March 2005







Report sightings





Thursday 31st:


The Highlight was an Osprey north over the reserve towards Haldon at 16.15. Three Slavonian Grebe remain offshore, a single off the seawall and two off the windmill, also present 12 Great-crested Grebe, 43 Red-breasted Merganser, 111 Shag and a first winter Mediterranean Gull flying east. 22 Sandwich Tern were spread between the estuary and the sea. On the beach 22 Ringed Plover were in the fenced area with a single Wheatear. In the Estuary, 46 Bar- tailed Godwit, 12 Curlew and three Little Egret were on the Railway Saltmarsh, with 40 Brent Geese in front of the hide with a single Pale-bellied Brent. On the land, seven Willow Warbler were in the Greenland Lake area with five Chiffchaff with a single Great-spotted Woodpecker. Two Blackcap along the Back Path and a single Sand Martin heading west over the reserve were both first records for the year. Elsewhere at least 10 Skylark are on site with four near the Visitor Centre and six on Warren Point.



Wednesday 30th:


Migrants today included three Siskin north over the Dune Ridge, a Swallow east there with a second over Greenland Lake and a single Wheatear patrolling the beach. Seven Chiffchaff remain vocal in Greenland Lake area along with a single Willow Warbler. On Warren Point there were at least six Skylark but nothing else of note. 30 Gannet were in a feeding frenzy offshore this morning, joined by nine Red-breasted Merganser, six Sandwich Tern and a single Slavonian Grebe. In the Bight there were 48 Brent Geese and 50 Dunlin. Six Teal are still on the Main Pond with two Canada Geese.



Tuesday 29th:


The wet weather overnight, which continued through the day, brought an increase in wader numbers with 96 Turnstone feeding frantically on the beach, a sign of this Spring wader movement. Other wader counts included 40 Grey Plover, 35 Bar-tailed Godwit,  30 Ringed Plover, 22 Knot, 15 Dunlin and 12 Sanderling. Other migrants included a Wheatear, four Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler around Greenland Lake, with six Gannet and a Fulmar east offshore. Elsewhere 147 Brent Geese could be seen from the hide and a Sparrowhawk flew past there, with 60 Starling on the Golf Course.



Monday 28th:


Two Willow Warbler were around the Main Pond with 10 Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest.  Offshore there were 15 Common Scoter, six Great-crested Grebe,  three Razorbill, two Sandwich Tern and a Red-throated Diver. In the Estuary there were 98 Dark-bellied and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 75 Dunlin, 22 Teal, 16 Ringed Plover, nine Knot, nine Little Egret, nine Black-tailed Godwit, two Grey Plover and two Sanderling.  Elsewhere the Peregrine pair were again on Warren Point, a Bullfinch pair were near the First Pond, Little Grebe calling on the Main Pond, with a Sparrowhawk, 37+ Linnet and at least six Reed Bunting also on site.



Sunday 27th:


Two Swallow flew through, the first of the year but a Jackdaw north and a Wheatear on the Golf course were the only other migrants. A distant Great Northern Diver was offshore with 44 Common Scoter, 34 Red-breasted Merganser, six Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe, six Sandwich Tern, three Razorbill and a Red-throated Diver. 92 Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 23 Teal and six Black-tailed Godwit were in the Estuary.  Elsewhere at least 10 Chiffchaff were present with three Teal and a Grey Heron were on the Main Pond.


Pale-bellied Brent Goose (first winter) 27 March 05
© Lee Collins

Wheatear 23 March 05 © Dave Stone



Saturday 26th:


The first Jackdaw of the year flew over east with two Rook early morning, also moving east overhead 54 Chaffinch, 19 Starling, smaller numbers of Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail and a Sparrowhawk, high along the coast.  A Buzzard and two Collared Dove also flew north over the site.  Offshore there was a Red-throated Diver with c15 Common Scoter, eight Red-breasted Merganser, 14 Great-crested and three Slavonian Grebe. In the Estuary, there were 42 Bar-tailed Godwit, six Little Egret, three Sandwich Tern and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese.  Elsewhere on site six Chiffchaff and at least Goldcrest were still by the Main Pond.



