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.



Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Abbotsbury Swannery Bird Sightings - March 2018


Highlights...

There were no rarities or even any relatively scarce species this month, with only the wintering Scaup and an early Swallow featuring on the rare bird information services. The brief cold snaps at the beginning and middle of the month did however bring in some good numbers of Lapwing, Golden Plover, Woodcock, Fieldfare, Redwing and Meadow Pipit and by the end of the month, in addition to the aforementioned Swallow, the first summer visitors began to make an appearance.

Fieldfare, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves


The Month's Bird News In Full...

More details of the above highlights and the rest of this month's sightings...


Mute Swan... Present throughout with 450 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Black Swan… Following the arrival of a third individual last month a fourth arrived on the 6th and then all four were seen regularly to the end of the month.

Greylag Goose... One was present from the 26th to the 28th. Singles were seen on the 1st, 14th and 20th.

Brent Goose... One of the Russian (Dark-bellied) form was seen on the 25th.

Canada Goose... Present throughout with 60 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Barnacle Goose... One was present throughout.

Shelduck... Present throughout with 50 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Shoveler...Present throughout with a peak of 50 on the 3rd.

Gadwall... Seen regularly with a peak of five on the 1st.

Wigeon... Seen regularly with 90 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Wigeon (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Mallard... Present throughout with 120 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Pintail... Seen regularly with 80 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Teal... Present throughout with peaks of 150 on the 5th and 28th.

Pochard... Present throughout with 240 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Tufted Duck... Present throughout with 260 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th. Three hybrids with three close congeners were also present.

(Drake) Tufted Duck & (drake) Tufted Duck x Ring-necked Duck hybrid
Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

(Drake) Tufted Duck x Ring-necked Duck & (drake) Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrids, (the regular female Tufted Duck x Scaup was also present) Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Scaup... Up to three were present regularly until the 21st, with one then regular to the end of the month.

 (Drake) Scaup, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

 (Drake & two duck) Scaup, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Red-breasted Merganser... Seen regularly with 10 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Pheasant... Present throughout.

Little Grebe... Singles were seen regularly.

Great Crested Grebe... Seen regularly with a peak of 14 on the 9th.

Grey Heron... Singles were seen regularly.

Little Egret... Present throughout with a peak of 10 on the 1st.

Cormorant... Present throughout with around 20 roosting nightly.

Sparrowhawk... Singles were seen regularly.

Marsh Harrier... Singles were seen regularly.

Red Kite... One on the 25th.

Buzzard... Present throughout.

Water Rail... Present throughout.

Moorhen... Present throughout.

Coot... Present throughout with 70 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Oystercatcher... Seen regularly with a peak of five on the 5th.

Avocet... Two on the 1st (the first since April 2017).

Lapwing... Present throughout with a peak of at least 1,000, probably many more, during the cold snap on the 1st.

Golden Plover... Seen regularly with a peak of at least 500, probably many more, during the cold snap on the 1st.

Grey Plover... One on the 1st was the first since May 2017.

Ringed Plover... Three on the 19th, one on the 20th and two on the 21st (firsts of the year).

Little Ringed Plover... Singles on the 19th and 31st (the first since July 2017).

Curlew... Seen regularly with a peak of eight on the 6th.

Bar-tailed Godwit... Regular from the 5th to the 13th with a peak of five on the first date.

Black-tailed Godwit... Three on the 1st, 24 on the 30th and 14 on the 31st. All were of the Icelandic form.

Dunlin... Seen regularly with a peak of 10 on the 1st.

 Dunlin, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Woodcock... Singles were seen on the 1st and 2nd but 12 were seen during a nocturnal foray on the 5th (the first records since 2014).

Jack Snipe... One on the 20th.

Snipe... Seen regularly with peaks of five on several dates.

Redshank... Present throughout with a peak of six on the 26th.

Black-headed Gull... Present throughout with 50 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Black-headed Gull, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Mediterranean Gull... Seen regularly with peaks of 10 on the 12th and 27th.

Common Gull... Seen regularly with a peak of 500 on the 11th.

Great Black-backed Gull... Present throughout but with a peak of five on the 26th.

