performed well, with two Common and 70+ Sandwich Tern, on the sea there were two Red-throated Diver, 34 Eider, 17 Great-crested and two Slavonian Grebe. Seawatching early morning produced 42 auk sp south in half an hour with three Razorbill and a Guillemot identified, also passing south during the morning 10 Common Scoter, four Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver. The fourth year tick were three Common Sandpiper on the beach, other waders today included 15 Whimbrel, mostly in off the sea, 14 Ringed Plover, five Turnstone, a Dunlin and a Greenshank.  Elsewhere the two Pale-bellied Brent were in the Bight with 12 Dark-bellied birds, a pair of Sparrowhawk were again present, two Peregrine and Buzzard flew over and a Green Woodpecker was again heard on the Golf Course.


Wheatear April John Fortey



Thursday 13th:


At least 15 Great-crested Grebe were offshore with 40+ Gannet, 32 Eider, eight Red-throated Diver and two Slavonian Grebe. A slight increase in wader numbers was evident over high tide with 44 Ringed Plover, eight Dunlin and a Sanderling present on Warren Point; 50 Curlew and a single Whimbrel were on Finger Point. Elsewhere the two Pale-bellied Brent were in the Bight with eight Dark-bellied Brent Geese and nine Teal and two Whimbrel were in Shutterton Creek.



Wednesday 12th:


The highlight was a presumed Red-legged Partridge, flushed from the Dune Ridge before flying into Greenland Lake. This is only the tenth site record, five of which have been between 11-16th April, an established vagrancy pattern! Offshore at least 33 Eider remain with six Great-crested Grebe, five Common Scoter, four Red-throated Diver and a Slavonian Grebe. Over the high tide there were 23 Dark-bellied Brent and the two Pale-bellied Brent in the Bight, 14 Curlew on Finger Point with two Dunlin and a Grey Plover; three Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit were in Shutterton Creek. Elsewhere five Chiffchaff and five Willow Warbler were in the Greenland Lake area.



Tuesday 11th:


The highlight were the first migrant Whimbrel of the year with four in off the sea, a fifth bird was in the Railway Saltmarsh, other wader numbers remain low, excepting the ever present Oystercatcher. Counts over the high tide produced 19 Curlew, 11 Ringed Plover, seven Knot, five Black-tailed Godwit and three Turnstone plus single Dunlin, Sanderling and Grey Plover. Also over high tide the two Pale-bellied Brent were in the Bight with 36 Dark-bellied birds. Offshore there was a light passage of birds south consisting 50+ Kittiwake (perhaps feeding birds from the colony at Straight Point), 37 Common Scoter and 25+ auk sp with single Manx Shearwater, Great Northern and Red-throated Diver. On the sea there were 21 Eider, 15+ Common Scoter, 12 Great-crested Grebe, five Red-throated Diver, five Razorbill, four Guillemot and two summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere there were 10 Wheatear on site with three Willow Warbler and a Swallow the only other migrants.


Slavonian Grebe April John Fortey



Monday 10th:


A very quiet day with six Willow Warbler, two Swallow over the Main Pond and 10 Eider offshore the only records of note.



Sunday 9th:


Apart from the first Green Woodpecker of the year, heard on the Golf Course, the only records came from the sea, where 64+ Red-breasted Merganser roosted with 18 Eider, 15 Common Scoter, seven Great-crested and a summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe.


Saturday 8th:


Offshore there were at least 20 Manx Shearwater in four very distant small parties, the first of the year also a large number of Gannet, 26+ Sandwich Tern, one Red-throated Diver south, with two more on sea, four Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver.  Elsewhere on site, the first Blackcap of the year was around the Main Pond, with at least six Willow Warbler. There was little movement overhead with single figure counts of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit, with at least 10 Swallow, two House Martin, four Rook and single Raven and Buzzard. Elsewhere a pair of Sparrowhawk displayed well over Greenland Lake.



