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, 3 June 2012

The Summer Slowdown Sets In

Monday 28th May to Sunday 3rd June

With spring migration all but over it was a rather quiet week. There was no sign of the Black-winged Stilt Monday morning so it had obviously departed overnight leaving the meadow pool empty save for up to twelve adult Gadwall including a female with a brood! This sight no longer an annual occurrence here.

Drake Gadwall... the female and brood were a bit too distant.
The Common Terns do now seem to be nesting with a least five pairs present on the island but up to twenty individuals have been seen in the Swannery embayment this week. Unusually for this time of year up to twenty Sandwich Terns have been present too but they have not shown any interest in the island.

Common Tern on the 'tern rails'

Sandwich Terns on the 'tern rails'

Adult Black-headed Gull... most seen here at this time of year are first summers.
There have been nesting attempts by over-summering adults in the past but none yet successful.
The two pairs of Oystercatcher are still nesting and three other individuals were present too. A few passage waders were noted with eight Dunlin, two Whimbrel and a Greenshank, although none lingered for long.

Dunlin at 'Bum Point'. These birds possibly being of the race arctica?
Although their small size is not apparent, they have little rufous on the upper-parts and a poorly marked belly patch.
Passerine migration was little in evidence save for the odd tardy Swallow and House Martin powering up The Fleet but a Rock Pipit at 'Bum Point' was most unseasonal and I had to grill it to make sure I'd made the right call.

The male Marsh Harrier was seen off and on and the female was seen hunting over cereals nearby so they may still be making another nesting attempt in the area if not actually with us?

My most interesting sighting though was not a bird at all but a Water Shrew. We find the odd dead one from time to time but live sightings are few and far between!

The Swannery meadows with The Fleet, Chesil Bank and Lyme Bay beyond.

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