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, 18 November 2012

'Settling An Old Score With An Old Squaw'

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

12th to 18th November 2012

I've had this week off work and as I was busy spending some quality time with Suz (who, she would like me to point out, is not the old squaw of the title!), I only got down to The Swannery for a few hours on Thursday, Saturday and today for the WeBS count...
Looking across The Swannery Meadows to Chesters Hill yesterday.

There was a good selection of wildfowl on all three of my visits and in the calm conditions today the embayment was covered in birds. The highlight was a  first winter/female Long-tailed Duck... This species (once known in America as the 'Oldsquaw' due to it's call and long tail feathers) was once an annual visitor to the lagoon but today's was my first sighting  for a few years (having missed out on Luke's bird a week or two back). Another good sighting was a female Mandarin Duck and like the 'Long-tail' it flew in and settled out on The Fleet (both too far out for decent photos) between 09.00 and 10.00 this morning at the start of the count but neither could be found later. The count results (with thanks to Alan, Ian and Mike) were:

Mute Swan 296    
Black Swan 3
Greylag Goose 1    
Canada Goose 8    

Shelduck 17    
Mandarin Duck 1    

Wigeon 480    
Gadwall 2    

Teal 300    
Mallard 370    

Mallard (domestic) 6   
Pintail 105    
Shoveler 50    

Pochard 490    
Tufted Duck 263    

Scaup 7 (9 on Saturday)    
Long-tailed Duck 1

Goldeneye 3 (the regular male + 2 females)    
Red-breasted Merganser 7    

Little Grebe 28    
Great Crested Grebe 14    

Cormorant 6    
Little Egret 4    

Grey Heron 1    
Moorhen 14    

Coot 965    
Lapwing 11    

Snipe 5    
Kingfisher 2    

Black-headed Gull 70    
Mediterranean Gull 2  (30+ Thursday & Saturday)

Common Gull 6    

Herring Gull 2    
Great Black-backed Gull 5    

Looking east from The Viewing Platform today across to the three copses of Tiny, Chesters and Cuckoo.
As I have hardly been birding this week I haven't got much to add to the above tally but the first winter Common Scoter was still present to Thursday at least, as were a couple of Redshanks and three Dunlins were present on Saturday. The only raptors were the usual Buzzards, Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk or two, not even any Marsh Harriers and as for passerines there is not much to report save for the continual 'pinging' of a few Bearded Tits (heard but not seen), good numbers of Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and a few Siskins in the withy beds, Stonechats in the hedgerows and scrub and a couple of Nuthatches and Jays are still visiting my bird feeders at adjacent Grove Lane.
From The Viewing Platform across to Shipmoor Point today (there are duck out there honest!).
 I'm back to work tomorrow so normal service should resume (maybe even some photos of some decent birds)!


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