April 2009

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Report sightings



Thursday 30th:


Over the evening tide there were 70 Whimbrel, eight Dunlin, three Bar-tailed Godwit, three Ringed and two Grey Plover and a Knot. Also in the Estuary, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose and, off Cockwood, the summer plumage Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Wheatear in Greenland Lake.


Whimbrel 29/04/09 John Fortey



Wednesday 29th:


Offshore six Manx Shearwater, three Red-throated Diver, two Great-crested Grebe, c40 Sandwich and two "commic" Tern, also 8 Whimbrel in off the sea. Wader counts over high tide included 30 Whimbrel, 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, nine Dunlin, four Knot, a single Sanderling and the presumed Little Stint (actually a Western or Semi-palmated Sandpiper!).  Also in the estuary, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose and, off Cockwood, a summer plumage Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Sedge Warbler by the first pond and a Stock Dove in the Railway Saltmarsh were first records for the year.



Tuesday 28th:


Counts over the evening high tide included 35 Whimbrel, 24 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Dunlin, seven Curlew, six Grey Plover, five Knot, two Ringed Plover, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose and the presumed Little Stint. (Actually a Western or Semi-palmated Sandpiper!) Last seen at the Warren on 11/4 (photo below), this individual has also been at Bowling Green Marsh recently.



Monday 27th:


No news was received for today.



Sunday 26th:


Despite the continuing southerly winds and occasional rain, a single Wheatear was the only evidence of passerine migration. Things had also quietened down offshore with just c100 Manx Shearwater south during the day, also heading south a Great Skua, 26 Common Scoter, one Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver. Over 90 Sandwich Tern were feeding offshore with a first summer Little Gull and at least 10 Common and a Little Tern. Wader numbers had increased slightly with 40+ Bar-tailed Godwit, c40 Whimbrel, 22 Dunlin, seven Grey Plover, seven Knot, five Sanderling and three Ringed Plover.  Elsewhere a Greylag Goose came off the sea and circled the Main Pond before headed up estuary, the first record for the year, a single Dark-bellied Brent Geese was in the Bight and overhead there were singles of Swift and House Martin with c15 Swallow. A long dead Buzzard was found near the First Pond.


Whimbrel 26/04/09 Lee Collins



Saturday 25th:


With strong southerly winds, much of the interest was offshore with c1200 Manx Shearwater south during the day, the second highest site count,  other counts from offshore included 200+ Gannet, 120+ Black-headed Gull, 110+ Kittiwake, 80+ Sandwich Tern, 50+ Fulmar, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, a Great Skua, a first-summer Mediterranean Gull and a Little Tern with at least seven Common and two Arctic Tern, the latter the first of the year. In the estuary there were six Pale-bellied and a single Dark-bellied Brent Geese along with 276 Oystercatcher, c60 Whimbrel, 30+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Dunlin, five Turnstone, four Sanderling and three Grey Plover. Elsewhere the first Swift of the year, nine Swallow and a Sand Martin flew through and four Wheatear were on site.



Friday 24th:


Over the morning high tide there were 33 Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the estuary along with 80+ Sandwich and a 'commic' Tern, 53+ Whimbrel, 44 Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Sanderling, three Dunlin, two Ringed Plover and a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Elsewhere at least 12 Whitethroat were on site, a Wheatear was in the Buffer Zone, two Collared Dove and 10 Swallow flew through and 22 Canada Geese were on the Main Pond.



Thursday 23rd:


Another quiet day with a grand total of six new Willow Warbler, with five Swallow, three Sand Martin and two Whimbrel overhead. The undoubted highlight was a Bar-headed Goose, the first record for the Main Pond no less...


