Sunday, 14 September 2014

Another Wryneck - Dawlish Warren, September 14th

With a high tide on the River Exe at 11:00am-ish and reports of curlew sandpipers at Bowling Green Marsh and Dawlish Warren, I jumped on the train, deciding at the last minute to visit Dawlish Warren (it was Sunday and I imagined Bowling Green would be too busy so decided on the more varied and likely less crowded Warren instead).

Arriving at 10:30 I headed off to Warren Point and the wader roost along the beach as the tide reached its highest point. Scanning the flock of small waders I found a single turnstone amongst the dunlin, ringed plover and sanderling and so I headed off into the dunes to look for the wryneck that has been around for a few days now. Wandering through the vegetation I spooked 2 skylarks, 2 wheatears and eventually the wryneck which flew up and landed on top of a bramble bush where it gave great views before flying off - my second wryneck in 3 days! Also seen amongst the dunes were a smart whinchat, stonechats and linnets but as more birders arrived I headed back to the wader roost for another look.

 Wryneck, Dawlish Warren

The waders were still roosting and scanning through I eventually found a curlew sandpiper, probably my favourite wader, looking taller and with spangled, paler and greyer toned upperparts than the nearby dunlin. Just as I was getting my eye in on the bird and hoping it would show its head from under its wing some walkers along the beach flushed all the birds and I managed a nice view of its square white rump as it took to the air, losing sight of it amongst the flock. The birds eventually settled and I refound it and had some nice scope views as it fed along the sandy beach before the waders were disturbed again and I lost sight of it again.

Sanderlings along the beach, Dawlish Warren

I headed over to The Bight, expecting the waders to move here as the tide receded and eventually a few dunlin and ringed plover arrived. The tide continued to recede and the flock didn't appear until it was some way out - I scanned through the heat haze and found the curlew sandpiper again but it was distant and the views poor and then the flock took to the air and disappeared upriver. A quick scan around revealed a bar tailed godwit, a kingfisher flying along the waters edge and a little egret, along with oystercatchers, 6 mute swans, cormorants, wigeon and gulls but no further sign of the curlew sandpiper.

I unknowingly met The Exmouth Birder Sue - who did get to see the wryneck eventually - and I also met Dawlish Warren birder Lee who writes the daily Blog for the site and had a chat about the rings he has read on birds and their histories.

In Greenland Lake Autumn Ladies Tresses were in flower but most had gone over and apart from a female kestrel and a flock of 10 long tailed tits I didn't see much more in the way of birds. I did however see an emperor dragonfly, a southern hawker and 2 common darter along with small copper, speckled wood and a late meadow brown, and also a very smart looking rush veneer, before heading home on the train to Plymouth, having had a very enjoyable days birding.

 Autumn Ladies Tresses, Dawlish Warren
 Common Darter
 Southern Hawker
Rush Veneer

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