Seawatching early morning was hampered by the strong wind making scope use virtually impossible however the first Storm Petrel of the year was seen flying south along with 10 Great, an Arctic and a Pomarine Skua, two Great Northern Diver, 19 Sandwich and eight 'commic ' Tern. Elsewhere 120+ Whimbrel, three Curlew, two Bar-tailed Godwit and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary.
Seawatching between 09:10 and 12:05 saw two summer plumaged Great Northern and a Black-throated Diver, a Great Skua, 50+ Sandwich and two Little Tern, 25+ Swift in over the sea, a Swallow and a Black-tailed Godwit east.
The first Cuckoo of the year was briefly around the Entrance Bushes early morning with a female Redstart along the Back Path and 11 Blackcap and seven Whitethroat the only grounded migrants, with the complete absence of Wheatear proof yesterdays birds had moved on. Offshore there were 10 Great Northern, two Red-throated and a Black-throated Diver, the first of the year, a pair of Tufted Duck, a pair of Teal, four Eider, four Common and a Little Tern. Elsewhere 30+ Whimbrel, seven Dunlin, seven Ringed Plover, five Sanderling, a Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary and overhead there were 75 Swift, six House and a Sand Martin.
The first notable mixed fall of the spring was long overdue but was eclipsed by a female Marsh Harrier that flew north just after 10am, the first on site since March 2009. Grounded migrants included the first Grasshopper Warbler, three Sedge Warbler, White Wagtail, Whinchat and Redstart of the year along with 42+ Wheatear, 12+ Willow Warbler and five Whitethroat. Overhead a single Yellow Wagtail, the first five Swift of the year, 10 Swallow, two House and a Sand Martin. Offshore there were two Pomarine and an Arctic Skua, 11 Eider, two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere 150+ Whimbrel, 20 Pale-bellied Brent and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary.
Wheatear 27/04/12 © Lee Collins Whinchat 27/04/12 © Lee Collins
Seawatching quietened down although single Great, Arctic and Pomarine Skua flew south with seven Great Northern Diver, a Common and two Little Tern, also offshore 13 Eider. Elsewhere the 2nd summer Iceland Gull was on the Golf Course and in front of the hide, a minimum of 110 Pale-bellied Brent were in the estuary, although over 200 may have gone through, also there the Slavonian Grebe, 30+ Whimbrel and three Dark-bellied Brent. Migrants on site included at least five Willow Warbler and at least 25 Wheatear, although may more may have moved through and a Common Sandpiper on Warren Point.
Iceland Gull 26/04/12 © Lee Collins © Dave Jewell
Seawatching was productive early morning with 16 Great and eight Pomarine Skua, three of which headed north upriver with a Bonxie, also passing before 11am, 110+ Kittiwake, 66 Fulmar, 39 Manx Shearwater, five Great Northern Diver, a Little Gull, 40+ Sandwich,13 'commic', two Arctic and a Little Tern. The sea was very quiet in the evening but a 2nd year Iceland Gull was on the flooded Golf Course with 350+ Herring Gull and 60+ Whimbrel with 43 Pale-bellied Brent in the estuary, the latter perhaps all having flown past Seaton this morning.
Four Wheatear were the first signs of passerine migrants for a while with alone Whitethroat still proclaiming territory. Elsewhere wader counts included 40 Whimbrel, 29 Dunlin and 18 Ringed Plover, 12 Eider were offshore and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose was in the estuary.
The first Pomarine Skua of the year flew past early morning, a group of five fully spooned birds (four pale, one dark), also offshore 10 Great and an Arctic Skua, 22 Fulmar, still 44 Sandwich and two Little Tern, with an increase to eight Common Tern, a Great Northern Diver and 14 Eider. Elsewhere 170+ Whimbrel passed through and 30 Dunlin, three Knot and Sanderling were in the Bight.
