December 2009

Click here for 2009 Year List

 

 

 

 

 

Report sightings

 

 

A slightly above average year in terms of the number of species recorded 188, but despite some high points a generally disappointing year, possible due to the fact that many of the better records were only fleeting visits.

 

2009 saw two new species for the reserve: Western Sandpiper and Red-rumped Swallow, however the sandpiper is still the subject of much debate and the swallow was seen flying through by two fortunate observers. Other highlights included the returning Surf Scoter at both ends of the year, with a second individual in January, the summering Slavonian Grebe, six Red Kites in two days, the second record of Black Kite, the sixth Cetti's Warbler, the seventh Black Guillemot, the eighth Aquatic Warbler, but the first since 1987. Another long absent species that was recorded in 2009 was Water Pipit with two in November.

 

Record counts included Canada Goose in October and Blue Tit in August. There were no surprises with the breeding species, with Ringed Plover and Little Grebe both successful.

 

As with 2008 the downside included wintering wildfowl and wader numbers continuing to fall, as well as fewer seaduck, divers and grebes. Migrants were also in short supply in 2009 in both spring and autumn, with only one Cuckoo all year. The most notable absentee in 2009 was Short-eared Owl, the first blank in over 30 years!

 

 

Tuesday 29th - Thursday 31st

 

Two Gadwall on the Main Pond on the 31st was the only news received, although the photo below suggests there has been a recent influx of Song Thrush to Warren Point.

 

Thrush 'anvil'  31/12/09 Simon Thurgood

 

 

Monday 28th:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 20 Common Scoter and two Eider, 11+ Great-crested Grebe and two Red-throated Diver. Counts from the estuary included 270 Wigeon, 154 Bar-tailed Godwit, 110 Brent Geese, 84 Shelduck, 82 Knot, 18 Red-breasted Merganser, three Greenshank, three Goldeneye and a Great Northern Diver.  Elsewhere at least 15 Redwing were on site, 10 Siskin were around the First Pond, two Mute Swan and a Water Rail were on the Main Pond and two Snipe were flushed from Greenland Lake. 
 

 

Sunday 27th:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 12 Common Scoter, the two Eider, 11+ Great-crested Grebe and two Red-throated Diver. The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with a Great Northern Diver, a Little Grebe, an Avocet and 38 Ringed Plover.  Elsewhere at least eight Redwing were around Dead Dolphin Wood - a sure sign of cold weather.

 

 

Saturday 26th:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with the eclipse and female Eider. Counts from the hide included 112 Brent Geese, 86 Grey Plover, 32 Knot, four Black-tailed Godwit and three Goldeneye. Three Moorhen on the Golf Course fairway were signs of the cold weather.

 

 

Friday 25th:

 

No news was received for today.

 

 

Thursday 24th:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 21 Common Scoter, two Eider and a Slavonian Grebe. An Avocet was in the estuary with the wintering Whimbrel, 1000+ Dunlin, 100+ Grey Plover, 50+ Knot and 50+ Bar-tailed Godwit, including one in summer plumage. Elsewhere seven Bullfinch were on site and an 80+ strong finch flock of looking to roost behind centre seemed to be mainly Greenfinch and Linnet.

 

Eider 24/12/09 Stan Stanbury

 

 

Wednesday 23rd:

 

The female Surf Scoter was offshore, but no other news was received for today.

 

 

Tuesday 22nd:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 25 Common Scoter, 10+ Great-crested Grebe and two Eider. Counts included 1600 Dunlin, 950+ Oystercatcher, 192 Grey and 39 Ringed Plover. A Great Northern Diver was also in the estuary.

 

 

Monday 21st:

 

The female Surf Scoter and a Great Northern Diver were offshore.

 

 

Sunday 20th:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 22 Common Scoter, an immature Tufted Duck, 15 Great-crested Grebe, three Red-throated Diver, two Eider and three Razorbill. In the estuary wildfowl numbers remained high with 93 Shelduck, 80 Brent Geese, five Gadwall, two Pintail and two drake Shoveler with the Wigeon and Teal. Also in the estuary 144 Bar-tailed Godwit, 110 Knot, 10 Little Egret and single Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Lapwing and adult Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere 19 Chaffinch, four Buzzard and two Redwing were overhead with four Stonechat, three Snipe, two Siskin, at least two Water Rail, a Redwing and both Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker on site.

 

Brent Goose 19/12/09 Simon Thurgood

 

 

Saturday 19th:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 25 Common Scoter, two Eider, two Red-throated Diver, four Diver sp, 15 Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe. The cold weather had left a heavy frost and even along the tideline - a rare sight recently, this also lead to an increase in wildfowl and waders in the estuary with 677 Wigeon, 332 Curlew, 183 Teal, 68 Shelduck, 47 Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Little Egret and 10 Greenshank. Scarcer species included the first Goosander of the year, a redhead, the Long-tailed Duck, six Pintail, single pairs of Shoveler and Gadwall, a Spotted Redshank on Finger Point and the wintering Whimbrel. Also in the estuary the Slavonian and a Little Grebe, six Black-tailed Godwit, a Lapwing and a drake Goldeneye. Other cold weather movement included six Snipe, five in Greenland Lake, one on Warren Point,  three Redwing overhead and at least 10 Song Thrush. Elsewhere on site there were 20+ Chaffinch, 12+ Skylark, eight Bullfinch, three Reed Bunting, four Stonechat, single Great-spotted Woodpecker and Kestrel and a Buzzard overhead.

 

Stonechat 19/12/09 Simon Thurgood

 

 

Friday 18th:

 

The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary off Cockwood and 19 Goldfinch flew over but no other news was received for today.

 

 

Thursday 17th:

 

No news was received for today.

