April 2008

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Wednesday 30th:


The month ended with a continuing lack of passerine migrants and just one Swift and a few Swallow passing through but offshore there was a large feeding group of 111 'commic' tern, at least one of these was an Arctic Tern but virtually all the others were Common Tern. These had moved on by evening but a flock of eight Common and the year's first Roseate Tern flew in from the south after 7pm. Also offshore a Great Northern Diver flew south, whilst on the sea there were c50 Common Scoter, at least six Manx Shearwater and a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver. In the estuary a summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe in Shutterton Creek was a surprise, six Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew and wader counts included 45 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, two Sanderling and a Knot.


Slavonian Grebe Roger Treeby



Tuesday 29th:


A female Black Redstart, the first of the year, on the roof of the amusements was a surprise, especially considering the continued dearth of migrants, a Wheatear on the sea wall being the only other arrival. At least offshore there were some birds to look at with feeding flocks of 37 Sandwich, 10 Common and four Little Tern, 60 Common Scoter and 27 Shag. The more distant flocks attracted in two lingering Arctic Skua.  Also offshore five Manx Shearwater moved south this morning along with five Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver. In the estuary there was an Arctic Tern in the Bight with 112 Dunlin, 12 Knot, 12 Ringed Plover, eight Sanderling, eight Turnstone, two Grey Plover and a Greenshank. Elsewhere 56 Whimbrel were on the beach with another 30+ north during the morning, two Jackdaw and a Rook passed overhead.


Monday 28th:


A Garden Warbler singing in the Buffer Zone was new for the year and the the Sedge Warbler was still at the First Pond otherwise the bushes were devoid of new migrants.  Offshore there were several distant feeding flocks with 40+ Manx Shearwater present amongst the gulls and terns. When closer inshore amongst 30+ Common Tern, three Little and at least two Arctic Tern could be picked out. Also offshore two Red-throated Diver, 60 Common Scoter and two Great-crested Grebe.  In the estuary late evening there were 77 Dunlin, 48 Whimbrel, 13 Grey Plover, nine Ringed Plover, three Sanderling, two Knot, single Black and Bar-tailed Godwit and a Redshank. Elsewhere two Peregrine and a Swift were overhead.


Sunday 27th:


Once again the forecast overnight rain failed to appear and the hoped for migrants were thin on the ground, a Sedge Warbler by the First pond was the best on offer, other counts included 16 Whitethroat, 10 Chiffchaff, eight Blackcap, four Reed Warbler, two Willow Warbler and a Wheatear, although many of them will now be summer residents. Overhead there were 40 Swallow, three House Martin, two Swift, a Sand Martin and a Buzzard. Offshore there were again good numbers of feeding birds the highlight being a group of five Balearic Shearwater, a Little Gull, a pale phase Arctic Skua, a Manx Shearwater, 35+ Common, two Arctic and a Little Tern, most of which left south late afternoon. Also offshore 23 Common Scoter, four Great-crested Grebe,  four Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver. counts from the high tide included 90 Dunlin, 22 Grey Plover, 18 Whimbrel, 12 Knot and two Sanderling.



Saturday 26th:


Feeding flocks offshore included a Balearic Shearwater, a dark phase Arctic Skua, 19 Common, 15 Sandwich, three Little and two Arctic Tern. Also offshore 25 Common Scoter, two Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, one of which headed north up the estuary. Other migrants included 29 Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the estuary, where wader counts included of 330 Oystercatcher, 30 Whimbrel, 22 Grey Plover, 12 Knot, six Sanderling and six Dunlin. Elsewhere 24 Wheatear were on the Golf Course and a female Merlin flew through.



Friday 25th:


A first summer Little Gull was feeding offshore with 50+ Sandwich, 23 Common, one Little and an Arctic Tern, also on the sea four Great-crested Grebe and three Red-throated Diver. Counts from the estuary included 39 Whimbrel, 20 Grey and 16 Ringed Plover, 11 Knot, 10 Turnstone, eight Dunlin, three Bar-tailed Godwit and three Sanderling. Elsewhere 17 Wheatear were the most obvious migrants but the Great-spotted Woodpecker and some of the 10 Whitethroat may have been passing through, the four Reed Warbler and four Blackcap are probably holding territory.



Thursday 24th:


The Nightingale was heard again briefly early morning, with a single Sedge Warbler the only other notable passerine migrant. Other records included a flock of 43 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, a Great Northern Diver, 50 Common Scoter, eight Redshank and seven Common Tern.



Wednesday 23rd:


The highlight was a singing Nightingale in the Tractor Compound early morning, the first reserve record since August 2000 and only the eighth record. Other migrants however virtually nonexistent.  Offshore there were still 25 Common and 60+ Sandwich Tern with two Little and the first Arctic Tern of the year. Also offshore two Little Gull, c60 Common Scoter, 12 Red-breasted Merganser and two Great-crested Grebe. In the estuary there were 60 Dunlin, 40+ Whimbrel, 30 Grey Plover, 20 Knot, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, and two Ringed Plover.



