May 2005







Report sightings




Tuesday 31st:


The Long-tailed Tit parents are busy feeding their ever demanding young in the Greenland Lake area, the Moorhen have bred successfully for the second time this year on the Main Pond and another pair have young on the First Pond. Elsewhere on the reserve 23 Dunlin were in the Bight with 10 Ringed Plover, nine Sandwich Tern were on Bull Hill and 33 Sanderling were scurrying along the tideline at Warren Point.



Monday 30th:


Over high tide there were 40 Sanderling, 35 Curlew, 20 Dunlin, three Grey Plover, a single Bar-tailed Godwit and just two Sandwich Tern. Four Buzzard over the site during the day and the first two Bullfinch for several weeks were the only other records of note.



Sunday 29th:


On a quiet day a late Yellow Wagtail flying east was the highlight, at least 30 House Martin and 15 Swallow flying west, four Collared Dove and a singing Reed Warbler in Dead Dolphin Wood were the only other migrants. There was little offshore either in the flat calm conditions, four Great-crested Grebe were on the sea, a single distant flock of 18 Manx Shearwater flew south and a female Red-breasted Merganser flew over the Warren and upriver. Over the high tide there was a slight increase in wader numbers with 65 Sanderling and 21 Dunlin with single Turnstone, Grey Plover and Whimbrel. Other records included a male Great-spotted Woodpecker along the Back Path, a juvenile Stonechat in Greenland Lake and only single figures of Sandwich Tern.



Saturday 28th:


A Turtle Dove, seen several times around Greenland Lake, was new for the year but there were few other migrants around. Offshore there were more signs of movement, with 180+ Manx Shearwater south, also passing offshore c70 Gannet, 15 Fulmar, nine Common Scoter, two Great Northern Diver, 10 Sandwich, two Common and two Roseate Tern. Two Canada Geese, a few Dunlin and Sanderling and c20 Swift also went south. In the estuary there were c150 Black-headed Gull feeding and the small numbers of waders included 19 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, two Grey Plover and a Turnstone. Other records included a Great-spotted Woodpecker near the First Pond and a blue Budgerigar next to the Visitor Centre.



Friday 27th:


A Grey Plover was present with two Dunlin and 30 Sanderling. A single Yellow Wagtail over was the only other news received.



Thursday 26th:


Two Wheatear were again present.



Wednesday 25th:


A Great Northern Diver was again offshore and 15 Manx Shearwater flew south. Two Wheatear was the only other sighting reported.



Tuesday 24th:


A seawatch between 06.15 and 10.30 produced the first two Storm Petrel of the year south along with 355 Manx Shearwater, 167 Kittiwake, 70 Common Scoter, 50 Gannet, 17 Fulmar, six Great Northern Diver, one Arctic and two Great Skua, three Whimbrel and 20 Dunlin. Elsewhere onsite seven Sandwich Tern were offshore, two Whitethroat were at Warren Point, a single Rock Pipit flew north over the Bight, 181 Oystercatcher were on the Railway Saltmarsh and a Cormorant was on the Main Pond with the Canada Goose pair and seven young.



Monday 23rd:


Two Spotted Flycatcher were onsite, one on Warren Point, the other by the First Pond. There was a light movement of hirundines with c40 House Martin, smaller numbers of Swallow and a single Sand Martin. A Cuckoo was again present, around the Golf Course and Warren Point. There were few waders with only 30+ Sanderling, c20 Dunlin and one Grey Plover. Offshore Kittiwake were numerous, presumably from the colony at Straight Point, in the evening the Great Northern Diver was again present and 19 Manx Shearwater flew south.



Sunday 22nd:


Seawatching early morning produced a Black-throated and two Great Northern Diver south with one Arctic Skua, a Bonxie, 54 Manx Shearwater, a Little Gull and 17 commic tern probably Common. A third Great Northern Diver was off shore from Warren Point all day. Other news included a Grey Plover, two Whimbrel and a Yellow Wagtail low over the Bight.



Saturday 21st:


Another quiet day, spring migration seems to be virtually over, the only migrants being a Wheatear on Warren Point and c20 Swallow and a single House Martin through. Wader numbers have again dropped on site there were 66 Sanderling, c50 Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plover with single Knot, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit. Offshore there were six Great-crested Grebe and c20 Kittiwake with five Manx Shearwater, 10 Sandwich Tern and c20 Gannet passing south. Elsewhere two Lesser Whitethroat were by the First Pond, two Buzzard flew over with three Little Egret and 12 Sandwich Tern in the estuary



Friday 20th:


The only news for today was of six Manx Shearwater offshore and the Lesser Whitethroat still near the First Pond.