Friday 7th:


At least 42 Red-breasted Merganser roosted offshore this evening with 16 Eider, four Slavonian Grebe, three Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver, with 30 Brent Goose at Langstone Rock. Migrants included 14 Willow Warbler and six Chiffchaff on site, mostly around the Main Pond and Dead Dolphin Wood, two Swallow by the Visitor Centre and a Wheatear by the hide. Also from the hide 157+ Oystercatcher, 37 Brent Geese, 37 Turnstone, eight Ringed Plover and two Little Egret.



Thursday 6th:


No news was received for today.



Wednesday 5th:


A much quieter day with the highlight the first House Martin of the year, over the Main Pond with at least 13 Sand Martin and good numbers of Swallow. In the Bight there were 43 Brent Geese, 30 Turnstone, 11 Ringed Plover, three Grey Plover and a Dunlin. Offshore there were 42 Eider, 12 Slavonian Grebe and five Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere a Water Rail was at the First Pond with an early brood of Mallard and a Sparrowhawk flew through.


Tuesday 4th:


The overnight frost gave an autumnal feel to the morning and this was enhanced by overhead finch movements. Visible migration up to 10am gave totals of 51+ Chaffinch, 45 Greenfinch, 38 Siskin, a record spring count, 24 Linnet and two Goldfinch east with 63+ Wood Pigeon  and a Bullfinch west. Other migrants overhead included a Great Northern Diver high east, four Swallow and a Collared Dove east with three Raven and a Rook west. Also overhead three Buzzard, two Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel, the highlight though was a Short-eared Owl which flew west along the back path. There was no sign of yesterday's Kentish Plover with 18 Ringed Plover and three Dunlin the only small waders at the high tide. Migrants included a goods count of 15+ Willow Warbler, 13+ Wheatear and four Chiffchaff. Elsewhere 51 Brent Geese were in the Bight, the two pale-bellied Brent were however on the Starcross golf course, a Teal was in Shutterton Creek and offshore there were four Slavonian Grebe, an Eider and a Red-throated Diver.



Monday 3rd:


The highlight was a female Kentish Plover in the Bight with 16 Ringed Plover, it was present for only ten minutes before flying to Warren Point, one of the earliest site records. Otherwise there was little change on site, offshore there were 15 Eider, five Slavonian Grebe, four Great-crested Grebe and two Red-throated Diver, with six Common Scoter and 25+ Sandwich Tern flying south.  Five Willow Warbler were around the Main Pond where there was a pair of Canada Geese nest building, a Little Grebe and a singing Reed Bunting. Elsewhere there were two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Swallow, a Sand Martin and a Wheatear with 157 Curlew and a late Snipe in the saltmarsh.



Sunday 2nd:


The trickle of migrants continued with five Willow Warbler and two Chiffchaff in Dead Dolphin Wood, two Swallow through, a Rook west and four Wheatear on site. Offshore there was an early morning passage of 50+ Kittiwake with others lingering all day, three Red-throated Diver also flew south with two others on the sea with five Slavonian Grebe. In the estuary there were  70 Brent Geese, including two pale-bellied birds, 30 Sandwich Tern and 13 Ringed Plover. Elsewhere nine Grey Plover flew in off the sea.



Saturday 1st:


A few migrants appeared with the improved weather, at least one Willow Warbler was around the Main Pond with up to five Chiffchaff, a Swallow flew east and at least 13 Wheatear were also on site. In the estuary there were c20 Sandwich Tern and the year's first Common Tern, the earliest ever for the recording area. Migrants overhead included a Stock Dove, another first for the year, a Collared Dove, a Sparrowhawk and three Buzzard. Other raptors on site included four Peregrine, another two Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. There was still little or no movement offshore but on the sea there were five Red-throated Diver, seven Slavonian Grebe, 15 Common Scoter, 13 Eider and a Guillemot. Other records included an eighth Slavonian Grebe and 25+ Red-breasted Merganser in the estuary and a Black-tailed Godwit on the Railway Saltmarsh.



Back | March 2006| Home