Friday 25th:


The first Willow  Warbler of the year was by the Main Pond along with six Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest.  Offshore there were two Red-throated Diver, 15 Great-crested and two Slavonian Grebe plus a mobile flock of 85 Common Scoter and single Guillemot and Razorbill.  Despite the high tide, wader counts were low as is typical for the time of year.  There were 74 Curlew, 59 Dunlin, 24 Knot, 19 Bar-tailed and seven Black-tailed Godwit, three Sanderling and a Grey Plover.  Other birds present in the Estuary included 10 Sandwich Tern, eight Little Egret, 103 Brent Goose plus a single Pale-bellied and a female Wigeon.  Elsewhere on site, a pair of Peregrine were on Warren Point and a Water Rail was by the First Pond.



Thursday 24th:


A  Black Redstart was briefly along the Dune Ridge before flying over the Golf Course towards the Bight but was not relocated.  Also present on site: four Wheatear, a Buzzard, three Pale-bellied Brent Goose and two Slavonian Grebe offshore.  There was no sign of the Shoveler on the Main Pond.



Wednesday 23rd:


11 Great-crested and three Slavonian Grebe are still in residence offshore with six Common Scoter and a single Red-throated Diver, also offshore, three Fulmar flew south with small numbers of Kittiwake and two Peregrine flew southwest. Elsewhere 10 Ringed Plover were in the Bight and 132 Brent Geese were still in the estuary. Other estuary bird counts are as follows 14 Black-headed Gull, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Shelduck, eight Teal,  two Greenshank and five Sandwich Tern, with small numbers also offshore. The Shoveler pair remain on the Main Pond with Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe in attendance. There was no sign of the Willow Tit today but there were five Wheatear on site, three by the Visitor Centre.



Tuesday 22nd:


The Willow Tit remained on site again, between the First Pond and the Crocus Compound. On a low tide today two Slavonian Grebe were offshore with single Sandwich Tern and Razorbill, two Red-breasted Merganser and eight Great-crested Grebe.  The Main Pond still holds the two Shoveler with nine Teal and a Little Grebe. A Sparrowhawk caused consternation amongst the resident birds in the Greenland lake area. Six Chiffchaff were on site with increasing numbers of Goldcrest.



Willow Tit (video grab) © Ivan Lakin                                  Willow Tit (video grab) © Ivan Lakin



Monday 21st:


The highlight of the year so far was discovered today, a Willow Tit (JEF et al). A single bird was present between the First Pond and the Crocus Compound all afternoon. This is the first record for the reserve and recording area. The origins of this bird are anyone’s guess as there is no breeding population with 50km of the site. Other migrants on site included five Chiffchaff and four Goldcrest. Two Slavonian Grebe and two Common Scoter were offshore with a single Sandwich Tern. In the Estuary, there was a high count of 66 Turnstone, with 15 Black-tailed Godwit and seven Lesser Black-backed Gull. The usual pair of Shoveler remained on the Main Pond.



Sunday 20th:


Viewing conditions were again difficult with a strong onshore wind, choppy waves and the continuing sea mist. Offshore two Great-crested and a single Slavonian Grebe remained and two Sandwich Tern were present. In the Estuary, the combination of the weather and the lowest high tide of the year,  meant that with the exception of 500+ Oystercatcher and 13 Turnstone, all other wader counts were in single figures, also present 30+ Great Black-backed and 10+ Common Gull. On the Main Pond, a Snipe joined the usual pair of Shoveler, six Teal, 3 Coot, 4 Moorhen and Little Grebe. Migrants on site included three Chiffchaff, seven Goldcrest,  including three by the hide, a White Wagtail and 12 Blackbird and a Redwing feeding on the ground in Dead Dolphin Wood.



Saturday 19th:


There was a light overhead passage of Meadow Pipit and alba wagtails, (including at least one White) with a Rook and single figure counts of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Starling. Other migrants included five Chiffchaff and on Warren Point, a Goldcrest.  The pair of Shoveler remain on the Main Pond with at least six Teal, two Canada Geese and a Little Grebe. The thick sea mist meant little could be seen offshore but two Great-crested and a single Slavonian Grebe could be seen close in during one clear spell. Two Sandwich Tern flew over Greenland Lake but were only heard, the mist again preventing viewing. Breeding species included three male Reed Bunting and nine singing Skylark.