The majority of activity was offshore with an/the immature Iceland Gull following a trawler, 44 Sandwich, a Common and two Little Tern, 52 Common Scoter,19 Great-crested Grebe,14 Eider and mostly heading south four Arctic Skua, 14 Great Northern Diver, 70+ Manx Shearwater and 40+ Kittiwake. Elsewhere a minimum 200+ Whimbrel passed through during the day along with 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, other migrants remain at a premium with just six Swallow and a Sand Martin.
Whimbrel 22/04/12 © Lee Collins
The Arctic Tern remained offshore with 40+ Sandwich and one Common Tern and 14 Eider. Wader counts included 125+ Whimbrel, 25 Ringed Plover, eight Turnstone, six Grey Plover, four Dunlin, two Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper. Elsewhere 10 Swallow and a Siskin flew over, a single Whitethroat was by the Dune Pond and two Bullfinch were the first for several months.
An immature Iceland Gull flew south distantly offshore mid evening, also south a Great Skua and 100+ Manx Shearwater. The first Arctic Tern of the year was also offshore with 59+ Sandwich Tern, 15+ Eider and a Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere single Wheatear and Willow Warbler were on site and waders included 60 Whimbrel, 37 Turnstone, 19 Ringed Plover, four Sanderling and a Redshank.
Turnstone 20/04/12 © Lee Collins
Offshore there were single Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, 35+ Manx Shearwater, 16 Eider, 15+ Fulmar and just 10 Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere a Common Sandpiper was on the seawall, 31 Whimbrel flew through and seven Grey Plover were on the beach.
The first Whitethroat of the year finally made landfall although it was virtually a lone passerine migrant. Offshore there was more activity with the first Little and three Common Tern of the year, three Arctic Skua, 120+ Gannet, 95+ Manx Shearwater, 30+ Sandwich Tern, 25+ Fulmar and 16 Eider. There was also an increase in wader passage with a minimum of 93 Whimbrel passing through during the day, 26 Turnstone, seven Grey Plover, five Sanderling and five Knot.
Despite the falls elsewhere a single Wheatear was all that was on site this evening with a flock of 150+ Pale-bellied Brent Geese viewable distantly at Mudbank Lane.
Another quiet almost migrant free day, the only grounded migrant being a Common Sandpiper surprisingly flushed from Marram on Warren Point. Otherwise four Sanderling were on the beach and three Swallow flew through.
An Osprey was again fishing again in the estuary late morning before heading towards Powderham once it had been successful. Offshore there were still nine Eider, only 20+ Sandwich Tern and 13+ Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere it remains very quiet with c15 Swallow, 12 Goldfinch and a Siskin flying through and three Wheatear on site the only grounded migrants.
Offshore there was a notable increase to 14 Eider, perhaps including some birds seen off Portland earlier, also present 60+ Common Scoter, 40+ Sandwich Tern, 15+ Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere it was a very quiet day with 12 Whimbrel the only other arrivals, also present in the estuary 18 Ringed Plover, five Dunlin, four Sanderling, a Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Migrants included 13 Swallow, nine Willow Warbler and three Wheatear on site.
A second summer Iceland Gull roosting on Bull Hill early evening was the bird which had remained offshore on Wednesday. Also in the estuary 25 Ringed Plover, 11 Redshank, five Dunlin, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel. Migrants included the first trickle of hirundines with 11 Swallow, three Sand and two House Martin through and 16 Willow Warbler on site. Elsewhere three Arctic Skua were present offshore briefly before heading east, also 50+ Sandwich Tern, 40+ Common Scoter and 20+ Great-crested Grebe.
The first Reed Warbler of the year was singing at the Main Pond with an increase in other migrants including 14 Wheatear, 12 Willow Warbler, 10 Swallow and a House Martin. Offshore there were 70+ Sandwich Tern, 60+ Common Scoter, 21 Great-crested Grebe and single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere 25 Ringed and a Grey Plover, seven Sanderling, five Dunlin, two Teal, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel were in the estuary.