Herring Gull... Present throughout with a peak of 500 on the 27th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull... Seen regularly with a peak of 30 0n the 10th.

Sandwich Tern... The first of the year was seen on the 27th and there was a peak of 18 on the 31st.

Feral/Dometic Pigeon... Seen regularly.

Stock Dove... Two on the 10th and five on the 25th.

Wood Pigeon... Present throughout.

Collared Dove... Present throughout.

Tawny Owl... Present throughout.

Great Spotted Woodpecker... 
Seen regularly.

Green Woodpecker... 
Seen regularly.

Kestrel... Seen regularly.

Peregrine... One on the 9th.

Jay... Singles on the 1st and 10th.

Magpie... Present throughout.

Jackdaw... Present throughout.

Rook... Present throughout.

Carrion Crow... Present throughout.

Raven... Seen regularly.

Coal Tit... Present throughout.

Blue Tit... Present throughout.

Great Tit... Present throughout.

Skylark... Small numbers were seen or at least heard regularly, with a minor influx mid-month.

Skylarks, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018, © Steve Groves

Swallow... Singles on the 24th and 31st were the first and second of the year.

Cetti's Warbler... Present throughout.

Long-tailed Tit... Present throughout.

Willow Warbler... The first of the year was present on the 27th.

Chiffchaff... Seen regularly with a peak of five on the 27th.

Firecrest... One on the 25th.

Goldcrest... Seen regularly.

Wren... Present throughout.

Treecreeper... Seen regularly

Starling... Seen regularly with peaks of over 1,000 on the 6th and 20th.

Blackbird... Present throughout.

Fieldfare... Regular from the 1st to the 19th with peaks of over 500 at least on several dates.

Fieldfare, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Redwing... Regular from the 1st to the 19th with a peak of over 1,000 at least on the latter date.

Song Thrush... Present throughout.

Song Thrush, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Mistle Thrush... Seen regularly.

Robin... Present throughout.

Stonechat... Seen regularly.

Wheatear... Two on the 19th were the first of the year.

Wheatear (male), Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018,  © Steve Groves

House Sparrow... Present throughout.

Dunnock... Present throughout.

Pied Wagtail... Present throughout.

Meadow Pipit... Seen regularly with a peak of 500 on the 19th.

Meadow Pipit, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2018 © Steve Groves

Rock Pipit... One or two were present throughout, at least one of which was of the Scandinavian form.

Chaffinch... Present throughout.

Bullfinch... One was heard on the 8th.

Greenfinch... Singles were seen or at least heard regularly.

Linnet... Present throughout.

Siskin... Singles on the 25th and 26th.

Goldfinch... Present throughout.

Reed Bunting... Present throughout.




...And that's it for this month except to say thanks to... Alan Barrett, Joe Stockwell and Charlie Wheeler for additional sightings. 


April's sightings to follow shortly.








Sunday, 18 March 2018

Abbotsbury Swannery Bird Sightings - February 2018


Highlights...
At least three Cattle Egrets were seen, at least one Glaucous Gull, and a brief Spoonbill, whilst also of note were at least six Scaup.

Cattle Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves

Spoonbill, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves


The Month's Bird News In Full...
More details of the above highlights and the rest of this month's sightings...


Mute Swan... Present throughout with 450 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Black Swan… The usual two were present regularly but they were joined by a third on the 27th.

Greylag Goose... One was present from the 26th to the 28th.

Barnacle Goose... One was present on the 21st...

Barnacle Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves

Shelduck... 
Present throughout with 30 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Shoveler...Present throughout with a peak of 120 on the 2nd.

Gadwall... Two from the 19th to the 27th.

Wigeon... Seen regularly with 50 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Mallard... Present throughout with 440 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Pintail... Seen regularly with 80 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Teal... Present throughout with a peak of 150 on the 8th...

 Teal, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves

Pochard... Present throughout with 350 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Tufted Duck... Present throughout with 180 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Scaup... Six were present regularly until the 9th, with three then regular to the 26th and one to the 28th...

 Scaup, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves


Red-breasted Merganser... Seen regularly with 30 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Pheasant...
 Present throughout.

Little Grebe... Seen regularly with a peak of four on the 21st.

