Saturday 27 April 2024

Migrants finally arriving

Despite a lack of blog updates, I have been out birding pretty much every day throughout March and April staying loyal to the patch around Budleigh Salterton and the Lower Otter Restoration Project - LORP. Certainly an odd Spring with constant Northerlies and feeling cold with odd warm days and some early signs of migrants but then reverting to a slower pace. 

LORP seems to be in a "transition" stage as the salt marsh habitat slowly develops and begins to take hold. It will be interesting to see how the reedbeds cope with the saline conditions.

Summary Highlights:

Red Kite: A single bird circling above River Otter today 27th April.

Whimbrel: My first was a bird on LORP 3rd April. Then nice to have regular sightings of at least 3-4 birds on most days throughout the second half of April.

Bar-tailed Godwit: A single winter plumaged bird at the end of March and then a bird coming into summer plumage, daily since 22nd April.

Black-tailed Godwit: Very few since the incredible sight (for here at least) of 90+ birds in December 2022/January 2023 'Pre-breach." Therefore it was nice to see a passage flock of 13 birds heading north on 13th April.

Little Ringed Plover: 2 birds first seen 21st March LORP.

Great Northern Diver: A flyover at the golf course on 13th April.

Reed Warbler: First heard singing in the reedbeds at LORP on 14th April.

Sedge Warbler: One today 27th April

Lesser Whitethroat: A bird barely singing, no doubt due to cold temperatures! Calling regularly and frequenting the blackthorn hedges 26/27 April.

Garden Warbler: Not a common bird here so great to see one singing along the River Otter 27 April.

Willow Warbler: First seen 2nd April LORP.

Common Whitethroat: First seen 14th April E Devon Golf Course.

Wheatear: First seen 13th April LORP.

Swallow: First on 7th April LORP

House Martin: First seen 9th April LORP.

Sand Martin: First seen 23rd March Bicton Gardens.

Swift: First seen 21st April LORP.

Cuckoo: Singing on East Budleigh Common 27th April. Always great to hear them on the Pebbled Heaths as they are not at all common here these days!

Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel on LORP

Black-tailed Godwits on passage through LORP

Great Northern Diver over Budleigh Golf Course

Drake Goosander on the River Otter

A confiding Cetti's Warbler back in March

Reed Warbler on LORP

A dapper male Wheatear at Stantyway Farm
Red Kite LORP

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