December 2004



Friday 31st:


With the exception of at least 25 Razorbill the numbers of birds offshore were reduced with only four Red-throated Diver and three Slavonian Grebe seen. Elsewhere, there were 166 Bar-tailed Godwit at the high tide, two Peregrine on Warren Point and two Chiffchaff near the First Pond.  The remains of a Water Rail were found, apparently predated by a Sparrowhawk.


The final tally for the year: 185 species, with the most noticeable absences being Avocet and Kentish Plover, but both Surf Scoter and Spoonbill have been annual visitors in recent years.



Thursday 30th:


Offshore there were eight Red-throated Diver, 18 Great-crested and five Slavonian Grebe, a Velvet Scoter also flew east. In the Estuary there were 315 Wigeon, 250 Teal, 53 Shelduck, 53 Sanderling, 17 Turnstone, eight Little Egret, three adult Mediterranean Gull and single Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank. Elsewhere on site two Dartford Warbler were in Greenland Lake, a Kingfisher was at the Main Pond and 60+ Snipe were in the Golf Course saltmarsh (no access).



Wednesday 29th:


Six Slavonian Grebe were offshore, the highest count of the winter so far, also on site six Redwing flew east, a Grey Wagtail at the Main Pond, two Peregrine, eight Greenshank and a Treecreeper.



Tuesday 28th:


Offshore there were four Slavonian Grebe, five Razorbill,  two Common Scoter and two Red-throated Diver, a further 11 Red-throated Diver were recorded flying south, with small numbers of Gannet and the first Fulmar for several months. Although no counts were made there were still good numbers of Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover at the high tide and with them were 49 Sanderling, 203 Bar-tailed Godwit and more unusually a single Lapwing. Elsewhere on site, a Dartford Warbler was along the Dune Ridge, a single Rook flew east, a Pintail in Shutterton Creek and a Redwing flew low northwest over the Golf Course.



Monday 27th:


No news was received for today.



Sunday 26th:


A quiet day, despite the temperature, there was little sign of cold weather movement.  Dunnock continue to feed around the shores of the Bight, today joined by c50 Linnet, four Rock Pipit, a pair of Stonechat, a Pheasant and two Skylark.  Elsewhere on site were, eight Long-tailed Tit and two Chiffchaff in the bushes, a Slavonian Grebe offshore and, on the Main Pond, two Little Grebe, three Coot and a Kingfisher. 



Saturday 25th:


No news was received for today.



Friday 24th:


Counts over the high tide included 158 Brent Goose, 54 Shelduck, 40+ Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Turnstone, seven Grey Heron, seven Black-tailed Godwit, five Little Egret and two Greenshank.  Also in the Estuary were three Goldeneye and a Little Grebe, the latter a rare sight away from the Main Pond, where two are still present.  Two Slavonian Grebe and a Red-throated Diver were seen offshore from the Windmill.  Also on site, a Peregrine in the Bight and a Dartford Warbler in Greenland Lake.



Thursday 23rd:


The stormy weather produced a few Gannet and auks past along with Kittiwake and a Red-throated Diver.  Two Snipe were on the Main Pond.



Wednesday 22nd:


No news was received for today.



Tuesday 21st:


The only news reported today was of a Purple Sandpiper which flew east, continuing a good year for this species.



Monday 20th:


No news was received for today.



Sunday 19th:


The cold weather brought in a few new arrivals, the most notable of which was a flock of 12 Redwing, which landed briefly behind the Crocus compound before continuing eastwards. At least nine Rock Pipit were present on site and around the First Pond were four Chiffchaff and a Treecreeper with the Long-tailed Tit flock. Single Golden Plover and Lapwing in front of the hide completed this limited “movement”. The stiff easterly wind made viewing conditions difficult offshore, only one Slavonian Grebe could be located along with a fly past Red-throated Diver. Numbers of other birds on site remained much the same with c200 Bar-tailed Godwit, 64 Shelduck, 136 Brent Goose plus the Pale-bellied bird at the high tide, nine Dunnock again feeding on the shore of the Bight and the Kingfisher at the Main Pond.



Saturday 18th:


The highlight was a Red-necked Grebe offshore from the windmill along with a Red-throated Diver, eight Great-crested and three Slavonian Grebe, a flock of c40 Common Scoter were also present but were very distant.  Amongst the thousands of waders and wildfowl in the Estuary there were 113 Knot, 52 Sanderling, 24 Black-tailed Godwit, four Greenshank, 46 Red-breasted Merganser and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, which appears to be paired to a dark-bellied bird. Other records on site included seven Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff, a Pheasant in the Railway Saltmarsh and 35 Linnet feeding around the shore of the Bight. Offsite 31 Turnstone were roosting in Cockwood harbour at high tide.



Friday 17th:


The second Fieldfare of the week flew over this time heading west, a single Redwing also flew west, also present a large immature Peregrine, two Pintail, seven Lesser Black-backed Gull. The Lesser Whitethroat was seen again, running mouse-like through the grass near the Visitor Centre.



Thursday 16th:


A single Pintail was the only news reported.



