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.

Friday, 30 December 2011

'Unseasonal Greetings'

The flock of the 14 (Red) Knots present today (though some are hiding!)
I 'broke up' for the holidays a week last Wednesday (the day of my last blog) and due to various commitments I have only been down to The Swannery to  have a quick look round on five of the last nine days and with little results. Today was probably the best however as I was able to put in a couple of hours and there was a nice number and selection of birds to go through. Highlights included the flock of Knots pictured above. Regular passage migrants to The Swannery in spring and autumn they are usually few and far between in the winter months, though this time last year I had a flock of around fifty! A Green Sandpiper (heard but not seen) was also unusual for the time of year, as was a Blackcap - a lack of late berry-bearing shrubs on my patch makes them more regular in the village, but the mild conditions and associated insects makes the sighting less unusual perhaps. A Chiffchaff and several Redwings called from the depths of the willow maze and the three Scaup were still with the Pochard flock. Earlier in the week I thought for a moment that there were four Scaup but quickly realised that last winter's Tufted Duck x Scaup hybrid had reappeared. It looks very similar to a female Scaup (and has been claimed as such at Radipole and at The Swannery previously) but there are subtle differences. I will endeavour to get a photo if it lingers!

This though is the real deal a female (Greater) Scaup with a female (Common) Pochard.

There has been no sign of the Goosander since my last blog but later that day, after blogging, I managed to get a few slightly better shots and as they're such gorgeous birds I couldn't help myself... 

Male Goosander.
Back to today though, another interesting bird was this gull... far right...

And second from left above... A Herring type with pink legs it was noticeably darker mantled than it's companions whatever it's attitude or position in the flock. It may well be a Scandinavian bird but it lacked other typical argentatus traits such as larger size and more white in it's primaries so the jury's out. The only other notebook entries over the last week were a few Mediterranean Gulls and a single Brent Goose.

Elsewhere on The Fleet the Hume's Leaf Warbler still lingers, a 'redhead' Goosander was seen and as speculated in my last blog the now almost regular Barnacle Goose flock has reappeared for their third winter at Rodden Hive although they have yet to visit The Swannery and again they have a hybrid in their midst that I tentavily identified as a Barnacle x Ross's Goose last year but 'ansers' on a postcard please or should that be 'brantas'... see what I did there?

(Eurasian) Teal in the meadow.
A happy and bird filled New Year to you all!

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