August 2004




Tuesday 31st:


The only news reported for today was of four Yellow Wagtail overhead late afternoon. Off site the Osprey was again seen at Powderham.


Little Egret 30th August © Lee Collins


Monday 30th:


The Osprey was again present today around 9am, also being seen further up the Estuary at Powderham.  A Spotted Flycatcher was the best of the passerines but there were still good numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff with single Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat.  Overhead 40+ House Martin passed through, with a few Sand Martin and seven Grey Wagtail. At the high tide there were 208 Redshank, five Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwit, three Knot and two Grey Plover. 30+ Sandwich and a single Common Tern remained.


Sunday 29th:


At least 98 Sandwich Tern were present today along with only three Common Tern, but apart from good numbers of Shag and a single Great-crested Grebe there was little else offshore. Seven Wigeon in Shutterton Creek were the first returns this autumn, four Shelduck were also present with a single Teal on the Main Pond. Good numbers of warblers were again present today with at least 17 Chiffchaff, eight Whitethroat, six Blackcap, two Garden Warbler, two Lesser Whitethroat and a single Reed Warbler, disappointingly nothing more unusual could be found. Other migrants included small numbers of Swallow and House Martin, with two Grey Wagtail overhead and two Wheatear. Amongst the commoner waders there were 52 Sanderling, 14 Knot, five Black-tailed Godwit and four Turnstone. 168 Redshank, five Greenshank, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 19 Little Egret roosted with Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit on the Railway Saltmarsh. Other notable species included three Collared Dove, a juvenile Peregrine,  Kingfisher and Little Grebe again on the Main Pond and the Osprey, which was watched hunting several miles upriver before heading west inland with a fish.


Saturday 28th:


Offshore today, two Great Skua along with c80 Sandwich Tern and 20 distant “Commic” Tern. Migrants today included single Yellow Wagtail and Swift overhead with 12 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, six Whitethroat and a Wheatear on site. At the high tide amongst good numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover there were 61 Sanderling,  four Whimbrel, three Knot, three Black-tailed Godwit and two Turnstone. Other species of note included Kingfisher, Peregrine, Red-breasted Merganser and Treecreeper.


Friday 27th:


Offshore this morning, one Pomarine and seven Great Skua along with 150 Kittiwake and 200 Gannet.  Despite the weather, several migrants were found on site including 10 Chiffchaff, six Blackcap and single Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warbler.


Thursday 26th:


The only news reported for today was the Osprey which flew over at 8.40am.



Ruff                                                                        Ruff (with Redshank behind)                                Wheatear                                                                 Roseate Tern

All images 22nd August © Lee Collins


Wednesday 25th:


There was no news reported today from the recording area, but the Osprey was seen again near Starcross.


Tuesday 24th:


An Osprey was seen flying upriver and then later flying to woodland behind Starcross with a fish, this is presumably the same individual that has been reported on the Exe recently. Wader numbers remain high but were difficult to count as Peregrine were regularly chasing the flocks again today. The only scarcer species noted was two or three Black-tailed Godwit.


Monday 23rd:


The sea again provided most of the interest with one Roseate and two Black Tern flying south this morning along with five Great Skua. At the high tide the Ruff was again present.


Sunday 22nd:


Fewer migrants today in windier conditions, although at least 4 Wheatear remained. Dunlin numbers remained around 500, but there were fewer Ringed Plover today, scarcer species reported included a Ruff, four Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank. Over 900 Curlew, the highest count this year, roosted in the Railway Saltmarsh over high tide. The winds brought in good numbers of seabirds with over 130 Sandwich Tern during the day, along with 14+ Common, two Roseate and a single Black Tern, some of these birds roosted in front of the hide at high tide along with two adult Mediterranean Gull. Offshore eight Great Skua flew south (five before 8am and the rest between 3-4pm), two Arctic Skua were also seen, one of which remained all day harassing the tern flocks. A single Balearic Shearwater also flew south this morning along with a probable Sooty.


Saturday 21st:


Much more on site today with at least 20 Wheatear, a Whinchat, a Garden and three Sedge Warbler reported. Wader numbers remained high, scarcer species reported included eight Black-tailed Godwit, three Turnstone, two Greenshank, two Whimbrel and a Knot. Sandwich Tern numbers have been low recently, only eight were reported today along with single Common and Black Tern.


Friday 20th:


Another quiet day with a Lesser Whitethroat the pick of the few passerine migrants. Wader numbers remain high with 500 Dunlin and 400 Ringed Plover along with scarcer species such as 10 Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper.


Thursday 19th:


The only news received for today was of a Great Skua and a Little Tern both seen offshore.


Wednesday 18th:


The strong southerly winds created ideal sea-watching conditions for the Warren.  This morning, single Sooty, Balearic and two Manx Shearwater were recorded (plus five distant shearwater sp.) along with five Great Skua, the highlight, however, was an immature Long-tailed Skua seen flying north from the sea wall at 9.20 am.  Also offshore, there were good numbers of Gannet, Kittiwake and Sandwich Tern passing south.  After high tide, counts revealed 448 Ringed Plover, 348 Dunlin, 98 Sanderling and two Knot on the Bight and mudflats with 16 Turnstone on the beach.  Three Wheatear were the only passerine migrants noted in the poor conditions.


Tuesday 17th:


A quieter day, offshore three Arctic Skua and 40 Sandwich Tern flew south. Only 30 Sandwich Tern were present over the high tide but numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover remain high. Also on site an adult Mediterranean Gull along with 30 Sanderling, one Common Sandpiper,  two Greenshank, 80 Redshank, two Black-tailed and 38 Bar-tailed Godwit.


