On the estuary there were 170+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese with 22 Shelduck, other wildfowl recorded today included a drake Shoveler on the Main Pond, 85+ Red-breasted Merganser roosting offshore in the evening, and a Velvet Scoter. Other records included 11 Black-tailed Godwit, two Snipe and a Water Rail.
Offshore there were seven Red-throated Diver, 12 Great-crested Grebe and a Velvet Scoter, the only scoter present. Elsewhere 10 Skylark were in the Bight, five Greenshank were in Shutterton Creek, 10 Rock Pipit were on the sea wall and a Brent Goose was an unusual record on the breakwater at the base of Langstone Rock.
Nine Red-throated Diver were again offshore with two Common Scoter and four Slavonian Grebe. In the estuary there were 100+ Brent Geese, 40 Red-breasted Merganser, 30+ Common Gull and three Greenshank. Other wader counts included 1000+ Dunlin, 20+ Grey Plover, 16 Knot and 15 Ringed Plover.
The highlight was the first Avocet for over two years, a single bird was seen in flight over Bull Hill, also in the estuary seven Greenshank, five Lapwing and 100+ Common Gull at the evening roost. Offshore there were two Great Northern Diver south, nine Red-throated Diver, a Velvet Scoter, 18 Great-crested and two Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere at least four Water Rail at the Main Pond.
Despite the continuing cold weather the winter thrushes from yesterday had moved on, with only three Redwing around the Main Pond and two Fieldfare flying east recorded. The highlight though was a summer thrush, a male Ring Ouzel, which was in Greenland Lake early morning before being disturbed by dogwalkers. This is only the 12th site record and the latest ever. The weather had lead to an increase in Chaffinch with at least 20 around the woods along with five Chiffchaff and in Greenland Lake 80+ Greenfinch. In the estuary there were c250 Brent Geese, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank and a Lapwing with three Jackdaw on the mudflats with 106 Carrion Crow. Other records included a first winter Little Gull north over Greenland Lake, two Buzzard through, nine Siskin east, a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and offshore six Red-throated Diver, a Long-tailed Duck flying south and nine Great-crested and a Slavonian Grebe. Reports of Black-throated Diver and Red-necked Grebe are erroneous. A first winter Laughing Gull was found on the mudflats off Exmouth mid afternoon, but despite being seen distantly from the railway crossing at Cockwood, it remained another "near miss" for the recording area.
The cold weather brought a rarity in the form of a light covering of snow on the recording area, with this there was also a cold weather movement of thrushes. 50+ Fieldfare, 35+ Redwing, c20 Mistle Thrush and six Song Thrush were counted. The Mistle Thrush count is the third largest for the site and unusually many of the Fieldfare and Redwing were feeding around the Golf Course greens and Greenland Lake. Other records included two Snipe in Greenland Lake, six Bullfinch, a Chiffchaff, 154 Brent Geese and 20+ Turnstone in the estuary with two Red-throated Diver and two Great-crested Grebe offshore.
Eight Red-throated Diver were found offshore in calmer conditions, also 11+ Great-crested Grebe, a Slavonian Grebe, four Razorbill, with others flying south and 200+ Common Scoter. The scoter were on the sea near Sandy Bay, Exmouth and were only seen in flight, although 40 flew south and another 30+ flew towards the estuary mouth. Wader numbers were low because of the low high tide, but c500 Wigeon, 410 Teal and 218 Brent Geese were present in the estuary with 23 Turnstone, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank and a Lapwing. Elsewhere 22 Linnet and a Chiffchaff were on Warren Point, six Bullfinch, four Chiffchaff and a Great-spotted Woodpecker were around the ponds and two Mistle Thrush and a Fieldfare flew east.
Three Red-throated Diver were offshore with six Great-crested Grebe and a single Black-throated Diver that flew south. The Greenland Lake area held a Great-spotted Woodpecker, five Song Thrush, four Bullfinch, four Goldcrest, three Chiffchaff, two Siskin and a single Redpoll with two more Redpoll on Warren Point. Elsewhere the Tawny Owl remains by the First Pond and a single Dartford Warbler showed along the Dune Ridge with nine Skylark.
Two Red-throated Diver and four Great-crested Grebe were offshore. Elsewhere a Coal Tit was near the First Pond and seven Fieldfare flew over.
Five Red-throated Diver and five Great-crested Grebe were offshore.