Friday 18th:


No summer migrants were reported today, but offshore there were two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, 15 Great-crested and nine Slavonian Grebe. The only other news reported was of 15 Black-tailed Godwit in Shutterton Creek.



Thursday 17th:


The first three Sandwich Tern of the year were offshore today, along with eight Slavonian Grebe, some coming into summer plumage. Also present on site a Dartford Warbler and a single Wheatear in Greenland Lake.



Wednesday 16th:


Six Wheatear and a single Slavonian Grebe was the only news received for today.



Tuesday 15th:


The first Wheatear of the spring duly arrived at the Warren today with a single male on the main path at Greenland Lake and another five at Warren Point. Offshore 10 Slavonian Grebe remain with 16 Common Scoter and a single Fulmar flying south. Most of the waders were congregated on the seaward side with 2000+ Dunlin, 213 Grey Plover, 67 Knot, 42 Turnstone and 41 Sanderling. Other records over the high tide included 99 Brent Goose in front of the hide, with two colour ringed individuals, 36 Great Black-backed and four Lesser Black backed Gull on Finger Point, 36 Wigeon in Shutterton Creek with 3 Black-tailed Godwit. Elsewhere two Shoveler remain on the Main Pond with five Teal and two Little Grebe. 18 Wood Pigeon and a Kestrel were also on site.



Monday 14th:


80 Common Scoter remain offshore with 12 Great-crested Grebe, one Red-throated Diver, three Slavonian Grebe and a Guillemot. The semi resident Shoveler pair remain on the Main Pond with three Coot, three Moorhen and at least three Teal. In front of the hide 131 Brent Geese were on show, one sporting colour ringed legs, with 149 Grey Plover, 77 Knot, 35 Sanderling, 15 Turnstone,  36 Red-breasted Mergansers and 930 Dunlin.  The Shutterton Creek area held 50 Bar-tailed Godwit, 36 Black-tailed Godwit, 67 Wigeon, 24 Shelduck and 10 Teal.



Sunday 13th:


At least 68 Common Scoter were offshore, including one flock of 40+ close in, but there were only four Great-crested Grebe seen and no Slavonian. At low tide 50 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and two Little Egret were feeding in Shutterton Creek. A Dartford Warbler between the Dune Pond and the windmill was the only other news reported.



Saturday 12th:


Light overhead migration continued with 72 Starling east in small groups, along with 12 Chaffinch and small numbers of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit in off the sea. In the Estuary there were 233 Brent Geese, 79 Wigeon and two Pintail along with a Greenshank, 50 Bar-tailed and 25 Black-tailed Godwit. Other records included a Slavonian Grebe and 15 Common Scoter offshore, a Buzzard low along the beach before flying off high NW mobbed by Oystercatchers, three Teal and two Shoveler on the Main Pond and a large Lesser Black-backed Gull on sandbars at low tide.



Friday 11th:


There were still good numbers of waders present over the high tide with c3000 Dunlin, 287 Grey Plover, 110 Knot and 52 Sanderling. Elsewhere 12 Slavonian Grebe were offshore with eight Teal on the Main Pond and the two Shoveler. Overhead 38 Starling flew east with two Grey Wagtail, a single Chiffchaff was also presumably a spring migrant.



Thursday 10th:


More evidence of spring migration with a few Meadow Pipit on Greenland Lake, a Fieldfare flying North, a Raven over and six Pintail on the sea.  Also offshore 72 Red-breasted Merganser, two Red-throated Diver, 12 Slavonian Grebe, 20 Common Scoter and a Fulmar.  Elsewhere on site 46 Sanderling, five Snipe and the two Shoveler on the Main Pond, the Sparrowhawk again and a Dartford Warbler on Greenland Lake.  A single Green Woodpecker, heard calling today, would be the first record for the year but was probably just off site.



