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, 30 September 2012

'As It Gets Cooler, We're Getting Otter'...

'But Not Much Else'...

Swannery birding (mammal & insect) highlights of the week...

24th to 30th September 2012

Above two pics the first signs of Otter this autumn (spraint and tracks)...
Although they have been wintering with us again for a few years now no one has yet seen one.
Virtually the first bird of the week as I strolled to work on Monday morning was a Hobby that shot overhead chasing the now diminishing Swallows and House Martins. Indeed most of the passage summer passerines seemed to have peaked, with no Sand Martins, Spotted Flycatchers, Yellow Wagtails, Willow Warblers or Whitethroats seen despite being much in evidence the previous week. I did manage a couple of Whinchats and a Wheatear while Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are still plentiful of course, along with a few Reed and Sedge Warblers. The best passerine, if not best bird of the week however was a Grasshopper Warbler that ringer Steve extracted from his net on Saturday (having seen it briefly before hand). Arrivals rather than departures included a few more Jays (which it seems now may not be local birds, as movements have been recorded elsewhere in the country and on the continent), Mistle Thrushes, Grey Wagtails, Siskins, Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Skylarks and more Goldcrests.
With water levels well up again waders have been few and far between, with single Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit through and a handful of Dunlin but the Lapwing flock has now doubled though... to six! And that was it, no other wader species all week!

Aberrant (Great) Cormorant on the Chesil opposite.
A near all white (Barn) Swallow was also seen this week.
There have been no terns either and gulls have been uninspiring with single figures of Mediterraneans most days among the commoner species, which for the first time this autumn did actually included a Common.

Second winter Mediterranean Gull on the eastern boundary fence.
Wildfowl haven't been much better either with very poor numbers present, Wigeon did make it into double figures just, for the first time this season, but even Teal have been struggling to do so, incredible! To make matters worse the summering female Common Scoter finally departed too but the second year Goldeneye lingers as does the dodgy Pintail and Greylag Goose.

A pair of Gadwall from Helen Hide. Around twenty have been around this week...
unusually outnumbering virtually all the dabbling duck bar Mallard.
The male (Northern) Pintail that spent the summer comuting between The Swannery and the village pond,
with its preferred company, a female Mallard. Totally ignoring the few wild Pintail around this week, it is surely an escape.
This male Goldeneye has been around off and on since the early spring too when it was in first winter plumage but
it is now moulting into ad winter. It is always in close company with the Tufted Ducks but it will be interesting to see whether it joins up with the other Goldeneye on their return next month.

Insect mini gallery...

Convolvulus Hawk Moth in The Swannery car park this week.

Red Underwing on The Swannery shop today...
but not as co-operative in showing its finery as the Hawk Moth!


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