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, 29 July 2012

'A Ray Of Light'

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week -

23rd to 29th July 2012

 Just glancing back through my notebook for the past week, things are definitely on the up as several pages are almost full! Nothing major you understand but lots of interesting stuff all the same.

A rainbow over Chesters Hill yesterday evening.

Starting with wildfowl the over-summering Goldeneye and Greylag Goose are still present and the few returning Teal and Shoveler have already been joined by a couple of early Wigeon. The bird of the week award though has probably got to go to a Common Scoter present on Friday evening only. Commonly encountered off the seaward side of the beach of course, these seaduck are only just about annual on my patch in The Swannery embayment. It was too distant for a photo unfortunately but it was presumably and adult or first summer female assuming it's too early for a juv. yet.

The regular male Marsh Harrier is still very much in evidence if no other noteworthy raptors were.

A rather distant shot of the Marsh Harrier over a recently cut hay field.

As I feared the remaining pair of Oystercatchers do indeed appear to have failed for the second time after their nest became waterlogged a few weeks back. They persevered with the incubation but to no avail. The only plovers of the week were the two Lapwings lingering from last week but sandpipers were fairly well represented with several Sanderlings (two Tuesday, four Saturday), single figures of Dunlin and Common Sandpipers most days (but with thirteen of the former on Thursday and a peak of seven of the latter on Tuesday), four Black-tailed Godwits on Saturday (seen by Charlie but not me) and a couple of single Green Sandpipers in the week but with four together on the meadow pool this evening.

Another distant shot this time of one of the Green Sandpipers.
A much better shot by workmate Charlie Wheeler of his four Black-tailed Godwits
(with Mallard and Pochard).

A few juv. Black-headed Gulls have at last appeared along with the juv. Mediterranean Gull and a second calender year Common Gull was an early surprise. There were still thirty plus Common Terns and the occasional Sandwich Tern but the formers numbers were declining by the weeks end (in fact I couldn't see any from Chapel Hill this evening).

One of this weeks juvenile Black-headed Gulls.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull.
Second calender year Common Gull.

If wader passage is now in full swing there is not too much evidence of passerines moving through just yet but there were at last small flocks of Sand Martins joining the numerous family parties of Swallows.Two Grey Wagtails were new in too, as gone are the days when they nested on my patch on the mill stream under Grove Lane bridge. This stream and bridge was once too the haunt of Dippers and although I recall 'Grey Wags' breeding until the mid 1990's the last Dipper was seen in 1982, seven years before my tenure. I love Dippers (having spent most of my childhood holidays exploring Dartmoor's streams and rivers) and I still check that bridge every day just in case, as a Swannery Dipper would mean more to me than a first for Britain!

Two of the many juv. (Barn) Swallows around at the moment.
At least they seem to have had an ok summer

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