November 2009

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Monday 30th:


Three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, including a colour-ringed bird, were in the Bight.



Sunday 29th:


Seawatching before 10.15 produced a Balearic Shearwater and a Storm Petrel south along with 104 Gannet, 89 Kittiwake, seven Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, four Fulmar, two Guillemot, a Razorbill and a Great-crested Grebe. On the sea there were four more Great Northern Diver, eight Eider and a 15+ Common Scoter. South of the recording area another two Balearic Shearwater passed south off Dawlish whilst a Leach's Petrel headed north off there towards the Warren, what was presumably this bird was then found sheltering in the estuary, were there were also 150+ Shag, two Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver. Seawatching during the afternoon produced two more Leach's Petrel distantly from the seawall and a pale phase Arctic Skua.



Saturday 28th:


The elusive Long-tailed Duck was again in the estuary along with at least three Avocet, the Slavonian Grebe, two Goldeneye and 40 Ringed Plover. Elsewhere three Great Northern Diver, three Great-crested Grebe and a drake Eider were offshore with three Chiffchaff in the bushes.


Long-tailed Duck 28/11/09 Lee Collins                                                                        Avocet 28/11/09 Simon Thurgood



Friday 27th:


The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with a Kingfisher and single Little and Great-crested Grebe.



Thursday 26th:


On the rising tide 49 Ringed Plover and 15 Sanderling were in the Bight along with the Dunlin flock. A partial albino Dunlin is still present having arrived late October - indicating when the wintering birds start to arrive. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore, the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary and two Mute Swan were on the Main Pond



Wednesday 25th:


Two and a half hours seawatching from midday produced two Leach's Petrel heading south, one at 12.20 the other at 13.45, the first records of the year. Little else was passing though with single figure counts of Gannet, Kittiwake and Razorbill. On the sea there were at least six Great Northern Diver and eight Eider.



Tuesday 24th:


The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary but no other news was received.



Monday 23rd:


Two Great Northern Diver were offshore and a Little Gull flew south past Langstone Rock.


Little Egret 08/11/09 Anne Steuart



Sunday 22nd:


A Black Redstart was on the seawall and seawatching from there before 10.15 produced three Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver south along with 48 Gannet, 13 auk sp, 12 Kittiwake, nine Shelduck, six Razorbill, four Guillemot, four Fulmar and two Bar-tailed Godwit. In the estuary there were 2200 Dunlin, 228 Redshank, 41 Bar-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank and in Shutterton Creek, a female Goldeneye.


Saturday 21st:


Two Water Pipit in front of the hide were an unexpected highlight, the first on site since November 1999. Also from the hide the Long-tailed Duck and Slavonian Grebe in Shutterton Creek with 214 Brent Geese, 117 Grey Plover, 66 Shelduck, 31 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Turnstone, 24 Knot, 13 Sanderling, a Greenshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull also in the estuary. Seawatching before 9.30 gave total of 70+ auk sp south, those close enough to identify were 60% Razorbill, 40% Guillemot. Also heading south c50 Kittiwake, c30 Gannet, four Fulmar, four Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver, two Common Scoter, two Little Egret, a Peregrine and an Eider. On the sea there were four more Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, 10 Common Scoter and an Eider. Elsewhere two Mute Swan and a Coot were on the Main Pond.


Water Pipit 21/11/09 both Lee Collins



Friday 20th:


Counts from the estuary included 1175 Dunlin, 689 Wigeon, 190 Redshank, 143 Brent Geese, 97 Grey Plover, 55 Curlew, 48 Shelduck, 44 Ringed Plover, two Black-tailed Godwit, a Goldeneye and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere two Great Northern Diver were offshore. South of the recording area off Dawlish, eight Great Northern Diver flew south in an hour early morning. The recent diver movements have not been noted further east or in Torbay, so presumably they relate to birds moving back into Lyme Bay from an unknown roost site.



Thursday 19th:


Seawatching before 9.15 saw a single Balearic Shearwater, Little and Mediterranean Gull, 100+ Kittiwake, 80+ Gannet, 30+ auks, mostly Razorbill, but a few Guillemot, 12+ Fulmar, 12 Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver head south with at least two further Great Northern Diver and five Eider on the sea.



