August 2009

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Monday 31st:


Although there had been no discernable fall of common migrants, two long overdue firsts for the year finally made landfall, Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat. Singles of each were present along the Back Path/Dead Dolphin Wood area, with them a Spotted Flycatcher and five Whitethroat with similar numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap.  Other grounded migrants included four Wheatear and four White Wagtail. Seawatching between 7.30 and 9.30am produced 320 Kittiwake south along with 60+ Common Scoter, 50+ Sandwich and 30+ Common Tern, with them were at least eight Arctic Skua and a full spooned adult Pomarine Skua. Later in the day at least two Arctic Tern and six Great-crested Grebe were also offshore. Further south off Dawlish there were 130+ Common and seven Arctic Tern, with 15 Arctic and two Pomarine Skua. Elsewhere 140+ Sandwich and 20+ Common Tern, 90+ Ringed Plover, 60+ Dunlin, 42 Cormorant, 31 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Sanderling, 12 Knot, 10 Teal, two Greenshank, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary and two Raven were overhead early morning.



Sunday 30th:


Seawatching throughout the day in overcast conditions produced conservative estimates of 400+ Kittiwake and 150+ Gannet south. Tern numbers were almost impossible to estimate with many birds pausing to rest in the estuary or feed offshore, but at least 150 Sandwich and 100 Common Tern were joined by five plus Arctic, two Black and singles of Roseate and Little Tern. This volume of birds attracted 10+ Arctic, three Great and a Pomarine Skua. The later passed through in a ten minute period mid afternoon that also produced two Sooty and a Balearic Shearwater. Also heading south offshore 30+ Common Scoter, nine Manx Shearwater, two Black-tailed Godwit and several groups of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Turnstone. Records from the estuary included 224 Redshank, 170+ Great Black-backed Gull, 150+ Ringed Plover, c50 Dunlin, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Knot, eight Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Greenshank, four Mediterranean Gull (3 ads, juv), three Teal and the resident Slavonian Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser. Elsewhere a Stock Dove was on the Railway Saltmarsh and a Jay was near the Main Pond, both only the second records of the year, a Collared Dove was on the bridge at Eels Dock, single Grey and Yellow Wagtail flew over and migrant numbers appeared to have dropped with six Wheatear and three Blackcap.



Saturday 29th:


A bright sunny day started with a juvenile Hobby chasing hirundines near Langstone Rock, but excepting 10 Wheatear other migrants were in short supply, with single Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit overhead and nine Blackcap, eight Whitethroat, three Willow and a Garden Warbler in the bushes. Later in the afternoon several groups of hirundines increased the days totals to 150+ Swallow and 30+ House Martin with single of Sand Martin and Swift. Also overhead at least eight Buzzard, drifting from the mainland, two Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. The Slavonian Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser remained in the estuary with a Teal and at least four Mediterranean Gull (two adults, a second winter and a juvenile). Wader counts included c150 Dunlin, 120 Ringed Plover, 120 Redshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, nine Knot, nine Sanderling, eight Whimbrel, four Greenshank and two Turnstone, small groups of waders were also heading south throughout the day. Elsewhere 100+ Sandwich and two Common Tern were offshore with 150 Shag, six Common Scoter and a Razorbill.



Friday 28th:


A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was in the Bight with 175 Dunlin, 170 Ringed Plover, 12 Sanderling, five Knot and a Black-tailed Godwit. Also in the estuary 60 Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere three Stonechat and three Whitethroat were in Greenland Lake. The bait digging continues to increase unabated across the Bight. The effect this may have on feeding birds and the polychate worm Ophelia bicornis, known from only one other UK site, are unknown.  For more information on the damage caused by bait digging see UK Marine SAC Effects of Bait Digging


Thursday 27th:


Waders in the Bight included 300 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover and 15 Sanderling, but before they could be checked and counted a male Peregrine chased them off, as they came back in, they were then attacked by a juvenile female Peregrine!  Also in the estuary 50 Sandwich Tern, single Knot and Black-tailed Godwit, the Red-breasted Merganser and Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere six Whitethroat and five Stonechat were on Warren Point.



Wednesday 26th:


A brief look offshore late evening revealed two Balearic Shearwater and an Arctic Skua lingering with 13 Common Scoter on the sea. Earlier in the day seawatching from Dawlish, just south of the recording area, produced two Sooty, four Balearic and 18 Manx Shearwater, along with a Pomarine, four Great and seven Arctic Skua, 350 Gannet, 100+ Kittiwake, 90 Fulmar, four Mediterranean Gull, 18 Sandwich, 14 Common and a Black Tern.


Tuesday 25th:


The Slavonian Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser were in the estuary but no other news was reported.



