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, 26 August 2013

August WeBS

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week...

Monday 19th to Sunday 25th August 2013.......


Results of Sunday's Wetland Bird Survey at The Swannery re wildfowl were as follows...

Mute Swan - 620
Black Swan - 2
Canada Goose - 520
Barnacle Goose - 1
Shelduck - 6
Teal - 145
Mallard - 457
Shoveler - 2
Pochard - 7
Tufted Duck - 37

In addition the two Bar-headed Geese were around most of the week and there were at least four Gadwall mid-week. Sunday afternoon however, after the count was done and dusted, the first twenty odd Pintail and first eight Wigeon of the autumn arrived...

One of the first Wigeon of the autumn, an 'eclipse' male, sleeping after it's long journey.

Other water Birds...

The WeBS results for other miscellaneous water birds were...

Little Grebe - 6
Great Crested Grebe - 36
Cormorant - 16
Little Egret - 7
Grey Heron - 1
Moorhen - 5
Coot - 330

Little Egret fishing. 
I have often seen them frozen in this pose but never realised until I watched this individual that they actually vibrate their bill on the water's surface to attract prey, much as they vibrate their toes in the mud on the bottom!

Juvenile Grey Heron taking a more direct approach to fishing.
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography


As the WeBS results for waders were less representative of the week, below are the week's peak counts...

Oystercatcher - 1
Lapwing - 6
Ringed Plover - 1
Dunlin - 7
Snipe - 2
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1
Black-tailed Godwit - 4
Whimbrel - 1
Common Sandpiper - 5
Green Sandpiper - 6
Greenshank - 6
Redshank - 5

This week's two Snipe.

Two juvenile Black-tailed Godwits.

A 'Blackwit' with an itch!

Three of the week's Common Sandpipers © Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography ...

And three of the week's Green Sandpipers.

Gulls & Terns...

The WeBS results for gulls and terns were...

Black-headed Gull - 201
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Herring Gull - 12
Great Black-backed Gull - 32

The last Common Tern chicks fledged mid-week and all adults and chicks alike had departed by the weekend. There were no other tern species seen but there were one or two Mediterranean Gulls most days.



The highlight this week was the appearance of the first Osprey of the autumn but there were also sporadic sightings of our regular male and female Marsh Harriers.

Migrant Passerines...

Firsts of the autumn included two or three each of Tree Pipit and Redstart, while single figures of Yellow Wagtails continued to be seen or at least heard daily. There was only one Wheatear however and a check of the Swallow roost mid-week produced around thirty along with thirty Sand Martins (thanks Steve). With local bred warblers still in evidence the only obvious passage birds were a trickle of Willows and Sedges...

Willow Warbler.

Sedge Warbler.

A Couple Of Swannery Insects...

A rather worn Silver-washed Fritillary
Having only ever seen a handful at The Swannery over the years, it was a pleasant surprise to have several individuals visiting the Buddleia outside the Swannery Shop this summer (nice find Judy!). Constantly dipping on these however I was pleased to see this individual on the Buddleia by our 'Mess Hut' (nice find Charlie!).

Vapourer Moth caterpillar © Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography
Thanks as always to Charlie for the use of three of the above pics.

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