Dunlin 12/04/12 © Lee Collins Sanderling 12/04/12 © Lee Collins
Two second winter Iceland Gull were present this evening, one offshore which flew to Sandy Bay, Exmouth and one in the estuary roosting on Bull Hill. Elsewhere two Red-throated Diver, a dark phase Arctic Skua, 27 Common Scoter and 15 Great-crested Grebe were offshore, 80+ Sandwich Tern were on site, six Sanderling flew in off, 40 Turnstone, eight Redshank and two Whimbrel were in the estuary and migrants included five Willow Warbler and four Wheatear, three of which were flying high north nonstop.
Counts from the Bight included 20 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling and five Dunlin with a colour ringed 1st summer Great Black-backed Gull. Also on site four Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff and a Blackcap.
The gull was ringed as a chick on Lihou Island off Guernsey
on 16/06/11, the only further sightings were on Perelle Beach, Guernsey in
October 2011. Thanks to Paul Veron at
www.guernseygulls.co.uk for the ringing
Great Black-backed Gull 10/04/12 © Dave Jewell and at ringing Lihou, Guernsey 16/06/11 © Paul Veron
The first Little Ringed Plover of the year was in the Bight early evening with 230+ Black-headed and a second summer Mediterranean Gull, 80+ Turnstone, 80 Sandwich Tern, 22 Ringed Plover, 13 Dunlin, four Redshank, three Teal and two Whimbrel. Elsewhere the first Arctic Skua of the year was offshore, a Brent Goose was by the Go-carts and migrants were limited to seven Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler, a Blackcap, a Swallow and a House Martin.
The first Red Kite of the year heading slowly NE was the highlight, also overhead a Greylag Goose and a party of 20 Black-headed Gull headed north up the estuary. The Osprey again showed well in the estuary, eventually catching a fish late morning and heading towards Powderham, also in the river four Whimbrel, four Sanderling and three Dunlin. Elsewhere 70+ Manx Shearwater, 40+ Common Scoter, nine Sandwich Tern, four Eider, 23 Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe were offshore, and migrants included six Willow Warbler, three Wheatear and two Blackcap.
An immature Spoonbill flew along the back of the Golf Course before flying upriver early am, also in Shutterton Creek early morning a fishing Osprey, with a second different bird early evening; the other highlight was the year's first Fieldfare in Dead Dolphin Wood. Counts from the estuary included 30 Ringed and 20 Grey Plover, 10 Turnstone, seven Dunlin, three Sanderling, three Whimbrel and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Elsewhere 10 Manx Shearwater, 25+ Sandwich Tern, a Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver were offshore, two Wheatear were briefly on site, a Swallow flew through and a Teal was still on the Main Pond.
The first four House Martin of the year flew over with a Sand Martin and two Rook. Other firsts for the year included a pair of Stock Dove on the Golf Course, three Manx Shearwater east offshore and the first two migrant Whimbrel on the beach. Other migrants were limited to three Willow Warbler and a Wheatear. Elsewhere single Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver were offshore and a Snipe was on the Main Pond.
A Slavonian Grebe remains offshore with 18 Great-crested Grebe, 10 Common Scoter, 10 Red-breasted Merganser and eight Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere Great-spotted Woodpecker continues to establish itself as a new resident species on site with a nest hole nearing completion - the first breeding attempt for the recording area.
Tuesday - Wednesday 3rd-4th:
No news was received.
The first Osprey of the year was over the estuary, before flying to roost and feed in woodland west of Cockwood late evening, also in the estuary a Whimbrel and five Teal. Elsewhere 18 Great-crested Grebe were offshore and a Bar-headed Goose was on the Main Pond.
A single Willow Warbler remained but the only other summer migrant was a fly through Swallow, also overhead four Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk, a Redpoll and a Siskin. Elsewhere 12 Sandwich Tern were offshore.
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