A drake Long-tailed Duck was off the estuary mouth briefly before heading east, the first of the winter. Elsewhere two Arctic Skua were also offshore and the Bonaparte's Gull was still present along the beach and in the estuary there were 910+ Dunlin, 870+ Wigeon, c200 Teal, 63 Grey Plover, 62 Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Red-breasted Merganser, two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, a Greenshank, an adult Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe.
A Woodlark overhead was the first of the year, also on site the Bonaparte's Gull off the seawall and a Black Redstart.
A quieter day although the Bonaparte's Gull remained off the seawall and Langstone Rock with two Red-throated Diver offshore; the Bearded Tit was still at the Main Pond although was very elusive, and a Firecrest was also reported on site. Elsewhere Dunlin numbers increased substantially overnight with 1200+ present, also in the estuary the first eight juvenile Brent Geese of the winter with 200+ adults, 35 Grey Plover, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern.
Autumn migration remained in full swing but in lower numbers however the reduced quantity was more than made up by the quality of birds around the site. The adult Bonaparte's Gull remained off the seawall or Langstone Rock for much of the morning, also offshore a Red-necked Grebe briefly, the first returning Slavonian Grebe of the winter, at least three Velvet Scoter, two Great Northern Diver, a drake Tufted Duck and an adult Mediterranean Gull. In the estuary two drake Mandarin, only the fifth site record, were with the Wigeon, and an immature Spoonbill circled the saltmarsh corner before heading up river; also present a drake Pochard that flew up river, five Shoveler, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, 247 Dark-bellied and an interesting looking Pale-belied Brent Goose, 205 Dunlin, 36 Grey Plover and a Lapwing. Overhead there were 3845 Wood Pigeon, 362 Jackdaw, 65+ Starling, just 23 Chaffinch, 20 Siskin, 19 Stock Dove, 19 Skylark, nine Rook, five Bullfinch, four Lesser Redpoll, three Swallow and two Brambling, although the highlight was a singe Hawfinch west around 10.30am. Elsewhere a male Bearded Tit, presumably yesterday's bird, was calling frequently at the Main Pond but remained elusive and also visited the Dune Pond.
Bonaparte's Gull 28/10/12 © Lee Collins
A change in wind direction to the north and despite the strength of the wind a day of notable vismig overhead and offshore. The highlight was a Bearded Tit heard flying along the Dune Ridge, the first since March 2009, also overhead the first Snow Bunting of the year, 127 Chaffinch, 106 Starling, 71 Skylark, 50+ Greenfinch, 50+ Goldfinch, c40 Linnet, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 15+ Siskin, eight Crossbill, five House Martin, four Brambling, two Redwing, two Lesser Redpoll and a probable Common Redpoll. Higher up 25,645 Wood Pigeon headed S -SW in huge flocks along with 115 Jackdaw and a grossly undercounted nine Stock Dove. Elsewhere the adult Bonaparte's Gull was off the seawall early morning at least, also offshore a pair of Tufted Duck and a grey goose sp, possibly Pinkfoot and in the estuary there were c200 Brent Geese, 145 Dunlin and a first winter Mediterranean Gull.
Offshore there were two Eider, 30 Common Scoter and up to 20 Wigeon flying around with a single Tufted Duck. Elsewhere in the bushes were five Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest and a Blackcap, 15 Siskin, a Golden Plover and a lone Swallow flew through and a Whimbrel was on the dune ridge.
The adult Bonaparte's Gull was reported again over the seawall briefly but there was no further sign. Other reports included a Long-eared Owl flying in off the sea and a Ring Ouzel near the visitor centre. In the estuary at low tide there were 275 Brent Geese, 387 Wigeon, 37 Dunlin and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere a Merlin was seen trying to fly out to sea into a strong east head wind from the seawall, 56 Siskin flew out of the alders around the First Pond, a Peregrine had a go at a migrating flock of 16 Jackdaw, five Swallow flew south, a flock of 40 Redwing also flew over and another eight were on site with at least 20 Blackbird and eight Song Thrush.
