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, 20 May 2012

A New Bird For Abbotsbury (But A Little Hard To Swallow)!

Monday 14th to Sunday 20th May 2012

Wader passage was the main feature at The Swannery again this week...a Ringed Plover was on 'The Bund' on Monday, two flew north on Thursday and two east on Friday; a Sanderling flew through on Monday, two were on 'Shipmoor Point' Tuesday and two were on 'The Beach' opposite today, with another five flying through; double figures of Dunlin were seen most days, with a peak of forty-five today; there were still 4 Whimbrels in the meadow on Monday, one at 'The Fleet Pipe' Tuesday, one over Wednesday and twelve over Thursday; whilst the first Redshank for a few weeks was present today and two pairs of Oystercatchers still linger.

Above three photo's Dunlins on the Fleet shoreline by 'The Bund'.
Top two courtesy of Charlie Wheeler.
Although the meadow is still mudless there was a little mud exposed along the shore this week.
As for wildfowl the first year male Scaup finally left, being last seen on Tuesday; a late male Pintail arrived on Thursday but as it was keeping close company with a female Mallard and was very approachable, it's presumably an escape. Tufted Duck, Pochard and Gadwall were all still present but there were no Teal or Shoveler this week.

The pair of Marsh Harriers are still around and indeed were seen displaying again today so fingers crossed still.

Sandwich and Common Terns have been seen in single figures off and on all week with the latter showing interest in the island one day then they've gone the next so fingers crossed there too!

Passerine passage was less evident but highlights were a couple more Spotted Flycatchers in the 'Chapel Withybed' and a Stonechat at 'Bum Point', although a less expected migrant, was new in too.

As happened a couple of weeks ago though, the best Abbotsbury birds of the week were not at The Swannery at all but about a mile to the east and just to the west of Rodden Hive point. At least I found them this time though (while carrying out the WeBS count) and the first was the bird I have been predicting at The Swannery for the last couple of posts! When I arrived at the locality a hundred or so hirundines were feeding over the scrub along the Fleet shoreline but then alighted along a fence line. I checked through them all left to right...Swallows, Sand Martins, House Martins then the last one...a Red-rumped Swallow! Before I could get my camera out though it flew and my flight shots were unfortunately abysmal! No longer an official rarity it was still a great bird to find of course but frustratingly it now joins my small list of birds seen on The Fleet at Abbotsbury but not at The Swannery (Grey Partridge and Long-billed Dowitcher being the only others). I still have high hopes though, if not this year maybe the next? And the other bird... a Corn Bunting holding territory! The first I have seen along this stretch of The Fleet (a former stronghold) for years (although I saw one at nearby Rodden last year). Lets hope they are making a bit of a comeback!

Today's Abbotsbury WeBS count (Reeds End to Rodden Hive Point)

Mute Swan - 516
Black Swan - 2
Canada Goose - 33
Shelduck - 23
Gadwall - 10
Mallard - 108
Mallard (domestic) - 2
Pintail - 1
Pochard - 14
Tufted Duck - 30
Great Crested Grebe - 28
Cormorant - 2
Little Egret - 17
Moorhen - 4
Coot - 23
Oystercatcher - 4
Sanderling - 7
Dunlin - 45
Redshank - 1
Black-headed Gull - 6
Herring Gull - 271
Great Black-backed Gull - 6
Sandwich Tern - 9

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