Please note that this is my own personal blog and therefore the views and opinions expressed, although in no way intended to be controversial, are not necessarily those shared by my employers Abbotsbury Tourism Ltd. and Ilchester Estates . All photos are © Steve Groves unless otherwise credited.



Monday, 17 April 2017

Abbotsbury Swannery Bird News - March 2017


Highlights...


Dorset Rarities this month were represented by the three lingering Cattle Egrets, a Great Egret and the two over-wintering Richard's Pipits. Other highlights included three Garganey, thirteen Scaup, five Long-tailed Ducks, two Slavonian Grebes and a Little Ringed Plover.

 Great Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

 Great Egret, (with Mute Swan & Shovelers), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Steve Groves




More details on the above birds and the rest of this month's sightings follow below...



Black Swan...
Two were present throughout.

Mute Swan...
Present throughout with 550 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th. 

Canada Goose...
Present throughout with 27 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Shelduck... 
Present throughout with 47 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th...

Mandarin Duck...
A female was present on the 24th...
 Mandarin Duck (female), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Wigeon...
Present throughout with 24 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th...
 Wigeon (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Gadwall...
Seen regularly with a peak of six on the 29th...
Gadwall (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Dave Callaby DMC Journal

Teal...
Present throughout with 130 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th...

Mallard...
Present throughout with 166 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Pintail...
Seen regularly with peaks of over 50 on the 17th and the 28th.

Garganey...
Three (two drakes and a duck) were present on the 10th...
Garganey (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Garganey (2 drakes & a duck with drake Teal), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Steve Groves
Shoveler...
Present throughout with 40 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Pochard... 
Present throughout with 80 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Tufted Duck... 
Present throughout with 126 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Scaup... 
Thirteen were present on the 1st, nine on the 2nd, then three from the 3rd to the 9th but none subsequently...
Scaup (duck & drake) Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Long-tailed Duck...
Five remained throughout...
Long-tailed Ducks (drake & duck), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Steve Groves

Long-tailed Ducks (3 drakes & a duck), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal

Long-tailed Ducks (3 drakes, 2 ducks), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal

Red-breasted Merganser...
Present throughout with 46 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Pheasant...
Present throughout.

Cormorant...
Present throughout with 6 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Cattle Egret... 
The three that arrived in January continued to frequent fields around Abbotsbury and Portesham (including the Swannery recording area) to the 12th, with two on the 13th and one to the 14th...
Cattle Egret Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Little Egret... 
Present throughout with a peak of 24 on the 21st...
Little Egret Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Great Egret... 
One (in full breeding plumage) was present on Meadow Pool briefly on the 27th before flying off east...
Great Egret Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves


Great Egret Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves
Grey Heron... 
Single figures were seen regularly...
Grey Heron (2nd calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal

Little Grebe...
Singles on the 3rd, 6th and 10th.

Great Crested Grebe... 
Present throughout with a peak of over 30 on the 17th.

Slavonian Grebe... 
Two were present from the 2nd to the 9th...
Slavonian Grebes Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Red Kite... 
One on the 9th and three, possibly four on the 25th...
Red Kite, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal

Red Kite, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Marsh Harrier... 
Singles were seen regularly but there were two on the 26th...
Marsh Harrier, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Sparrowhawk... 
Singles were seen regularly.

Buzzard... 
Single figures were seen regularly. 

Water Rail... 
One was seen on the  7th and one was heard on the 9th.

Moorhen...
Present throughout with 20 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th

Coot...
Present throughout with 435 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th...
Coot (with Mute Swans), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Oystercatcher...
Present throughout with a peak of six on several dates...
Oystercatchers, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Ringed Plover...
One was heard on the 12th.

Little Ringed Plover...
One was present on the 22nd...

Little Ringed Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography
Lapwing...
Singles on the 9th and 24th.

Whimbrel...
The first two of the year were seen briefly on the 28th.

Curlew...
At least two were seen on the 2nd, six on the 12th and at least one was heard on the 16th.

Black-tailed Godwit...
Singles on the 15th and 29th.

Dunlin...
Two on the 13th and one on the 16th...
 Dunlins, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Redshank...
Present throughout with a peak of eight on the 12th...
Redshank, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Jack Snipe...
One on the 28th.

Common Snipe...
Seen regularly until the 16th, with a peak of four on the 9th.

Sandwich Tern...
The first two of the year were seen on the 26th and there were then regular sightings to the end of the month, with at least five present on the 31st...
Sandwich Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Black-headed Gull...
Present throughout with a peak of 100 on the 7th.

Mediterranean Gull...
Regular with a peak of 100 on the 4th.

Common Gull...
Present throughout with a peak of 1000 on the 4th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull...
Seen regularly with a peak of ten on the 19th.

Herring Gull...
Present throughout with a peak of 100 on the 13th.

Yellow-legged Gull...
A second calendar year was present from the 14th to the 16th while two second calendar year birds were together on the 19th.

Great Black-backed Gull...
Present throughout with six counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Feral/Domestic Pigeon...
Seen regularly.