Thursday 19th:


Despite the low state of the tide large numbers of waders were in the Bight this morning with 519 Dunlin, 150 Ringed Plover, 70 Sanderling, four Whimbrel and three Knot. Despite this influx of waders there were very few other new arrivals, a Spotted Flycatcher was near the Visitor Centre and a handful of Swallow were moving through. There was little offshore either with a few Gannet and Kittiwake and only two Sandwich Tern seen.



Wednesday 18th:


Few waders were present today with 34 Dunlin and smaller numbers of Sanderling and Ringed Plover, 40 Sandwich Tern were also present.  The only other birds of note were six Sand Martin which flew through and a Spotted Flycatcher.



Tuesday 17th:


A Lesser Whitethroat was singing near the First Pond with a Garden Warbler nearby, other migrants included a Cuckoo in Greenland Lake, a single Reed Warbler and the first Whinchat of the year on Warren Point. Undoubtedly the highlight of the day was a majestic Hobby that flew low over the Bight and then headed off northeast. Over high tide the Golden Plover was still present with 58 Dunlin on the Bight with 30 Ringed Plover, nine Sanderling and three summer plumaged Knot. Nine Shelduck were around the Railway Saltmarsh and the resident Canada Geese had a set too with a pair of rivals on the Main Pond.



Monday 16th:


No sign of any Black Tern this morning although an Arctic Tern was in the estuary with 20 Sandwich Tern, 15 Great-crested Grebe and two Fulmar offshore. A Little Gull was also reported. A single Golden Plover in front of the hide was a surprise, being the first May record since 1971. Also there 83 Dunlin, 70 Sanderling, 44 Ringed Plover and a Little Ringed Plover. Hirundines were on the move with 60 Swallow, 42 House Martin and six Swift  northeast over the reserve. Other migrants included a Yellow Wagtail flew over Warren Point and a Spotted Flycatcher in birches by the Back Meadow.



Little Ringed Plover 16/5/05 © Dave Stone                                           Sanderling 16/5/05 © Dave Stone



Sunday 15th:


The highlight was two Yellowhammer which flew east over the Warren, this is barely an annual visitor to the recording area, mostly in autumn. It was also the 150th species recorded so far this year. Also moving through today a Yellow Wagtail, 100+ Swallow, 10 Swift, 10 House and a single Sand Martin. Other migrants included a Hobby at Warren Point and two Wheatear, with a Cuckoo and Lesser Whitethroat again present. Offshore at least 155 Manx Shearwater moved through with 20 Common Scoter, 16 Great-crested Grebe and two Great Northern Diver also present. A Roseate Tern was offshore early morning only and two Little Tern were in the estuary with c70 Sandwich and five Common Tern also around the reserve. Wader numbers were similar to recent days with 119 Dunlin, c50 Ringed Plover, 47 Sanderling, 14 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, three Grey Plover and a Common Sandpiper. Other records included a Mute Swan on the Main Pond briefly, a Guillemot in front of the hide and a Kestrel watched digging for and catching sandhoppers around the shore of the Bight. Late evening a flock of 56 Black Tern were lingering offshore, (seen from Exmouth) this is by far the largest number ever seen in the recording area, the previous spring peak being only seven in 1994 with 15 in Aug 1972 the previous highest count.



Saturday 14th:


The main interest was again over the high tide with the first Purple Sandpiper of the year, a late spring record for the site, with a mobile flock of 28 Turnstone around the Bight. Other waders included 149 Dunlin, 53 Ringed Plover, c20 Sanderling, four Whimbrel and a summer plumaged Knot. Other records on site were the Lesser Whitethroat by the First Pond, two Cuckoo, 24 Sandwich Tern and offshore 11 Great-crested Grebe and three Common Scoter.



Friday 13th:


The Lesser Whitethroat is still between the Golf Course and the Back Meadow, presumably on the look out for a mate. The Reed Warbler at the Main Pond can be seen busying themselves in amongst the reeds and the only pair of Stonechat are still in the Buffer Zone. The main interest today was with the waders, 43 Ringed Plover remain around Warren Point with 54 Dunlin, 51 Sanderling and 20 Turnstone. Other records included 11 Curlew on the Railway Saltmarsh with six Shelduck, 49 Sandwich Tern on site, a Spotted Flycatcher by the Main Pond and a Cuckoo between the hide and the Golf Course.



