December 2008

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The website will not be updated until 2nd January 2009. Dawlish Warren bird news may be found on the Wildlife in Devon website or on Birdline Southwest 09068 884500. Please continue to submit your records and these will be uploaded on my return.



A return to form for the reserve this year with, at the time of writing, the year list for 2008 on 194 species just short of the site record of 196 in 2000. The highest individual year list is 181 with John Fortey, only two short of his own record set in 2005. Two day list records were broken this year with 87 species recorded on 1st January and a new site max of 92 species on 13th September.


2008 saw four new species for the reserve: Cattle Egret, Red-footed Falcon, Semi-palmated Sandpiper and Mealy Redpoll. Other highlights included a wintering Surf Scoter at both ends of the year, with a second individual midsummer, a summering Slavonian Grebe, two Red Kites in two days, three Nightjar (on the same day!), four Sabine's Gulls, the second records of Purple Heron and Common Rosefinch, the fifth record of Honey Buzzard, the fifth and sixth records of Hawfinch, the sixth record of Black Guillemot and the eighth record of Nightingale.


Record counts included White-fronted Goose in November, Fulmar in March, Mediterranean Gull in August, Guillemot and Razorbill in January, Dunnock in October, Sand Martin in April and Chaffinch in March and then November. More worryingly a new site peak of 39 Kitesurfers was also recorded during the year.


There were no surprises with the breeding species, but a summering Cirl Bunting and a Fulmar sitting on Langstone Rock may hint at the future.


On the negative side wintering wildfowl and wader numbers continue to fall, seaduck, divers and grebes have been noticeable by their absence, Cuckoos were once again very scarce and only one Long-tailed Duck was reported. Other notable absentees in 2008 were Kentish Plover, Black-necked Grebe, Little Auk (first blank year since 1999) and Marsh Harrier for the fourth year in a row.



Saturday 27th:


In choppy conditions there was no sign of the Surf Scoter offshore and a Greenshank in the estuary was the only other news received.



Friday 26th:


The Surf Scoter and a Slavonian Grebe remain offshore but no other news was received.



Thursday 25th:

John Fortey


A drake Pintail was in Shutterton Creek with 18 Black-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank and a Kingfisher. A brief look offshore failed to locate the Surf Scoter but am immature Mute Swan was on the sea with a pair also on the Main Pond.



Wednesday 24th:


The Surf Scoter remains offshore but no other news was received.



Tuesday 23rd:


The Surf Scoter was off Langstone Rock with two Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver.



Monday 22nd:


The Surf Scoter remains offshore but no other news was received.



Sunday 21st:


The Surf Scoter remains offshore and the Slavonian Grebe was again in the estuary.



Saturday 20th:


A Black-throated Diver was a new arrival offshore, also on the sea the Surf Scoter, 11 Common Scoter, two Red-throated Diver and a roost count of 41 Great-crested Grebe. Elsewhere a drake Goldeneye was in Shutterton Creek with wader and wildfowl numbers similar to yesterday's counts including 42 Ringed Plover.



Friday 19th:


A count in the estuary gave the following figures 1820 Dunlin, 1163 Oystercatcher, 429 Wigeon, 146 Knot, 145 Grey Plover, 136 Brent Geese, 59 Shelduck, 56 Redshank, 50 Teal, 38 Curlew, 35 Sanderling, 27 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Turnstone, two Snipe, a Lapwing and a Greenshank. Offshore the Surf  Scoter was still present with two Red-throated Diver.


Lapwing 19/12/08 Simon Thurgood



Thursday 18th:


The Surf and female Common Scoter were still off the seawall, also offshore a high count of 63 Great-crested Grebe roosting just south of the recording area at Rockstone. On site a drake Tufted Duck was in Shutterton Creek with a single Goldeneye and both Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker were by the First Pond.



Wednesday 17th:


The first Slavonian Grebe of the winter have arrived with three offshore and the resident in the estuary. Also offshore single female Surf and Common Scoter, a Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver.


Tuesday 16th:


No news was received.



Monday 15th:


The Surf Scoter was offshore with four Red-throated Diver and 30 Great-crested Grebe. The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary.



Sunday 14th:


The second winter female Surf Scoter was still offshore with eight Common Scoter. The resident Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary where on a dropping tide there were counts of  354 Wigeon, 192 Brent Geese, 56 Knot, 54 Redshank, 51 Shelduck, 45 Ringed Plover, 25 Grey Plover, 20 Turnstone, eight Snipe, a Shoveler and a Greenshank. Elsewhere two Snipe were in Greenland Lake, three Chiffchaff were in the Entrance bushes and single Buzzard, Dartford Warbler and Great-spotted Woodpecker were on site.



