March 2009

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Tuesday 31st:


An increase in passage today with at least 22 Swallow and 11 Sand Martin passing through during the day. Grounded migrants were still thin on the ground with just nine Chiffchaff on site.  More was happening on the sea with the first Black-throated Diver of the year, a summer plumaged bird off the seawall early evening, also offshore the female Surf, five Velvet and 130 Common Scoter, 17 Red-breasted Merganser, 14 Sandwich Tern, eight Great-crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere c200 Curlew were in the estuary with 11 Ringed Plover, eight Turnstone and three Sanderling.


Great-crested Grebe 31/03/09 Simon Thurgood



Monday 30th:


The only summer migrants were single House Martin and Swallow overhead with fewer Chiffchaff and no Wheatear on site. Elsewhere five Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew in off and headed upriver, with five Dark-bellied Brent still in the Bight and 15+ Sandwich Tern offshore.


Sandwich Tern 30/03/09 Lee Collins



Sunday 29th:


The highlight was the reserve's 11th record of Red-legged Partridge, flushed from the Back Path early afternoon and seen briefly near the Wryneck Path several hours later. Other grounded migrants included 20 Wheatear, the first Blackcap for the year, at least eight Chiffchaff and a presumed continental Song Thrush. Overhead an early House Martin headed north along with four Swallow and three Sand Martin, also overhead 20 Wood Pigeon, four Rook, three Raven, three Buzzard and two Siskin. Counts from the estuary included 420 Oystercatcher, 165 Curlew, 89 Dunlin, 79 Knot, 44 Turnstone, 32 Redshank, 29 Ringed Plover, 28 Grey Plover, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Teal, four Brent Goose and a Sanderling. Elsewhere the Surf Scoter remained offshore with 55+ Common Scoter, 35 Sandwich Tern and three Red-throated Diver and the Main Pond held a singing Reed Bunting, the pair of Mute Swan, six Canada Geese, four Little Grebe and continues to attract small numbers of Herring Gull.


Wheatear 29/03/09 Simon Thurgood                                   Wheatear 29/03/09 Dave Stone



Saturday 28th:


Two Mute Swan, four Canada Geese and c30 Herring Gull were on the Main Pond. No other news was received.



Friday 27th:


The only news received was of 17 Sandwich Tern offshore.



Thursday 26th:


The Surf Scoter remains offshore with five Great-crested Grebe and three Common Scoter. With wintering numbers dropping almost daily counts from the Bight only gave 340 Oystercatcher, 100 Dunlin, 42 Curlew, 22 Knot, 21 Grey Plover, 20 Ringed Plover, eight Sanderling, seven Brent Goose and six Common Gull. A sinensis Cormorant was on Finger Point.



Wednesday 25th:


The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with two Sandwich Tern also off the seawall.



Tuesday 24th:


The pair of Tufted Duck were still present and the female Surf Scoter remains offshore.



Monday 23rd:


The overcast conditions first thing pushed the migrants lower with 150+ Chaffinch overhead between 8.45 and 9.45 along with 11 Starling, three Greenfinch, two Linnet and two Meadow Pipit.  With the notable exception of a pair of Tufted Duck on the Main Pond, grounded migrants remained non -existent. The female Surf Scoter was offshore with six Sandwich Tern, and six Great-crested Grebe.


Tufted Duck (drake) 23/03/09 Lee Collins



Sunday 22nd:


The continuing fine weather ensured migrants remained virtually non -existent, with 45+ Chaffinch, three Buzzard, three Raven and a Peregrine overhead. The female Surf Scoter was offshore with 13 Sandwich Tern, 16 Common Scoter, two Red-throated Diver, 15 Great-crested and two Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the Entrance Bushes, 50+ Red-breasted Merganser were split between the sea and the estuary, 37 Teal and a Greenshank were in Shutterton Creek and at least two sinensis Cormorant were in the Bight.