Thursday 12th:


A strong easterly wind made birding difficult today. Most of the waders were spread between the beach and the Bight with 75 Ringed Plover, 71 Dunlin and 32 Sanderling. A summer plumaged Knot showed well at Warren Point. At least one Roseate Tern was still present this afternoon with six Shelduck in the Bight. Migrants included 37 Swift east during the morning and a Spotted Flycatcher at the back of the Main Pond.



Wednesday 11th:


Two Roseate Tern were offshore again in the afternoon, with c30 Sandwich Tern. Also offshore a Great Northern Diver flew east and 20+ Gannet. Around 300 Black-headed Gull roosted in the estuary off Warren Point this evening. Waders continue to move through with 35 Ringed Plover and 38 Sanderling on the beach, 80 Dunlin, eight Whimbrel, two Turnstone and a summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit were in the Bight. Other migrants included small numbers of Swift, Swallow and House Martin moving east during the morning and three Garden Warbler, with two by the first pond and a single on the back path. Five Reed Warbler are around the Main Pond and two in the First Pond.  A Cuckoo and four Wheatear were also on site.



Tuesday 10th:


Two Roseate Tern were again present today offshore with an Arctic Tern in the estuary. Also offshore 20 Common Scoter and a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver.  Wader numbers had dropped but there were still 250 Dunlin spread around the Bight with 52 Ringed Plover and 20+ Sanderling.  A Common Sandpiper was on the beach and two Bar-tailed Godwit were in front of the hide, one of which was decidedly bigger with a longer bill. Elsewhere at least 40 Swallow moved east early morning with eight Sand Martin and a Swift, 12 Wheatear were on site, the Lesser Whitethroat was still on the Golf Course, two Sedge Warbler included one singing near the Main Pond, c100 Black-headed Gull were off Warren Point and a Yellow Wagtail flew over the hide.



Monday 9th:


A Roseate and three Arctic were still offshore today with 10 Common Tern. Wader numbers have increased with c600 Dunlin, c70 Ringed Plover and 40+ Sanderling present today with a single summer plumaged Knot and 10 Whimbrel. The Lesser Whitethroat remains on the Golf Course with two Cuckoo and three Wheatear in Greenland Lake. A weather front brought eight Swift down low over the Back Meadow and a flock of 37 Black-headed Gull also dropped from height ahead of the rain. Upriver a Whiskered Tern arrived at Exminster with the rain, before moving downstream to Starcross and remaining just north of the recording area. Another near miss were four Purple Sandpiper which flew west past Orcombe Point.



Sunday 8th:


Undoubted highlight of the day was the first BLACK KITE for the recording area (Lee Collins et al).  This bird flew north east over the site, at around 12.10, putting up gulls and waders in the estuary before heading off towards Haldon.  Offshore there were 20 Common Scoter, 12 Great-crested Grebe, a Red-throated Diver and four Arctic Tern, at least five Arctic Tern were also present mid evening with two Roseate Tern.  Waders continue to pass through with 90+ Dunlin, c40 Ringed Plover, 15+ Whimbrel and single figures of Sanderling, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit at the evening high tide, with other birds still passing overhead.  Elsewhere on site a Spotted Flycatcher was by the First Pond, a Yellow Wagtail, a Sand Martin and two Shoveler, the first May record, flew east along the Dune Ridge, a Sedge Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were in Greenland Lake along with two Wheatear, with a third in front of the hide, and a Cuckoo roamed between these two areas. At the Main Pond the Canada Geese pair have seven young, with one pair of Coot also with young. Other young birds included two fledged Stonechat in the Buffer Zone and 10 recently fledged Long-tailed Tit still being fed by the First Pond.