The adult Bonaparte's Gull was again present generally off the beach between the seawall and groyne 14, although is also ranging as far south as Dawlish. Elsewhere a Short-eared Owl was around Greenland Lake, with record numbers of 64 Robin and 44 Blackbird on site, whilst overhead there were 340+ Chaffinch, 100+ Goldfinch, 85+ Meadow Pipit, 48 Siskin, 40+ Greenfinch, 29 Redwing, six Bullfinch, five Swallow, four Redpoll and a Brambling.
The adult Bonaparte's Gull was again present from midday ranging from the seawall to groyne 14 before again heading up estuary late afternoon. Elsewhere three Eider and 70 Common Scoter were new arrivals offshore and the Slavonian Grebe was in the estuary.
The adult Bonaparte's Gull was again present mid afternoon ranging from the seawall to groyne seven before heading up estuary around 5pm, the fifth site record. Overhead there was some movement with a Brambling, 30+ Chaffinch,16 Siskin and two Swallow. Elsewhere four Tufted Duck and three Shoveler flew in off the sea, a Whimbrel was on the beach, the Slavonian Grebe, four Red-breasted Merganser, 100 Dark-bellied and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the estuary and two Wheatear were still on site. Recent Great Black-backed Gull ringing recoveries include two birds from Norway both from Mandal, Vest-Agder; one from Looe in Cornwall and one from Portland, Dorset - the latter ringed as a chick on 27 June and was on the Axe estuary on 2 October.
Bonaparte's Gull 22/10/12 © Paul Barker
A much quieter day overhead with passage figures including 123 Jackdaw, 65 Wood Pigeon, c25 Meadow Pipit, 21 Pied/White Wagtail, 31 Chaffinch,10 Siskin, three Reed Bunting, two Great-spotted Woodpecker, two Brambling, a Swallow, a Lesser Redpoll and a Mistle Thrush. Elsewhere a female Tufted Duck flew south from the estuary, the Tawny Owl and two Redwing were by the First Pond, two Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary and a Red-throated Diver was offshore. An adult Bonaparte's Gull was reported mid afternoon but there was no sign before dusk.
Overhead passage was led by a record count of 809 Jackdaw heading NW with 2040 Wood Pigeon, 71 Skylark and 45 Stock Dove. Also overhead 62 Pied/White Wagtail, c60 Linnet, 51 Meadow Pipit, c40 Goldfinch, 30 Chaffinch, three Lesser Redpoll, two Siskin and a Yellow Wagtail. Elsewhere a Cirl Bunting was briefly along the Back Path, a Tawny Owl was by the First Pond, 10 Stonechat and four Wheatear were on site and the Slavonian Grebe, 21 Pintail, 17 Grey Plover, a Whimbrel and a Mediterranean Gull were in the estuary.
Counts from the estuary included 350+ Wigeon,171 Brent Geese, 97 Redshank, 37 Dunlin, 14 Grey and a Golden Plover, a Whimbrel and a Mediterranean Gull. Passage included another movement of Jackdaw with 594 heading NW along with 100+ Wood Pigeon and two Stock Dove. Also overhead 72 Goldfinch, 40+ Meadow Pipit, 23 Chaffinch,15+ Skylark, 12 Siskin, four Reed Bunting and two Lesser Redpoll. Elsewhere the first Firecrest of the year was along the Back Path with 10+ Goldcrest, five Chiffchaff and a Blackcap.
No news was received on historically the best day of the year.
The Black-throated Diver remains offshore with two Great Skua and three Sandwich Tern. In the estuary there was a late Little Tern in the Bight with 70+ Dunlin, seven Grey Plover, five Sanderling and a Knot. Also on site three Wheatear, at least five Chiffchaff, two Goldcrest and two Jay.
A Black-throated Diver flew past Langstone Rock before later being seen later off Finger Point, also in the estuary the Slavonian Grebe, 73 Dunlin, 10 Grey Plover, two Mediterranean Gull, two Sanderling, a Knot, a Whimbrel, an Arctic and a Sandwich Tern. Elsewhere the first three Redwing of the year flew over, with five Stonechat, three Wheatear, at least three Jay and two Coal Tit onsite.