Wednesday 18th:


Two Black Redstart were along the seawall with five Eider and two Great Northern Diver offshore. The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with 36 Red-breasted Merganser.



Tuesday 17th:


No news was received.



Monday 16th:


Five Eider were off the seawall.



Sunday 15th:


Seawatching from the seawall before 8.30am saw 22 Great Northern Diver head south with c30 Kittiwake, five diver sp, five Gannet, two Razorbill and a late Manx Shearwater. On the sea there were two more Great Northern Diver, an Eider and one Common Scoter. Also around the seawall two Black Redstart and a Swallow. The Long-tailed Duck was again in Shutterton Creek, with the first two Goldeneye of the winter, Slavonian, five Little and a Great-crested Grebe also in the estuary with 1004 Wigeon, 296 Redshank, four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, three Greenshank, a Whimbrel, an Avocet and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere 14 Long-tailed Tit, single Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and Great-spotted Woodpecker were on site, two Siskin were in Dead Dolphin Wood, a Peregrine was in the Bight with a kill, being mobbed by a Kestrel and several Carrion Crow, and then again by a second Peregrine high over the Golf Course, 70 Greenfinch were around Greenland Lake, 45 Linnet were on Warren Point, c40 Skylark and a Raven were overhead, two Water Rail were in the First Pond and two Little Grebe were on the Main Pond, giving a total of seven on the reserve, a site record.


Black Redstart 15/11/09 Lee Collins



Saturday 14th:


Following the overnight storm all the highlights were sheltering in the estuary, although no seawatching was done before midday. A Black-necked Grebe was the pick of the sightings, showing close inshore from Warren Point with a Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver; this was closely followed by a Long-tailed Duck which was in Shutterton Creek with the resident Slavonian Grebe. Also in the estuary an Avocet, 840 Wigeon, 620 Dunlin, 356 Dark-bellied (3 juvs) and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 53 Ringed and 52 Grey Plover, 45 Shelduck, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit and four Greenshank. Elsewhere an hours seawatch from 12.20pm saw 30+ Gannet, 10+ Kittiwake and a Razorbill head south. Just outside the recording area a Little Auk flew south past Dawlish, no doubt having earlier passed the Warren.


Avocet 14/11/09 Lee Collins



Friday 13th:


The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary but no other news was received. South of the recording area a Great Northern Diver was off Dawlish and a Black Redstart was at Coryton Cove.



Thursday 12th:


No news was received for today.



Wednesday 11th:


A Fieldfare and two Mistle Thrush were around the Golf Course and Greenland Lake early morning, with three Lesser Redpoll over Dead Dolphin Wood. Elsewhere an Eider and nine Common Scoter were offshore, 11 Black-tailed Godwit were in the estuary and single Chiffchaff, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Goldcrest were in the Entrance Bushes.



Tuesday 10th:


The Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary with three Avocet and more unusually three Pheasant on the mudflats.



Monday 9th:


A Black Redstart was again on the seawall, but proved elusive, also there a late Sandwich Tern close offshore. Over high tide 169 Brent Geese, with only two juveniles, were in the Bight, with waders including 54 Grey and 46 Ringed Plover, 15+ Knot, seven Sanderling and a Greenshank. There was a light overhead passage to the NE with 64 Chaffinch, 35 Goldfinch, 29 Skylark, 25+ Meadow Pipit, five Siskin, five Starling, two Redwing, a Bullfinch, a Buzzard and a Brambling. Elsewhere three Chiffchaff, two Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Goldcrest were in the Entrance Bushes, 15 Common Scoter were offshore and at least two Water Rail were on the Main Pond.



Sunday 8th:


Despite the less than ideal weather the pigeon keep on coming with 3595 Wood Pigeon and 31 Stock Dove over before 10am, with them just 37 Chaffinch, 20 Starling, four Lesser Redpoll, four Goldfinch, two Siskin, two Lapwing and single Fieldfare, Greenfinch and Skylark. Offshore there were at least 10 Great Northern and two Red-throated Diver, 15 Common Scoter, two Great-crested Grebe, two Eider and an immature Tufted Duck. Elsewhere 600 Dunlin, 242 Brent Goose, 41 Ringed Plover, 15 Grey Plover, five Sanderling, three Knot and an adult Mediterranean Gull were in the estuary.