Ten Juvenile Long-tailed Tit © Brian Jane


Saturday 7th:


Another productive day with a range of species and birds on the move throughout. Another 200+ Whimbrel passed through, with flocks of 99 on the beach and 80+ in the saltmarsh, with smaller groups arriving off the sea and heading north up the estuary all morning. Also moving north small numbers of Dunlin, c20 Bar-tailed and a flock of 16 Black-tailed Godwit. The Little Ringed Plover remained in the Bight with 23 Dunlin, 13 Sanderling, three Knot, two Grey Plover and a Turnstone. Also through a light passage of hirundines with c40 Swallow, two Swift, 12 House and eight Sand Martin. A Yellow Wagtail flew along the Dune Ridge before landing on the beach at Warren Point and a Grey Wagtail over the Tractor Compound was only the second May record for the site. Also overhead a Collared Dove, two Jackdaw and two Buzzard. Offshore four Great Northern and a single Red-throated Diver went south with at least 63 Manx Shearwater and a pale phase Arctic Skua. The highlight though was a female Tufted Duck, the first of the year and also only the second May record, flying around with 23+ Common Scoter before landing on the sea off the windmill. Elsewhere on site there were two Wheatear, a Lesser Whitethroat singing on the Golf Course and a Peregrine again on Warren Point.



Friday 6th:


A more productive day today with 200+ Whimbrel passing through the reserve and a Little Ringed Plover showed well in the Bight and was still present mid evening. Other waders increased with 32 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plover, five Grey Plover, two Turnstone and a Knot also present. Elsewhere a Wheatear was on the Golf Course, a Lesser Whitethroat was singing near the Main Pond, a Yellow Wagtail was in the Bight, 14 Common Scoter flew south, two Common Tern were offshore and a Sparrowhawk was by the First Pond. A Roseate Tern was again reported off Exmouth. The highlight though were two Spoonbill seen to fly north over Warren Point and continue up the estuary.



Thursday 5th:


Four Arctic Tern remained offshore with three Common Tern and a Red-throated Diver. Also offshore a Peregrine flew east and a Roseate Tern was seen off Exmouth. Around the Main Pond 13 out of 14 Mallard ducklings are still present with Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler also conspicuous. Whitethroat are also present seemingly calling from everywhere on site.



Wednesday 4th:


50 Swallow were moving west offshore this morning with six House Martin, two Great Northern and a single Red-throated Diver also showed. In the estuary nine Bar-tailed Godwit were on Warren Point, 20 Ringed Plover and two Dunlin were in the Bight. Six Pale-bellied Brent Geese were still present, showing well near Cockle Sands. Three Roseate Tern and at least four Arctic Tern remain offshore.  A Garden Warbler and a Cuckoo also remained in the Greenland Lake area with a Swift overhead.


Pale-bellied Brent Geese 04/05/05 © Dave Stone


Tuesday 3rd:


An immature Long-tailed Duck, the first of the year, was the highlight found in with a distant and mobile flock of 30 Common Scoter, also offshore there were c30 “Commic” Tern distantly early morning with three Roseate and three Little Tern seen later on, five Great Northern and four Red-throated Diver flew south. Possibly a fourth Roseate Tern was offshore in the afternoon with a single Arctic Tern and two Arctic Skua. Elsewhere on site at least 40 Whimbrel passed through, six Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary, a female Redstart and a Lesser Whitethroat, both firsts for the year, around Dead Dolphin Wood with single Garden Warbler and Cuckoo. A Collared Dove in a Sycamore on Warren Point was unusual, they are rarely seen to land here. The first Hobby of the year was reported from the hide early afternoon.



Monday 2nd:


Sandwich Tern numbers were still low with only around 30 birds present, however with them there were three Roseate, three Little and an Arctic Tern. These were mostly feeding offshore but there was some movement to and from the estuary. Also offshore two distant Great Skua early on with five Manx Shearwater, 11 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver past late morning. There was little else to report with two Cuckoo and a single Wheatear in Greenland Lake and around 10 Whimbrel over along with 15 Swallow and a Swift.



Sunday 1st:


At least 13 Whitethroat were on site today with six Wheatear and two Cuckoo the only other grounded migrants of note. Overhead 30+ Swallow, seven Swift and single House and Sand Martin passed through with four Rook, a Jackdaw and one Yellow Wagtail. Whimbrel are still passing through with a minimum of 64 recorded during the day, other waders included a Common Sandpiper on the Sea Wall, c80 Dunlin, 29 Turnstone, 15 Sanderling and a Grey Plover. Offshore a Great Northern Diver flew south with three Red-throated Diver, 12 Great-crested Grebe, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 25 Sandwich, a Common and a Little Tern. Two Arctic Skua single pale and dark phase were also seen.



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