An unexpected highlight was the third site record of Red Kite, which flew in from the north at 8:40am and followed the coast before appearing to head inland south of Langstone. Other visible migration included a good passage of finches with 82 Chaffinch, 61 Greenfinch, 60 Goldfinch, 14 Bullfinch, 10 Redpoll, two Siskin and Brambling all heading east, also passing through four Fieldfare with singles of Redwing, Grey Wagtail and Collared Dove. Counts at the high tide included 316 Curlew, 124 Bar-tailed Godwit, 38 Knot, 34 Sanderling, 29 Shelduck, two Greenshank and two Lapwing. Elsewhere a single Velvet Scoter was distantly offshore with two Great-crested Grebe, single Slavonian Grebe, Eider, Red-throated and Great Northern Diver, a Dartford Warbler was in Greenland Lake, a Great-spotted Woodpecker was present around site and nine Turnstone were at Langstone Rock.
Good numbers of waders are now in for the winter with 1500+ Dunlin, 131 Grey Plover, 70 Ringed Plover and 44 Sanderling all roosting on the beach. In Shutterton Creek 200+ Redshank roosting on the railway embankment were joined by a Spotted Redshank, the first here since February. Also in the estuary, a Great-crested Grebe, five Lapwing and 27 Shelduck. Offshore there were at least five Velvet Scoter - all very mobile, with c35 Common Scoter, an Eider, six Great-crested Grebe, six Red-throated Diver and, more unexpected a flock of six Gadwall. There was little movement overhead with 30+ Chaffinch, three Redpoll, two Siskin, and a Redwing, two Cirl Bunting were also present briefly around Greenland Lake. Elsewhere at least four Water Rail were on site with two Little Grebe, a Kingfisher and a Snipe at the Main Pond, two Dartford Warbler around Greenland Lake, three Chiffchaff and around the Bight nine Skylark, three Reed Bunting and a presumed littoralis Rock Pipit.
Shutterton Creek held 500 Wigeon, 150 Teal, five Pintail, two Shoveler and 15 Black-tailed Godwit. Waders roosting over high tide included 1200 Dunlin, 227 Redshank, 53 Bar-tailed Godwit, 31 Grey Plover, 23 Knot, 21 Turnstone, 15 Ringed Plover, three Greenshank and a Snipe. The bushes were quiet with 10 Long- tailed Tit, four Bullfinch, three Goldcrest and two Chiffchaff. Offshore there were 12 Common Scoter, a Velvet Scoter and three Red-throated Diver.
A flock of 11 Scaup offshore was the first record for the year, all apparently immatures, two Tufted Duck were also with them and they were later joined by the first two Goldeneye of the autumn. Also offshore three Red-throated Diver, 12+ Great-crested Grebe, an immature male Eider and a few Common Scoter. Elsewhere a Dartford Warbler was in Greenland Lake and Dunlin numbers have built up to around 1500.
No news was received for today.
Three Great Northern Diver were offshore, the Tawny Owl was again by the First Pond and a late Whimbrel was still present.
Another morning of skywatching produced more of the same with 1867 Wood Pigeon and 84 Stock Dove high to the west with 330 Chaffinch, 96 Goldfinch, 64 Greenfinch, 54 Bullfinch, 45 Linnet, 39 Jackdaw, 38 Skylark, 19 Siskin, 18 Brambling and 15 Rook moving east. Other birds moving east included nine Reed Bunting, seven Redpoll, three Fieldfare, a Redwing, a Mistle Thrush and a Crossbill. A male Cirl Bunting flew west and landed in Greenland Lake for half and hour, even singing occasionally, it eventually left to the east. Also overhead a redhead Goosander flew south, a good record for the recording area. Elsewhere the Short-toed Lark was still around the Bight, the Tawny Owl was roosting by the First Pond, a Dartford Warbler was in Greenland Lake and offshore there were two Great-crested Grebe, four Red-throated and two Great Northern Diver.
