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, 2 December 2012

'Good Things Come In Twos'

Well I'm still persevering. I did manage to add a couple of pics to last weeks blog and this week I have managed to upload three with a struggle but no more, so here for one more week at least are the...

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

26th November to  2nd December 2012

The main highlight was the appearance of one then two Long-tailed Ducks (following on from the two sightings earlier in November). The first arrived on Wednesday and was joined by another on Thursday and Friday with at least one still present today. They favoured the area off Shipmoor Point so were rather distant but, due to the persistent attentions of a Peregrine, on one occasion one just came within range for a half decent photo... 
One of the Long-tailed Ducks (both of which are 1st winter/female types).
Other ducks of note were the lingering (first winter) Common Scoter to Wednesday at least, when two ('Redhead') Goosanders also flew west and the Scaup peaked at eight. Virtually all the commoner species were also represented with good numbers of Mallard, Teal, Pochard and Tufted Duck, while there were also several Wigeon, Pintail and Shoveler along with a few Gadwall, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser.
 On Friday two distant geese eventually gave themselves up as Barnacle Geese when they joined the 'feral' Canada Goose flock (that also still holds the regular Greylag). It would be easy to assume that they too are 'feral' (part of the naturalised introduced population) but they were wary and they may well be the vanguard of the now regular wintering flock that have commuted between The Swannery and nearby Rodden Hive over the last few winters. 

The two Barnacle Geese in the meadow with Canada Geese...

  and on the Fleet shoreline.
 There were two Harriers this week... the  male Marsh Harrier is still regular and on Friday a ('Ringtail') Hen Harrier also hunted over the meadows and reedbeds. On that same busy bird day, to add to the tally, volunteer Dave C. found a Black-necked Grebe but unfortunately I failed to connect with it, despite checking through the several Great Crested and Little Grebes present.
The hundred or so strong Lapwing flock held, over the course of the week, a Black-tailed Godwit, a couple of Dunlin and a peak of seven Redshank, whilst a Curlew flew west and at least thirty Snipe were present. There were a few gulls around, particularly early in the week and a count of forty plus Mediterranean Gulls was still impressive this far up The Fleet despite their continued increase.
A few Redpolls were the passerine highlight, even outnumbering Siskins, mostly 'flyovers' but two did linger briefly in the Alders enabling their confirmation as being Lessers. A Bullfinch was the first for a few weeks but still no Hawfinch! Yes the latter would be most welcome (with some still on the move in East Dorset) but with a few Waxwings now reaching West Dorset perhaps that would be a more likely tick... There are virtually no berries around though to draw them in so I'll just have to check out every flyover 'Starling' just in case, although that too will probably prove to be fruitless (see what I did there)!

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