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, 17 March 2014

March WeBS

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week..

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

After bemoaning the lack of early summer migrants last week I did at least get to hear several Chiffchaffs calling and singing this week (the first here since early January) but no Wheatears, Swallows or martins as yet, not even a Blackcap! ....

Wildfowl numbers continued to be low as the data from Sunday's WeBS count reveal...

The results for wildfowl were... Mute Swan - 376, Black Swan - 2, Canada Goose - 39, Shelduck - 34, Gadwall - 2, Teal - 26, Mallard 135, Shoveler - 6, Pochard - 21, Tufted Duck - 109, Goldeneye - 2, Red-breasted Merganser - 32. In addition in the week there were up to three Greylag Geese, fourteen Pintails and four Scaup...

Above three pics... two of the drake Scaups present this week
(with a drake Tufted Duck). 

The results for other water birds were... Great Crested Grebe - 1, Cormorant - 4, Little Egret - 14, Moorhen - 2, Coot - 122. In addition in the week there were a few Little Grebes, Water Rails and the odd Grey Heron.

The results for waders, gulls, etc. were... Oystercatcher - 7, Redshank - 1, Black-headed Gull - 18, Common Gull - 6, Herring Gull - 2, Great Black-backed Gull - 7 and in addition in the week there was the odd Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Raptors are also recorded on the WeBS and today's tally was... Marsh Harrier - 1, Buzzard - 4 and Kestrel - 1. In addition in the week there was a Peregrine, one or two Sparrowhawks and the escaped Harris's Hawk still, whilst three Red Kites were reported over Abbotsbury Hill (and no doubt would have been viewable from The Swannery if I had been looking!).

Apart from the aforementioned Chiffchaffs the only other passerine that made the notebook was a passing Siskin and the only 'other land bird' at all noteworthy was a Red-legged Partridge (that had no doubt wandered from a release site nearby).
So not a lot to report... lets hope things improve this week in time for Saturday the 22nd when The Swannery opens to the public for the 2014 season!

Two of the week's Red-breasted Mergansers hauled out.
The bird on the left is a first winter drake, typically beginning to acquire its green head around the eye first. 


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