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, 24 March 2013

'Mad March Migrants'

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

Monday 18th to Sunday 24th March 2013

For one reason or another I wasn't actually at The Swannery for much of the week but with the bitter easterly winds still persisting that may not have been a bad thing. There was some fairly good birding to be had though despite the unseasonal weather.

The three Long-tailed Ducks still linger...

The three Long-tailed Ducks from 'The Fleet Pipe Hide' last week. © Charlie Wheeler

and the three Long-tailed Ducks from 'Helen Hide' this week.
The nine Scaup (and two x 'Tufty' hybrids) remain too, while other noteworthy waterfowl included a fly-through female Goosander (Monday) and a brief (though tame) Greylag Goose today.
Waders included the year's first Little Ringed Plover (on Saturday) that flew off east, as did two (Common) Ringed Plovers, several Dunlins and five Black-tailed Godwits. Another of the latter flew over today while two Curlew did so on Tuesday. With all the Lapwing departed the only lingering waders were half a dozen Redshank, up to four Oystercatchers (presumably the two returning breeding pairs) and the odd Snipe.
The male Marsh Harrier was joined by an adult female today and they indulged in much courtship behaviour so another breeding attempt may be on the cards later in the spring, although the chance of them being flooded-out again are high unless we get a warm dry spell soon (considering the exceptionally high water table).
The real highlight of the week though has to be the step up in numbers of arriving summer migrants... As well as the aforementioned 'LRP', the first Sandwich Tern was seen today, the first Wheatears on Friday (which I missed) and in the last few days Sand Martins and Chiffchaffs have been much in evidence, although all look like they are struggling in the unfavourable conditions.

(Common) Chiffchaff by the stream today. © Charlie Wheeler


Above two pics... female Reed Bunting today

And finally as I wasn't around much this week, work mate Charlie has kindly let me use a few more of his pics...

Fungi in the withybed © Charlie Wheeler.
Regular volunteer and blog member Dave Callaby found this attractive red fungi in the withybed and identified it as one of the  Scarlet Elf Cups, one of which is an endangered species.

Water Vole along the stream this week © Charlie Wheeler.  After keeping a low profile through the winter they are now being seen regularly again. There is still evidence of Otter too but still no sightings.


  1. Hi Steve, the fungi is best called Scarlett Elf Cup as the definite species can only be identified by the shape of the tiny hairs on it and I didn't see those :)

    1. Cheers Dave, I shall amend. What a delightful name!