Tuesday 22nd:


Migrant news included the first Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat of the year, the latter near the car park.  Also on site a male Redstart by the Wryneck Path, two Reed Warbler at the Main Pond and 10 Whitethroat. Offshore the first Black Tern of the year was present with 43 Common and 60+ Sandwich Tern until early afternoon. Also offshore 55 Common Scoter, two Great-crested Grebe and a Great Northern Diver. In the estuary there were 150+ Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover, 15 Whimbrel and a Brent Goose.



Monday 21st:


A quieter day migrant wise but the first Whinchat of the year appeared briefly on the Dune Ridge, other migrants included 10 Willow Warbler, eight Wheatear, six Whitethroat and two Reed Warbler.  55 Common Scoter were offshore where there were over 150 Sandwich and 12 Common Tern. In the estuary counts included 120 Dunlin, 55 Bar-tailed Godwit and 35 Ringed Plover.



Sunday 20th:


An over night fall brought in a variety of fresh migrants with the highlight being two male Redstart, at the Cuckoo's Nest and along the Back Path, elsewhere there were counts of 20 Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff, seven Blackcap, six Whitethroat, four Wheatear and two Reed Warbler. The first Tree Pipit of the year passed overhead along with 319 Swallow, 73 Linnet, 61 House Martin, 47 Goldfinch, 29 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 12 Sand Martin, five Meadow Pipit, four Yellow Wagtail, two Swift, two Siskin, a Greenfinch and a Rock Pipit. Seawatching produced a Balearic Shearwater flew east along with a Great Skua, 135+ Sandwich and 12 Common Tern, 15 Common and eight Black-headed Gull. Also offshore 70 Common Scoter, 35 Gannet, a female Eider and a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver. The second Great Northern Diver of the weekend flew in off the sea and headed north. In the estuary counts over the high tide included 106 Dunlin, 86 Bar-tailed Godwit, 57+ Whimbrel, 34 Knot, 31 Ringed Plover, 30 Grey Plover, 30 Curlew, six Dark-bellied Brent Geese, five Turnstone, four Sanderling and a Redshank.


Wheatear 20/04/08 Simon Thurgood            Whitethroat 20/04/08 Simon Thurgood                  'Tundra' Ringed Plover 20/04/08 Lee Collins



Saturday 19th:


Seawatching was again quiet with two Manx Shearwater east, a single Common Tern and a Great Northern Diver that came in from south and flew up river the only notable sightings. Wader counts over the high tide included 79 Bar-tailed Godwit, 61 Dunlin, 27 Knot, 27 Ringed Plover, including several tundrae race birds,  25 Grey Plover, five Whimbrel, three Sanderling and two Redshank. Passerine migrants were limited to two Whitethroat on site and a Wheatear by the hide.



Friday 18th:


Seawatching early morning was largely uneventful despite the strong NE winds. However a pair of Shoveler and a Great Northern Diver flew east, with two Common Tern were present off the seawall with c30 Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere the highlight was a drake Pochard which flew in off the sea, over Greenland Lake and into the estuary.



Thursday 17th:


In strong easterlies seawatching produced five Little Gull east, along with three Great Skua, five Manx Shearwater, 30+ Sandwich Tern and 30+ Fulmar. The first Swift of the year was over Greenland Lake were two Whitethroat were present but the site was blown out and observers too sandblasted to find other migrants.



Wednesday 16th:


The first good fall of the spring brought three firsts for the year in the shape of a female Redstart, a singing Reed Warbler, both at the Main Pond, and a Yellow Wagtail over Warren Point. Other migrants included 12+ Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, three Blackcap, two Whitethroat and a Wheatear. Offshore a group of five Balearic Shearwater flew east early morning with four Manx Shearwater, eight Common Tern and a first summer Mediterranean Gull. Also offshore c20 Common Scoter and in the evening a Great Skua and five more Manx Shearwater. In the estuary counts at the high tide included 21 Knot, 12 Dunlin, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and seven Whimbrel.



Tuesday 15th:


The Surf Scoter remains offshore with 38 Common Scoter and five Common Tern. Migrants included 21 Sand Martin with four Rook, two Swallow, a Siskin and a Jackdaw overhead and an increase to five Willow Warbler. Elsewhere a Water Rail was on the Main Pond, 14 Whimbrel were in the estuary and a Whitethroat remains in the Buffer Zone.


Monday 14th:


The Surf Scoter was distantly offshore from the seawall with 26 Common Scoter and eight Great-crested Grebe. Also offshore the first six Common Tern of the year were with the Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere six Dark-bellied Brent Geese and five Whimbrel were in the estuary and a pair of Collared Dove flew around Greenland Lake, but migrants were restricted to 10 Swallow and three Rook overhead and a single Wheatear.



