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, 16 February 2014

Yet More High Winds And High Water!

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week...

Monday 10th to Sunday 16th February 2014...  

This week saw the third highest storm surge that I have witnessed at The Swannery in my twenty-five year tenure. It may, fortunately, have been 25 years between the first and second great inundation but unfortunately it was only just over a week between the second  and third! Although the water was not quite as high as last week it still flooded out our mess hut again, just as it was beginning to dry out and although our new rearing pens survived last weeks surge they did take damage this week. Also of course there is more debris, more trees down and Cygnus, our traditional wooden trow (rowing boat) was smashed to bits.

Anyways back to the birds and it's probably not surprising then that storm driven species feature again this week...  An adult Little Gull was on The Fleet off 'Bum Point' on Tuesday, with another reported over the adjacent meadows on Saturday; three adult Kittiwakes were present in the embayment on Wednesday, with one today, and two Guillemots looking quite out of place on 'Meadow Pool' today (with sadly at least one of them clearly moribund).

Also of note was the Black-necked Grebe that lingered until Wednesday at least and five remaining Scaup on Monday. Only one of the latter was present the rest of the week however, although it would appear from a report today that the other four are further down The Fleet off Tidmoor.

The remaining drake (Greater) Scaup.

It wasn't just the majority of the Scaup that moved on this week either with (as predicted) today's Swannery WeBS count being unseasonably low...

The results for wildfowl were... Mute Swan - 318, Canada Goose - 8, Shelduck - 31, Wigeon - 1, Teal - 65, Mallard 173, Shoveler - 12, Pochard - 158, Tufted Duck - 173, Scaup - 1, Goldeneye - 14, Red-breasted Merganser - 32.

The results for other water birds were... Little Grebe - 2, Great Crested Grebe - 7, Cormorant - 5, Little Egret - 3, Moorhen - 2, Coot - 174.

The results for waders, gulls, etc. were... Oystercatcher - 2, Lapwing - 45, Redshank - 5, Kittiwake - 1, Black-headed Gull - 41, Common Gull - 88, Herring Gull - 12, Great Black-backed Gull - 12, Guillemot - 2.

The only real additions to the above tally for the week were a dead Greylag Goose (possibly the bird from a few weeks back?) and several Mediterranean Gulls

Raptors are also recorded on the WeBS and today's tally was... Buzzard - 3 and Kestrel - 1.
With no Marsh Harriers this week the only addition to the above was the escaped Harris's Hawk that was last seen on Monday.

There were no other land birds of note (excepting the lingering escaped Golden Pheasant), although it was nice to hear many of the song birds in full voice, particularly today in the welcomed spring like conditions.

The Chesil Bank has changed quite dramatically since the storms -
looking now almost like a lunar landscape!

And a closer look... The dip on the top of the bank is presumably where the sea just surged over the top. Also note the deposits of shingle out into The Fleet!

Just some of the debris left behind by the storm including a rather ironic sign (placed upright for comic effect)!

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