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, 16 September 2012

'Out (And About) For The Count'

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

10th to 16th September 2012

As last week's Osprey was last seen on Tuesday 4th, what was no doubt a different individual arrived yesterday (Saturday the 15th) and was still showing off and on today. The only other raptor of note was again the resident male Marsh Harrier.

Above two pics...this week's Osprey, slightly better shots than of last week's bird.

Vying for the headlines though were the group of six Pale-bellied Brent Geese that flew up the Fleet and settled briefly off 'Bum Point' this afternoon. This follows on from the incredibly early bird I had back on the 30th August. Apart from a presumed escape that lingered here for a couple of years, 'Pale-bellies' are (or at least were) very rare at The Swannery, though it has to be said that 'Dark-bellies' are not exactly very common here either considering the huge numbers that occur on the mid and east Fleet!

Wildfowl numbers have still been steadily increasing as today's Wetland Bird Survey totals show...
Mute Swan - 580
[Black Swan] - 3
Greylag Goose - 1
Canada Goose - 400
Shelduck - 10
Gadwall- 10
Teal - 200
Mallard - 584
Mallard (domestic) - 7
Pintail - 17
Shoveler - 14
Pochard - 44
Tufted Duck - 204
Common Scoter - 1
Goldeneye - 1

The last two of the above of course being the over-summering birds. Other waterbirds were also fairly well represented on the count...

Cormorant - 22
Little Grebe - 20
Great Crested Grebe - 19
Little Egret - 14
Grey Heron - 2
Moorhen - 12
Coot - 275

Two juvenile Grey Herons on meadow pool.
The only waders on the count though were the three regular Lapwing but a few other waders were seen in the week namely thirteen Dunlin, six Knot, two Common Sandpiper and singles of Greenshank and Curlew.

Gulls too were a little thin on the ground on count day...

Black-headed Gull - 50
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Herring Gull - 21
Great Black-backed Gull - 25

But this afternoon there were at least ten Mediterranean Gulls around and there had been a flock of twenty plus earlier in the week.

A juvenile Common Tern was also seen during the count, the first here since mid-August.

Passerine migrants were less in evidence this week but the Motacillidae were fairly well represented with pre-roost flocks of a hundred plus Yellow Wagtails still, a few Grey Wagtails and among the now numerous Meadow Pipits were my first Tree and Rock Pipit of the autumn.
There were no migrant chats or flycatchers seen at The Swannery this week...
 but this 'Greenland' Wheatear was at nearby Higher Barn on my way to do the count today
(as The Swannery WeBS also includes the stretch of the Fleet east to Rodden Hive Point).
The view today from Higher Barn of Portland and the mid and east Fleet.

Next weeks prediction... an american wader on meadow pool!

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