Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week...
Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th September 2013.......
The Semipalmated Sandpiper returns...So yes the highlight of the week was the return of the 'Semi-p' on Wednesday after it's two day sojourn to Brownsea Island...
|Above two 'pics' the juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper on meadow pool this week and below the latter shot more heavily cropped...|
Indeed the little 'peep' seems to have had 'itchy wings' since it's trans-Atlantic arrival, as it now seems that it was present at the other end of The Fleet at Ferrybridge in the early afternoon of Sunday the 1st before it turned up at The Swannery. In fact it seems it may well have been present there in the morning too. It now also appears to have been seen back at Ferrybridge in the early evening (after it left Abbotsbury) prior to it's late evening sighting back at Abbotsbury. Although hand on heart the latter sighting at The Swannery was extremely distant so it may have been erroneous. Either way it then did a moonlight flit to Poole Harbour before it showed up on my patch again on Wednesday (and I even identified it correctly this time!). I wasn't the only one to have had problems with it's 'id' though as it wasn't initially correctly called at any of the above sites hence the confusion over it's exact movements.
|The 'Semipalmated Peep'. |
For the benefit of my non-birder readers 'Peeps' are what American birders call the smaller calidris sandpipers.
The exposed mud in the meadow was quite a draw for other calidris Sandpipers too with a peak count of forty plus Dunlins and between two and five Curlew Sandpipers from Tuesday to Friday, along with two Knots on the latter day too.
|Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper (top) with two juvenile Dunlins.|
|Two of the at least five Juvenile Curlew Sandpipers in the meadow this week.|
|One of Friday's two juvenile Knots.|
At least three Ringed Plovers and three Little Ringed Plovers also graced the meadow along with six Lapwings, three Black-tailed Godwits, a Green Sandpiper and five Snipe.
|One of the three juvenile Little Ringed Plovers.|
The Fleet shoreline though was more attractive to the remaining wader species with peaks of one Oystercatcher, four Common Sandpipers and four Greenshanks.
|This Common Sandpiper though was in the meadow.|
Gulls & Terns...The only notable gulls were a single juvenile Yellow-legged and a few Mediterranean and the only terns seen at all were a couple of Sandwich.
|One of this week's Mediterranean Gulls (a first winter).|
There was little change to this weeks number and variety of wildfowl although new in was a juvenile Goosander (as last week's individual was a drake in 'eclipse').
|The juvenile/first winter Goosander.|
The second best bird of the week after the Semi-p was a Honey Buzzard, although feasibly with one sighting at around eight in the morning and a second in the evening it could be that two birds were involved. I managed to miss both, which was a shame, as I have only seen this species on three previous occasions at the Swannery. The only Marsh Harrier I connected with this week was a juvenile while the only other 'BOP' of note was a lingering Osprey.
|Workmate Charlie and I fixed a downed bough to the end of a stock fence near Shipmoor Point in the hope of attracting the Osprey and within an hour...success!|
Passerine passage still seems a bit slow as yet. Yellow Wagtails were still roosting in good numbers though, with a few White and presumed first winter Blue-headed along with the usual Pied of course. See Steve Hales' blog abbotsburyswanneryringing. A couple of Tree Pipits were the first for a couple of weeks and a few Meadow Pipits were no doubt the vanguard of larger movements to come. Only a few Wheatears were seen along with a couple of Whinchats and at last the first Spotted Flycatchers of the autumn were reported (although I only saw one). Warbler numbers though were rather unimpressive...are there still more to come?
|Just two of a number of Swallows (these are juveniles) moving through this week along with both House and Sand Martins. Still no impressive numbers as yet though.|