Monday 24th:


The highlights were a repeat of yesterday with the Green Sandpiper in the Saltmarsh early morning only and three Little Stint briefly in the Bight, before heading east. Wader numbers remained high with 600 Dunlin, c300 Ringed Plover, 220 Redshank, 25 Black and 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Turnstone and 15 Sanderling. Other waders included six Greenshank, three Knot, and single Grey Plover and Snipe. Large numbers of Herring Gull were again feeding offshore with 60+ Kittiwake; 200+ Great Black-backed Gull, five Mediterranean Gull (two ad & three juv), 265 Sandwich and 32 Common Tern were also on site. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe, four Teal and a Kingfisher were in the estuary, the immature Peregrine remains on site and passerine migrants included a Yellow Wagtail, 10 Blackcap, nine Stonechat, six Whitethroat, three Garden Warbler, two Wheatear and a Willow Warbler. Disturbance hit a new low with extensive bait digging damaging the Bight.


Ringed Plover 24/08/09 Simon Thurgood



Sunday 23rd:


Waders continue to be on the move with a Green Sandpiper circling the Bight and briefly in front of the hide and the first Little Stint of the autumn being the highlights. Counts from the estuary included 550 Curlew, 525 Dunlin, 210+ Ringed Plover, 22 Black and seven Bar-tailed Godwit, 20+ Sanderling, 14 Turnstone, five Knot, a Grey Plover and a Greenshank. Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Little Egret, including one in off the sea, and three under recorded subspecies, intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull, sinensis Cormorant and tundrae Ringed Plover. The southerly winds and overcast conditions also brought an increase in gull and tern numbers with 155+ Sandwich and at least 26 Common Tern around the site, 1500+ Herring, 410+ Black-headed and 30+ Common Gull, with them were at least six Mediterranean Gull, three adult and three juvenile. Passerine migrants were limited to a Grasshopper Warbler again on Warren Point, eight Whitethroat, two White Wagtail, a Garden Warbler and a Wheatear. Offshore a Balearic Shearwater, 20+ Fulmar and two Great-crested Grebe headed south but feeding terns and gulls were put off by at least 41 Kite surfers.



Saturday 22nd:


A Grasshopper Warbler on Warren Point was a good autumn record, but other migrants were limited to single Sedge and Willow Warbler, a Wheatear, 10+ Blackcap, seven Whitethroat and five Chiffchaff, two family groups of Reed Warbler are also still being fed on site. Offshore seawatching produced one Balearic Shearwater, as well as three probables, 32 Manx Shearwater, 30 Sandwich and 11 Common Tern, 15 Common Scoter, an Arctic Skua, a distant skua sp and a Great-crested Grebe. The high tide again produced good numbers of waders with 419 Dunlin and 148 Ringed Plover roosting on Warren Point, with them were 12 Sanderling, at least nine Whimbrel, a Knot and a Turnstone. A flock of 15 Black-tailed Godwit dropped into the Bight briefly, with two Teal also in the estuary. Elsewhere a Kingfisher was on the Main Pond and two Swift were overhead along with the first Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail of the autumn.



Friday 21st:


The waders were again roosting on Warren Point over the evening tide, but continued disturbance from dog walkers, boats and fishermen again made them very mobile and difficult to count. Minimum totals on the beach included 330 Black-headed Gull, 270 Dunlin, 100+ Ringed Plover, 20 Whimbrel, nine Grey Plover, six Sanderling, two Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot. Waders on the Railway Saltmarsh included 170 Redshank with single Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit. A single Roseate Tern was in the estuary mouth, with 20 Sandwich and five Common Tern feeding offshore, also offshore a dark phase Arctic Skua and three Common Scoter. Elsewhere the first Tawny Owl of the year was calling from Dead Dolphin Wood just before midnight.



Thursday 20th:


Minimum wader counts over the evening high tide included 310 Dunlin, 205 Ringed Plover, 20 Whimbrel, 12 Sanderling, nine Grey Plover, all in summer plumage, a Turnstone and a Knot. Also onsite an immature Yellow-legged Gull, 409+ Great Black-backed Gull, 20+ Sandwich Tern and an adult Mediterranean Gull.


Ringed Plover 18/08/09 Andrew Cunningham



Wednesday 19th:


The Slavonian Grebe remains in the estuary.



Tuesday 18th:


The Slavonian Grebe remains in the estuary along with 650+ Curlew and at least one Greenshank. A Wheatear was in the Bight.


Dunlin 18/08/09 Andrew Cunningham                                                                            Wheatear 18/08/09 Andrew Cunningham



Monday 17th:


Wader numbers remained low with 70 Ringed Plover and just 27 Dunlin and a Sanderling over high tide.  Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, 450+ Curlew, c140 Redshank, 31 Mute Swan, 10+ Whimbrel, 11 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank and  a Turnstone. Elsewhere less than 20 Sandwich Tern were on site, 16 Common Scoter were offshore, three Swift and 80 House Martin were over Langstone Rock early morning, with  80+ Swallow over the estuary late evening, six Wheatear in the Bight and a Kingfisher was on the Main Pond.