Great Crested Grebe... Seen regularly with a peak of 14 on the 9th.

Spoonbill... One briefly on the 26th...

 Spoonbill, Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves

Cattle Egret... Following a single on the 2nd, at least three were present from the 5th to the 7th (but five were in the Abbotsbury/Portesham area and may well have all roosted in the egret roost at The Swannery). At least one was then seen regularly from the 19th to the 28th...

Cattle Egret (with Jackdaws), Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves


Grey Heron... Seen regularly with a peak of five on the 20th.

Little Egret... Present throughout with a peak of 10 on the 6th.

Cormorant... Present throughout with 18 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Sparrowhawk... One on the 22nd.

Marsh Harrier... Two on the 5th; singles on the 7th and 22nd.

Red Kite... One flew west on the 26th.

Buzzard... Present throughout.

Water Rail... Heard regularly.

Moorhen... Present throughout with 20 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Coot... Present throughout with 270 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Oystercatcher... Seen regularly with a peak of four on the 20th.

Lapwing... Seen regularly with 350 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Golden Plover... At least 20 were present daily from the 26th to the 28th.

Curlew... Two on the 26th and 27th.

Dunlin... 
Two on the 12th and one on the 21st.

Snipe... Seen regularly with peaks of 20 on the 2nd and 27th.

Redshank... Present throughout with a peak of seven on the 12th.

Black-headed Gull... Present throughout with 100 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Mediterranean Gull... Seen regularly with 220 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Common Gull... Seen regularly with 450 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Great Black-backed Gull... Present throughout but with only two counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Glaucous Gull... Single third-calendar-years were present on the 13th, 22nd and 27th. It is unclear whether one, two or three individuals were involved but the 'first' bird seemed to be troubled by something it had ingested, whilst the 'second' clearly had fishing tackle trailing from its bill. The 'third' bird however looked fine...

Glaucous Gull (3rd calendar year), 'bird 2' with fishing tackle,  Abbotsbury Swannery, 
February 2018 © Steve Groves

Glaucous Gull (3rd calendar year), 'bird 3' eating dead Mute Swan,  
Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2018 © Steve Groves


Herring Gull... Present throughout with 120 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 19th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull... Single figures were seen regularly.

Feral/Dometic Pigeon... Seen regularly.

Wood Pigeon... Present throughout.

Collared Dove... Present throughout.

Barn Owl... Singles were seen on the 19th and 26th.

Tawny Owl... Present throughout.

Kingfisher... At least one was seen regularly.

Great Spotted Woodpecker... 
Seen regularly.

Green Woodpecker... 
Seen regularly.

Kestrel... Seen regularly.

Peregrine... One on the 20th.

Jay... Singles on the 4th and 23rd.

Magpie... Present throughout.

Jackdaw... Present throughout.

Rook... Present throughout.

Carrion Crow... Present throughout.

Raven... Seen regularly.

Coal Tit... Present throughout.

Blue Tit... Present throughout.

Great Tit... Present throughout.

Skylark... Seen or at least heard regularly.

Cetti's Warbler... Present throughout.

Long-tailed Tit... Present throughout.

Chiffchaff... Singles seen regularly

Goldcrest... Present throughout.

Wren... Present throughout.

Starling... Seen regularly with a peak of 550 on the 21st.

Blackbird... Present throughout.

Redwing... Two on the 5th.

Song Thrush... Present throughout.

Mistle Thrush... Seen regularly.

Robin... Present throughout.

Stonechat... Seen regularly.

House Sparrow... Present throughout.

Dunnock... Present throughout.

Grey Wagtail... Singles seen regularly.

Pied Wagtail... Present throughout.

Meadow Pipit... Present throughout.

Rock Pipit... One or two present throughout.

Chaffinch... Present throughout.

Bullfinch... One or two seen regularly.

Greenfinch... Single figures seen regularly.

Linnet... Present throughout.

Goldfinch... Present throughout.

Reed Bunting... Present throughout.


...And that's it for this month except to say thanks to... Alan Barrett, Richard Philips and Charlie Wheeler for additional sightings. I'll leave you with an image of The Swannery entrance track during the wintry conditions at the very end of the month...







March sightings to follow shortly.