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, 12 August 2012

'More Autumn Arrivals'...

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

6th to 12th August 2012

Wildfowl highlights included the Common Scoter that reappeared on Monday and then lingered all week, the male Pintail that also showed up again, the summering male Goldeneye and the five Shoveler. There were no Wigeon but Teal reached twenty by the end of the week and the Greylag Goose still lingered.

As for other waterbirds a couple of Little Grebes are now back from nearby breeding territories, joining good numbers of Great Crested Grebes - some of which over-summered - but also include a few in-coming juveniles (no grebes breed at The Swannery probably due to the fact that high spring tides reach even this far up The Fleet). A dispersing Kingfisher, the first of autumn,  was also seen this week.

The male Marsh Harrier returned once again but the best raptor of the week was an Osprey on Thursday and Friday trying its' luck with the local mullet (which I have to say having barbecued a few for our lunch at work, with flavouring provided from the 'monks herb garden', are rather good).

The over-summering male Marsh Harrier (now in active primary moult) over the tank teeth.
Unfortunately I missed several good opportunities to get what would have been much better shots of the Osprey.
Wader migration was still in full swing with highest daily totals being ten Oystercatcher, one Little Ringed Plover, three Lapwing, one Knot, sixteen Dunlin, five Black-tailed Godwit, four Common Sandpiper, four Green Sandpiper, one Greenshank, two Redshank and last week's bird of the week the Wood Sandpiper still lingers this evening, eight days after its first arrival. Unfortunately the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, found at the other end of The Fleet at Ferrybridge on Thursday evening, didn't drop in at The Swannery despite flying off west from Ferrybridge shortly after dawn on Friday. A pity as it would have potentially been a new bird for The Swannery, although there is a previous record for The West Fleet but where on The West Fleet is not clear.

Adult and juv. Dunlin on meadow pool.

A closer shot of a juv. Dunlin.

The (Common) Greenshank (foreground) with the Wood Sandpiper, meadow pool.
For slightly better shots of the Wood Sand see last weeks post

The (Common) Greenshank again.
Unlike the Wood Sandpiper that lingered for over a week, singles of this more regular tringa were only present on Tuesday and again this evening,.

A rather late arrival of post-breeding Black-headed Gulls thankfully included many juveniles despite the awful spring and early summer and a couple more Mediterranean Gull juvs also accompanied them. The only tern though was a single Common Tern on Wednesday.

One of the juv. Mediterranean Gulls.

Of the landbirds a few Swifts still lingered with House Martins and now good numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins. Earlier in the week the first Yellow Wagtail of the autumn flew over and today three Wheatears were on the reed-barn track to add to last weeks first of the season. The roaming tit flocks this week again held numerous Willow Warblers and ringer Steve Hales pulled the first Garden Warbler of the autumn out of his withybed net, while his reedbed nets produced several Sedge Warblers. 

(Northern) Wheatear by the Reed-Barn Track.

Jersey Tiger Moth on my (dirty) living room window (check out my reflection).
Other notable insects this week included a Golden-ringed Dragonfly and a couple of Emperor Dragonflies in addition to last weeks species. A few other hawkers were also glimpsed but I failed to id them.

Above two photo's Portland Sheep.
Top a sheared ewe and below her un-sheared lamb that consequently looks bigger than her. This primitive breed is one of the few breeds where both sexes have horns. The Estates' Portland flock were once regularly grazed in The Swannery meadows but unfortunately their visits are now few and far between.

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