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, 17 November 2013

A Week Off Work, A Week Off Birding (ish)!

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week...

Monday 11th to Sunday 17th November 2013...

I was on leave this week and as I had plenty to do at home (in the way of decorating etc.) and I wanted to spend some quality time with Suz, I hardly did any birding at all and indeed, apart from one very brief visit mid-week,  I only made it down to The Swannery on a few occasions over the weekend. Even then, as I wasn't early to rise on Saturday, I almost certainly missed a couple of good birds. Ringer Luke Phillips had a Twite and then a Lapland Bunting fly west over his net rides at a private site, a mile or so to the southeast of The Swannery, first thing in the morning. Neither would have been a patch tick for me but would still have been nice to see if their northwest trajectory did indeed take them over The Swannery. With a couple of Lapland Buntings and a Hawfinch at nearby West Bay in the week and a couple of Snow Buntings at West Bexington today, I could well have missed a fare bit of good 'vis mig' in the week but whether I would have connected with anything of note if I had been at work, I'll never know! One bird I certainly missed seeing though was the Siberian Chiffchaff that I heard calling the previous week, as ringers Luke and Steve Hales trapped a very likely candidate, in The Swannery withybed, late Friday afternoon...
The putative Siberian Chiffchaff © Luke Phillips
Thanks for the use of the pic Luke. For more info on the Chiffchaff, Twite & Lapland Bunting see welshbirderindorset

Steve also trapped a few Lesser Redpolls, including a very pink, presumed adult male...

Lesser Redpoll, adult male?
Thanks for the use of the pic Steve. For more info on and pics of the Redpolls and the Bearded Tits Steve caught this week see abbotsburyswanneryringing

There were also quite a few Siskins around too including one at my Grove Lane feeding station...

Siskin, a first for my Grove Lane feeding station, with a House Sparrow.
A rather heavily cropped record shot! A Blackcap was also present.

From my garden I also heard the first Brambling of the autumn over by The Swannery entrance, so I did manage to get a bit of birding in during the week!
When I finally did get the chance to have a proper look round on Saturday I didn't really see much other than a flock of seven Egyptian Geese, which despite their continued spread out from the Home Counties are still a bit of a novelty in West Dorset...

A rather distant shot of the seven Egyptian Geese on Shipmoor Point.
This is the third Swannery record this year following a flock of five in February and one in April and May, which from the top of my head more than doubles the all time number of Swannery records. I think this naturalised species will soon be as regular here as feral Greylag, if not quite so common as Canada Goose!

The two adult drake Scaup were still present on Sunday but there was no sign of the two first winter females. All the commoner duck present the previous week were still around too but still no Red-breasted Mergansers or Goldeneyes, let alone any Long-tailed Ducks.

The only waders over the weekend were around two-hundred Lapwing, three Redshank and a few Snipe and there were no gulls of note, not even any 'Meds'. It would seem highly likely however that I missed out on at least a few Little Gulls in the week, that's if events at Portland are anything to go by! The only raptor sighting of any note was the regular male Marsh Harrier.
Despite the presence of a massive tit flock that held amongst other things a number of Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs there was no sign over the weekend of any Firecrests or that elusive Siberian Chiffchaff. Maybe I'll connect with it when I'm 'back in the saddle' next week!

Suz and I had a most pleasant trip to The Subtropical Gardens on Friday afternoon but as it was a non-birding visit I didn't manage to connect with the Firecrests. However, the slog up Magnolia Walk is always worth it for this fantastic view of The Swannery, The Fleet and Chesil Bank!

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