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, 10 March 2013

'Two Seasons In One Week'

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

Monday 4th to Sunday 10th March 2013

Despite some pleasant more spring-like weather early in the week most of the wintering wildfowl were still present including the three Long-tailed Ducks and the nine Scaup.

Whereas most of the commoner wildfowl were slightly down in number Tufted Ducks actually increased...Here six males are in company with the male Tufted x Scaup (Greater or Lesser?) hybrid (centre). The female hybrid was still present too.
The male Marsh Harrier still lingers and an adult female was seen nearby at West Bexington this week so fingers crossed.
Other birds of note were a Slavonian Grebe today but it was to the east of the Swannery Embayment and so not really on my patch, though it may well be the bird from a few weeks back. A Spoonbill dropped in briefly to the meadow pool on Wednesday but it was unfortunately camera shy and promptly flew off east and two Avocets too were only brief visitors on Friday. Despite the wintry weather in the latter part of the week there were further signs of early spring passage with several Curlews passing over along with a flock of around a hundred Lapwing (the wintering birds having disappeared last week), whilst struggling to find insects in the dropping temperatures were the first two Sand Martins of the year on Friday, with another eight today; a few more Chiffchaffs and a couple of newly arrived Blackcaps. I hope they all survive the mini cold snap forecast for early next week!

Today was this month's Wetland Bird Survey day and to give you an idea of what water birds are around the results of this morning's Abbotsbury WeBS count were...

Mute Swan - 403
Black Swan - 2
Canada Goose - 28
Shelduck - 27
Wigeon - 140
Gadwall - 6
Teal - 52
Mallard - 204
Mallard (domestic) - 7
Pintail - 3
Shoveler - 6
Pochard - 410
Tufted Duck - 364
Scaup - 9
Long-tailed Duck - 3
Goldeneye - 12
Red-breasted Merganser - 38
Little Grebe - 7
Slavonian Grebe - 1
Great Crested Grebe - 25
Cormorant - 2
Little Egret - 14
Moorhen - 4
Coot - 329
Oystercatcher - 3
Redshank - 6
Black-headed Gull - 80
Mediterranean Gull - 1
Common Gull - 130
Herring Gull - 56
Great Black-backed Gull - 25

Thanks again to all the WeBS counters for turning out on a cold damp dreary morning.

Hopefully the cold weather won't last and more summer migrants will be winging their way north soon!

Another sign of spring...a Common Toad at The Swannery this week. © Charlie Wheeler. Thanks for the photo Charlie!

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