Monday 16th:


Far fewer terns were present today with only five Common and a single Black Tern passing south. Early morning, four Great Skua were offshore before flying upriver, two Great and four Arctic Skua also passed south, along with two distant shearwater sp, one possibly a Sooty.  Numbers of Ringed Plover continue to increase with at least 330 present today, the best wader was a single Ruff, which appeared briefly in front of the hide after rain this morning; the first site record for the year.


Sunday 15th:


During the day at least 100 Common Tern were present, some fishing offshore with Sandwich Tern and Kittiwake, but the largest single group (79) only remained in front of the hide for a short while. Four Black Tern were present offshore before heading upriver when the weather cleared. A single Great Skua passed south. There was again good numbers of waders today with Dunlin, 250+ Ringed Plover and Sanderling; these again proved difficult to count accurately.  Also present were, 6+ Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 15+ Turnstone and two Knot. The Little Stint was reported again on the morning tide, but there was no sign in the evening.


Saturday 14th:


A good day with much sign of ongoing autumn migration. The highlight was a Pied Flycatcher, at the eastern end of Greenland Lake briefly in the afternoon, but other records included three Swift, two Sand Martin, two Sedge Warbler, a Garden Warbler, three Wheatear, a Whinchat and a Turtle Dove. A Grey Wagtail overhead was the earliest autumn record for the site. During the day at least 23 Common Tern were present, often fishing offshore with Sandwich Tern and Kittiwake. Four Black Tern were also seen (three early morning with another late afternoon), along with two Arctic Skua and a shearwater sp. Two Teal, the first of the autumn, were also offshore in the evening along with 20+ Common Scoter. There was a good variety of waders today with increased numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling; these were however spread out along the beach at high tide and proved difficult to count accurately.  Also present were 661 Curlew, 12+ Whimbrel, 161 Redshank, four Greenshank, c10 Turnstone, four Grey Plover, two Knot and three Common Sandpiper. The highlight though was the first Little Stint of the year seen briefly in the Bight.


Friday 13th:


Eleven Whitethroat today maintained the double figure counts of late, a roaming flock of 19 Long-tailed Tit were the only other passerines of interest. At the high tide Dunlin numbers appear to be picking up again with 220 birds present along with 144 Ringed Plover, two Snipe were also present, the first of the autumn. There were 100+ Sandwich and one Common Tern on the Railway Saltmarsh. The undoubted highlight of the day were however two Green Sandpiper which flew over the Bight late morning, there are less than 40 records for the reserve and this is the second earliest autumn date on record.


Thursday 12th:


A quiet day with the only reports two Arctic Skua flying south and 10 Common Tern.


Wednesday 11th:


One or two Black and a single Little Tern, both offshore and in the estuary, are the only reports for today.


Tuesday 10th:


There were seven Reed Warblers on site today along with 14 Whitethroat and seven Blackcap, two Lesser Whitethroat were at the eastern end of the Car Park and a Sedge Warbler was on Warren Point. Waders on site included 111 Ringed Plover, 138 Dunlin and 10 Sanderling with 24 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Railway Saltmarsh. Sandwich Tern numbers held at 130 with two Common Tern. Other birds on site included 161 Great Black- backed Gull, 25 Mute Swan and a Kingfisher flew by the First Pond.


Monday 9th:


The overnight rain produced a small fall of migrants, with 25 Whitethroat, 15 Blackcap,10+ Willow Warbler, six Garden Warbler, six Wheatear and a Lesser Whitethroat.  At the high tide there were still good numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, with 70+ Redshank, 20 Sanderling, two Greenshank and a Grey Plover.  Over a hundred Sandwich Tern were on site with a single Little and 16 Common Tern, offshore there were three distant Skuas, one Great and two probable Arctic.


Sunday 8th:


No news was received for today.


Saturday 7th:


As it was the weekend no Roseate Tern were present, but there were still 120+ Sandwich Tern, 11 Common Tern, a Mediterranean Gull and the Arctic Skua was again offshore. The high tide produced good numbers of waders with 150 Dunlin and 130+ Ringed Plover in the Bight, despite searching the only other species with them were 18 Sanderling and three Turnstone.  The Whinchat remained on site along with two Wheatear, half a dozen Willow and two Garden Warblers.


Friday 6th:


A single Roseate Tern was present again today, in front of the hide with six Common Tern, a single Arctic Skua was again offshore. A juvenile Whinchat was the first of autumn and one of the earliest ever here. Also on site two Mediterranean Gull (an adult winter and a juvenile) and 11 Little Egret. 


Thursday 5th:


A single Roseate Tern was reported roosting on boats with 50 Sandwich Tern off Cockwood.


Wednesday 4th:


Two Roseate Tern today with the remaining Sandwich and Common Tern. Also on site two Common Sandpiper, two Black-tailed Godwit and two Wheatear. 


Tuesday 3rd:


A single Roseate Tern today with the remaining Sandwich and Common Tern. Offshore three Arctic Skua were present harrying the terns. Also on site two adult Mediterranean Gull, 23 Little Egret and five Wheatear.


Monday 2nd:


Another quiet day, with an adult Mediterranean Gull and 21 Little Egret present.  Offshore, 6 Great Skua were unusual, considering the weather conditions.


Sunday 1st:


A very quiet summer day, with temperatures and heat haze combining to make viewing conditions difficult.  At the tide, there were still 100+ Sandwich Tern but only two Common Tern, one adult Mediterranean Gull was also present. Again, good numbers of waders with 250 Dunlin, 60+ Ringed Plover and 45 Sanderling present although largely dispersed around site.  In the bushes, two Garden Warbler were still on site, along with 2 Treecreeper, the first time two had been seen since May.


Juvenile Med Gull 31st July © Lee Collins



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