Wheatear 17/08/09 Simon Thurgood                                        Sanderling 17/08/09 Simon Thurgood



Sunday 16th:


The combination of people, boats, a Peregrine and the fact it was the monthly WeBS count meant there were few waders around the Bight at high tide with just 53 Dunlin, 37 Ringed Plover, six Sanderling and a Knot. Elsewhere in the estuary there were 550 Curlew, c170 Redshank, 15+ Whimbrel, five Black and two Bar-tailed Godwit and three Greenshank. Also from the hide, the Slavonian Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser, an adult Mediterranean Gull and two Teal. Offshore the same combination of people and boats reduced counts to just 30 Shag and 19 Common Scoter, all regularly flushed around the bay. Elsewhere a Tree Pipit was overhead with three Swift, at least three Wheatear were on site and a flock of 26 Long-tailed Tit were around the car park.



Saturday 15th:


Wader numbers continue to climb with 247 Ringed Plover and 231 Dunlin in the Bight with 500+ Curlew, c140 Redshank, 15 Whimbrel, 15 Sanderling, two Bar-tailed Godwit and singles of Knot, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit also present over the high tide. Also in the estuary a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, two Mediterranean Gull (ad and juv), 150+ Great Black-backed Gull, the Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Little Egret and a single Teal. Offshore there were 140+ Shag, 110 Common Scoter, five Fulmar, three Common Tern, additional juvenile Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gull and a pale phase Arctic Skua. Elsewhere a Water Rail was in the Dune Pond, two Collared Dove were over the car park,  a Peregrine took a small wader from the Bight, 19 Blackcap, seven Chiffchaff, six Reed Warbler, three Whitethroat, at least two Wheatear and a Willow Warbler were in the bushes with an unexpected record site count of 30+ Blue Tit. A lone Swift was the only sign of movement overhead.



Friday 14th:


The only news received for today was of 24 Black-tailed Godwit and two Turnstone in the estuary.



Thursday 13th:


The Slavonian Grebe was still off Cockwood with an adult Mediterranean Gull.



Wednesday 12th:


Waders in the estuary included 15 Black-tailed Godwit along with 150 Dunlin, 140 Ringed Plover, 10 Sanderling, 10 Whimbrel, two Turnstone and two Greenshank. Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, 150 Sandwich and five Common Tern, with nine Common Scoter offshore.


Black-tailed Godwit 12/08/09 John Fortey



Tuesday 11th:


The Slavonian Grebe remains off Cockwood, with 150 Sandwich Tern, 100+ Dunlin, 80 Redshank, 50 Ringed Plover, 25 Whimbrel, 10 Sanderling, three Bar-tailed Godwit, a Knot, a Greenshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull also in the estuary. Elsewhere two more Mediterranean Gull (ad & juv) were anting over the Visitor Centre, and three Willow and a Garden Warbler were in the bushes. Just off site a Hobby was chasing Swallows over Cockwood village.


Bar-tailed Godwit 11/08/09 John Fortey



Monday 10th:


There was no sign of the Kentish Plover today although a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was in the Bight on the morning tide. Elsewhere two Balearic Shearwater were offshore along with six Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua.


Greenshank 09/08/09 John Fortey



Sunday 9th:


The highlight was a juvenile Kentish Plover, first found on the beach at high tide it showed well  in the Bight for most of the day. Other waders present included single Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone, 450+ Curlew, c80 Dunlin and 40+ Ringed Plover. Also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, 200+ Sandwich and 10 Common Tern. Mediterranean Gull remain  on site in good numbers with at least eight birds during the day (2 ad, ss, fs & 4 juv), including six anting over Warren Point. Elsewhere a Sedge and two Willow Warbler, four Whitethroat and a Wheatear were on Warren Point and a Kingfisher  was on the Main Pond.


Kentish Plover 09/08/09 both John Lee



Saturday 8th:


Migrants included two Garden and three Willow Warbler with at least 10 Blackcap and a Wheatear. A Coal Tit in the Entrance Bushes was however the scarcest migrant despite no doubt having travelled the shortest distance. Overhead 215+ Swallow, 20+ Swift, seven House and a Sand Martin passed east with three Buzzard, a Snipe and four anting Mediterranean Gull, an adult, a first summer and two juvenile also over the reserve. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe, a Kingfisher, 70+ Redshank, 10+ Whimbrel, two Snipe and a Common Sandpiper were in the estuary, with a second Kingfisher on the Main Pond and at least 25 Common Tern offshore.



