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, 27 April 2014

'One Good Tern Already!'

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week..


Monday 21st to Sunday 27th April 2014...  

Bird of the week was the adult 'sum-plum' Black Tern that colleague Charlie found on the tern rails on Saturday. Although only present for up to twenty minutes or so I did get to see it but unfortunately neither Charlie or I had our cameras to hand. It was with around twenty Common Terns and a few Sandwich Terns, the former of which are already taking a great interest in the newly refurbished tern island...
Common Terns on the tern island. A few have already been seen nest scrapping.

'Hmm, what's that up there? It looks a bit like a male Hen Harrier but there's something not quite right! That idiot in the hide can't even see it from where he is (not that he'd id it properly anyway). Never mind I'm sure someone else will catch up with it'.
Common Tern off Bum Point this week...

Wader passage, although pretty un-impressive, continued... with a Greenshank probably the highlight. There were also small groups of Whimbrel most days (with a peak count of thirty-one on Monday), a few Dunlin and Snipe and singles of Common Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Lapwing and Ringed Plover. Of the two pairs of Oystercatcher now settled on territory at least  one has eggs, so fingers crossed the present spring tides don't get too high!

Four of the Whimbrels that passed through this week...

And another four Whimbrels that settled briefly on the bund (in poor light).

Passerine passage continued as well of course, though with few highlights. A 'flock' of twenty Wheatears on the landward side of the beach opposite 'Bum Point' on Tuesday was noteworthy (seeing how few I had seen previously this spring) and several singing Whitethroats were the first of the year. Otherwise it was more of the same with a few more Reed and Sedge Warblers in evidence, joining plentiful Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and there are still a few Willow Warblers passing through too. There have still been no big arrivals of hirundines but at least there have been the best numbers yet this year of Sand and House Martins among a continuing trickle of Swallows.

A Pied Wagtail on the perimeter fence, just one of many 'resident' passerine species nesting in and around The Swannery. Where are all the Meadow Pipits this year though?

And finally to the ever decreasing numbers of 'winter' wildfowl... 'dabblers' included a single drake Teal early in the week and a pair of Gadwall linger but unlike last week there have been no Shoveler or Wigeon, while diving ducks included a single drake Red-breasted Merganser  to mid-week and several Pochard still and plenty of Tufted Duck of course.

So I still await the big rarity of the spring, maybe that Common Tern really did see something I didn't!


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