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.



Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Abbotsbury Swannery Bird Sightings - April 2018


Highlights...

The best sighting of the month (though I missed it!) was the first Caspian Gull for The Swannery.  Scarce 'herons' were represented by singles of Western Cattle Egret, Great Egret and Eurasian Spoonbill, whilst the best 'waterfowl' were singles of Snow GooseGreater Scaup and Black-necked Grebe. The only waders that warranted a mention on the bird information services were the first Whimbrels of the year and the only raptor of note was an Osprey. An impressive fall of passerines  at the month's end though included a Wood Warbler, two European Pied Flycatchers, an early Spotted Flycatcher and unprecedented counts of Garden Warblers and Willow Warblers.  Several Whinchats were the only other passerines of note.


Above images Caspian Gull (2nd calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018
© Joe Stockwell




The Month's Bird News In Full...
More details of the above highlights and the rest of this month's sightings...


Canada Goose... Present throughout with 39 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Barnacle Goose... The lingering bird was present until the 13th and four flew south east on the 22nd...


Barnacle Goose (a rather worn individual), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018
© Joe Stockwell


Snow Goose... One briefly on the 20th (a presumed escape) was the first since May 2000!


Snow Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Charlie Wheeler

Greylag Goose... One on the 5th, three on the 12th/13th and one on the 29th.

Black Swan… Four were present for much of the month.

Mute Swan... Present throughout with 620 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Common Shelduck... Present throughout with 56 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Northern Shoveler...Present throughout with a peak of 31 on the 15th...


Northern Shoveler (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Steve Groves

Gadwall... Seen regularly with a peak of eight on the 15th.

Eurasian Wigeon... Seen regularly with a peak of 11 on the 15th.

Mallard... Present throughout with 59 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Northern Pintail... Seen regularly with a peak of 10 on the 7th...

Northern Pintail (female), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Eurasian Teal... Present throughout with peak of 72 on the 15th.

Common Pochard... Present throughout with a peak of 90 on the 4th.

Tufted Duck... Present throughout with a peak of 90 on the 4th.

Greater Scaup... One, a second calendar year female, was present throughout.

Common Scoter... One, a female, was present from the 3rd to the 6th.

Red-breasted Merganser... Seen regularly with a peak of 10 on the 11th...

Red-breasted Mergansers (adult & 2nd calendar year drakes), 
Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Steve Groves

Common Pheasant... Present throughout.

Northern Fulmar... One flew over on the 2nd.

Little Grebe... One or two were seen regularly until the 17th.

Great Crested Grebe... Present throughout with 12 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Black-necked Grebe... One from the 2nd to the 15th.

Eurasian Spoonbill... One on the 1st.

Western Cattle Egret... One from the 13th to the 18th.


Western Cattle Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell


Grey Heron... Singles were seen regularly.

Great Egret... One briefly on the 28th.

Little Egret... Present throughout with 7 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Northern Gannet... One on the 16th.

Great Cormorant... Present throughout with around 20 roosting nightly.

Western Osprey... One on the 5th.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk... Singles were seen regularly.

Western Marsh Harrier... Singles were seen regularly.

Red Kite... One on the 18th, five on the 19th and one on the 21st.

Common Buzzard... Present throughout.

Water Rail... Present throughout.

Common Moorhen... Present throughout.

Eurasian Coot... Present throughout with 19 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Eurasian Oystercatcher… Present throughout with 10 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 15th.

Northern Lapwing... One from the 12th to the 30th.

Grey Plover... Two were seen on the 9th with at least one heard on the 13th.

Common Ringed Plover... Singles on the 14th and 29th.

Little Ringed Plover... Singles on the 2nd, 3rd and 14th.

Whimbrel... The first of the year was seen on the 14th and there were then regular sightings with a peak of over 20 on the 22nd.

Eurasian Curlew... At least one on the 11th, four on the 14th and one on the 16th.

Bar-tailed Godwit... Seen regularly with a peak of at least seven on the 21st...

Bar-tailed Godwits, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Steve Groves

Black-tailed Godwit... Eight on the 13th, two on the 15th and at least 20 on the 17th. All were of the Icelandic form.

Dunlin...
Seen regularly with a peak of five on the 28th...


Dunlin, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Steve Groves

Common Snipe... Singles on the 4th, 19th and 22nd.

Common Sandpiper… The first of the year was seen on the 20th and there were then regular sightings with a peak of six on the 28th.

Common Redshank... Seen regularly with a peak of eight on the 10th...

Common Redshank, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Steve Groves

Common Greenshank... The first of the year was seen on the 29th.

Black-headed Gull... Present throughout with a peak of over 30 on the 23rd.

Mediterranean Gull... Seen regularly with peaks of over five 10 on the 20th and 22nd.

Common Gull (Mew Gull)... Present daily in the first half of the month with 100-200 seen regularly. Still seen regularly in the latter half of the month with a peak of over 20 on the 23rd.

Great Black-backed Gull... Present throughout with a peak of at least 10 on the 17th.

European Herring Gull... Present throughout with a peak of 200 on the 17th.

Caspian Gull... The first confirmed record for The Swannery, a second calendar year, was seen briefly on the 1st...