Wednesday 15th:


90 Knot, 14 Black-tailed Godwit and 13 Turnstone were in the Estuary with a Kingfisher at the Main Pond.



Tuesday 14th:


Offshore there were 5 Red-throated Diver, eight Great-crested and four Slavonian Grebe. Wader counts over the high tide included 3500 Dunlin, 2000 Oystercatcher, 264 Grey Plover, 222 Curlew, 152 Redshank, 56 Ringed Plover, 46 Sanderling, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and six Greenshank. In the Estuary there were 400 Wigeon, 180 Teal, 66 Shelduck,12 Little Egret and three adult Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere on site two Dartford Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great-spotted Woodpecker and three Reed Bunting.



Monday 13th:


A Fieldfare flying east towards Exmouth was the only news reported.



Sunday 12th:


Another quiet overcast day with little or no movement. Viewing conditions were hampered by a southerly wind blowing sand and creating choppy conditions offshore and only one Red-throated Diver was seen, along with a handful of distant Gannet and a lone Tufted Duck. The highlight was a Fulvous Whistling Duck in the Bight with 161 Brent Geese at high tide before moving with them to the sandbars offshore. Elsewhere on site a Chiffchaff, Treecreeper and three Goldcrest with 102 Knot and five Black-tailed Godwit in the Estuary.



Saturday 11th:


The only new arrival was a Lapwing which flew north, offshore there were four Red-throated Diver, 19 Great-crested and five Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere on site a Dartford Warbler, two Chiffchaff with 57 Shelduck and 53 Red-breasted Merganser counted in the Estuary. There was a pre roost gathering of  60+ Pied Wagtail in the Bight, the roost site is thought to be in Exmouth.



Friday 10th:


Two Dartford Warbler were still along the Dune Ridge and the Kingfisher was again at the Main Pond. Offshore there were six Red-throated Diver, three Great-crested and five Slavonian Grebe. Further south off Dawlish there were another eight Red-throated Diver, 15 Great-crested Grebe, 20 Common Scoter and two Eider.



Thursday 9th:


Numbers of birds offshore today were much reduced, there were four Slavonian, a single Great-crested Grebe and one Red-throated Diver. A first winter Little Gull was however unexpected. In the Estuary there were 560 Wigeon, 500 Teal and a Black-tailed Godwit.



Wednesday 8th:


No news was received for today.



Tuesday 7th:


20+ Red-throated Diver and similar numbers of Great-crested Grebe were still present between Langstone Rock and Dawlish Town, along with 28 Common Scoter and two Eider, but no other news was received.



Monday 6th:


At least 25 Red-throated Diver were still present south of Langstone Rock, but no other news was received.



Sunday 5th:


A regular feature of recent weeks has been the number of divers and grebes offshore, today 41 Red-throated Diver were present and 40 Great-crested Grebe roosted off Langstone Rock, both new site records. Also offshore a Great Northern Diver, five Slavonian Grebe, 100+ distant auks, seven Common Scoter and 113 Red-breasted Merganser at roost. In the Estuary there were 44 Shelduck and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. Elsewhere a Black-throated Diver was seen just offsite at Rockstone and a Common Sandpiper flew south past there, perhaps having come from the recording area.



Saturday 4th:


Offshore there were 33 Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver along with 100+ distant auk spp, 17 Great-crested and three Slavonian Grebe. The majority of divers and grebes had been roosting south of Langstone Rock. In the Estuary there were c40 Black-tailed Godwit along the Railway Saltmarsh, 36 Red-breasted Merganser, 72 Knot and an adult Mediterranean Gull was present briefly before flying into Cockwood harbour. The injured Lesser Whitethroat was seen again by the First Pond, having survived the first winter frosts, also in the bushes at least one Chiffchaff, Treecreeper and two Great-spotted Woodpecker. Other birds onsite included two Dartford Warbler, a Peregrine on Warren Point, 70+ Greenfinch and 30+ Dunnock, at least a dozen of which were feeding on the tideline around the shore of the Bight. A Yellowhammer was heard calling as it flew over the First Pond and presumably the same individual was seen later near the Hide.



Friday 3rd:


A single Black-tailed Godwit was in front of the hide along with 78 Bar-tailed Godwit, 74 Grey Plover and 33 Sanderling. Much of the interest remains offshore with 21 Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver along with 40 Common Scoter, 20 Great-crested Grebe and 17 Razorbill.



Thursday 2nd:


No news was received for today.



Wednesday 1st:


The Spotted Redshank continues with its presence amongst 195 Redshank and three Greenshank, roosting on the Railway Saltmarsh at high tide, a Kingfisher was also there.  A single Pale-bellied Brent Goose was in front of the hide with 39 Shelduck  and 3000+ Dunlin which continue to impress with their aerial displays. A colour-ringed Knot was also present, more information to follow hopefully. Other bird counts included, 212 Bar-tailed Godwit, 188 Grey Plover, 30 Sanderling, 13 Little Egret and 11 Grey Heron. Two Dartford Warbler were also still present, on the Dune Ridge by the windmill. 










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