May 2006

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Wednesday 31st:


A quiet end to the month with just 12 Dunlin in the Bight with 10 Ringed Plover and a Little Egret, also over the high tide, 47 Curlew and eight Shelduck were on the Railway Saltmarsh. Elsewhere 200+ Black-headed Gull were on Cockle Sands, 45 Sandwich and nine Common Tern were offshore and two pairs of Canada Geese were on the Golf Course, the eight goslings all still surviving.



Tuesday 30th:


Over the high tide there were 95 Dunlin, 13 Sanderling, six Grey and five Ringed Plover and two Whimbrel, also in the estuary 25 Sandwich and four Common Tern. A Cuckoo over Greenland Lake was only the third record of the year.



Monday 29th:


Two Storm Petrel were seen first thing otherwise seawatching records were restricted to four Manx Shearwater south and three Little Egret, two of which flew inland over Teignmouth and the third came in over Langstone Rock. There had been a slight increase in waders with c130 Dunlin present over the high tide along with c20 Sanderling, 10 Grey Plover, a Redshank and a winter plumaged Knot. Also in the estuary 30+ Sandwich and three Common Tern and the first summer Mediterranean Gull with 60+ Black-headed Gull. Elsewhere there was a westerly passage of 53 Swift, 15 Swallow and seven House Martin.


Sunday 28th:


Surprisingly, given the bright and relatively calm conditions today, there was still around 25 Storm Petrel lingering off the sea wall. There was little actual sea passage with just 15 Manx Shearwater and a Great Northern Diver south, a second was on the sea with three Great-crested Grebe. Also offshore small flocks of Common Scoter were flying about, around 60 in total. The terns were mainly in the estuary with only 25 Sandwich and a single Common. The first year Mediterranean Gull was again amongst the feeding flock of Black-headed Gull and Kittiwake in mouth of the estuary. Waders in front of the hide consisted of 74 Dunlin and eight Grey Plover, with four Whimbrel and 11 Sanderling on the beach. Elsewhere there were two Little Egret roosting on the railway saltmarsh and a small passage of about 30 Swallow and five House Martin east along the Dune Ridge.


Saturday 27th:


Storm Petrel were again on the move with 87+ west between 9 -11.30am, at least another 30 were seen in the afternoon. Also offshore 13 Eider, a pale phase Arctic Skua, a single Roseate Tern with four Little and c10 Common Tern. In the estuary there were c75 Sandwich Tern with 24 Curlew, 17 Sanderling, 14 Dunlin and two Whimbrel over the high tide with the six Grey Plover and Knot still present. Other records included three Whimbrel in off the sea and 12 Turnstone.

Sandwich Tern 27/5/06  Darren Maynard



Friday 26th:


The evening high tide produced low numbers of waders with the single Knot and six Grey Plover the highlights. Offshore though there was an increase in tern numbers with 75 Sandwich, 41 Common and three Roseate Tern with 11 Storm Petrel lingering.



Thursday 25th:


The exceptional numbers of Storm Petrel continues, with 100+ recorded in the morning with another 40+ south in half an hour mid evening.  Over 1000 birds have been recorded this week, are these all new birds passing through or are some on a circular feeding route around the bay? Also offshore just 12 Manx Shearwater, 34 Sandwich, 20 Common, two Arctic and two Little Tern with four Great Northern Diver flying south. Waders present over the high tide included 61 Sanderling, 51 Dunlin, seven Turnstone, six Grey Plover, four Whimbrel and a very smart summer plumaged Knot. Other records included a Peregrine over the hide, a Jackdaw west, the first fledged Starlings around the Buffer Zone, a brood of Pheasant in Greenland Lake and a male Wheatear by the hide, the first for over two weeks.



Wednesday 24th:


The continuing unsettled weather produced another high count of Storm Petrel with at least 180 seen during the day. Birds were once again passing offshore with 82 south in just an hour and a half mid afternoon. Feeding birds were also still present offshore with a single Arctic Skua, two Arctic and two Little Tern in with the Kittiwake and four Great Northern and three Red-throated Diver on the sea. Elsewhere four Turnstone and two Sanderling were on the seawall.


Sanderling 24/5/06 Darren Maynard



Tuesday 23rd:


At least 35 Storm Petrel remained off the seawall this evening with three Roseate Tern with c20 Sandwich, 14 Common, two Arctic and two Little Tern during the day. Also offshore 17 Eider, seven Great-crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver. Ten Turnstone were on the seawall with three Sanderling and a Dunlin.



