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, 9 March 2014

Spring Has Arrived...Now Where Are The Migrants!

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week..

Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th March 2014...  

After the excitement of the last two weeks, with at least one Kumlien's and two Glaucous Gulls, this week was somewhat more mundane. The highlight was the reappearance of one of the over-wintering Scaup, a very nice drake...

Above two pics the drake Scaup with Pochards.

Above two pics the drake Scaup.

Wildfowl numbers in general though were exceptionally low with very few Pochard, Tufted Duck and Teal, even fewer Shoveler, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser and no Wigeon, Gadwall or Pintail at all!

Drake Teal, one of only around forty remaining.

It's not surprising that none of the rarer/scarcer gulls were around this week as there has barely been any gulls at all!

Waders too were poorly represented with all the Lapwing now departed leaving just a few Redshank and Snipe along with two pairs of, already nest prospecting, Oystercatcher.

As for other water birds there has been little of note... no unusual herons or grebes for instance but there are still a fair number of Water Rails squealing from the reed beds.
As yet there have been no early  'summer migrant' passerines (there have not even been any over-wintering Chiffchaffs since January) but a few Meadow Pipits have been on the move along with the odd Rock Pipit, whereas the passerine highlight were a few 'pings' indicating the presence of at least a couple of Bearded Tits. Among the commoner residents a few Cetti's Warblers, Goldcrests, Nuthatches, Treecreepers and Coal Tits remain, raising hopes that they will stay to breed this year, although it's early days yet of course.

The regular male Marsh Harrier continues to be seen but as yet there has been no sign of a potential mate, while the odd Peregrine has been around too, along of course with a few Sparrowhawks, Kestrels and Buzzards, the latter now interacting regularly with their American cousin... the escaped Harris's hawk....

The Harris's Hawk... presumably still feeding on rats,
although the Moorhen population seems a little low at present!

So now into mid-March the coming week will hopefully produce the first summer migrant... maybe a Sand Martin or a Wheatear, though even a Chiffchaff would be nice!

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