The Short-toed Lark remained for its third day, again showing well in the Bight with Rock Pipit and Linnet. The main interest though was the continuation of this autumn's excellent visible migration, with four recording area records broken today. All counts were between 7-12.30 and most birds were heading east. Once again Wood Pigeon lead the way with 6013 counted heading north west with them were 603 Stock Dove, both site records, 213 Starling and c40 Golden Plover. Going east there were 285 Chaffinch, 120+ Greenfinch, a record 62 Brambling, 49 Siskin, 43 Skylark, 39 Bullfinch, 30+ Goldfinch and 13 Redpoll, including at least four possible Common. Large numbers of Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Linnet were also present around Greenland Lake and the Bight making accurate counting of passing migrants difficult. Other species moving included three Crossbill and at least one Hawfinch with 15 Meadow Pipit, five Reed Bunting, five Pintail north, four Shoveler south, three Jackdaw, two Buzzard, two Sparrowhawk, single Rook and Raven with a site record 253 Lesser Black-backed Gull south. Elsewhere did not get much of a look in but four Greenshank were in the estuary, two Dartford Warbler were around Greenland Lake, two Little Grebe and two Water Rail were on the Main Pond and the Tawny Owl was again roosting by the First Pond.
The Short-toed Lark remained for its second day, showing well in the Bight nearly all day until dusk, when it appeared to roost in saltmarsh near the hide. Other interest was provided by ‘visible migration’, sustained for three hours to c.10:30. Pigeon sp. movement west was again heavy, with 1125 Wood Pigeon and 143 Stock Dove; but counts of other birds moving (mostly) west were quite light, including 180 Greenfinch, 50 Linnet, 46 Skylark, 35 Chaffinch, 25 Meadow Pipit, 20 Goldfinch, 15 Bullfinch, six Jackdaw, four Reed Bunting, three Siskin, three Redpoll, three Redwing, two Brambling, a Grey Wagtail, a Raven and a Golden Plover. A Great Northern Diver was also seen flying high south over the spit. Offshore the sea was relatively quiet, with one Great Northern Diver, three Red-throated Diver, a distant Black-throated Diver, seven Common Scoter, an Eider, two Great-crested Grebe, and a few Razorbill. Elsewhere there were at least another 325 finches, mostly Greenfinch, predominately flitting around Greenland Lake, a Dartford Warbler by the fifth Tee, at least one Jay in Dead Dolphin Wood, by the First Pond and around Greenland Lake, seven Greenshank were in the estuary, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Water Rail at the Main Pond and roosting in a Sycamore by the First Pond, a Tawny Owl.
Short-toed Lark 12th November 2005 © Ivan Lakin
The rarity highlight of the autumn so far was found today, the site's third record of Short-toed Lark. It was found in front of the hide at midday with five Skylark and 30 Linnet and remained there and around the Bight all afternoon. Also around the hide 133 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a single Pale-bellied Brent, nine Shelduck with the two juvenile Shelduck spp. (now considered to be Cape Shelduck) and 24 Teal, 90 Great Black-backed Gull were on Bull Hill. Seawatching produced 303 Gannet, 56 Kittiwake, 10 Common Gull, 76 auk sp, three Great Northern Diver and two Red-throated Diver south with single Little Auk and Grey Phalarope.
Short-toed Lark 11th November 2005 © Dave Stone
Seawatching today produced two Great Northern Diver, two Red-throated Diver, 51 Black-headed Gull, 31 Gannet, 26 Common Scoter and 10 Kittiwake with the undoubted highlights a Little Auk and the first Velvet Scoter of the autumn, all south off the sea wall. Also seen were 14 Skylark, a Swallow and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese in off the sea. Elsewhere a Black Redstart was on the sea wall and two juvenile Ruddy Shelduck were reported.
Two Red-throated Diver were offshore with a single Great Northern Diver, Eider, Great-crested Grebe and small numbers of Common Scoter. Over high tide the Railway Saltmarsh held 296 Wigeon, 86 Redshank, 47 Bar-tailed Godwit and a dozen Teal. Elsewhere 70 Ringed Plover were on the beach with Sanderling, 150+ Greenfinch were in Greenland Lake, 10 Siskin were in Dead Dolphin Wood, a Mistle Thrush flew over the First Pond with a single Redpoll and eight Jackdaw flew west over the Bight.
Seawatching before midday produced single Long-tailed Skua and Little Auk, both firsts for the year. Also 650 Kittiwake, 300 Gannet, four Grey Phalarope, four Arctic Skua, two Great Northern Diver and a single Red-throated Diver.
The highlight was a Short-eared Owl, which flew in off the sea and headed west along the spit, at least 40 Skylark also flew over today with 20+ Meadow Pipit and a Stock Dove, in with a few Wood Pigeon. 200 Greenfinch were around Greenland Lake with 60+ Goldfinch, small numbers of Chaffinch and a Brambling. Elsewhere a Wheatear was on the Golf Course, two Coal Tit and at least two Chiffchaff were around site, an Eider and a Great-crested Grebe were offshore and two Water Rail were at both the First and the Main Pond.
