December 2005

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2005 Year List






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Saturday 31st:


The first winter Glaucous Gull was present again around Langstone Rock, having been present on the Otter Estuary in recent days. It was with a small number of other gulls and when disturbed roosted on the breakwater. Also seen from the sea wall 12 Eider and three Slavonian Grebe. Three Eider were also present off Warren Point with around 400 Herring Gull feeding on the tideline. Elsewhere there were 1200+ Black-headed Gull roosting at this end of the estuary, but only one adult Mediterranean Gull could be found, also in the estuary 32 Lapwing and five Greenshank.


The final tally for the year: 191 species, the second best ever - only beaten by 196 in 2000. The most noticeable absentees were Pochard, Black-necked Grebe and Marsh Harrier, several species missing from 2004 made welcome returns; Avocet, Kentish Plover and Spoonbill. There were two additions to the recording area list in 2005 Willow Tit and Black Kite, with second records of Willow Tit and third records of Short-toed Lark and Red Kite. However several species were scarce with only three records of Redstart, two of Storm Petrel and one of Firecrest all year.


John Fortey's final tally of 183 is the best site year list ever beating the previous record (182) set back in 2001.



Friday 30th:


A Slavonian Grebe offshore and a drake Shoveler on the Main Pond was the only news received for today.



Thursday 29th:


In the cold weather the wader flocks showed well on the rising tide, feeding in the Bight, before moving onto the beach to roost. Counts included 120+ Knot and 319 Curlew, the latter the highest December count here for at least ten years. An increase in Teal was also noted with 380+ birds in Shutterton Creek. Elsewhere a Razorbill was in the estuary, 92+ Red-breasted Merganser roosted offshore, a Great-spotted Woodpecker and two Chiffchaff were by the First Pond and two Eider and a Slavonian Grebe were seen off the Dune Ridge.



Wednesday 28th:


No news was received for today.



Tuesday 27th:


Over high tide counts from the hide included c285 Brent Geese, 149 Knot and 46 Sanderling with an adult Mediterranean Gull in Shutterton Creek. Elsewhere there were eight Skylark and two Dunnock, feeding around the shore of the Bight, a Red-throated Diver, two Slavonian Grebe and a female Goldeneye offshore from the Dune Ridge and at the Main Pond, c150 Starling, 29 Mallard, four Water Rail, two Little Grebe, a Chiffchaff and a Reed Bunting.


Dunnock 27/12/05



Monday 26th:


Offshore there were eight Red-throated Diver, five Eider and four Slavonian Grebe from the sea wall, with 26 Turnstone and a Knot at Langstone Rock. Sightings from the estuary were much the same as yesterday with good numbers of wildfowl and corvids, also present 49 Shelduck, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank and a Little Grebe in Shutterton Creek, this species is rarely recorded away from the Main Pond.



Sunday 25th:


Counts from the estuary included 438 Wigeon, 157 Teal, 21 Lapwing and three Black-tailed Godwit. The pre roost gathering of corvids on the mudflats consisted of 130+ Carrion Crow, c85 Jackdaw and at least five Rook. Elsewhere c100 Starling roosted at the Main Pond, 65 Linnet were in the Saltmarsh and eight Eider, two Red-throated Diver and two Slavonian Grebe were seen in a brief look from the seawall.



Saturday 24th:


In calm conditions offshore there were at least 31 Great-crested and 11 Slavonian Grebe, most of these were off the sea wall and Langstone Rock. Also present 42+ Razorbill, 10 Eider, eight Gannet, eight Common Scoter, two Guillemot and two Kittiwake. A Little Egret and 16 Turnstone were at Langstone Rock. Counts from the estuary included 55 Red-breasted Merganser, 54 Ringed Plover, 40+ Sanderling and 38 Turnstone. Elsewhere there were three Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff, two Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk.