 

 

Wednesday 16th:

 

The female Surf Scoter and five Eider were offshore.

 

 

Tuesday 15th:

 

The female Surf Scoter and a Great Northern Diver were offshore.

 

 

Monday 14th:

 

The female Surf Scoter was offshore with at least three Great-crested Grebe, three Eider and singe Red-throated and Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary near the Wreck with at least five Red-breasted Merganser.

 

 

Sunday 13th:

 

The female Surf Scoter was offshore with nine Common Scoter, five Eider and a Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere four Sanderling were present over high tide and a Peregrine roosted in the Bight, mobbed by 20+ Carrion Crow.

 

 

Saturday 12th:

 

The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 15 Common Scoter, five Eider, three Great-crested Grebe and a Great Northern Diver. In the estuary there were 110 Brent Geese, 300+ Wigeon, 50+ Common Gull, 48 Ringed Plover, 14 Teal, six Sanderling, a pair of Gadwall, a second Great Northern Diver and single Little Grebe, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Whimbrel. Elsewhere at least three Water Rail, two Chiffchaff and a Great-spotted Woodpecker were on site, 32 Mallard, two Mute Swan, a Little Grebe and a Coot were on the Main Pond and 46 Carrion Crow were on the Railway Saltmarsh.

 

 

Friday 11th:

 

The Long-tailed Duck was off Cockwood. The only other news received was from the Main Pond, any suggestions welcome! Mallard is one half but the other is undecided with Red-crested Pochard, Muscovy Duck and Egyptian Goose the front runners...

 

Duck sp 11/12/09

 

 

Thursday 10th:

 

The female Surf Scoter was offshore with five Eider and two Great Northern Diver. In the estuary the Long-tailed Duck was in Shutterton Creek with the Slavonian, a Great-crested and a Little Grebe.

 

Linnet 10/12/09 Simon Thurgood                  Great Northern Diver 03/12/09 Simon Thurgood

 

 

Wednesday 9th:

 

The female Surf Scoter was offshore with eight Common Scoter, six Great-crested Grebe, five Eider, two Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver. In the estuary the Long-tailed Duck was in Shutterton Creek with the Slavonian and a Little Grebe, a Goldeneye and a Kingfisher. A complete wader and wildfowl count revealed 1879 Dunlin, 1380 Oystercatcher, 580 Wigeon, 231 Grey Plover, 151 Redshank, 85 Knot, 81 Brent Geese, 69 Bar-tailed Godwit, 44 Ringed Plover, 40+ Shelduck, 31 Curlew, 18 Teal, 15 Turnstone, 13 Snipe, two Sanderling and a Greenshank. Elsewhere a Great-spotted Woodpecker was on site.

 

 

Tuesday 8th:

 

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

 

 

Monday 7th:

 

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

 

 

Sunday 6th:

 

The female Surf Scoter was still offshore with seven Eider and three Great Northern Diver. Elsewhere an adult Little Gull flew north up the estuary and a Chiffchaff was in Dead Dolphin Wood.

 

 

Saturday 5th:

 

The female Surf Scoter, presumed a returning bird, was still offshore with 40+ Common Scoter, 16 Great-crested Grebe, seven Eider, five Red-throated and three Great Northern Diver. In the estuary the Long-tailed Duck was in Shutterton Creek on the dropping tide and was then between Bull Hill and Exmouth, also present a Great Northern Diver, the Slavonian Grebe, three Goldeneye and a Greenshank. Elsewhere a Chiffchaff and five Bullfinch were around Dead Dolphin Wood, a Buzzard, 20+ Goldfinch and c10 Chaffinch flew over, a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the Entrance Bushes and a Water Rail was at the First Pond.

 

Goldeneye 05/12/09 Simon Thurgood

 

 

Friday 4th:

 

An unexpected highlight was a female or immature Surf Scoter off the eastern end of the Warren, with seven Eider. This is either the 12th reserve record or the returning bird of the last two winters. A Little Auk, the first since Dec 2007, was also offshore before flying south towards the seawall, 13 Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver, 14 Common Scoter and eight Great-crested Grebe. Large numbers of finches were around the First Pond early morning, amongst them were three Siskin, eight Chaffinch and three Bullfinch, also in the bushes single Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting Elsewhere two Grey Wagtail flew over and the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary.

 

 

Thursday 3rd:

 

The Slavonian Grebe is still in the estuary along with two Great Northern Diver. Also in the estuary seen from Cockwood, a Kingfisher, a Great-crested Grebe, 15 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Turnstone and good numbers of Redshank and Curlew.

 

Great Northern Diver 03/12/09 Simon Thurgood

 

 

Wednesday 2nd:

 

The Long-tailed Duck was again in the estuary in the main channel around the wreck.

 

 

Tuesday 1st:

 

Counts from the estuary included 2000+ Dunlin, 242 Brent Geese, 50+ Grey Plover, 47 Shelduck, 40+ Knot, 17 Turnstone and five Bar-tailed Godwit. Offshore there were 40+ Common Scoter.

 

Ringing news: A colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit present on 18/10/09 was originally ringed as a juvenile on the Montrose Basin, NE Scotland on 27/10/07. A detailed ringing history shows it was around the Montrose Basin for at least a month before being recorded at Bowling Green Marsh, at the north end of the Exe on 31/12/07. It remained on the Exe until 01/05/08 before spending its first summer around the Solent on the south Hampshire coast. It was then present on the Exe at Exminster Marshes earlier this year, before presumably moving back to Iceland to breed in its second summer. The final sighting before its arrival at the Warren was at Gilroy Nature Park on the Dee Estuary, Merseyside on 30/09/09.

 

Many thanks to Les Hatton and Raymond Duncan for this information. For more details on Operation Godwit click here

 

 

 

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