Above images Caspian Gull (2nd calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018
© Joe Stockwell

Lesser Black-backed Gull... Seen regularly with a peak of at least 5 0n the 17th.

Sandwich Tern... Seen regularly with a peak of over 20 on the 15th...



Above images Sandwich Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell


Common Tern... The first of the year arrived on the 15th and there were then regular sightings to the end of the month, with a peak of over 40 on the 27th...




Above images Common Terns, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Arctic Skua (Parasitic Jaeger)... Two on the 17th were the first since June 2015!

Rock Dove... Feral/domestic birds were seen regularly.

Common Wood Pigeon... Present throughout.

Eurasian Collared Dove... Present throughout.

Western Barn Owl... One on the 24th.

Common Swift... The first of the year was seen on the 21st, there were four on the 28th and over 20 on the 29th.

Great Spotted Woodpecker... 
Seen regularly.

European Green Woodpecker... 
Seen regularly.

Common Kestrel... One or two were seen regularly.

Merlin... One on the 1st.

Peregrine Falcon... Singles were regular but two were seen together on the 23rd.

Eurasian Magpie... Present throughout.

Western Jackdaw... Present throughout.

Rook... Present throughout.

Carrion Crow... Present throughout.

Northern Raven... Seen regularly.

Coal Tit... Seen regularly until the 17th.

Eurasian Blue Tit... Present throughout.

Great Tit... Present throughout.

Bearded Reedling... Two on the 19th were the first since November 2017.

Eurasian Skylark... Seen or at least heard regularly.

Sand Martin... The first of the year was seen on the 1st and there were then regular sightings throughout the month, with a peak of over 5o on the 27th...


Sand Martin, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell


Barn Swallow... Seen regularly, with peaks of over 100 on the 27th/28th...

Barn Swallow, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Common House Martin... The first of the year were seen on the 9th, with at least two present but the only other sighting was of at least 25 on the 29th.

Cetti's Warbler... Present throughout.

Long-tailed Tit... Present throughout.

Willow Warbler... Seen regularly with a peak of over 400 on the 29th!

Willow Warbler, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Common Chiffchaff... Seen regularly with peaks of over 100 on the 9th and 29th.

Wood Warbler... One on the 29th was the first since April 2015!

Sedge Warbler... At least one, the first of the year, was present on the 9th and there were then regular reports, with a peak of at least four on the 18th.

Eurasian Reed Warbler... At least two, the first of the year, were present on the 15th and there were then regular reports to the end of the month.

Eurasian Blackcap... The first of the year was present on the 3rd and there were then regular reports, with a peak of over 60 on the 29th!

Garden Warbler... At least one, the first of the year, was present on the 22nd and there was an unprecedented ‘fall’ of over 40 on the 29th!

Garden Warbler, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Lesser Whitethroat... The first of the year was present on the 21st and there were then regular reports with at least two on the 27th.

Common Whitethroat... The first of the year was present on the 22nd and there were then regular reports with at least 10 on the 29th.

Goldcrest... Present throughout.

Eurasian Wren... Present throughout.

Eurasian Treecreeper... Seen regularly.

Common Starling... Seen regularly with peaks of over 30 on the 15th and 17th.

Common Blackbird... Present throughout.

Redwing... Four on the 14th.

Song Thrush... Present throughout.

Mistle Thrush... Seen regularly.

Spotted Flycatcher... One on the 29th was the first of the year.

European Robin... Present throughout.

European Pied Flycatcher... Two on the 29th were the first since August 2016!


European Pied Flycatcher (male), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 
© Joe Stockwell

European Pied Flycatcher (female), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 
© Joe Stockwell

Whinchat... At least one present on the 21st was the first of the year and there were further sightings of two on the 29th and one on the 30th...

Whinchat (male), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2018 © Steve Groves

European Stonechat... Singles on the 22nd and 25th.

Northern Wheatear... Seen regularly with a peak of six on the 29th.

House Sparrow... Present throughout.

Dunnock... Present throughout.

Western Yellow Wagtail... The first of the year was seen on the 14th and a further single was seen on the 21st.

Pied Wagtail (White Wagtail)... Individuals of the British form were present throughout but in addition one of the Icelandic/Continental form (White Wagtail) was seen on the 14th, the first of the year.

Meadow Pipit... Singles were seen regularly in the first half of the month.

Eurasian Rock Pipit... Singles on the 5th and 9th.

Common Chaffinch... Present throughout.

Eurasian Bullfinch... Seen or at least heard regularly.

European Greenfinch... One heard on the 9th was the only record of this once common breeding species.

Common Linnet... Present throughout.

Lesser Redpoll... One  over on the 25th was presumably of this taxon.

European Goldfinch... Present throughout.

Common Reed Bunting... Present throughout.


... And that's it for this month except to say thanks to my work colleagues for additional sightings and additional images, particularly Joe Stockwell and Charlie Wheeler but also Kev Butler, Phil Jenks and Jonny White. Also thanks to the WeBS counters ... Alan Barrett, Richard Philips and Nick Urch.

March's sightings to follow shortly.






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