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, 21 November 2011

Craning My Neck In Vain!

Today was November WeBS count day and after feeding the swans I left count volunteers Alan and Ian to cover The Swannery while I went off and surveyed my usual stretch of The Fleet from Shipmoor Point to Rodden Hive point (the bit just east of The Swannery). There wasn't an awful lot to count, the highlight being a Common Scoter on The Fleet and a flyover Golden Plover. When I got back to compare notes with Alan and Ian they hadn't fared much better. The complete Abbotsbury (Reeds End to Rodden Hive) count was as follows....

Canada Goose 3
Common Scoter 1
Coot 210
Cormorant 1
Gadwall 3
Golden Plover 1
Goldeneye 2
Great Crested Grebe 19
Grey Heron 1
Lapwing 46
Little Egret 5
Little Grebe 31
Mallard 379
Mallard (domestic) 6
Moorhen 15 (under recorded)
Mute Swan 185
Pintail 156
Pochard 510
Pochard x Ferruginous Duck (hybrid) 1
Red-breasted Merganser 11
Redshank 3
Shelduck 7
Shoveler 14
Teal 600
Tufted Duck 210
Water Rail 2 (under recorded)
Wigeon 58
Black-headed Gull 30
Common Gull 20
Great Black-backed Gull 16
Herring Gull 93
Lesser Black-backed Gull 5
Mediterranean Gull 4

Good numbers of duck but apart from the scoter nothing unusual. Common Scoter is just about annual at The Swannery but I still await my first Velvet Scoter that was recorded with some frequency on what is now my patch before my tenure. I've had them on the sea off the tank traps but that doesn't count!
The Fleet looking west toward The Swannery from Bury Knapp.
The Common Scoter is out there somewhere!

The rest of the week was also fairly quiet... I had 14 unidentified grey geese fly north on Tuesday that I tried to make into something interesting but 14 Greylags dropped into Lodmoor RSPB later so mystery solved. The only consolation is that they may be genuine wild Scandinavian birds rather than feral birds. The first winter Scaup was still present off and on and is now clearly moulting into first winter male plumage. The 'Ferruchard' is also still present and is also clearly a first winter male so definitely different from my usual bird that hasn't turned up this year. The first Goldeneye arrived but the first mergansers of the winter haven't quite made it to The Swannery yet  albeit by a few metres! Around 30 Common Snipe were in the western reedbeds (although not seen on the count) and a Jack Snipe was being typically elusive. A  few Dunlin joined the Redshank and Lapwing and Steve Hales flushed the first Woodcock of the season from his withybed net ride. Around 10,000 Woodpigeons and fewer Stock Doves flew east on Tuesday but that was the only notable overhead passage. There were a few Fieldfare around though but still no Redwing and an elusive Lesser Redpoll was hanging around with a few Siskins.
The 1st w male Scaup with Tufted Duck.

A few of the 10,000 Woodpigeon.

A symptom of the mild weather... A Crab Apple in fruit and blossom in my garden with The Swannery beyond.
And finally... the Common Crane that was lingering at Langton and Rodden was last seen on Monday but unfortunately, despite keeping my eyes peeled even more than usual, to my knowledge it never made it to The Swannery, so my hope of two ticks in two weeks didn't come off. Also the fear of my first Swannery Crane being one of the uncountable released birds from the Somerset levels becomes ever more likely!

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