Sparrowhawk 24/12/05


Friday 23rd:


New birds included two Pintail in Shutterton Creek and two Golden Plover in the Bight. The latter are scarce visitors to the recording area and rarely land. Also in the estuary 140 Teal, c90 Red-breasted Merganser and three Goldeneye. Offshore there were 14 Red-throated Diver, nine Eider, four Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver. A Peregrine sat on Langstone feeding was on a local Feral Pigeon.


Thursday 22nd:


The only news received was of a few Slavonian Grebe, Red-throated Diver and five Eider in choppy conditions offshore.


Wednesday 21st:


Offshore eight Slavonian Grebe were present with eight Red-throated Diver, 15 Razorbill and 12 Great-crested Grebe. Over high tide 2000+ Dunlin and 140 Grey Plover were on the beach, 150 Bar-tailed Godwit and  94 Curlew were on Finger Point and 115 Knot and 15 Turnstone were in front of the hide. Shutterton Creek held 540 Wigeon, 138 Teal, 27 Shelduck, 22 Red-breasted Merganser and eight Goldeneye, a good count here. A drake Shoveler was on the Main Pond.


Tuesday 20th:


Offshore an increase in bird numbers with 30+ Razorbill, 23 Great-crested Grebe, 10 Red-throated Diver, five Slavonian Grebe, three Great Northern Diver, five Eider, with four more south of Langstone Rock, and two Guillemot.  The Little Grebe remains on the Main Pond, occasionally calling, with at least two Water Rail also there. Elsewhere on site there was a high count of 15 Bullfinch with five Stonechat, two Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap, a rare winter visitor to the recording area.


Monday 19th:


Offshore there were 11 Great-crested Grebe, two Great Northern and a single Red-throated Diver, whilst seven Bullfinch were on site, a reflection of the good numbers this autumn.


Bullfinch 19/12/05 Dave Stone



Sunday 18th:


Despite searching there was no sign of the Glaucous Gull, with fewer gulls around the sandbars today. In the estuary the Long-tailed Duck remained off Finger Point, with a pair of Shoveler in Shutterton Creek along with 579 Wigeon, 205 Brent Geese, 200 Teal and 46 Shelduck. Wader counts over the high tide included 1861 Oystercatcher, 231 Grey Plover, 229 Bar-tailed Godwit, 225 Curlew, 144 Redshank, 42 Sanderling, 30 Turnstone, four Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank. Offshore there were c30 Razorbill, 11 Common Scoter, 10+ Great-crested Grebe, at least eight Red-throated Diver, seven Slavonian Grebe, five Eider, a Guillemot and a Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere a Knot and a Little Egret were at Langstone Rock and nine Long-tailed Tit, four Goldcrest and three Chiffchaff were around the First Pond.



Saturday 17th:


The highlight was a first winter Glaucous Gull, found below Langstone Rock, before moving out to feed around the sandbars at low tide. It moved back later and roosted on the sea off the Rock. A Purple Sandpiper was also reported at Langstone along with a Little Egret. Offshore there were eight Red-throated Diver on the sea with at least another five flying south, five Slavonian Grebe, 65 Common Scoter, four Razorbill and two Eider.  Other wildfowl included the Long-tailed Duck in the estuary with 29 Red-breasted Merganser, 462 Wigeon, 146 Brent Geese and 53 Shelduck. Wader counts over the high tide included c3000 Dunlin, 252 Bar-tailed Godwit, 220 Grey Plover, 123 Curlew, 40 Knot, 18 Lapwing, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank. Elsewhere at least six Water Rail were on site with birds in the saltmarsh by the hide and the First and Main Ponds, also present three Chiffchaff and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Despite the date there was still some late movement overhead including a Yellowhammer, along with 17 Wood Pigeon, four Stock Dove, 16 Goldfinch, seven Chaffinch, a Reed Bunting and a Siskin.


Glaucous Gull (first winter) 17/12/05


Friday 16th:


A Kingfisher at the Main Pond and a Kestrel in Greenland Lake was the only news received for today.



Thursday 15th:


The Long-tailed Duck was again off Finger Point and a Greenshank was in the estuary.



