October 2004



Sunday 31st:


Today’s highlight was a group of 4 Purple Sandpiper, flying around at midday before heading south.  Also on site, two Pintail, an Osprey, Great Northern Diver offshore all morning with seven Great-crested Grebe.  A Black Tern flew north at midday, the latest site record, whilst a Long-tailed Duck was reported.   In the afternoon a Little Auk was off Langstone, the first of the year.  Overhead, there were 15+ Redwing, 12+ Song Thrush and a Fieldfare, 70+ Chaffinch, two Redpoll, many Pipits & very few Skylark (10+).   A Turtle Dove flushed with Wood Pigeon from Dead Dolphin Wood, was another latest site record.



Saturday 30th:


A Firecrest was located by the Buffer Zone this morning and the Lesser Whitethroat (with a damaged wing) remains behind the Visitor Centre, the latest site record.  Goldcrest remain numerous with at least 15 on site, along with 13 Chaffinch. Four Chiffchaff were busy feeding around Greenland Lake, where single Mistle Thrush and Redwing put in an appearance. 13 Wren, a rarely counted species, were also making themselves heard all over the site. Other records included Great Northern Diver and five Little Gull remaining offshore, 280 Brent Goose on the Bight with 99 Bar-tailed Godwit on Finger Point. 



Friday 29th:


At least 40 Little Gull were on site with birds recorded offshore, in the Estuary and over the Car Park, up to 30 birds were feeding around Langstone Rock early morning.  Single Arctic Skua, Arctic Tern and adult Mediterranean Gull were seen flying south along with a flock of 26 Pintail, mirroring yesterday’s passage.  In the Estuary there were another two Pintail, 16 Shelduck and the first Goldeneye of the autumn.  A Black Tern flew south down river, the latest record for the recording area. The bushes were again blown out but three Chiffchaff, two Blackcap and a Treecreeper were found with at least 10 Goldcrest. A Merlin flew east over the Car Park early afternoon.



Thursday 28th:


The storm force winds overnight had caused considerable damage to the dunes and parts of Warren Point but they failed to produce the expected seabirds. A Pomarine Skua, 13 Little Gull, mostly distant, but two were just off the seawall all day, four Gannet, five Razorbill and a Great Northern Diver all flew south between 7.30 – 9.30am. The most unexpected sighting was a flock of 44 Pintail which flew over the spit and south out to sea, this is the highest site count since 1980, these birds later passed Berry Head.  In the Estuary there were good numbers of waders and wildfowl sheltering from the south-easterly wind, over 1000 Wigeon were present with another five Pintail and 400+ Brent Goose. Also in the river were at least another 14 Little Gull, adult Mediterranean Gull, three Greenshank, 85 Bar-tailed Godwit and c40 Knot.



Wednesday 27th:


The strong winds produced four Arctic Skua offshore, where the Great Northern Diver was still present. The Osprey was again seen in the Estuary.



Tuesday 26th:


Visible migration over the site included the first Woodlark of the year, with at least one in with a large movement of 300+ Skylark, also over six Siskin and two Redpoll. In Greenland Lake the Dartford Warbler was again seen along with a Lesser Whitethroat. In the Estuary single Sandwich and Common Tern were still present.



Monday 25th:


A Firecrest and Treecreeper were by the First Pond with the mixed tit flock this morning, also a male Cirl Bunting was in Greenland Lake.  An Osprey was present over the evening high tide, the first record for several days.



Sunday 24th:


An Arctic Skua, four Little Gull, four Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver flew past in the morning, along with five Sandwich and one Common Tern, with the Red-necked Grebe still offshore.  Visible migration overhead included c70 Skylark, as well as one or two Siskin and Redpoll.  At high tide there were 453 Brent Goose in the Bight and a first winter Mediterranean Gull was in Shutterton Creek.  A Black Redstart was reported by the hide late afternoon, a Dartford Warbler was still in Greenland Lake.



Saturday 23rd:


Heavy rain and southwesterly gales meant little could be seen in the bushes.  Seawatching produced a few birds with 2 Red-throated Diver, 5 Little Gull and a Great Skua.  A Red-necked Grebe was still offshore but the day’s highlights were single Whimbrel and a Hobby both of which flew south during the seawatch.  The latter is the latest record for the recording area.



Friday 22nd:


The strong southwesterly wind increased overnight and during the day. Seawatching before 9 a.m. produced two Velvet Scoter, a late Manx Shearwater, a Red-necked Grebe, one Common Tern, 14 Little Gull and 250+ Gannet all heading south.  Further seawatching between 11 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. produced another 100+ Gannet, 6+ Little Gull, a Red-throated Diver, a Balearic Shearwater, the first Storm Petrel of the year and a Long-tailed Skua, which was later seen off Dawlish.  The stormy weather led to large numbers of gulls sheltering in the Estuary, there were c550 Great Black-backed and 25 Lesser Black-backed Gull in the Bight on the rising tide, along with single Arctic and Sandwich Tern.  The bushes were very blown-out, but a Firecrest was found at the eastern end of Greenland Lake behind the Main Pond.