Wednesday 9th:


Offshore there were 30 Common Scoter, 27 Great-crested and seven Slavonian Grebe with single Great Northern and Red-throated Diver.  50 Linnet were around Greenland Lake including several singing males, this is an increase on recent weeks, five Reed Bunting were also new arrivals.  Elsewhere on site, Sparrowhawk and Bullfinch by the First Pond, a Kestrel and the two Shoveler were still on the Main Pond.



Tuesday 8th:


Seven Slavonian Grebes were offshore from the windmill this afternoon with 44 Red-breasted Merganser spilt between the estuary and the sea.

20 Great-crested Grebe were also on show with 1500 Dunlin performing admirably.  59 Brent Geese were in front of the hide with 82 Grey Plover, and 973 Oystercatcher between the hide and Finger Point.  Other birds of note included 33 Bar-tailed Godwit, 40 Knot, 36 Sanderling with 25 Turnstone milling about on the Saltmarsh and a Goldeneye in the Estuary. The Dartford Warbler was around the Greenland Lake area and a Grey Wagtail was by the First Pond.



Monday 7th:


An adult Mediterranean Gull flew east offshore this morning, in the calmer conditions 14 Slavonian and 13 Great-crested Grebe were present with 40 Common Scoter and three Red-throated Diver. A count of 65 Red breasted Merganser was also noteworthy. On the land four Collared Dove were on site, three flying over Greenland Lake and one flying northeast over the saltmarsh. The two Shoveler remain on the Main Pond with four Canada Geese, four Coot, three Moorhen and a Little Grebe




Dartford Warbler 6/3/05 © Simon Mackie                                                Dartford Warbler 6/3/05 © Simon Mackie


Sunday 6th:


A much quieter day with little news to report, offshore there were at least five Slavonian Grebe and two Razorbill, the few Gannet and Kittiwake were a long way out along with a dispersed flock of c50 Common Scoter. In the relative shelter of the saltmarsh there were 150 Brent Geese, 109 Wigeon, 20 Shelduck and two Goldeneye. 21 Cormorant were on Bull Hill sandbar with a Lesser Black Backed Gull. The pair of Shoveler remain on the Main Pond, with three Snipe in the dunes nearby. A Dartford Warbler was still in Greenland Lake and a Chiffchaff was present, the first of Spring.



Saturday 5th:


Despite the cold northerly winds there was some signs of spring today with five Meadow Pipit, 14 Goldfinch, and a Grey Wagtail flying over, the latter a very rare March record. Other birds overhead included three Rook east, a Buzzard over the Visitor Centre and a Peregrine high in off the sea. Offshore there were 12+ Red-throated Diver, 12 Slavonian and 17 Great-crested Grebe, 10 Common Scoter, 15+ auks, the only one close enough to identify was a Razorbill and 20+ Kittiwake. In the Estuary there were 129 Wigeon, a high March count, 70 Brent Geese, 26 Turnstone, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Shelduck, an adult summer Mediterranean Gull and a Greenshank. The only other news concerned the pair of Shoveler still on the Main Pond.



Friday 4th:


Offshore there were four Slavonian Grebe, two Red-throated Diver and 25 Common Scoter. The only other news concerned the pair of Shoveler still on the Main Pond.



Thursday 3rd:


A single Slavonian Grebe was offshore, the choppy conditions making viewing difficult. Six Lapwing over Warren Point might have been indicators of the cold weather along with a total of 135 Knot, the largest flock this winter. 150 Grey Plover were also present along with the pair of Shoveler on the Main Pond.



Wednesday 2nd:


22 Black-tailed Godwit were in Shutterton Creek at low tide but there were very few roosting gulls. Offshore c400 Black-headed Gull were feeding around the sandbars. The two Shoveler and a Dartford Warbler remain on site at the Main Pond and Greenland Lake respectively.



Tuesday 1st:


A pair of Shoveler were present on the Main Pond, the first of the year and the first record from the pond in a number of years. Offshore there were seven Red-throated Diver and five Slavonian Grebe with two Goldeneye, 28 Shelduck and 24 Lapwing in the Estuary. Two House Sparrow on Warren Point were unusual, this species being rarely seen away from the Buffer Zone.






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