December 2006

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Sunday 31st:


A quiet end to the year with a few Kittiwake, Razorbill and Gannet close in but most birds passing south were very distant. Also offshore the Velvet Scoter remained off Langstone Rock and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew over the seawall. Elsewhere two Avocet,  single Red-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary and a Water Rail was by the First Pond.


The year's final tally was 188 species, slightly down on recent years. The most noticeable absentees were Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Snow Bunting and Scaup.


There were however three additions to the recording area list in 2006: Purple Heron, Laughing Gull and of course the Long-billed Murrelet. There was also one addition to the list of breeding species, Herring Gull, although unfortunately the attempt failed. A pair of Oystercatcher also attempted to breed, the first record since 1888! Other highlights included the second Spotted Crake, the fifth Broad-billed Sandpiper, Cetti's and Yellow-browed Warbler, the sixth Buff-breasted Sandpiper and record numbers of Storm Petrel in May and Great Black-backed Gull in September.


However several species were scarce in 2006 with only three records of Lesser Whitethroat, two records of Firecrest and Hobby and only one Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Turtle Dove all year.



Saturday 30th:


The unexpected highlight today was the second Nuthatch of the year, present briefly by the First Pond, also here the Treecreeper - a unique site double! Offshore an hour long seawatch produced 60+ auk, mostly Razorbill, four Great Northern and a probable Black-throated Diver south with the Velvet Scoter close in off Langstone Rock alongside a female Common Scoter. A fifth Great Northern Diver was off the seawall with another bird still in the estuary. On the rising tide there were 78 Great Black-backed Gull, 57 Knot, 48 Wigeon, 19 Sanderling and a Little Grebe in the Bight with five Greenshank, a Goldeneye, an Avocet and a first winter Mediterranean Gull in Shutterton Creek.



Friday 29th:


Seawatching prior to 11am produced two Balearic Shearwater south, the first December record for the reserve, along with 22 Kittiwake, 20+ Razorbill, seven Gannet, two Fulmar, a Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and an adult Little Gull. Two Great-crested Grebe and an Eider were on the sea. In the evening c1000 Starling came into roost at the Main Pond.



Thursday 28th:


A Velvet Scoter was off Langstone Rock with 30+ Razorbill, nine Red-throated Diver, three Eider, a Slavonian Grebe, a first winter Little Gull and the Sandwich Tern also offshore. There were good numbers of Common Gull around the site with at least 47 in the estuary along with 119 Bar-tailed Godwit, 56 Red-breasted Merganser, 52 Ringed Plover, 20 Lapwing, two Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwit, a Great Northern Diver and a Golden Plover. A flock of 62 Golden Plover circled high over Shutterton Creek at high tide, the highest count here since 1982. Elsewhere a Firecrest was reported in the car park and later in the Entrance Bushes where there was also a Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Treecreeper.

Sandwich Tern 28/12/06  Darren Maynard



Wednesday 27th:


The Cetti's Warbler was still present at the eastern end of Greenland Lake, also here the second Dartford Warbler of the year and two Stonechat. A Sandwich Tern off the Dune ridge and later the seawall was the latest ever record for the reserve, also offshore two Little Gull, an adult and a first winter, with at least eight Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, 13 Great-crested and two Slavonian Grebe, 25+ Razorbill, three Eider, two Guillemot and a Common Scoter. Elsewhere 97 Canada Geese, 67 Brent Geese and 61 Shelduck were in the estuary with three Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwit and a female Shoveler in Shutterton Creek, a Water Rail was by the First Pond and a Sparrowhawk was seen by the hide and over the Back Meadow.



Tuesday 26th:


The Cetti's Warbler was again present today, this time calling and showing in the brambles at the eastern end of Greenland Lake. Offshore there were two Red-throated Diver and a Slavonian Grebe along with six Razorbill, three Eider and a Common Scoter. Elsewhere three Black-tailed Godwit were in Shutterton Creek, 34 Mallard and three Little Grebe were on the Main Pond and eight Goldcrest and four Chiffchaff were around the First and Main Ponds.



Monday 25th:


The only news was from the estuary where there were 32 Lapwing, two Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank in Shutterton Creek. At this festive time of year, you may like to check out the Fairytale of Dawlish Warren from the good people at Punkbirder.



Sunday 24th:


A Black-throated Diver was offshore with c15 Razorbill, seven Red-throated Diver, three Eider and two Slavonian Grebe. Amongst the waders roosting around the Bight at high tide there 41 Turnstone, 32 Knot, four Lapwing and a Whimbrel. Elsewhere a Redwing was along the Dune Ridge and a first winter Little Gull was off Langstone Rock.



