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.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Bitter & Twisted

Monday 10th October 2011

As last week today I really had to work hard to find anything worth blogging. I had Saturday and Sunday off and I didn't manage to get down to The Swannery at all at the weekend but workmate Charlie tells me the only new birds in that he saw were three Redshank that didn't linger. Today a Wheatear in the swannery field was the only passerine migrant seen as there was no overhead passage at all and the withy beds were deadly quiet. The only other new birds were a first winter Mediterranean Gull and a Dunlin. The meadow pool held a good number of Teal along with a few Pintail, Wigeon and Shoveler and on the adjacent Fleet Pochard and Tufted Duck numbers continue to steadily increase. Following on from the fresh Otter spraint last week I stumbled across this....

Mink scat!

Unlike loose sweet smelling Otter spraint which is largely made up of fish scales, Mink scat is largely made up of fur with a few fish scales and is foul smelling and tightly twisted. We largely assumed that when our Mink population at The Swannery crashed at around the same time as Water Voles and Otters reappeared that the Otters were keeping them at bay but as this evidence shows despite the presence of Otter the occasional Mink will show up. I hasten to add that although we see Otter spraint regularly we have still not caught sight of one in the three years or so that they have been back!

Male Teal still mouting into breeding plumage.

Presumed Mallard x Teal... this bird has been present for several years now and although at first looks a Mallard type it has several pro Teal features. Size is not apparent but it is smaller and has much buff on the head and dark markings on the bill.

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