Thursday 21st:


A much quieter day with strong southwesterly wind and showers. Seawatching produced a late Balearic Shearwater, nine Sandwich Tern, three Pintail high south, two Red-throated Diver, a steady passage of Gannet and at least 20 Little Gull. Of these at least 11 flew into the Estuary and other passed south distantly, but some birds remained on show for most of the morning, making the true figure difficult to assess, two Arctic Tern were also in the Estuary. In common with recent days, there were still good numbers of Blackbird and Robin on site, but apart from one Swallow and the Lesser Whitethroat, there was little else of note. One flock of c70 Skylark flew west offshore but very few other migrants were seen.



Wednesday 20th:


A Snow Bunting flying NE over Warren Point and a heard only Green Sandpiper were the highlights on an otherwise quieter day. Other migrants included three Redwing, four Swallow and two Grey Wagtail, but little else was noted in the misty conditions. The Whinchat was seen again on Warren Point, but apart from the Lesser Whitethroat and 15 Goldcrest there was little of note in the bushes.  Kingfisher and Water Rail were at the Main Pond, the latter was the first of the autumn. Two Red-throated Diver, the Red-necked Grebe and six Little Gull (5ad,1fw) were offshore. In the estuary the wildfowl were disturbed mid count by a sailing dingy, but 500+ Teal and 1000+ Wigeon were thought to be present, later on 425 Canada Goose were in the saltmarsh, possibly a record count for the reserve. Also a single Lapwing and a very good site count of 19 Greenshank.



Tuesday 19th:


An adult drake Long-tailed Duck was offshore today along with the Red-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe and at least 10 Little Gull, which flew south in several small groups. Overhead there were two Mistle Thrush, which landed in Sycamores briefly before continuing west, seven Snipe, three Siskin and 110+ Skylark, most of which passed through in large groups. In the bushes there was an increase in Goldcrest, but little else could be found, although there were two Treecreeper again and the Lesser Whitethroat and Dartford Warbler remained. On Warren Point at high tide there were two Peregrine, 112 Carrion Crow and three Jackdaw, the latter species very rarely lands here, seven Rook were the only corvids overhead. The Osprey was still in the Estuary, along with four Sandwich and single Common and Arctic Tern.



Monday 18th:


The undoubted highlight was six White-fronted Goose that flew north over the reserve early morning, having flown over Berry Head half an hour earlier. Another first for the year was a Tawny Owl found by the First Pond. Overhead Pied/White Wagtail are still on the move, along with 100+ Skylark and other species including three Redpoll and single Siskin, Mistle Thrush and Cirl Bunting. Corvids were again noticeable with 91 Jackdaw and 46 Rook over during the day. The Red-throated Diver and Red-necked Grebe remain offshore, with 104 Common Scoter. Other birds of note today included one Little Gull, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, an Osprey and the Lesser Whitethroat and Whinchat were still present.



Sunday 17th:


Two Fieldfare over early morning were the first of the autumn, and a Lesser Whitethroat, the latest area record, was found between the Visitor centre and Main Pond, but there was little else new to be found, with today a virtual repeat of previous days. Visible migration included small numbers of Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Reed Bunting. Five Swallow and three House Martin also passed through during the day. On the reserve the two Dartford Warbler and Whinchat remained. The Osprey showed well around the site and was joined by a second individual, which flew in off the sea mid afternoon. In the Estuary the Common Tern was still present with 22 Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Black-tailed Godwit and four Greenshank. The Red-necked Grebe was again offshore with four Great-crested Grebe, 50+ Common Scoter and one Red-throated Diver, a different individual to Friday’s summer plumaged bird.



Saturday 16th:


The Osprey was again present and showing well on the Estuary.  Also on the Estuary, the juvenile Common Tern and four Little Gull (3 ad, 1 fw) flew north over the Spit and upriver.  There was light overhead migration, with c100 Pied/White Wagtail, 45 Skylark, 10 Reed Bunting and following the last 2 days, 33 Rook northeast.  Other migrants included a Whinchat on Warren Point, two Dartford Warbler in Greenland Lake but only three Chiffchaff and two Blackcap.  A Collared Dove in the Main Wood was a good site record, but not as good as the female Cirl Bunting by the Dune Pond, the first for the year.  A Red-necked Grebe was off Langstone Rock in the evening.



Friday 15th:


The Osprey showed well from the Bight again today creating havoc amongst the 600+ Dunlin and 440 Brent Geese present.  The juvenile Common Tern is still on site along with two Sandwich Tern, a last reminder of warmer summer days.  At least one Dartford Warbler continues to show between the Main Pond and the Dune Ridge.  Corvids were again well represented with 41 Jackdaw heading west over the site along with 20 Rook on the Bight and 33 Carrion Crow on Finger Point.  A summer plumaged Red-throated Diver was offshore.  Two Snow Bunting were reported calling as they flew over near the Main Pond, other reports, of up to 13 birds, this week have referred to misidentified Linnet.