Friday 7th:


A juvenile Little Ringed Plover was in the Bight today along with at least 41 Ringed Plover, 83 Dunlin and three Sanderling. Other wader counts included 144 Redshank, 30 Whimbrel and five Bar-tailed Godwit. Offshore there were 16 Common Tern and three juvenile Mediterranean Gull, with a fourth in the Railway Saltmarsh. A Kingfisher was on the Main Pond.


Little Ringed Plover 07/08/09 both John Fortey



Thursday 6th:


At least five Mediterranean Gull were from the hide, two juveniles, a first summer and two adults, also in the estuary 100+ Sandwich and a Common Tern, 100+ Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 15 Sanderling, two Common Sandpiper and a Knot. Elsewhere two more Mediterranean Gull were anting over the Visitor Centre, an adult and a first summer, and a roving tit flock held two Garden, three Willow Warbler and several Blackcap.



Wednesday 5th:


Three Little Tern were roosting on Bull Hill with 180 Sandwich and a single Common Tern, also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, 20 Whimbrel, five Bar-tailed Godwit, two juvenile Shelduck and two Common Sandpiper. Wader numbers roosting on the beach over the evening tide were similar to yesterday with 50+ Ringed Plover and 25 Sanderling, but were difficult to count due to constant disturbance over high tide from people, dogs and raptors with Peregrine and Sparrowhawk both hunting over Warren Point. Elsewhere 10 Blackcap and two Willow Warbler were on site, two Bar-headed Geese flew upriver and offshore there were 21 Common Scoter and a Razorbill with a small chick. This species is not know to breed on the south Devon coast.


Shelduck 05/08/09 Simon Thurgood



Tuesday 4th:


Wader counts over the evening tide included 135 Dunlin, 102 Redshank, 84 Ringed Plover, 10 Whimbrel, three Turnstone, two Knot, a Greenshank and a Grey Plover. Also in the estuary two juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 19 Mute Swan, the Slavonian Grebe, 74 Canada and two Bar-headed Geese. Elsewhere a Common Sandpiper was on the beach and a Little Tern flew along the shoreline.


Oystercatcher 05/08/09 Simon Thurgood


Monday 3rd:


Wader counts from the Bight over the evening included 92 Dunlin, 36 Ringed Plover, 25 Whimbrel, four Bar-tailed Godwit, three Knot, a Turnstone and a Greenshank.  Also sheltering in the Bight were 180 Black-headed Gull, 172 Great Black-backed Gull, three Common Tern and a Kittiwake. Elsewhere in the estuary three juvenile Mediterranean Gull were in the Railway Saltmarsh with another 100 Black-headed Gull, c70 Redshank and a second Greenshank, with the Red-breasted Merganser off Finger Point, 30 Mute Swan in Shutterton Creek and the Slavonian Grebe off Cockwood.



Sunday 2nd:


A juvenile Little Ringed Plover in the Bight early evening was the highlight, with a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull also there earlier in the day. Wader counts included 121 Dunlin, 73 Ringed Plover, 30 Sanderling, c25 Whimbrel, four Common Sandpiper, four Turnstone and two Knot.  Also onsite at least 12 Common Tern, seven juvenile Mediterranean Gull, five Shelduck, a Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a dark phase Arctic Skua was offshore, 500 Swallow, 160+ Swift, four House and four Sand Martin flew through and two Willow Warbler were in the bushes.


Mediterranean Gull (juv/1st winter) 02/08/09 Lee Collins                                        Yellow-legged Gull (juvenile) 02/08/09 Lee Collins



Saturday 1st:


An Arctic Tern showed well in front of the hide late afternoon, with 17+ Common and 140+ Sandwich Tern also onsite. Over high tide counts from the estuary included 560 Curlew, 95 Redshank, 73 Dunlin, 66 Sanderling, c60 Ringed Plover, 25 Whimbrel, six Bar-tailed Godwit, five Common Sandpiper, four Turnstone, two Knot, two Greenshank and a Grey Plover.  Also in the estuary two adult Mediterranean Gull, a Shelduck and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere 20 Common Scoter, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and a Manx Shearwater were offshore, 60+ Swift, 25+ Swallow, six Sand and a House Martin were overhead and a Wheatear was along the Dune Ridge.


Colour ringed Sanderling 2009

Two birds have been recorded at the Warren this year, one in early June and a second in mid July. Both were ringed by the same project, click here for more information, many thanks to Jeroen Reneerkens for these details.

The first bird was ringed on 07/12/2007 at Iwik village, Banc d' Arguin, Mauritania, West Africa. It was subsequently seen again in the Banc d'Arguin from 18/11 - 02/12/08 . The next sighting was again at Banc 'Arguin on 21/04/09 before it's arrival at Dawlish on 04/06/09.

The second bird was ringed on 07/10/08 at Asenko village, Ghana. It was subsequently seen again in Ghana on 29 & 31/10/08. The next sighting was at Dawlish on 18/07/09.


Arctic Tern 01/08/09 Lee Collins



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