'Continental' Cormorant (sinensis) 22/03/09 both Lee Collins



Saturday 21st:


The clear skies and NW wind kept sightings to a premium, with the first Coal Tit of the year the only notable migrant. It flew along the Dune Ridge and out across the Golf Course. Also on the move were the first White Wagtail of the year, 20+ Chaffinch, 18 Lesser Black-backed Gull, c10 Meadow Pipit, 10 Siskin, four Jackdaw, two Reed Bunting, two Rook and single Buzzard, Peregrine, Kestrel, Goldfinch and Swallow.  The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with seven Sandwich Tern, 60+ Common Scoter, three Slavonian Grebe and a Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere three Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary with 84 Dark-bellied birds, at least seven Chiffchaff  were on site and a Water Rail was a surprise find on Warren Point.



Friday 20th:


The first Swallow of the year flew through the reserve, elsewhere a Slavonian Grebe was offshore.



Thursday 19th:


At least five Chiffchaff were singing on site and a pair of Bullfinch were around the Entrance Bushes.


Bullfinch 19/03/09 Simon Thurgood



Wednesday 18th:


A Wheatear was in Greenland Lake with six Chiffchaff singing on site and two Red-throated Diver and a Slavonian Grebe offshore. At least 20 Teal and 15 Black-tailed Godwit were in the estuary.



Tuesday 17th:


Two Bearded Tit on the Main Pond mid afternoon were the highlight, the 15th record for the reserve and only the second since 1993! Elsewhere a Wheatear was on the Golf Course and the female Surf Scoter remains off the seawall and 20+ Teal were in the estuary.


Bearded Tit (male) 17/03/09 Colin Scott        Wheatear 17/03/09 Colin Scott 




Monday 16th:


The female Surf Scoter remained off the seawall with three Slavonian Grebe, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Red-throated Diver. At least five Wheatear and three singing Chiffchaff were onsite with three Buzzard and a Siskin overhead. Elsewhere c20 Teal were in the estuary and there was an unconfirmed report of a Great White Egret from the hide mid-afternoon.



Sunday 15th:


The numbers of grounded Spring migrants returned to zero with no Wheatear or Sandwich Tern on site, however some birds were still passing overhead, the highlight being only the 15th site record of  Marsh Harrier. An adult female circled offshore for 10 minutes at midday before heading inland over Haldon. The first site record since May 2004 and the first ever in March. Also overhead at least five Buzzard, a Peregrine, Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit just reached double figures, four Goldfinch, four Rook, two Collared Dove, a Jackdaw and a Reed Bunting. The Surf Scoter remained offshore with 40+ Common Scoter, four Slavonian Grebe and three Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere 153 Curlew, 117 Knot, 65 Redshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, four Goldeneye and two Teal were in the estuary, a Water Rail was at the First Pond and four Siskin were in the Entrance Bushes.



Saturday 14th:


Spring continued to show signs of arrival with the first Sandwich Tern of the year, six in the estuary and four offshore. Other migrants included seven Sand Martin, two Wheatear and flying over eight Meadow Pipit, seven Rook, six Siskin, two Pied and a Grey Wagtail, as well as two Buzzard and a Kestrel. A Redwing was by the First Pond, however the most unexpected migrant was a pale-headed Long-tailed Tit , possibly a caudatus/europeaus intergrade. The Surf Scoter remained offshore with c50 Kittiwake, 30+ Common Scoter, two Red-throated Diver and a Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere at least 44 Pale-bellied Brent passed through the site during the day with 90 Common Gull  25 Black-tailed Godwit  17 Little Egret and a Goldeneye in the estuary. 


Dunlin 14/03/09 Simon Thurgood



Friday 13th:


Today finally brought the first Wheatear of the year, on Woodhenge. In Shutterton Creek three adult Mediterranean Gull were with 181+ Black-headed and 70 Common Gull, also in the estuary 108 Red-breasted Merganser and 31 Black-tailed Godwit. The Surf Scoter remains offshore with 36 Common Scoter, three Red-throated Diver and a Slavonian Grebe.


