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.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Brazil 2 - England 2 - Blog 0

Swannery birding highlights of the week...

Monday 27th May to Sunday 2nd June 2013...

I'm a bit late posting this week (or should that be last week) as I worked until gone six on Sunday and then by the time I'd sorted out some photos, I didn't have anytime to post anything before the footie came on!


The feral goose flock continues to swell, mostly Canadas of course (plus two Greylag x Canadas and a white domestic x Canada) but the 'Bar-head' lingered to Wednesday and a Barnacle dropped in briefly on Saturday...

Saturday's Barnacle Goose

Slightly unseasonal ducks included three Teal, seven Gadwall and several Pochard along with the usual Shelducks, Mallards and 'Tufties'.


One of our two pairs of Oystercatchers have now hatched young...

One of the adult Oystercatchers feeding one of the three chicks.

Adult and chick Oystercatcher.
This pairs breeding attempt failed last year when their nest was flooded out.

Another five species of wader made it in to the log, all passage species of course... five tardy Whimbrel and a Snipe on Monday, seven Black-tailed Godwits on Tuesday plus three on Sunday, a Redshank from Friday and several Dunlin.

Tuesday's seven Black-tailed Godwits on the meadow pool (along with Moorhen and a Teal).
I tried to string these into Continental limosa but no, I think they are just Icelandic islandica, their retarded summer plumage possibly due to them being first-summers? Now are they headed north, south or just nowhere in particular?

The three Black-tailed Godwits at Bum Point on Sunday.. bills up!..

Bills down!..The three Black-tailed Godwits at Bum Point on Sunday.

The three Black-tailed Godwits with a Redshank.
Now these 'Blackwits' are clearly islandica. I'm not going to hazard a guess on the Redshank though!

A close-up of this week's Redshank, the first for a few weeks. This species regularly nested at The Swannery until the early 90's and still occasionally over-summers.

Dunlin on Bum Point on Sunday.
This bird seems to best fit Northern alpina (but I wouldn't like to  totally rule out Southern schinzii)
© Charlie Wheeler  wheeler-photography


Gulls & Terns etc...

The best 'gull-like' bird of the week was a Fulmar over the Decoy Pond (!) on Wednesday. Almost as unexpected was a very unseasonal Common Gull...

This week's first summer Common Gull.

The only terns were Common, with sixty over the island at one point (so possibly now up to thirty pairs) and a few Sandwich...

A couple of Common Terns on Bum Point.
Not surprisingly both bearing rings as many of our fledglings have been ringed over the years.

Common Terns bathing.

Common Tern
This dark-billed  bird has been a regular here over the last few years. Although it appears rather dark overall here, this is just a photographic effect and regardless it doesn't have the distinctive look of Eastern longipennis.
Among the few Sandwich Terns this week was this apparent first-summer.



There were no birds of prey of any note this week, not even any Marsh Harrier sightings, so it's beginning to look like, as last year, their nesting attempt has failed.



Tuesday saw the largest arrival of hirundines yet this spring... most were House Martins (around 2,000) with smaller numbers of Swallows (around 200) but there was a good number of Swifts too (around 500). Unfortunately none of the swifts had white rumps, none of the swallows had red rumps and none of the 'martins' had blue rumps!

Despite not finding any Tree Swallows in this weeks hirundine influx this (Barn) Swallow was doing a good impression!

The first Swannery Spotted Flycatcher of the spring finally arrived on Saturday which is probably not surprising seeing there were around a thousand passing through Portland that day but apart from the aforementioned swallows and martins there were no more obvious signs of passage. However having lost them as a breeding species back in the 90's the first Starlings for a month or so, with noisy young in tow, was a welcome sound of summer! 

Other Flora & Fauna...

A female Beautiful Demoiselle. One of two this week.
Along with a male Azure Damselfly the first Odonata of the year.

Ragged Robin.

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