Monday 22nd:


A surprise on the early morning seawatch was 19 Great Northern Diver south before 9.30, most went through before 7am, another summer plumaged bird remained off the seawall. Storm Petrel were still present offshore with at least 48 through early morning along with 100+ Manx Shearwater, 55+ Common Scoter, eight Arctic Skua and two Great Skua. Also flying south were eight Dunlin, five Whimbrel and three Sanderling. Feeding offshore there were c20 Common, two Arctic, two Roseate and a Little Tern, with first summer Little and Mediterranean Gull in with the Kittiwake. Two Roseate Tern and at least 40 Storm Petrel were still present off the seawall early evening.


Common Scoter 22/5/06 Dave Stone



Sunday 21st:


Seawatching was again the order of the day with a total of 349+ Storm Petrel west, including 310 before 11am, smashing yesterday's new site record! Also passing during the day 285+ Manx Shearwater, 55+ Common Tern,  27 Fulmar, 10 Arctic Skua (with a small skua sp), two Great Northern Diver, at least two Roseate and two Arctic Tern. Elsewhere a Roseate Tern and a Little Gull were in front of the hide, with 291 Oystercatcher, 34 Sandwich Tern, 30 Dunlin, 15 Sanderling, seven Grey Plover and a Knot in the Bight. A summer plumaged Great Northern Diver and 13 Eider remain off the seawall.



Saturday 20th:


The movement of Storm Petrel was again the highlight, 203 were recorded moving through before 10am with another 15+ in the afternoon, a new site record. Several of these birds lingered off the seawall giving good views. Also offshore there were at least 150 Manx Shearwater, 50+ Gannet, 25 Eider, 25 Common Scoter, 23 Common Tern, 11 Fulmar, seven Roseate and two Arctic Tern, three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, a first-summer Little Gull and at least two Arctic Skua harassing the feeding terns.



Friday 19th:


The continuing strong winds and showers produced some of the best seawatching for several months. Before 2pm there were 100+ Storm Petrel offshore, many heading south but some also lingering off the estuary month. An hour and a half watch in the evening gave another 44 birds, equalling the site record. Other birds heading south during the day were 315+ Manx Shearwater, the second highest site count, 170+ Kittiwake, 13 Fulmar, two Great Northern Diver and five Common Tern with three Pomarine Skua through in the evening.  On the sea there were two summer plumaged Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, 28 Common Scoter, 12 Eider and a Great-crested Grebe. Other records included two Dunlin south and at least three Roseate Tern with c20 Common Tern.



Thursday 18th:


With the showers and strong southwesterlies all the interest was offshore today with a feeding flock of 300+ Kittiwake, 100+ Black-headed Gull, 78 Common Tern, 50+ Gannet, 49 Manx Shearwater, 30+ Sandwich Tern, two Little Tern, a first year Little Gull and between 8-12 Roseate Tern. Also offshore a pale phase Arctic Skua pursuing the tern flock, with three more high south, another 50+ Manx Shearwater passing further out, 20 Common Scoter, 15 Eider, three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver and a single Whimbrel south. Elsewhere 74 Dunlin and five Ringed Plover were in the Bight.



Wednesday 17th:


Between the showers a single Roseate Tern was seen offshore this morning with a flock of 40+ Common Tern. These were feeding with continuing good numbers of Kittiwake, Gannet and 45+ Manx Shearwater. These flocks attracted in a single Pomarine and two Arctic Skua, also offshore the first year Mediterranean Gull, 10 Common Scoter and a summer plumaged Great Northern Diver flew south. Wader counts included 134 Dunlin, 17 Sanderling, 12 Turnstone, 10 Grey Plover and two Bar-tailed Godwit.


Tuesday 16th:


The first Turtle Dove of the spring flew east over the dune ridge was the highlight. Offshore there were two Roseate Tern with eight Common Tern, 45+ Manx Shearwater and two Red-throated Diver. Waders over the high tide included 226 Dunlin, 77 Sanderling, 13 Ringed Plover, 11 Grey Plover, nine Whimbrel and four Bar-tailed Godwit.


