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, 5 August 2012

'Autumn Arrives!'

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

30th July to 5th August 2012

This weeks wildfowl were little changed from last week with the reappearance of the Common Scoter (Monday to Friday), the two Wigeon still, a Gadwall, the five Shoveler and the Goldeneye among the usual resident and over-summering duck. The Greylag Goose lingers too (along with now up to six Greylag x Canada Goose hybrids - four of them white domestic types) amongst the Canada Goose flock.

Above three pics of the female (or juv.?) Common Scoter.
A scarce bird on The Fleet at Abbotsbury (but common off the beach) I usually manage one or two a year but still await my first Swannery Velvet Scoter (I have seen them on the seaward side of the beach, but that doesn't count!).

After its reappearance last week the summering male Marsh Harrier went missing again this week and no other noteworthy raptors appeared.

Waders were again in evidence with one of the two failed breeding pairs of Oystercatchers still lingering and the returning (non-local) post breeding Lapwing 'flock' struggled up to four. Surprisingly the single Dunlin on the meadow pool today was the only one all week but today's Whimbrel was the second. Also only one Redshank went into the log but up to seven Common Sandpipers were present daily, as were up to four Green Sandpipers. This weeks bird of the week award though (despite the presence of last week's Common Scoter) was the Wood Sandpiper on meadow pool yesterday and today.

Above two pics the Wood Sandpiper on meadow pool.
This northern breeding wader is just about annual at The Swannery

The Wood Sandpiper with a Green Sandpiper (foreground).

A Green Sandpiper on meadow pool (being more obliging for the camera than it's scarcer cousin).
Green Sandpipers are regular early autumn migrants at The Swannery with a few in the spring and occasional in winter.

There were only four brief Common Terns all week so the 'breeding' birds have now moved on and there were no other tern species seen and no gulls of note (not even a 'Med').

Of the land birds a few Swifts still linger feeding along with seemingly reduced numbers of Swallows and both House and Sand Martins but the first returning Willow Warblers and a Wheatear truly signify the start of autumn.

As for other fauna... Dragonflies and Damselflies have been much more in evidence this week...
Male Beautiful Demoiselle - meadow path.

Male Banded Demoiselle - Decoy Pond drain.

Male Black-tailed Skimmer - meadow path.
Broad-bodied Chasers and Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies have also been seen this week.

Oh and just for the record...

Despite what it says on Dorset Bird Club's sightings blog a Cory's Shearwater did not fly past The Swannery this morning (Sunday 5th August). It was seen by mate Paul Harris and it flew west past Abbotsbury Beach and was therefore not viewable from The Swannery. I suppose you could argue that if it flew past the beach it also flew past The Swannery but as it couldn't be seen from The Swannery that's just silly, it flew past the beach so say it flew past the beach!

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