Seawatching until midday produced a steady passage of Gannet and Kittiwake, the latter a scarce occurrence this autumn, final figures were 140+ and 214+ respectively. A heavy shower around 10am produced an increase in movement with a Little Gull, wishing to head south, blown in the opposite direction, while diver movement saw eight Great Northern and a Red-throated south, another two Great Northern Diver were on the sea. Other birds included at least six Arctic and a Pomarine Skua, an adult Arctic Tern, a Gadwall south in a flock of 48 Common Scoter, a brief Grey Phalarope and a petrel sp even more briefly, probably a Leach's.
Another skywatching day with excellent visible migration overhead, almost all birds were heading W or NW over the spit, with the majority of passage between 7 and 19.30am The main species again was Wood Pigeon with a site record 4260 birds through, in the these flocks were at least 211 Stock Dove, another site record, and five Feral/Racing Pigeons. Other species included 355 Starling, 288 Jackdaw, 210 Greenfinch, 147 Skylark, 100 Goldfinch, 72 Chaffinch, 50 Meadow Pipit, 45 Linnet and 30 "alba" wagtail. Scarcer species included a record 24 Brambling, 20 Rook, 16 Siskin, 13 Reed Bunting, 12 Redwing, eight Bullfinch, four Sparrowhawk, three Redpoll, three Grey Wagtail, two Mistle Thrush, two Kestrel and single Fieldfare, Crossbill and Hawfinch. The latter only the fifth site record, but the third this autumn. Also overhead 28 Shelduck and 21 Lesser Black-backed Gull. Offshore there was no passage but on the sea there were two Great Northern and a single Red-throated Diver, c40 Common Scoter and an Eider. Around the estuary the closure of the seventh fairway allowed 154 Brent Geese to feed undisturbed over the high tide, a Water Rail was seen briefly by the hide, two Greenshank and a Whimbrel were in Shutterton Creek and 25 Turnstone were in front of the hide. Elsewhere there were at least three Dartford Warbler, including one behind the hide, c100 Linnet on Warren Point, with four Blackcap and six Bullfinch in the bushes.
A quieter day after the recent storms with five Common Scoter, a Great-crested Grebe and an adult Mediterranean Gull the only birds noted offshore. In the estuary there were counts of 560 Wigeon, 233 Redshank, four Greenshank and only 27 Teal. Elsewhere a few Wood Pigeon flew over with three Stock Dove, a Fieldfare was on Warren Point and two Dartford Warbler were around Greenland Lake.
The highlight of the day was again a Leach's Petrel, this time lingering off the sea wall for a short time this morning. Seawatching again produced little else with 50 Gannet, 50 Kittiwake and a single auk spp south, two Eider were still offshore. A close second to the petrel was the first Grey Phalarope of the year, seen briefly in front of the hide, the immature Arctic Tern was also in the estuary this morning. This evening in the estuary there were c1000 Wigeon, c20 Teal, 20 Turnstone, 10 Lapwing, two Greenshank and a late Whimbrel. Hundreds of Black-headed Gull and tens of Common Gull were also roosting in Shutterton Creek.
The undoubted highlight of the day was a Leach's Petrel in the estuary that showed on and off for three quarters of an hour from the hide. Seawatching early morning was however disappointing with a single Pomarine Skua, 30 Gannet, eight Curlew, six Grey Plover and a single Great-crested Grebe south. Also offshore two Eider, an adult Mediterranean Gull and an immature Arctic Tern. Over the high tide there were 178 Brent Geese in front of the hide with 746 Wigeon, 51 Teal and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. Waders included c200 Dunlin on the beach, 60 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Railway Saltmarsh and three Snipe in Greenland Lake. Despite the strong winds there were a few migrants overhead with 175 Redwing, two Stock Dove and single Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Siskin and Redpoll the highlights. Elsewhere there were 80 Jackdaw on the Railway Saltmarsh, for a species that has only been recorded on the ground here a handful of times this is an unprecedented record.
Overhead migration included c3000 Wood Pigeon, flying north west in just one hour, the second highest count here hundreds of others were over Exmouth and eventually headed south out to sea over Orcombe Point. Also recorded hundreds of finches and 18 Skylark. Elsewhere a Jay was again by the First Pond, Water Rail were at both the First and the Main Pond, four Rock Pipit were in the Bight and two Slavonian Grebe were off the sea wall.
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