Monday 15th:


A quiet day with c25 Sanderling, six Grey Plover and three Common Tern the only news reported during the day. An evening seawatch produced 40+ Gannet, 25+ Manx Shearwater, 20+ Sandwich Tern, 10+ Common Tern and four Great-crested Grebe feeding offshore with two Little Gull flying south, close in at about 20:15.

Canada Goose 14/5/06 Dave Stone



Sunday 14th:


A Little Tern, c40 Manx Shearwater and an Arctic Skua were offshore this morning with a Red-throated Diver, 13 Common and the Roseate Tern this evening.  Strong sunlight means viewing conditions are often far better in the evening. Over high tide there were 150 Dunlin, 66 Sanderling and nine Grey Plover. A Garden Warbler by Dead Dolphin Wood was the first of the year. The only other news was of a Herring Gull with yellow legs, but a pale mantle.



Saturday 13th:


One Roseate Tern remained offshore this evening, with 15 Common Tern, c30 Manx Shearwater, an Arctic Skua and first year Little and Mediterranean Gull. These were all feeding with a large flock of Kittiwake and Black-headed Gull. Earlier in the day, there had been very few gulls or terns but 26 Eider were offshore with six Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, four of the Great Northern eventually flew high inland. Over the high tide, there were 165 Dunlin, 49 Sanderling, eight Grey Plover, including several smart summer-plumage birds, and a Bar-tailed Godwit.  Elsewhere on site, three Common Sandpiper were at Langstone Rock.



Friday 12th:


Good numbers of birds remain offshore, today there were at least 23 Common, 15 Sandwich, six Roseate, an Arctic and a Little Tern feeding. Also present two or three first year Little Gull, c20 Manx Shearwater and the dark phase Arctic Skua. Over the high tide there were 110+ Dunlin, 11 Sanderling, eight Grey Plover and five Bar-tailed Godwit.



Thursday 11th:


The first Curlew Sandpiper of the year, still in winter plumage, was with 100+ Dunlin, 20+ Sanderling, c20 Whimbrel and 17 Ringed Plover over the high tide. A Coal Tit briefly seen around the Main Car Park, was also a first for the year. Elsewhere 10+ Sandwich Tern offshore were the only terns recorded today.


Wednesday 10th:


Over the high tide 60 Dunlin were in the Bight with 51 Sanderling, 21 Ringed Plover, seven Shelduck and a Turnstone with 23 Whimbrel on the beach and 235 Oystercatcher in front of the hide.  Offshore there were 80 Gannet, 17 "commic" and a single Roseate Tern. Elsewhere a Whinchat showed well on Warren Point and a Sedge Warbler sang from the end pond with two Reed Bunting also there.


Tuesday 9th:


Feeding conditions remain good offshore with flocks of Gannet and Kittiwake present, 97 Shag around Pole Sands and 958 Herring Gull in the Warren Point area. Also offshore 72 Common Scoter, 31 Eider, three Manx Shearwater, two Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver. The fish shoals also attracted 60+ Black-headed, six Common and a first year Mediterranean Gull, 20+ Common and two Roseate Tern, these in turn attracted the attentions of a dark-phase Arctic Skua. Waders included 51 Whimbrel on the beach by groyne 12 with 35 others flying in off the sea, 150+ Dunlin flying up river with 88 in the Bight in the evening along with 30 Sanderling, 13 Ringed Plover and 12 Turnstone. A Common Sandpiper was on Cockle Sands.


Monday 8th:


The overnight rain and south easterly winds produced a few migrants with the highlight being a pair of Garganey, which flew along the beach and headed south out to sea. Seawatching produced several parties of waders mostly Dunlin coming in off the sea, three Great Northern Diver east, two Red-throated Diver and a Grey Plover south but there was little other movement but at least 50 Manx Shearwater were feeding along with a minimum of eight Common, four Little, at least three Arctic and two Roseate Tern and around 15 distant "commics". Two Spotted Flycatcher, three Wheatear and a Cuckoo were the only new on the land with a Tree Pipit and 20+ Swift overhead. Elsewhere 300+ Dunlin were in the estuary, despite the low tide, 11 Turnstone were on the beach and a Grey Heron was watched flying in from the south before landing in Shutterton Creek.