Saturday 23rd:


An unexpected highlight was a Cetti's Warbler, present in scrub between the Dune Pond and the windmill. Although typically elusive it was calling frequently and did show well on occasion, this is only the fifth recording area record and was the long-awaited first twitchable bird on site.  A Red-throated Diver, eight Great-crested Grebe, three Eider and a Razorbill were offshore, with 140 Brent Geese and 48 Shelduck in the Bight. Elsewhere four Avocet and three Greenshank were in Shutterton Creek.



Friday 22nd:


The weather again curtailed any attempt at birding, the thick fog reducing visibility to 20yards on occasion - it didn't stop the golfers though! A morning visit produced a Water Rail showing well through the murk on the Main Pond where there was also a Little Grebe and a Chiffchaff. Elsewhere a Great-crested Grebe was off the seawall and a Greenshank was heard in Shutterton Creek.



Thursday 21st:


Ten Black-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel were in Shutterton Creek, with a Snipe in Greenland Lake.



Wednesday 20th:


A Slavonian Grebe and three Eider where offshore.



Tuesday 19th:


The only news received for today was also a first for the year. A Woodcock was flushed from the Back Path onto the Golf Course, only the second site record since October 1997.



Monday 18th:


No news was received for today.



Sunday 17th:


Today's WeBS count recorded single Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe offshore along with four Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, 20 Red-breasted Merganser, eight Great Crested Grebe and three Eider. In the Bight there were 1920 Oystercatcher, 800 Dunlin, 135 Bar-tailed Godwit, 80 Grey Plover, 27 Turnstone, 18 Sanderling and 77 Brent Geese including only five juveniles. Elsewhere an Avocet and 63 Shelduck were in Shutterton Creek, four Little Grebe were on the Main Pond and six Chiffchaff were around the reserve.

Saturday 16th:


Offshore there were three Red-throated Diver with eight Great-crested Grebe, 25+ Razorbill, three Eider, two Common Scoter and 70 roosting Red-breasted Merganser. Elsewhere 1200 Dunlin, 140 Brent Geese, 45 Ringed Plover, 30+ Common Gull, 11 Sanderling, two Knot and a Little Grebe were in the estuary, 500+ Starling roosted at the Golf Course pond, three Chiffchaff were around the site and, 22 Mallard, two Little Grebe and two Water Rail were at the Main Pond.



Friday 15th:


Two Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver were offshore whilst a Black-throated Diver flew south.



Thursday 14th:


A Slavonian Grebe was off Langstone Rock with five Razorbill and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere two Canada Geese and two Little Grebe were on the Main Pond with five Goldcrest around Greenland Lake.



Wednesday 13th:


Seawatching before 9.30 produced 83 Gannet, 76 auk sp (mostly Razorbill) and 25 Kittiwake south. Also off the seawall at least three Little Gull, two adult and a first winter, with four Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, four Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe and 25+ Razorbill also on the sea. In the estuary there were 17 Black-tailed Godwit in Shutterton Creek with a Great Northern Diver and a Razorbill from the hide.



Tuesday 12th:


No news was received for today.



Monday 11th:


There were two Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver off the sea wall, with 35 Gannet and 12 Kittiwake passing south. Another three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver were south off Langstone Rock with eight Razorbill, eight Common and a Velvet Scoter. The Velvet Scoter was later off Coryton Cove, Dawlish. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver remains in the estuary.



Sunday 10th:


Offshore a Long-tailed Duck flew south with four Common Scoter, before appearing to land on the water, also on the sea three Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, six Great-crested Grebe, five Common Scoter and two male Eider. In the estuary there were 222 Brent Geese, 45 Shelduck, 20 Snipe, two Greenshank, a female Pintail and single Great Northern Diver, Little and Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere at least 20 Blackbird were around Dead Dolphin Wood, a Water Rail was on the Main Pond and at least four Chiffchaff remain on site.


Saturday 9th:


Four Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were offshore with at least eight Great-crested Grebe, two male Eider and a Razorbill. In the estuary there were 370 Wigeon, 120 Teal, 57 Shelduck, two Little and a Great-crested Grebe, a Razorbill and a Greenshank. Elsewhere 49 Ringed Plover were on the beach, two Water Rail were in the Saltmarsh and at least five Chiffchaff remain around the ponds on site.


