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, 5 January 2014

Storm Birds

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week...

Monday 30th December 2013 to Sunday 5th January 2014...  

I was still on leave this week but I did manage to get down to The Swannery most days. It was often just a case of feeding the swans and then heading for home however, having got soaked to the skin on more than one occasion. The few times I did endeavour to have a good look around it was hard work with the paths and even the hides being awash and very little to show for my efforts. The best day was Wednesday with the high winds forcing a Fulmar, a Kittiwake and a Shag to settle on the lagoon. Fulmar and Kittiwake are just about annual at The Swannery, although the former rarely settles, while Shag is something of a rarity on The West Fleet (though after several years absence there was one during the gales back in the autumn).

This was supposed to be a photo of a Kittiwake (it's there somewhere honest!) . I took it from inside Helen Hide with the waves breaking over the tops of my wellies! You might not be able to see the Kittiwake but at least it gives a bit of an idea of what conditions were like this week (if you didn't already know!).

A flock of forty plus Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the shoreline on Thursday was unusual this far up The Fleet but it was a bit too much to hope that they may have been harbouring a Black Brant, which despite being virtually annual on The Fleet these days is still absent from The Swannery bird list.
Before the really heavy rain set in there were still good numbers of dabbling duck but by the end of the week these had dispersed with the flooding providing plentiful feeding opportunities elsewhere. There were still several hundred Pochard and Tufted Duck though and these still held the eight Scaup but there was no sign of the Long-tailed Duck.
There was also no more sign of last week's large white-winged gull at The Swannery, despite it still being in the general area. Following some debate as to whether it was an Iceland or a Glaucous Gull it has now been identified as the latter so (based on previous Swannery occurrences) not such a bad one to miss after all and who knows, I might still catch up with it next week.

Passerines have been largely keeping their heads down this week but in the mild (if wet) conditions it was nice to see the occasional Redwing.

So after a two week break (bar feeding) it's back to work tomorrow so ironically more time in the field, although listening to the week's weather forecast I don't know whether I'll be seeing that much more than this week!


  1. Hi Steve I am Babs Curtis (Also known as Beryl) married to your Dads school friend Ron. I love your blog. We are hoping to visit Dorset in the Summer June time and hope we get down to the Swannery as its years since we last visited .
    I find it all facinating keep up the good work and I shall follow with interest

  2. Hi Babs, yes I recognise the name as dad is always talking about you both. Thanks I'm glad you like the blog and it will be nice to see you in the summer if you make it over.