A dull day from the heavy cloud with a 7mph WSW. Temperature 8 degrees. At Brean the Black Redstart was relocated around the caravans adjacent to the car park. On the down 2 Stonechat, 2 Bullfinch and 10 Redwing. A flock of 200 Teal flew distantly around Weston bay. At Weston STW 2 more Stonechat found on the Axe bank whilst further up river 4 Goosander were found. Purple Sandpiper count at Anchor Head now at 5
Strong overnight westerly winds soon died down early morning averaging 22mph then dropping to 16mph. A brief visit to Sand Point produced small vismig counts involving 45 Dunlin, 70 Black-headed Gulls, 50 Herring Gulls, 3 Common Gulls, 2 Curlew and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls heading west. Heading east were 25 Shelduck.
High pressure building over the southern half of the UK forming mid-level layered cloud and a light 7mph southerly wind. Temperatures a mild 11 degrees. Along the river Axe 2 Green Sandpipers and 2 female Goosanders. Overhead a notable west and south passage of gulls included 600 Herring, 150 Common, 2 Lesser Black-backed and 300 Black-headed. A single Snipe seen flying high south-west. Redwings also recorded heading south in small groups.
Winds over the last week have been mainly westerly bringing mild temperatures with frequent fronts. On wednesday night an arrival of Redwings noted with a count of 100 around Milton alone. Big numbers of Black-headed Gulls seen passing through from the east. Today a Woodcock flushed from fields in the Brean area, a Black Redstart at the fort and at least 15 Golden Plover amongst 900 Lapwing. At Weston STW still 300 stock dove, 1 Brambling, 80 Pochard. The Bewick's was still with 55 Mute Swan. Last weekends Fieldfares have moved on after stripping the hawthorn bushes. Black Redstart at Anchor Hd this afternoon.
Bleadon level is attracting good numbers of birds moving through the country. Most notable being Fieldfare and Stock Dove. With the Fieldfare are much smaller numbers of Redwings and Blackbirds. Stock Dove numbers an impressive 300 with just a few Woodpigeons amongst them. Numbers seem down on Chaffinch, Reed Bunting and Skylark but this could all change with a cold snap. 1-3 Water Pipits recorded yesterday on the Axe whilst the fields behind Warren Farm still holding 50ish Swans. Viewing was a bit more difficult so I couldn't tell if the Bewick's Swan was still present. The Bean Goose seen briefly in flight and the regular Barn Owl put in an appearance at dusk.
A Sand Point sea watch failed to produce anything of interest this morning. Birds on the move during a 45 minute count included 15 Kittiwake, 20 Common Gull, 25 Shelduck, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, 10 Black-headed Gulls, 20 Dunlin.
I managed to catch up with the Bean Goose this morning and achieved much better views. The neck appears shorter and thicker than taiga Bean and the peaked forehead is more fitting for Tundra Bean so I'm going for Tundra Bean in the photo. The legs although not visible in the picture were bright orange and the mantle looked brown in the field eliminating confusion with Pink-footed Goose. Tundra Bean numbers have been steadily rising in the UK since the 2nd of December with the biggest numbers occurring in Aberdeenshire, Clyde, Norfolk and Northumbria. The birds arrivals can be easily explained by examining weather systems throughout the month with many days showing winds coming from their breeding grounds in the Arctic Tundra.
The Ring-necked Duck was still present this morning. I saw the Mute Swan flock had risen to 53 but was too far away to see if the Bewick's was still present.
A clear night with a full moon and reduced winds. Vismig at Sand Point produced no sea birds making their way back down the channel. Total birds on the move included 20 Curlew, 22 Shelduck, 20 Linnet, 11 Goldfinch, 7 Rock Pipit, 2 Teal, 8 Meadow Pipit.
Weston STW held some good birds starting with 3 Short-eared Owls (A.Hockey). A juvenile Bewick's Swan (M.Ponsford) was with 50 Mutes and a Bean Goose (M.Ponsford) gave distant scope views. The Ring-necked Duck was still present.
Strong winds overnight from midnight onwards. By morning the direction was consistently north-westerly at Sand Point. Movement was fair but the lack of sea bird variety was noticeable. Recorded this morning were 46 Kittiwake involving birds moving both up and down channel. Heading down were 2 Black-headed Gull, 126 Shelduck, 8 Curlew and 50 Dunlin. 20 Common Gulls counted moving in both directions. Totals: 269 individuals, 9 species, 2:10 hours
At Weston STW both the Greylag and Ring-necked Duck still present.
Up until the first day of winter at the beginning of the month the lows coming across the Atlantic have been hitting central Europe bringing warmer southerly winds to the UK but recently we've had winds from a cold polar airmass hanging between the UK and Iceland.
A half hour sea watch this morning produced 17 Kittiwakes flying up river close in in small parties. 200 Dunlin went down river distantly and a trickle of Common and Black-headed Gulls through.
The 1st winter drake Ring-necked Duck remains at the sewage works for it's 3rd day.
Strong West and WSW winds overnight that had already dropped by first light. Three fronts went through overnight raising temperatures to 11 degrees. A trip to Sand Point to intercept any birds blown up the channel making their way back down started off quite bleak. From 8:15 to 9:15 no sea birds just 5 Shelduck, 5 Curlew and 2 Black-headed Gulls. Then a single flock of 96 Kittiwake flew down channel about mid-channel. They then started spiralling upwards to a height of around 100M and headed off north-west towards the Welsh coast. A single Guillemot came out with the Kittiwakes but continued following the coastline heading south after passing the point. 2 more Kittwakes casually made their way down river some time later one of which was half heartedly pursued by a Merlin. The Merlin continued towards the Welsh coast. It would now seem that Merlins are quite happy flying back and forth across the estuary to hunt on both sides. Totals for the morning: 30 Black-headed Gull, 6 Shelduck, 6 Curlew, 98 Kittiwake and a Guillemot.
2 Moths in the garden trap last night one of which was my first garden record of Scarce Umber.