Sunday 7th:


The "highlight" of the day were three Egyptian Geese in Shutterton Creek, these birds are possibly the ones that have been around the Axe Estuary. Offshore four Great Northern Diver flew in from the east and settled on the sea where there were also 36 Eider, 11 Common Scoter and two Red-throated Diver, with a distant flock of eight "commic" tern and a Manx Shearwater. Most of the waders have moved through with only c20 Dunlin, but there were 30 Sanderling and 18 Turnstone on the beach and a Grey Plover present on the high tide. In evening six Roseate Tern showed well feeding close inshore, nine Manx Shearwater flew east, a dark phase Arctic Skua flew upriver and 12 Whimbrel came in off the sea.



Saturday 6th:


The tern flock was still present offshore although was very distant at times, today there were 70 Sandwich Tern along with 30+ Common, two Arctic and a Roseate Tern. Also offshore an Arctic Skua, at least 25 Manx Shearwater along with 55+ Gannet, 20+ Razorbill, 15+ Eider, 10 Common Scoter and four Red-throated Diver with a Great Northern Diver flying east. The only migrant was a Sedge Warbler in the End Pond with a Yellow Wagtail and a Swift over. Elsewhere on site at least 14 Whimbrel, 13 Sanderling, three Turnstone and two Bar-tailed Godwit. A Lapwing in flight over the saltmarsh was an exceptional May record for the site.



Friday 5th:


Offshore there were 80+ Common Scoter, 15 Manx Shearwater, 10+ Great-crested Grebe and seven Red-throated Diver. With these birds was a feeding flock of terns with 100+ Sandwich Tern and 37 "commic" tern including at least two Roseate Tern, the first of the year and at least four Arctic Tern. Elsewhere the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was in the Back Meadow, 208 Dunlin were at the high tide and overhead there were two Buzzard, 40+ Swallow, two House and a Sand Martin.



Thursday 4th:


Over the high tide there were 120 Dunlin, 20+ Whimbrel, 17 Sanderling, eight Bar-tailed Godwit and single Ringed and Grey Plover. during the day 40 + Sandwich Tern were offshore with four distant 'commic' tern,  three Eider and a Red-throated Diver. 60+ Manx Shearwater were present in the evening. The only other record received was of a single Wheatear.



Wednesday 3rd:


The morning high tide produced the second Kentish Plover of the year, this time a stunning male. It remained in the Bight until around 11am before flying towards the beach. Other waders present included 127 Dunlin, 43+ Whimbrel, 16 Sanderling, a Grey Plover and a Turnstone. Offshore there were still c30 Manx Shearwater with 15+ Common Scoter, an Eider and a Red-throated Diver. Other records included at least six Wheatear onsite, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, three Jackdaw east, two Rook west and a Little Tern offshore.


Kentish Plover 3/5/06 Darren Maynard



Tuesday 2nd:


The southerly winds brought the first Pomarine and the first Arctic Skua of the year. The Pomarine flew south close in to the sea wall, whilst the Arctic was flying east, both around 10.30am, a second Arctic Skua, a dark phase flew south at midday. Also offshore still 50+ Manx Shearwater, a first year Little Gull south, 20 Common Scoter, six Eider, two Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver. Tern numbers had dropped with just single Arctic and Little with nine Common Tern. In the estuary there were still 100+ Dunlin but no sign of yesterday's star bird, also present 23+ Whimbrel, 10 Sanderling and five Bar-tailed Godwit. The only other news received was of three Wheatear on site and a Hobby over.



Monday 1st:


The fifth BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER for the Warren (and sixth for Devon) was easily the highlight, first seen at Exminster Marshes with a single Dunlin, it flew south and was relocated on Finger Point 20 minutes later. The bird then showed well, with 155 Dunlin, around the Bight on the dropping tide before the whole flock was flushed by a Peregrine at 12.10 and could not be relocated. With four records on the Exe since 2000, it has been suggested these could all refer to a returning individual. Also present over the high tide 20+ Whimbrel, 12+ Sanderling, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, three Grey Plover and a Brent Goose. Feeding conditions were still good offshore with 150+ Manx Shearwater, 70+ Kittiwake, a first year Little Gull, 15+ Arctic, six Common and three Little Tern present along with nine Eider, two Great Northern and a single Red-throated Diver. Other records included just two migrant Willow Warbler, three Wheatear, a Common Sandpiper by the seawall, two Buzzard over and a Rook east.


Broad-billed Sandpiper 1/5/06 Ivan Lakin



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