Wednesday 14th:


The Avocet was again present in the estuary, where 500 Black-headed and an adult Mediterranean Gull roosted. Offshore there were 12 Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, six Slavonian Grebe, 11 Common Scoter and two Eider.


Tuesday 13th:


The highlight was another Avocet, feeding by the mussel beds in the estuary, the Long-tailed Duck was also in this area with three Goldeneye nearby. Shutterton Creek held 30 Common Gull, 33 Shelduck 100 Brent Geese and 15 Red-breasted Merganser, whilst 100+ Wigeon flew south out to sea over the Dune Ridge. Offshore there were 14 Great-crested Grebe with seven Red-throated Diver, two Slavonian Grebe and an Eider. Elsewhere there were 750 Herring Gull on Pole Sands, a Mistle Thrush, a Great-spotted Woodpecker and at the Main Pond two Little Grebe and two Chiffchaff.


Monday 12th:


In better viewing conditions at least eight Red-throated Diver were offshore, including a group of five drifting west at 1030 onwards, also present three Slavonian Grebe, a Great Northern Diver, an Eider, a Velvet and a Common Scoter and single figures of Razorbill and Guillemot.  The immature male Long-tailed Duck was again feeding just outside of the Bight, with an adult Mediterranean Gull also in the estuary. Elsewhere a Peregrine was feeding on kill on the beach and at the Main Pond single Kingfisher and Little Grebe were present at dusk as well as two Water Rail.



Sunday 11th:


The weather hampered any attempts to cover the site today, with visibility never getting beyond 100m in the dense fog. Over the high tide, the regular species could all be seen from the hide with three Greenshank and two Black-tailed Godwit the pick of the waders, c200 Brent Geese and 26 Shelduck were in the Bight. Elsewhere an owl sp was flushed from the Dunes by a visiting group, two Chiffchaff were present, Water Rail were heard calling from the Main Pond, a Redshank was in Greenland Lake and two Red-throated Diver were seen close in off the seawall.


View from the hide 14.30 11/12/05



Saturday 10th:


The Long-tailed Duck remains in the estuary, showing well from the hide at high tide. Offshore there were two Slavonian Grebe, an Eider, a Great Northern, a reported Black-throated and at least three Red-throated Diver, with a first winter Mediterranean Gull along the beach. Also offshore an Arctic Skua flying south was an unusual December record. Elsewhere a Water Rail was at the Main Pond and a Peregrine was chasing Dunlin in front of the hide.



Friday 9th:


Nine Red-throated Diver were offshore with six Common Scoter, three Great-crested Grebe, a Razorbill and an Eider. In the estuary there were three Gadwall in Shutterton Creek with nine Lapwing, 12 Jackdaw and 248+ Wigeon, 178 Bar-tailed Godwit were in front of the hide with 6+ Black-tailed Godwit, 262 Brent Goose, 59 Knot, 10 Turnstone and four Little Egret. The Long-tailed Duck showed well off Finger Point, a Kingfisher was on the Main Pond and the Tawny Owl was again by the First Pond.



Thursday 8th:


An immature male Long-tailed Duck was feeding in the Bight off Finger Point this morning. Offshore an immature Velvet Scoter flew south and there were two Slavonian Grebe, six Red-throated and five Great Northern Diver.



Wednesday 7th:


A quieter day today with six Red-throated Diver, 12 Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe offshore. The wader roost on the beach included 203 Grey Plover, 150 Knot and 17 Turnstone, whilst 200 Brent Geese were in the Bight with 19 Shelduck and 194 Bar-tailed Godwit. Two Peregrine, the first for a while flew northwest over the hide. Elsewhere in Greenland Lake there were three Chiffchaff, four Chaffinch and two Goldcrest. A late movement of 150 Wood Pigeon flew east heading inland over the Langstone Cliff Hotel.