Saturday 13th:


The Surf Scoter was still offshore with the Slavonian Grebe still in the estuary.



Friday 12th:


The Surf Scoter and a Great Northern Diver were offshore with the Slavonian Grebe still in the estuary.



Thursday 11th:


The only news received came from the estuary where the Slavonian Grebe was feeding off the wreck with Red-breasted Merganser. Late news was received of a female Long-tailed Duck offshore the first record of the year, also reported offshore at least eight Great-crested Grebe and single Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Guillemot and Razorbill. Elsewhere a Dartford Warbler was in Greenland Lake and a Merlin was by the Visitor Centre.



Wednesday 10th:


The female Surf Scoter was distantly offshore with 20 Common Scoter, 10 Great-crested Grebe, four Teal and three Eider. An Avocet was in Shutterton Creek with other counts on a low tide, including 980 Oystercatcher 850 Dunlin, 157 Brent Geese (with still only two juveniles, indicating a poor breeding season), 52 Grey Plover, 51 Ringed Plover, 32 Shelduck, 28 Bar-tailed Godwit and eight Knot. Elsewhere the possible tristis Chiffchaff was in the Entrance Bushes.


Tuesday 9th:


There was no sign of the Surf Scoter offshore with just four Red-throated Diver, a female Common Scoter and a few Great-crested Grebe from the seawall.



Monday 8th:


The female Surf Scoter was offshore with 22 Great-crested Grebe and two Red-throated Diver, the Slavonian Grebe and two Pintail in the estuary and a Dartford Warbler with two Stonechat near the Visitor Centre.



Sunday 7th:


Three Eider off Langstone Rock were new arrivals, also offshore at least 20 Great-crested Grebe, 12 Common Scoter, five Red-throated Diver, a single Guillemot and the female Surf Scoter. Counts from the estuary included 834 Wigeon, 97 Teal, 62 Shelduck, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, five Greenshank, a Goldeneye and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Dartford Warbler was on the Golf Course with it or another along the Back Path mid afternoon, a Kingfisher was in Shutterton Creek and 12 Long-tailed Tit and four Chiffchaff including the probable tristis, were in the Entrance Bushes.



Saturday 6th:


With conditions flat calm offshore attention turned to the sea, an afternoon watch from the seawall revealed 10 Great-crested Grebe, seven Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, two Common Scoter, single Razorbill and Guillemot and the female Surf Scoter. Elsewhere a Dartford Warbler was on Warren Point, with a second by the Car park, a female Blackcap was in Greenland Lake, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, six Siskin and four Chiffchaff were in the Entrance Bushes; a Redshank, a Kingfisher, four Little Grebe and at least three Water Rail were on the Main Pond and a Buzzard flew low NE.



Friday 5th:


The female Surf Scoter remains offshore, the probable tristis Chiffchaff was by the First Pond and a Dartford Warbler was near the Visitor Centre.


Dark-bellied Brent Goose 05/12/08 John Fortey                                                Linnet 05/12/08  John Fortey



Thursday 4th:


The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with a single female Common Scoter but no other news was received.



Wednesday 3rd:


The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with five Great-crested Grebe and four Red-throated Diver, Elsewhere a Lapwing was in Shutterton Creek and some Siskin were calling around the Entrance Bushes. Late afternoon just south of the recording area off Rockstone there were 19 Great-crested Grebe and single Velvet, Common and the Surf Scoter.



Tuesday 2nd:


A Jack Snipe in the saltmarsh was the first of the winter and only the third of the year. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary and the female Surf Scoter offshore both continued their lonely vigils.



Monday 1st:


Offshore the female Surf Scoter was back again after its one day absence, along with two Common Scoter and four Great-crested Grebe. At high tide the Spotted Redshank was on Finger Point and there were counts of  2150 Dunlin, 1278 Oystercatcher, 187 Grey Plover, 97 Redshank, 164 Bar-tailed Godwit, 147 Curlew,  95 Knot, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, seven Turnstone, five Sanderling and singles of Whimbrel and Greenshank. 497 Wigeon, 169 Teal, 130 Brent Geese (including 13 in off the sea), 59 Shelduck and 2 eclipse drake Shoveler made up the wildfowl numbers, and elsewhere there was a Fieldfare on the golf course, a Reed Bunting over Warren Point and a Great-spotted Woodpecker by the First Pond.




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