Bar-headed Goose 23/04/09 John Fortey



Wednesday 22nd:


Other than two Wheatear it was another day with no passerine migrants, offshore there were 22 Manx Shearwater south, with 45 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 50 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver


Grey Heron, Coot and ex Mallard 22/04/09 John Lee



Tuesday 21st:


New migrants were limited to a Yellow Wagtail over mid-afternoon, couple of Willow Warbler and nine Swallow, with two Wheatear and a White Wagtail on the beach. Over the evening high tide there were 38 Whimbrel, nine summer plumaged Dunlin, seven Ringed Plover and four Sanderling with 30+ Sandwich Tern, eight Common Scoter and four Great-crested Grebe offshore. Elsewhere a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose was in Shutterton Creek.



Monday 20th:


The only news received for today was of a small passage of 30+ Gannet east before 7.30am.



Sunday 19th:


The first Tree Pipit of the year passed overhead, but otherwise it was another very quiet day with 22 Goldfinch, 19 Swallow, four Whimbrel and a Sand Martin the only other species on the move.  Whitethroat numbers increased, with at least eight singing but the four Blackcap, three Reed and a Willow Warbler were all regular singing birds. Elsewhere 40+ Sandwich Tern, seven Great-crested Grebe and two Manx Shearwater were offshore.



Saturday 18th:


The first Common Tern was offshore today with at least 65 Sandwich Tern, at least four Velvet Scoter were also offshore with 60+ Common Scoter, seven Great-crested Grebe, two summer plumaged Red-throated Diver, a pair of Red-breasted Merganser and 57+ Manx Shearwater. The first big arrival of Whimbrel was welcome with at least 91 in off the sea during the day, other migration was limited to 10 Swallow, two Goldfinch and singles of Meadow Pipit and House Martin. Elsewhere five Wheatear were on site, a Willow Warbler was on Warren Point, four Raven and four Buzzard were overhead and in the estuary there were six Dunlin and singles of Turnstone, Grey Plover and Bar tailed Godwit.



Friday 17th:


Two Velvet Scoter were again offshore with 60+ Common Scoter, four Great-crested Grebe and four more probable Velvets but there were too distant. Elsewhere four Wheatear were in Greenland Lake, nine Whimbrel flew in off and 10 Swallow moved through.


Thursday 16th:


The only sign of new migrants today were two flocks of 14 Bar-tailed Godwit and eight Whimbrel, with six Swallow also through. On a low tide the photo below shows the only wader in the Bight, but six Dunlin and singles of Grey and Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Knot were on the beach and 60+ Sandwich Tern were on site.


Pheasant 16/04/09 Simon Thurgood



Wednesday 15th:


An early morning seawatch revealed just 12 Manx Shearwater and two Red-throated Diver south with five Great-crested Grebe on the water. The bushes were equally quiet with just three Willow and a single Reed Warbler. Elsewhere a pair of Teal were in Shutterton Creek, a summer plumaged Dunlin was in the Bight at low tide and eight Swallow and a Goldfinch flew over.


Willow Warbler Apr 09 John Lee



Tuesday 14th:


The weather overnight suggested a spring fall might be on the cards, but the numbers of migrants continue to be worryingly low, two Grasshopper Warbler, one near the Cuckoo's Nest and another on Warren Point were the highlight, other new arrivals included at least eight Willow Warbler, six Chiffchaff, two Whitethroat and a Wheatear. A flock of 13 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary with a single Whimbrel. Elsewhere a Buzzard was roosting near the Main Pond, two Velvet Scoter were offshore with up to 47 Sandwich Tern and the first 'commic' Tern of the year, which eluded specific identification.


Blackcap 14/04/09 Simon Thurgood                                    Willow Warbler 14/04/09 Simon Thurgood



Monday 13th:


The first Little Tern of the year in the estuary was a highlight on an otherwise quiet day. Four Reed Warbler at the Main Pond included  the only obviously new migrants, with two Collared Dove, a Jackdaw and just 11 Swallow through overhead. Elsewhere at least four intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull were on Bull Hill, two Whimbrel were in the estuary, and seven Manx Shearwater, a Red-throated Diver, four Great-crested Grebe and two Velvet Scoter were offshore competing for space with a new site record of 59 kitesurfers!



