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, 1 April 2012

'Out Like A Lamb'

What a week I chose to have off work! Glorious back to back sunshine. I managed to get many chores done at home and still get a chance to pop down to The Swannery to see what was about. Monday I was treated to excellent views of a Red Kite swooping down on lambing by products (if you know what I mean!) in the swannery field, an excellent cleaning service, just like they used to provide in cities in medieval times. It or another was seen again yesterday over adjacent Chester's Hill.

Monday's Red Kite.
I was so intent on watching it by the time I got the camera out it was nearly over the village.
I also saw three Marsh Harriers, an immature male on Wednesday and two females together on Thursday. I don't know whether they were the regular Weymouth birds or migrants.

One of the two female Marsh Harriers.
The three Barnacle Geese finally left overnight on Tuesday, which didn't do their credibility as wild birds any harm at all and it would be nice to say the same for the drake Wood Duck that was last seen on Friday... where will it turn up next. The Western Isles or the village pond! I have to say I'd still like to give it the benefit of doubt but I doubt the Rarities Committees will!
The first winter male Scaup still lingered however and was rejoined by the presumed hybrid female.

The 1st winter male (Greater) Scaup and (bottom) with the hybrid female.
The non-pristine plumage of the male reveals it's age while the female's rich brown plumage,
hint of a rear crown peak and perhaps to much black on the bill reveals its' part Tufted Duck parentage.

I at last got some proper trans-Saharan passerine migrants in the form of several small falls of Willow Warblers and one small flock of Sand Martins but still no Wheatears or Swallows. I also had another White Wagtail on the tern island (more popular than the wet meadow this spring!). Other less travelled passerines included calling (but not seen) Bearded Tits still, calling Bullfinches from deep within the withy bed (so hopefully they will breed again) and one singing and several calling Cetti's Warblers (so they will also hopefully breed after a blank year last year).

Wader highlights were a Little Ringed Plover that alighted briefly on Thurday, while its bigger cousin, Ringed Plover, was back on territory on the Chesil opposite. Also a couple of Green Sandpipers again dropped into the wet meadow and there were still good numbers of Redshank...

Ten of the twelve (Common) Redshank present this week.
And there have still been good numbers of Sandwich Terns moving through.
And so it's April a month when almost anything can turn up although it has to be said with clear skies yet again today the birding was pretty uneventful, oh for some damp and cloudy weather!

One of my favourite insects the Bee Fly. Its' allure for me is not just its' looks and behaviour but its' short adult life span of just a few weeks in early spring and therefore being left with the feeling of wanting more! Weird or what?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve, I don't know much about these but I know this Bee Fly isn't the same as I get in the garden. They have a dark leading edge to the wing. I quick Google search and I think this must be Dotted or Spotted Bee Fly. I didn't know there were more than one species until just now!