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 December 2012

'Branta Clause!'

Well I'm still posting even though it's frequently causing me to tear my hair out (what little I have left). Amazingly I didn't have any trouble uploading the few poor pics I'd taken this week but frustratingly I was unable to initially increase their size once they were uploaded. Usually you have the option of small, large or largest and I normally go for large (as largest goes into the margins) but this week it wouldn't give me the option until just by chance I cut and pasted them in again and it then worked, albeit briefly! Whats that all about? Anyway here are the latest..

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

10th to 16th December 2012


It was December WeBs (Wetland Bird Survey) Count day today and the results for The Swannery and the adjacent Abbotsbury stretch of The Fleet (reproduced below) pretty much sum up the numbers and variety of the waterbirds seen this week, The only other waterbirds to add to the tally were the four Barnacle Geese that flew east on Wednesday...

No not Santa and his reindeer but Branta and rainclouds!
You'll have to take my word for it that these are Barnacle Geese but quite an evocative pic nevertheless I feel...

...and the same shot again but more heavily cropped.
My gut feeling is that these Branta geese were truly wild birds, along with the two seen last week and also the flock of fifty plus seen recently at nearby West Bexington...but I doubt we'll ever know for sure.

The results of today's WeBS were...

Mute Swan 515
Black Swan 2
Greylag Goose 1
Canada Goose 72
Shelduck 35
Wigeon 60
Gadwall 27
Teal 360
Mallard 426
Mallard (domestic) 7
Pintail 11
Shoveler 29 (120+ in the week)
Pochard 690
Tufted Duck 313
Scaup 7 (9 in the week)
Long-tailed Duck 2 (3 still in the week)
Goldeneye 10
Red-breasted Merganser 30
Little Grebe 8
Great Crested Grebe 10
Cormorant 5
Little Egret 4
Grey Heron 2
Moorhen 10
Coot 1,000
Lapwing 300
Dunlin 1
Snipe 17
Redshank 4
Turnstone 2 (new in)
Kingfisher 1
Black-headed Gull 81
Mediterranean Gull 23
Common Gull 83
Herring Gull 7
Great Black-backed Gull 4

Thanks as always to Alan, Ian and Mike for their help.
This week's raptors included the regular male Marsh Harrier which was again joined today by an apparent adult female and also of note was a Merlin that dashed through on Wednesday.
Passerines highlights were several Redwings, a few Jays still, the two Nuthatches, only one or two Chiffchaffs, a flyover Yellowhammer, a brief Lesser Redpoll among several Siskins, at least one Bullfinch and best of all, among a small flock of Goldcrests, a Firecrest (presumably last weeks bird).

One of the (Eurasian) Nuthatches (with a Blue Tit) on my Grove Lane feeders. One of two birds present, they were seen to display this week at the entrance to a tree cavity in the same tree that the last breeding birds occupied a few years back, so fingers crossed for the spring!

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