Wheatear 12/03/09 John Fortey


Thursday 12th:


Ten Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew in off the sea and headed up the estuary. Wader counts included 1900 Dunlin, 140 Curlew, 111 Knot, 60 Grey Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit and nine Sanderling. Elsewhere 50 Kittiwake, five Red-throated Diver and the female Surf Scoter were offshore, three Siskin and a Raven flew over and three Song Thrush were on site. A pair of Long-tailed Tit were nest building in the Entrance Bushes.


Long-tailed Tit 12/03/09 Simon Thurgood



Wednesday 11th:


In the estuary there were c40 Knot, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Teal, five Little Egret, three Greenshank and a single Goldeneye. Elsewhere three Pheasant were on Warren Point, only the second record of the year, the Surf Scoter and two Red-throated Diver were offshore, two Raven were overhead, a Water Rail was at the Main Pond and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the Entrance Bushes.



Tuesday 10th:


In the estuary a single Pale-bellied Brent was with 139 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, with three Teal, two Snipe and the over wintering Whimbrel. At low tide 800+ Herring Gull were offshore with the Surf Scoter,  64 Red-breasted Merganser and a Red-throated Diver. Elsewhere a single Green Woodpecker was on site.



Monday 9th:


The first two Sand Martin of the year were flying around the Wreck in the estuary late afternoon, the earliest ever on site. The female Surf Scoter was offshore with two Slavonian Grebe and two Red-throated Diver. The resident Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Red-breasted Merganser and two Goldeneye. The Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank were just north of Cockwood harbour, and the recording area.


Slavonian Grebe 09/03/09 Simon Thurgood



Sunday 8th:


The female Surf Scoter was offshore with two Slavonian Grebe and an adult Mediterranean Gull. A second adult Mediterranean Gull was in the estuary with a juvenile Pale-bellied Brent, 178 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 88 Knot, seven Goldeneye and a sinensis Cormorant.


Goldeneye 09/03/09 Simon Thurgood



Saturday 7th:


The female Surf Scoter remains alone offshore despite the presence of 60+ Common Scoter, also offshore three Red-throated Diver. A Spotted Redshank in Shutterton Creek was an unexpected highlight, also there a good count of 52+ Black-tailed Godwit and two Greenshank, with 182 Brent Geese (the Black Brant was at Starcross again but failed to reach the Warren), 40+ Red-breasted Merganser, 24 Ringed Plover, 20 Turnstone, 18 Sanderling, five Goldeneye, three adult Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe also in the estuary. Elsewhere two Rook passed overhead, a male Sparrowhawk was on site, a Snipe was on Warren Point and a newly arrived Chiffchaff was by the Main Pond. South of the recording area at Rockstone there were at least 34 Great-crested, two Slavonian and a Red-necked Grebe.



Friday 6th:


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



Thursday 5th:


The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 25 Common Scoter, three Red-throated Diver and four Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with three Goldeneye, 12 Turnstone, five Black-tailed Godwit and two Greenshank.



Wednesday 4th:


The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with an adult Mediterranean Gull, four Red-throated Diver, 30+ Great-crested and at least four Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Pale-bellied Brent Goose was in the estuary.



Monday/Tuesday 2nd/3rd:


No news was received.



Sunday 1st:


The female Surf Scoter remains offshore with 75 Common Scoter, 18+ Red-throated Diver and three Slavonian Grebe.  Counts from the estuary included 2300 Dunlin, 205 Curlew, 193 Grey Plover, 152 Brent Geese, 142 Knot, 140+ Common Gull, 84 Redshank, 24 Ringed Plover, 18 Sanderling, 13 Black-tailed Godwit, eight Turnstone and single adult Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Goldeneye and Greenshank. Migrants were limited to a couple of Grey Wagtail overhead, along with two Skylark, two Chaffinch, a Raven and six Buzzard. Elsewhere the drake Shoveler was on the Main Pond and six Stonechat, including at least one presumed rubicola, the continental race and three Peregrine were on site.



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