Tuesday 6th:


Seawatching produced 18 Red-throated and five Great Northern Diver heading south, with eight Common Scoter east and three more south. Also offshore the Velvet Scoter, eight Great-crested and three Slavonian Grebe. The highlight though was a probable female Surf Scoter scoped for twenty minutes distantly from the seawall before flying off east, if confirmed this would have been the ninth site record but the first since Jan 2003. The wader roost on the beach held 1800+ Dunlin and 190 Grey Plover with 180 Bar-tailed Godwit in the Bight with 220 Brent Geese and 40 Shelduck. Elsewhere in the estuary 50 Redshank were in the Railway Saltmarsh with a single Greenshank and three Goldeneye were by Cocklesands. Five Long- tailed Tit, 1 Mistle Thrush and a Chiffchaff were around Greenland lake.



Monday 5th:


The Velvet Scoter was still offshore with nine Red-throated Diver, six Great-crested and three Slavonian Grebe. A Great Northern Diver flew east.



Sunday 4th:


A Jay around Greenland Lake was a surprise, the area also held 30 Wood Pigeon, 30+ Greenfinch, six Bullfinch, six Long-tailed Tit, three Stonechat, three Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest, a Reed Bunting and a Dartford Warbler was by the Dune Pond. An eared owl sp. was also seen but was always against the sun and too far away to identify conclusively.  Waders roosting on the beach included 1800 Dunlin, 157 Grey Plover, 43 Ringed Plover, 22 Sanderling and eight Turnstone with another 10 Turnstone off the seawall. Hundreds of Herring Gull were again on the beach and these attracted the attention of a dark phase Arctic Skua. In the estuary 234 Brent Goose and 34 Shelduck were present in the Bight with 186 Shag around Bull Hill. Offshore 16 Great-crested Grebe, six Red-throated Diver and two Slavonian Grebe were noted just south of Langstone Rock, where an adult winter Mediterranean Gull showed well.  Elsewhere a Little Grebe was on the Main Pond with a Water Rail seen by the First Pond.



Saturday 3rd:


A single Avocet was again present today, in front of the hide over high tide, it then fed around the Bight and off Cockwood as the water receded. Waders present on the beach over the high tide included 2000 Dunlin, 148+ Grey Plover, 51 Ringed Plover and 45 Knot. Large numbers of Herring Gull were also on the beach, with at least 1850 birds feeding on debris washed up by yesterday's high seas, also present were 200+ Black-headed, c150 Great Black-backed, 40+ Common and an adult Mediterranean Gull. In the estuary at least 178 Shag were around Bull Hill, with single Slavonian and Great-crested Grebe in front of the hide, also there 23 Shelduck and a Greenshank. Elsewhere 11+ Common Scoter, single Slavonian and Great-crested Grebe were offshore, at least nine Stonechat were on site, five Water Rail included two in the saltmarsh by the hide, a Great-spotted Woodpecker was behind the Visitor Centre and at least one Chiffchaff was near the First Pond.



Friday 2nd:


Seawatching between 8.15 and 10.00am produced 219 Kittiwake, four Fulmar, two Razorbill, five Great Northern and a single Red-throated Diver all south. Also offshore only three Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe could be picked out in the choppy conditions. In the estuary there were 205 Great Black-backed and two Lesser Black-backed Gull in the Bight with 101 Shag feeding actively by Bull Hill, 202 Brent Geese were in Shutterton Creek area with 10 Mute Swan and 70+ Jackdaw were on the Railway Saltmarsh. Elsewhere there were 25 Turnstone on the beach and the Tawny Owl by the First Pond with eight Bullfinch. The highlight though was four Avocet in Shutterton Creek, presumably pushed down river by the flood waters at the top end of the estuary. Congratulations to John Fortey - the Avocet being number 183 for his Warren year list - a new site record beating the 182 set in 2001.



Thursday 1st:


The Tawny Owl remains faithful to the First Pond area with a flyover Mistle Thrush there late on.  In the estuary there were 173 Curlew on Finger Point, with 526 Wigeon, 163+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Red-breasted Merganser and 15 Shelduck in Shutterton Creek. Elsewhere two Rook were on the saltmarsh, 10 Mallard were on the Main Pond and a Goldcrest braved the gale force wind and showed in the Back Meadow.




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