Stock Dove...
Two on the 25th. 

Wood Pigeon...
Present throughout. 

Collared Dove...
Seen regularly.

Tawny Owl...
Heard regularly.

Green Woodpecker...
Seen regularly.

Great Spotted Woodpecker...
Seen regularly.

Kestrel...
Singles were seen regularly.

Merlin...
One on the 15th.

Peregrine Falcon...
Singles were seen regularly but two were together on the 21st.

Magpie...
Present throughout.

Jackdaw...
Present throughout.

Rook...
Present throughout.

Carrion Crow...
Present throughout.

Raven...
Seen regularly.

Goldcrest...
Present throughout.

Firecrest...
One on the 8th. 

Blue Tit...
Present throughout.

Great Tit...
Present throughout.

Coal Tit...
Present throughout.

Skylark...
Present throughout.

Sand Martin...
Six on the 15th, five on the 16th and two on the 27th were the first observations of the year.

Swallow...
Five on the 29th were the first of the year.

Cetti's Warbler...
Present throughout.

Long-tailed Tit...
Present throughout...
Long-tailed Tit, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Chiffchaff...
Regular from the 8th with at least ten present on the 16th.

Blackcap...
The first of the year was seen on the 26th and at least three were present on the 31st.

Sedge Warbler...
One was heard on the 31st, the earliest ever at The Swannery.

Reed Warbler...
One seen and heard on the 31st was the earliest ever at The Swannery.

Nuthatch...
One from the 25th to the month's end. The first since July 2016...
Nuthatch, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Treecreeper...
Present throughout.

Wren...
Present throughout.

Starling...
One or two were seen regularly.

Blackbird...
Present throughout.

Song Thrush...
Seen regularly.

Mistle Thrush...
Seen regularly.

Robin...
Present throughout.

Stonechat...
Two on the 27th.

Dunnock...
Present throughout...

House Sparrow...
Present throughout...

Grey Wagtail...
At least one was seen regularly to the 10th but not subsequently.

Pied Wagtail...
Present throughout.

Richard's Pipit...
The two that arrived in December 2016 were seen regularly until the 8th but were not seen again until the 27th and were last seen on the 29th...
 Richard's Pipits, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017 © Steve Groves

Meadow Pipit...
Present throughout, with a peak of twenty on the 26th.

Chaffinch...
Present throughout.

Bullfinch...
One was heard on the 27th.

Greenfinch...
Singles were seen (or at least heard) regularly from the 5th to the 19th but not subsequently. 

Linnet...
Present throughout.

Goldfinch...
Present throughout.

Siskin...
One flew north on the 13th. 

Reed Bunting...
Present throughout


...And that's it for this month except to say thanks to Alan Barrett, Dave Callaby, Steve Hales, Mike Morse, Richard Philips, Nick Urch, Charlie Wheeler and the Slimbridge guys for additional sightings, tip offs and where applicable for the use of their images

I'll leave you with a couple more of Charlie's images...
Great Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography


Little Ringed Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography
April's sightings to follow shortly.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Abbotsbury Swannery Bird News - February 2017


Highlights...


Dorset Rarities this month were represented by a Green-winged Teal, three Cattle Egretsat least one Iceland Gull and the two over-wintering Richard's Pipits. Other highlights included thirteen Scaup, five Long-tailed Ducks and at least four Slavonian Grebes.


Two of the three Cattle Egrets
Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Steve Groves


More details on the above birds and the rest of this month's sightings follow below...



Black Swan...
Two were present throughout.

Mute Swan...
Present throughout with 525 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th. 

Canada Goose...
Present throughout with 68 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th..

Shelduck... 
Present throughout with sixteen counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th...


A pair of  Shelducks, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal


Wigeon...
Present throughout with a peak of ten on the 24th.

Gadwall...
Only noted between the 9th and 12th with a peak of three on the 10th.

Teal...
Present throughout with 305 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th...


  Teal (with a Redshank) Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal


Green-winged Teal...
One (a drake) was present on the 20th and it was reported again on the 26th...


The drake Green-winged Teal (fourth from left) with (Eurasian) Teal
Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Steve Groves

Mallard...
Present throughout with 353 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Pintail...
Two on the 12th and ten on the 24th.

Shoveler...
Present throughout with a peak of 30 on the 9th.

Red-crested Pochard... 
An unwary drake was present on the 16th, the first since June 2014.

Pochard... 
Present throughout with a peak of 300 on the 1st.

Tufted Duck... 
Present throughout with a peak of 200 on the 1st.

Scaup... 
Seen regularly from the 11th with a peak of thirteen on several dates...


The 13 Scaup (with Pochard)
Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Steve Groves


Long-tailed Duck...
Last month's three remained throughout and were joined by two more from the 10th.

Red-breasted Merganser...
Present throughout with a peak of thirty on the 24th.

Pheasant...
Present throughout.

Gannet...
A third-year repeatedly circled the embayment on the 23rd (the first since September 2016)...


The Gannet (with Tufted Ducks
Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Steve Groves
Another of the Gannet, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography 

Cormorant...
Present throughout with a peak of fifteen on the 20th.