Saturday 7th:


Continuing vis mig  resulted in counts of 6340 Wood Pigeon and 34 Stock Dove over before 10am, with 66 Chaffinch, 30 Greenfinch, 28 Skylark, 25 Meadow Pipit, 13 Goldfinch, 13 Starling, 12 Jackdaw, nine Rook, six Reed Bunting, four Pied Wagtail and twos of Shelduck, Snipe, Curlew, Siskin, Raven, Linnet and Mistle Thrush. Elsewhere the long over due first Black Redstart of the year was on the seawall, a Firecrest, three Chiffchaff and two Bullfinch were in the bushes, A Grey Wagtail was on the Main Pond, four Great Northern Diver were offshore and 233 Brent Geese were in the estuary with 30 Shelduck, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Kingfisher.



Friday 6th:


Overhead before 9am, there were 1005 Wood Pigeon with one Stock Dove, also 27 Linnet, 21 Goldfinch, 15 Greenfinch, 13 Meadow Pipit, 12 Jackdaw, 12 Chaffinch, three Shelduck, three Pied Wagtail, three Starling, three Rook and single Brambling and Reed Bunting.  Offshore there were at least six Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver, 14 Common Scoter, three Great-crested and the first Slavonian Grebe of the winter and an Eider.  Counts over the high tide included 1266 Oystercatcher, 602 Wigeon, 248 Redshank, 247 Curlew, 203 Dunlin, 193 Brent Geese, 42 Black-tailed and 35 Bar-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover, 36 Shelduck, 22 Mute Swan, 18 Turnstone, 12 Grey Plover, five Sanderling, three Snipe and a Water Rail.  Elsewhere three more Great-crested Grebe and a Great Northern Diver were in the estuary, a Firecrest was along the Back Path and a Merlin flew East over the Dune Ridge.


Thursday 5th:

Another day of movement high over the site with at least 22,602 Wood Pigeon heading west, along with 30+ Stock Dove, At least one Peregrine was preying on these flocks.  Also moving 37 Skylark, 12 Siskin, 10 Goldfinch and three Starling with reasonable numbers of Linnet, Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit.



Wednesday 4th:


Vis mig before 10.30 saw an estimated 8610 Wood Pigeon, heading west, two flocks were over a thousand strong, with them were minimum counts of 95 Starling, 33 Skylark, 30 Chaffinch, 22 Pied Wagtail, 14 Stock Dove, 11 Jackdaw, two Rook and two Raven and a Brambling; 17 Goldfinch and eight Linnet headed low east but the lack of cloud cover meant many passerines were no doubt missed. At least six Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary along with 114 Dark-bellied Brent, 280 Dunlin, 18 Grey Plover, three Black-tailed Godwit, two Pintail and a Greenshank. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was offshore, a Grey Wagtail was on the Main Pond, a Lesser Redpoll was in Dead Dolphin Wood, along with a Blackcap, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and at least five Bullfinch, one of which had a northern-type call.



Monday/Tuesday 2nd/3rd:


No news has been received.


Details have been received of a colour ringed Brent Goose seen in the Bight during October. The bird (O-R3) was ringed as an adult at Powderham on 08/02/1996 and this is the seventh winter (96/97, 98/99, 2002/03, 03/04, 04/05 and 08/09) it been reported on the Exe. Other sightings have come from northern Holland on 12/04/99 and 13/03/01 and at Leigh Marsh in Essex on 25/10/2001.


Many thanks to Dr Bart Ebbinge for this information. Further details can be found at



Sunday 1st:


Seawatching during the morning saw four Great Northern, a Black-throated and two unidentified diver headed south in four hours with a Long-tailed Duck briefly off Langstone. Also flying south two Great Skua, c90 Gannet and just 11 Kittiwake.  Later on yesterday's Great Northern and a Red-throated Diver were on the sea with just nine Common Scoter. Over the evening high tide c300 Dunlin were on the beach with 450+ Great Black-backed Gull, 327 Dark-bellied and seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese (a family group), 42 Red-breasted Merganser, the Slavonian Grebe and two Grey Plover in the estuary. Elsewhere a Water Rail was on the Main Pond.



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