Thursday 14th:


Two Dartford Warbler were present in the brambles around Greenland Lake and at least 10 Chiffchaff and six Blackcap were on site, but apart from the Great Spotted Woodpecker little else could be found in the bushes. Overhead there were small numbers of Meadow Pipit, Pied/White Wagtail and Chaffinch with 30 Skylark and at least eight Reed Bunting, but most migrants were too high to pick out. The exception was corvids with 18 Rook east during the morning and two large groups of Jackdaw, totalling 60+ birds high to the northwest. 15 Red-breasted Merganser were in the estuary with at least one Greenshank and 11 Black-tailed Godwit, but these and the other waders and wildfowl were frequently disturbed by the Osprey which was again present.


Wednesday 13th:


An Osprey was present today,  also on site the Dartford Warbler and a late Common Tern.


Tuesday 12th:


Early morning at least 100 Meadow Pipit and Goldfinch flew over with smaller numbers of Skylark and the first sizeable numbers of Swallow and House Martin for several days.  Eight Redwing and an adult Mediterranean Gull were also present.


Monday 11th:


Whinchat was present at Warren Point today along with a Merlin.  The easterly wind had abated so the bushes were more productive with 14 Chiffchaff, 12 Long-tailed Tit, a single Treecreeper, 18 Goldcrest and the Firecrest was present by the Main Pond.  Robin were much in evidence on site today, also four Redwing in the Buffer Zone, the first of the autumn.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker was again present, showing by the First Pond.  A Dartford Warbler was around Greenland Lake and a single Siskin flew over.


Sunday 10th:


Seawatching again was productive, with single Pomarine and Arctic Skua offshore along with 200 Common Scoter, Arctic Tern, Mediterranean Gull and a drake Scaup, which probably flew upriver.  Another Arctic Skua flew downriver and out to sea late afternoon. Small groups of Brent Goose and Wigeon were again moving, at least five Pintail were also recorded.  By late afternoon, at least 230 Brent Goose were present in the Estuary, this included several family parties, suggesting a successful breeding season.  Waders included single Ruff on the beach and two Greenshank on the Estuary.  The Firecrest was still present by the First Pond, with two Treecreeper, but other migrants were again hard to find in the strong easterly wind. 


Saturday 9th:


Seawatching before 9am produced a good count of seven Great Skua along with 2 adult winter Mediterranean Gull and 250+ Gannet, although most of these were distant. Also moving offshore groups of Wigeon and Brent Goose, with these were nine Pintail, three Shoveler and two Red-breasted Merganser. Small groups of Dunlin and Knot were also seen, six Snipe flew high west, whilst a group of seven Golden Plover was the pick of the waders. A high count of 620+ Great Black-backed Gull was notable. A Firecrest was present with the tit flock by the First Pond and six Blackcap was an increase on recent days, but other passerines were hard to find in the strong easterly wind. The first Short-eared Owl of the year flew along the Golf Course at 11am before heading high north up the river. 


Friday 8th:


A juvenile Garganey, in front of the hide and then with the large Wigeon flock was a surprise, being only the second October record. Also in the estuary six Greenshank, five Lapwing, 350 Dunlin, a Red-breasted Merganser and five Pintail. A Dartford Warbler was present along the Dune Ridge, but other migrants were restricted to a handful of Chiffchaff. Overhead there were 30+ Skylark and 12 Swallow along with a few Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch and Pied Wagtail. Two Buzzard flew high east mid afternoon. Offshore there were 60+ Common Scoter, but there was very little movement although 30+ auks, mainly Razorbill were noted later in the afternoon.


Thursday 7th:


The highlight today was a late Turtle Dove which spent 30 minutes sat on a fence post near the path to the Bight, a Whinchat was also along the Dune Ridge.  Overhead there was a light passage of Meadow Pipit and Skylark, 10 Rook also flew over and six Siskin, the first of the autumn. Other migrants included a Blackcap with a few Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.  Three Greenshank were on the Estuary. 


Wednesday 6th:


An adult Mediterranean Gull was the only reported sighting.


Tuesday 5th:


A single Little Stint was present on the Bight today with 70 Ringed Plover. The highlight though was the overhead passage of Meadow Pipit, 230 headed WSW in just over an hour along with 24 Skylark. Common Gull were again in good numbers with 112 on the Railway Saltmarsh.


Monday 4th:


Seawatching early morning produced four Arctic Skua, a Black and 79 Sandwich Tern, c200 Gannet, two Eider, and two Red-throated Diver, all moving south before 9am. The only migrant passerine of note was a single Whinchat on Warren Point.


Sunday 3rd:


On the estuary there was a count of 1078 Wigeon in Shutterton Creek, also there were five Mediterranean and 98 Common Gull. Two Great Skua were offshore.


Saturday 2nd:


The juvenile Arctic Tern remains onsite, offshore a Manx Shearwater was a late record. Three Tufted Duck, flying in off the sea was an unusual record, also of note three Lapwing flew over.


Friday 1st:


An good autumn day with plenty of visible migration and grounded migrants. During the morning 300+ Meadow Pipit, 100+ “albaWagtail, 15 Skylark and three Yellow Wagtail were recorded overhead. Offshore there were single Balearic Shearwater and Arctic Skua, with four Common and the Arctic Tern, an adult Mediterranean Gull was also seen. The highlight though was a Dartford Warbler, the first of the autumn.




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