Friday 8th:


An hour's seawatching produced four Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver, two Great crested Grebe, two Mute Swan and 10 Auk sp south. The Railway Saltmarsh held 44 Redshank, 37 Common Gull, seven Grey Heron and also in the estuary 163 Grey Plover, 74 Brent Goose, 70 Teal, 39 Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Red-breasted Merganser, a single Black-tailed Godwit and 1000+ Dunlin. The two Great Northern Diver are still in the estuary with one close in to the hide. Also in front of the hide 33 Shelduck,  21 Curlew, 18 Turnstone, 10 Sanderling, three Little Egret and four Knot. Still no sign of the reported Slavonian Grebe.


Thursday 7th:


Two Great Northern Diver were in the estuary along with five Mediterranean Gull and a Chiloe Wigeon.


Wednesday 6th:


Single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver were in the estuary with 460 Wigeon, 218 Shag, a Guillemot and an Avocet. A Slavonian Grebe was also reported in the estuary off Bull Hill, if confirmed this would be the first record of the autumn. This is the first year ever birds have not arrived before the end of November.


Tuesday 5th:


Sea-watching before 10am produced 43 Kittiwake, 35 Gannet, 34 Razorbill and two Curlew south along with four Great Northern, two Red-throated and a Black-throated Diver. Another Great Northern Diver was on the sea with two others in the estuary. The highlight of the morning was the first Leach's Petrel of the year, first found in Shutterton Creek, it then hawked around the Bull Hill area for almost half an hour, also in the estuary 313 Shag, 204 Brent Geese, 27 Shelduck, 18 Mute Swan, 17 Canada Geese, seven Red-breasted Merganser, four Great-crested Grebe, two Goldeneye, a Guillemot  and a the long staying Common Scoter.  A flock of 42 Great black-backed Gull on the sandbars held a single intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull.


Monday 4th:


A Black-necked Grebe off Langstone Rock was a good record, with Black-throated, Red-throated and Great Northern Diver also there, three more Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver flew south, but little else was passing at sea with just three Kittiwake, a Gannet and a Razorbill. Also offshore were three Common Scoter and three Great-crested Grebe. In the estuary both the Great Northern and Red-throated Diver were still present along with 218 Shag and three Great-crested Grebe.  Other counts from the estuary included 220 Brent Geese, 57 Bar-tailed and a Black-tailed Godwit, 37 Shelduck, 13 Mute Swan, three Greenshank, three Little Grebe (a good count for here), an Avocet in Shutterton Creek and a Kingfisher on the wreck. There were 10 Goldcrest and six Chiffchaff, including a grey 'eastern type' bird area between the First Pond and Greenland Lake with 14 Blackbird, four Chaffinch, two Stonechat, two Pheasant, a Song Thrush and the Treecreeper in Dead Dolphin wood. Elsewhere on site six Pied Wagtail were between the Bight and the beach and two Little Grebe were on the Main Pond.



Sunday 3rd:


Despite the overnight gales there was very little to be seen offshore with just two Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver noted. In the estuary yesterday's Great Northern Diver was still present with a single Red-throated Diver, adult Mediterranean Gull and a Common Tern, the latest ever site record.  Also in the estuary a single Avocet was in Shutterton Creek with c150 Redshank, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank. Elsewhere 38 Shelduck and nine Knot were in the Bight with a Kingfisher on the estuary wall by the railway crossing.



Saturday 2nd:


A Great Northern Diver was in the estuary, showing very well from the hide, also from there 210 Brent Geese and 27 Shelduck were in the Bight with two adult Mediterranean Gull in Shutterton Creek. Offshore there was another Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver with two Eider. Elsewhere seven Sanderling were on the beach and three Chiffchaff were by the Main Pond.



Friday 1st:


The Treecreeper was again by the First Pond with 10 Goldcrest, 10 Blackbird, six Long-tailed Tit, two Chiffchaff, two Goldfinch, one Pheasant and a Song Thrush between the First Pond and Greenland Lake.  Single Reed Bunting and Stonechat were on the Dune Ridge with five Pied Wagtail.  On a low tide the Estuary held four Avocet, the first of the winter here with 125 Shag, 120 Black-headed Gull, 84 Brent Goose, 27 Shelduck, 20 Mute Swan, 19 Bar-tailed and one Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Common Gull, four Greenshank, four Little Egret, three adult Mediterranean Gull, two Great-crested Grebe, one Common Scoter and one Guillemot.





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