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.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

'Tern' The Clocks Forward... It's British Summer Time!

Despite the glorious spring weather I've still not notched up any proper Sub-Saharan passerine migrants, even though Wheatears and Sand Martins have been seen elsewhere on The Fleet and many shorter distant migrants like Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are much in evidence. I did have a brief White Wagtail on the tern island however, as I was watching my first Sandwich Terns of the year - belatedly - after hearing that I had actually missed some last Sunday.

On a couple of days there were 20+ birds in the swannery embayment. Their harsh calls a sure indication that spring has well and truly arrived.

There were also several leftovers from last week namely the drake Wood Duck of unknown (but perhaps more likely captive) origin, the two drake Scaup (although one departed Friday night) and the three Barnacle Geese. If the latter are wild birds as suspected, then they do appear to be lingering a fair while but having seen them close up in flight this week (as they have been rather restless) I may have discovered the reason why... one of them has very badly damaged primaries on one wing and although it was circling the swannery with no apparent problem a journey back to the arctic may be slightly more problematic. If they are a family party then the other two birds may be reluctant to leave it. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few days.

Including the above three main headliners there has been a nice selection of waterfowl still, with sixteen species present this week. One of the most noticeable being Shelduck with a real influx being apparent and all preoccupied with pairing up...

A distant Tringa type sandpiper at the back of the meadow (and not viewable from the hide) eventually gave itself up as a Green Sandpiper and not, unfortunately, the hoped for Tattler that was reported in Poole Harbour. Well one can dream! The only other waders have been a few Redshank, Dunlin and Snipe.

As well as the early migrants mentioned earlier the East Fleet still holds the over-wintering Hume's Leaf Warbler at Littlesea Holiday Park and the Richard's Pipit by the adjacent Bridging Camp. Why the birding sites keep referring to these birds being at Wyke Regis when they are both slap bang in the middle of the parish of Chickerell is infuriating. They are both closer to the Weymouth parish boundary than to Wyke Regis! This echoes all the rarities that have turned up at Rodden Hive on The Fleet being reported as being at Langton Herring when actually Rodden Hive is in the parish of Abbotsbury! Sorry I digress but being a Chickerell boy born and bred and now having been a Abbotsbury resident for about a third of my life I'm very loyal to my parishes. Civil parishes that is, as, it has to be said, I'm very far from a church goer!

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