Cattle Egret... 
The three that arrived last month continued to frequent fields around Abbotsbury and Portesham (including the Swannery recording area) throughout and presumably roosted in The Swannery egret roost nightly, although they were only actually confirmed as doing so on the 16th...


Cattle Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography
Cattle Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Dave Callaby DMC Journal


Little Egret... 
Present throughout with a peak of twenty on the 22nd...


Above two images  Little Egrets, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal

Grey Heron... 
Single figures were seen regularly.

Little Grebe...
Only one remained for the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th and none were seen subsequently.

Great Crested Grebe... 
Present throughout but only six were counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Slavonian Grebe... 
Two were present on the 7th and four on the 10th (the latter believed to be a site record).

Marsh Harrier... 
At least one was seen regularly...


Marsh Harrier, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 
© Dave Callaby DMC Journal
Marsh Harrier, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography

Sparrowhawk... 
Singles were seen regularly.

Buzzard... 
Single figures were seen regularly. 

Water Rail... 
One was heard on the 10th.

Moorhen...
Present throughout with 27 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th

Coot...
Present throughout with 570 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Oystercatcher...
Present throughout with a peak of five on several dates.

Lapwing...
Present throughout the first half of the month with a peak of 500 on the 1st but only single figures were present from mid-month...


Lapwings, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography
Curlew...
Three lingered for much of the 27th.

Redshank...
Present throughout with a peak of seven on the 2nd...


Swimming Redshank (with  Pochard Tufted Ducks
Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography
Snipe...
Single figures were seen regularly.

Black-headed Gull...
Present throughout with a peak of 1000 on the 17th.

Mediterranean Gull...
Regular with a peak of 350 on the 21st.

Common Gull...
Present throughout with a peak of only 1500 on the 22nd.

Lesser Black-backed Gull...
Seen regularly with a peak of ten on the 21st.

Herring Gull...
Present throughout with a peak of 50 on the 5th.

Iceland Gull...
A 'probable' was seen distantly on the 4th whilst a second calendar year was seen well but briefly on the on the 21st...


The 2nd Calendar year Iceland Gull (with  Black-headed Gulls
Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Richard Phillips charmouthbirding


Great Black-backed Gull...
Present throughout with twelve counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 12th.

Feral/Domestic Pigeon...
Seen regularly.

Wood Pigeon...
Present throughout. 

Collared Dove...
Seen regularly.

Tawny Owl...
Heard regularly.

Kingfisher...
Singles were seen regularly.

Green Woodpecker...
Seen regularly.

Great Spotted Woodpecker...
Seen regularly.

Kestrel...
Singles were seen regularly.

Peregrine Falcon...
One on the 22nd.

Magpie...
Present throughout.

Jackdaw...
Present throughout.

Rook...
Present throughout.

Carrion Crow...
Present throughout.

Raven...
Seen regularly.

Goldcrest...
Present throughout.

Blue Tit...
Present throughout.

Great Tit...
Present throughout.

Coal Tit...
Present throughout.

Skylark...
Seen regularly.

Cetti's Warbler...
Present throughout.

Long-tailed Tit...
Present throughout.

Chiffchaff...
One on the 22nd.

Treecreeper...
Present throughout.

Wren...
Present throughout.

Starling...
One that came in to roost on the 8th was the only sighting!

Blackbird...
Present throughout.

Song Thrush...
Seen regularly.

Redwing...
One was seen regularly until the 11th.

Mistle Thrush...
Seen regularly.

Robin...
Present throughout.

Stonechat...
One or two were seen regularly until the 8th but not subsequently.

Dunnock...
Present throughout...


Dunnock, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography


House Sparrow...
Present throughout...


 House Sparrow Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Steve Groves

Grey Wagtail...
At least one was seen regularly.

Pied Wagtail...
Present throughout.

Richard's Pipit...
The two that arrived in December 2016 were again seen regularly through the month...


 Richard's Pipits Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2017 © Steve Groves

Meadow Pipit...
Present throughout.

Rock Pipit...
At least one was seen regularly.

Chaffinch...
Present throughout.

Bullfinch...
One on the 22nd.

Greenfinch...
Singles on the 9th and 24th. 

Linnet...
Seen regularly with a peak of 20 on the 23rd.

Goldfinch...
Present throughout.

Yellowhammer...
One flew north on the 8th, the first since May 2015. 

Reed Bunting...
Present throughout


...And that's it for this month except to say thanks to Alan Barrett, Dave Callaby, Steve Hales, Paul Harris, Mike Morse, Don Moxom, Richard Philips, Nick Urch and Charlie Wheeler for additional sightings, tip offs and where applicable for the use of their images

I'll leave you with a couple of images taken by Don Moxom at the back of Abbotsbury Beach...


Lackey Moth caterpillar 'tents' Abbotsbury, February 2017 © Don Moxom

Lackey Moth caterpillars within their tent Abbotsbury, February 2017 © Don Moxom

March's sightings to follow shortly.