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, 24 August 2014

Monday 18th to Sunday 24th August 2014...

Swannery Birding Highlights Of The Week... 

With passerine passage still not a significant feature it was waders again that provided the greatest variety. Peak counts were... two Oystercatcher; seven Lapwing; one Ringed Plover; two Black-tailed Godwit; two Turnstone; fifty Dunlin; four Common Sandpiper; one Green Sandpiper; three Greenshank; four Redshank and one Snipe

Moulting adult Black-tailed Godwit
Moulting juvenile Black-tailed Godwit...
...And the juv. Black-tailed Godwit again.

Juvenile Dunlin

The first returning Water Rails reappeared this week (as none bred this year) and they were quite showy (although a little camera shy). Kingfishers however, although they have been back awhile now, were much in evidence too and one proved to be a little bit more co-operative...

Kingfisher from 'Fleet Pipe Hide'

What would have been bird of the week if it hadn't been a 'near-miss' was a White Stork that Swannery ringer Steve Hales saw over nearby New Barn Farm on Saturday evening (while on his way to The Swannery's Bum Point wagtail roost). Probably not viewable from The Swannery, it may well have been earlier in the evening but I was only onsite for an hour early in the afternoon. My two previous August White Storks in 2004 were deemed to be of dubious origin but thankfully my April 2007 bird had much better (and tickable) credentials (as did my August 2007 Black Stork)! The only large wading birds that I saw this week were the usual Grey Herons and Little Egrets, although it's about time I had my first Swannery Crane (and preferably one without rings)! 

Juvenile Grey Heron

Little Egret © Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography

Little Egret © Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography

As for waterfowl the female Scaup, although elusive (or absent) at times, was still among the slowly increasing Pochard and Tufted Duck flock, whereas the first three Wigeon of the autumn arrived, joining the unimpressive numbers of one Gadwall; two Teal and fourteen Shoveler. Three Shelduck were the first for a week or two and the now moulted goose flock has now largely dispersed (with the Barnacle and Bar-head now frequenting Radipole RSPB).

There were still about thirty Common Terns around for much of the week, including one or two still unfledged young but there were no other tern species seen. I did at last have my first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the season (although not being very good with young large gulls I may well have overlooked a few) and a juvenile Common Gull was nice to see among several juvenile and adult Mediterranean Gulls.

With no Marsh Harriers this week (and no Osprey since June) a Red Kite seen by colleague Judy on Monday qualified as the raptor of the week. 

As alluded to earlier, there were few passerine migrants of any note but the wagtail roost at last held a few Yellow Wagtails (with around thirty present) and during the day a few were seen in the surrounding meadows along with a few Wheatears and the first two Whinchats of the autumn. Warblers too were in short supply with no surprises and I still await the first returning Tree Pipits, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts!

This Golden-ringed Dragonfly was one of two or three seen this week

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