Sunday 13th:


The Surf Scoter reappeared off the seawall before flying south towards Dawlish mid afternoon - presumably where its has been during the last week. Also offshore 20 Common Scoter and a single Little Tern with c30 Sandwich Tern. Migrants included an Osprey north over the hide mobbed by gulls, eight Swallow and four Willow Warbler, but otherwise there were just singles of  Whitethroat, Blackcap, Wheatear and House Martin.



Saturday 12th:


The first Whitethroat of the year was in the Buffer Zone early morning but that appeared to all for new migrants with only three Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler elsewhere.  Offshore there were 30+ Common Scoter, three Red-throated Diver and three Great-crested Grebe, but again no sign of the Surf Scoter. Six Manx Shearwater flew south mid morning and 82 Kittiwake did the same late evening but there was little other movement.  Elsewhere 38 Sandwich Tern were around the reserve, 14 Whimbrel flew in off, and in the estuary there were 50 Ringed Plover, 11 Grey Plover, five Dark-bellied Brent Geese and three Dunlin.



Friday 11th:


The first Little Tern of the year was offshore with Sandwich Tern and Kittiwake. The only other news was from the estuary where there where seven Dark-bellied Brent Geese and six Whimbrel.



Thursday 10th:


In the estuary there were nine Whimbrel, along with 35 Knot, 25 Grey Plover, 12 Dunlin, 12 Redshank, nine Bar-tailed Godwit, five Little Egret, five Sanderling and two Ringed Plover. Migrants on site were limited to two Blackcap and two Willow Warbler. Other signs of migration included an increase to 40 Sandwich Tern and a flock of  21 Pale-bellied Brent Goose which flew in mid-morning with six more early afternoon.



Wednesday 9th:


No news was received for today.



Tuesday 8th:


An Osprey flew north at 7.30pm and counts over the evening high tide included 78 Ringed Plover, 41 Knot, 28 Grey Plover, 23 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, seven Turnstone, five Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Whimbrel, a pair of Teal and a Greenshank.


Knot 08/04/08 John Lee



Monday 7th:


The Surf Scoter was off Warren Point in the morning with two Red-throated Diver, six Great-crested Grebe, five Sandwich Tern, a drake Common Scoter, 24 Red-breasted Merganser and a roost of 800+ Herring Gull offshore mid evening. Elsewhere 40+ Ringed Plover were on the beach, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit were in the Railway Saltmarsh,  five Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent were in the estuary and 50 Linnet and four Bullfinch were around Greenland Lake.



Sunday 6th:


Highlights included an Osprey of the year overhead at 7.50, just ahead of the first big snow flurry, and three Tufted Duck (2m, f) offshore, the first for the year. In between the snow there was a strong Sand Martin movement with a site record 191 through before midday, including parties of 48, 40 & 24. Other migrants included 19 Swallow, two Willow Warbler and a Wheatear. Elsewhere the Surf Scoter was offshore with 35+ Sandwich Tern and counts from the estuary included 139 Curlew, 50 Grey Plover, 24 Knot, nine Bar-tailed Godwit, nine Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent.



Saturday 5th:


The Surf Scoter remains offshore into a sixth month, also offshore three Gadwall (2m, f), five Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, 20+ Sandwich Tern, 22 Common Scoter and four Great-crested Grebe.  Migrants included two Whimbrel on the beach, five Siskin overhead with the first House Martin of the year, five Swallow, seven Chiffchaff, six Willow Warbler, two Wheatear and a Blackcap. In the estuary there were 42 Knot, 32 Ringed Plover, 21 Dunlin, 21 Redshank, 13 Grey Plover and three Sanderling


Surf Scoter 05/04/08                                                        Chiffchaff 05/04/08 Simon Thurgood                             Willow Warbler 05/04/08 Simon Thurgood    



Friday 4th:


The Surf Scoter was again offshore today with 10+ Razorbill and three Great-crested Grebe. A Pale-bellied Brent was in the estuary with 140 Curlew, 46 Knot, 28 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Red-breasted Merganser, 14 Turnstone, 11 Grey Plover, 10 Ringed Plover, eight Dunlin, four Redshank and three SanderlingElsewhere there were six Chiffchaff and three Willow Warbler but the highlights were the first Osprey of the year catching a fish in front of the hide and the long overdue first Swallow of the year.



Thursday 3rd:


Today's highlight was non avian. No sign of the Surf Scoter today and the only bird news received was of 20+ Redshank and six Teal in the saltmarsh.



Wednesday 2nd:


The Surf Scoter is still offshore but the first Blackcap and three Willow Warbler of the year suggested spring might be on its way.



Tuesday 1st:


The Surf Scoter remains off groyne 12 but there was nothing else to report.



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