Counts from the estuary included 674 Wigeon, 325 Curlew, 153 Redshank, 78 Brent Geese, 40 Turnstone, 32+ Dunlin, 20+ Teal, 10 Grey Plover, six Red-breasted Merganser and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere single Common and Sandwich Tern were offshore, whilst overhead Wood Pigeon passage was underway with 995 high NW with four Feral/Racing Pigeon and two Stock Dove in the flocks, also overhead 638 Jackdaw, c60 Pied/White Wagtail, 25+ Meadow Pipit, c20 Skylark, 12 Rook,12 Siskin and three Lesser Redpoll.
No news was received.
The first two returning Red-breasted Merganser of the winter were in the estuary with 233 Brent Geese, 15 Ringed and two Grey Plover, at least 12 Sandwich Tern, nine Dunlin, a Whimbrel and a Greenshank. Elsewhere at least six Wheatear were onsite and 29 Common Scoter were offshore.
A Long-eared Owl roosting in a Tamarisk along the Dune Ridge was the highlight being the 10th site record and the first since April 2009. Overhead the first three Brambling headed west with 32 Skylark, 27 Swallow, 22 alba Wagtail, three Redpoll, two House Martin, two Grey and a Yellow Wagtail. Elsewhere four Wheatear and three Blackcap were on the deck and in the estuary there were 100+ Great Black-backed Gull, 17 Ringed Plover, nine Dunlin, seven Sandwich Tern, a Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper and the Slavonian Grebe.
Long-eared Owl 12/10/12 © Lee Collins
Monday 8th - Thursday 11th:
No news was received.
Counts from the estuary included c660 Wigeon, 65 Brent Geese and four Pintail, also present a Spoonbill, a Curlew Sandpiper, 16 Grey Plover, 13 Dunlin, a Greenshank and a Golden Plover which dropped in briefly. Passage overhead included 170+ House Martin, c40 Siskin, c15 Skylark, seven Swallow, two Chaffinch and two Redpoll. Grounded migrants were limited to four Chiffchaff, three Blackcap and two Wheatear.
Counts from the estuary showed a large arrival of wildfowl with 600+ Wigeon, 59 Brent Geese and eight Pintail, also present 20 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Sanderling, 15+ Turnstone,15 Grey Plover, 13 Knot, just three Dunlin, three Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere c10 Siskin and five Buzzard were overhead and on site there were five Chiffchaff, four Blackcap, three Wheatear and a Coal Tit.
Brent Goose 06/10/12 © Lee Collins
A few Chiffchaff and four Blackcap were around the site with single Jay, Buzzard and Great-spotted Woodpecker also present.
A late Hobby flying south early morning was the highlight with 53 Meadow Pipit, 20+ Swallow, 18 Pied/White Wagtail, 15 Siskin and single House Martin, Lesser Redpoll and Yellow Wagtail also overhead. Grounded migrants included 14 Chiffchaff, five Goldcrest and four Blackcap with four Song Thrush, three Coal Tit and two Jay also probably from further afield.
Seawatching early morning produced 14 Balearic Shearwater and two Arctic Skua south with two Red-throated Diver also offshore, one still off the seawall the other flying east. High tide counts included 425 Curlew, 176 Redshank, 29 Sanderling, six Knot, five Dunlin, three Grey and two Ringed Plover.
Seawatching produced three Balearic Shearwater and 180 Gannet south in just 30 minutes around 8.30am, fewer Gannet, approx 40 an hour, were passing in a later watch between 4-6pm but four Sooty Shearwater flew south including one bird that came close into the bay, at least three Arctic Skua were distantly offshore and a Red-throated Diver was again just off the seawall. Counts over the high tide remain very poor with 39 Sanderling, 12 Knot, 10 Grey and 10 Ringed Plover, eight Dunlin and two Whimbrel. Elsewhere there was a light passage of Meadow Pipit and alba Wagtail, a Tawny Owl was in the Entrance Bushes and a Kingfisher flew over the Buffer Zone.
The first Red-throated Diver of the autumn was offshore early morning with 40+ Common Scoter and a Great-crested Grebe. Counts over the high tide included 38 Sanderling, 12 Knot and just four Ringed Plover and no Dunlin. Elsewhere migrants included a flock of six Coal Tit moving through the site, a single Reed Warbler at the Main Pond, 110+ Goldfinch still on site and overhead six Chaffinch, single Grey and Yellow Wagtail, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
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