Sunday 12th:


New grounded migrants were limited to the first Grasshopper Warbler of the year reeling briefly on Warren Point, three Wheatear and a couple of new Willow Warbler. Overhead there were 16 Swallow, nine Goldfinch, four Buzzard, four Chaffinch, two Rook and a Yellow Wagtail. At least one Whitethroat, six Blackcap and two Reed Warbler remain on site. Over high tide the first Common Sandpiper of the year, an early bird, was on groyne 10 before being flushed, also disturbed from the beach, 32 Knot, 24 Ringed Plover, 11 Grey Plover, four Dunlin and single Turnstone and Sanderling. In the estuary there were c75 Curlew and four Whimbrel. Offshore there were 79 Common Scoter with just 30+ Sandwich Tern.



Saturday 11th:


The first two Whitethroat of the year were around the Tractor Compound, but there were few other new migrants with six Blackcap and two Reed Warbler on site and 22 Swallow though. Offshore there were still c60 Common and five Velvet Scoter with 117 Sandwich Tern but nothing was passing though, so a Puffin south late afternoon was a surprise. The first for the year it was typically distant. Wader counts included 36 Redshank, 19 Ringed Plover, three Dunlin, two Whimbrel and the Stint sp.  Elsewhere five Buzzard and two Rook passed overhead with the first brood of Mallard on the Main Pond.


Stint sp 11/04/09 Lee Collins



Friday 10th:


Seawatching early morning up to 9am produced 135 Manx Shearwater south, with 145 Kittiwake, 118 Gannet, 20+ Sandwich Tern, two Red-throated Diver and two diver sp. Also offshore, but on the sea, a distant Black-throated and three Red-throated Diver, five Velvet and 50+ Common Scoter. The first Osprey of the year was fishing in Shutterton Creek around 8.30am before catching a fish and heading toward Eastdon. Over high tide there were 32 Knot, eleven Grey Plover, three Sanderling and a Dunlin on the beach with 26 Redshank, three Turnstone and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose in the estuary with at least 117 Sandwich Tern present. Migrants included the first Yellow Wagtail of the year flying east, a Whimbrel in off the sea, 24 Swallow and three House Martin through, five Rook and four Raven overhead, six Willow Warbler, five Blackcap, two Reed Warbler and a Wheatear.



Thursday 9th:


The majority of the sightings came from offshore where between 5.15 - 7.35pm a total of 1253 Manx Shearwater flew south, over three times the previous highest site record. Also offshore the first Great Skua of the year, c150 Sandwich Tern, 120+ Kittiwake, 100+ Gannet, 20+ Common Scoter, 15 Fulmar and two Red-throated Diver. The Stint sp  was again on the beach again over the morning tide with 32 Knot, eleven Grey Plover, four Sanderling, two Ringed Plover, two Dunlin and a Whimbrel, along with c300 Oystercatcher and 68 Curlew in the Bight. Elsewhere 23 Turnstone were on the seawall,  two Wheatear were by the hide, six Chiffchaff, four Blackcap, three Willow Warbler and two Bullfinch were in the scrub, the first Reed Warbler of the year and a Reed Bunting were at the Main Pond, a single Swallow flew through and 50+ Linnet were roosting in Dead Dolphin Wood.


Wednesday 8th:


The only new summer migrants recorded were three Blackcap around the Entrance Bushes and two Swallow through, but migration was still in evidence with the highlight being a Stint sp (Western/Semi-palmated Sandpiper) on the beach and a flock of 140+ Pale-bellied Brent Geese offshore, the largest count since 1932! The geese were first seen heading south early morning, with presumably the same flock watched coming in from the east late afternoon before landing on the sea for several hours. They then headed high back to the east past Orcombe Point. Also offshore 80+ Sandwich Tern, 40 Manx Shearwater, 38 Kittiwake and c30 Common Scoter, with two Red-throated and a Black-throated Diver south. On the beach with the stint over the high tide there were 37 Knot and 14 Grey Plover, with a Dunlin, four Turnstone, a pair of Teal and a Greenshank in the estuary.


Stint sp with Grey Plover & Knot 08/04/09



Tuesday 7th:


In an increasing southwesterly late afternoon 40+ Manx Shearwater were in the bay the first of the year, also offshore 98 Sandwich Tern, 30 Common Scoter, 18 Gannet, four Great-crested Grebe and three Fulmar. Over high tide 45 Knot, six Sanderling, three Grey Plover and two Dunlin were on the beach with the first two migrant Whimbrel in front of the hide. Elsewhere a singing Blackcap was in Dead Dolphin Wood with seven Chiffchaff and three Willow Warbler in the bushes.



Monday 6th:


A singing Blackcap was only the second record of the year, nine Chiffchaff were also around Greenland Lake, but there were no Willow Warbler reported. Offshore there was a party of 70+ Brent Geese on a sandbar, at least 45 were Pale-bellied, along with 30 Common Scoter and a Fulmar. Elsewhere nine Swallow flew through and the estuary held 450+ Oystercatcher, 55 Knot, 45 Sandwich Tern, 27 Turnstone, 22 Ringed Plover, five Dunlin and single Sanderling, Grey Plover and Dark-bellied Brent Goose.


Knot  06/04/09 Simon Thurgood                                          Little Grebe 06/04/09 Simon Thurgood



Sunday 5th:


A quiet day, a virtual repeat of yesterday without the rarity or migrants, although the Red-legged Partridge was still present and the Willow Warbler tally increased to 13 birds. Passing overhead there were just two Swallow, three Goldfinch, two Chaffinch, a Kestrel and three Buzzard. Elsewhere 100+ Common Scoter were still distantly offshore with 40 Sandwich Tern and seven Great-crested Grebe, while counts from the estuary included 56 Knot, c20 Redshank, 18 Ringed Plover, four Little Egret and a Grey Plover.


Dunnock 04/04/09 Simon Thurgood                                               Knot 29/03/09 Dave Stone



Saturday 4th:


It was hoped the overnight rain would drop in some migrants but today was shaping up to be the quietest of the year so far, with just seven Willow Warbler and a Wheatear on site. A Jay around Dead Dolphin Wood, the first of the year, was the only notable sighting. However late morning the reserve's ninth record of Long-eared Owl was discovered roosting in a large Elder at the eastern end of Greenland Lake, the first since 1999 and the first spring record. It remained until early evening at least. Another surprise appearance was a Red-legged Partridge flying along the beach at groyne nine. Overhead there was a very light passage during the day with 11 Rook, 10+ Meadow Pipit, nine Bar-tailed Godwit, at least eight Buzzard, seven alba Wagtail, four Jackdaw, four Chaffinch, two Peregrine, two Sand Martin, two Swallow and single Sparrowhawk, Raven and Grey Heron. Elsewhere five Velvet and 100+ Common Scoter were offshore with two Red-throated Diver, 23 Red-breasted Merganser and 15+ Sandwich Tern with 60+ Knot, 15 Teal, another 15 Red-breasted Merganser and a Whimbrel in the estuary.


Long-eared Owl both 04/04/09 Simon Thurgood



Friday 3rd:


Foggy conditions hampered viewing out to sea, although 20 Willow Warbler were on site, along with 10 singing Chiffchaff and four Bullfinch. At least two Sand Martin and a Swallow flew through early evening.



Thursday 2nd:


The first Willow Warbler of the year finally made an appearance with at least four around the bushes, other migrants included at least eight Wheatear and six Swallow. Elsewhere five Velvet Scoter were still offshore with 70 Knot, eight Sanderling and two Grey Plover in front of the hide.


Wheatear (male & female) both 02/04/09 Simon Thurgood



Wednesday 1st:


Four Velvet Scoter were still offshore with 50+ Common Scoter, 28 Red-breasted Merganser, 17 Sandwich Tern, a Great-crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver. A single Swallow was the only other news received.


Curlew 31/03/09 Simon Thurgood



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