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.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Swannery Birding Highlights - March 2015

Wildfowl ...

The Greenland White-fronted Goose was seen regularly until the 11th when it flew off high to the  north-west. Remarkably though it returned on the 24th and was still present at the months end...

The Greenland White-fronted Goose in the meadow

A single Greylag Goose flew east on the 21st, with it or another present from the 25th to the end of the month. 

The Greylag Goose 
© Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography

Following sightings in November and February a drake Green-winged Teal was present from the 6th to the 9th... 

The drake Green-winged Teal in the meadow.

The five over-wintering Scaup remained to the 8th but then four (two pairs) departed leaving just a single drake and its hybrid mate lingering to the months end. The four Long-tailed Ducks remained all month however.

The Long-tailed Ducks

Peak counts of the commoner wildfowl were: Mute Swan 46o; Black Swan 2; Canada Goose 20; Shelduck 50; Wigeon 10; Gadwall 10; Teal 150; Mallard 250; Pintail 50; Shoveler 30; Pochard 160; Tufted Duck 210; Red-breasted Merganser 60. 

Other Water Birds... 

There were no rarities but peak counts of the commoner species were: Cormorant 2; Little Egret 20; Grey Heron 1; Little Grebe 3; Great Crested Grebe 10; Moorhen 20; Coot 240. 


Two Avocets on the 11th were the highlight...

The two Avocets on Meadow Pool

Peak counts of commoner waders were: Oystercatcher 6; Lapwing 3; Dunlin 1; Snipe 10; Black-tailed Godwits 4; Curlew 3; Redshank 25. 

Redshanks on Bum Point


There were no gulls of any real note but peak counts were Black-headed Gull 80; Mediterranean Gull 20; Common Gull 550; Lesser Black-backed Gull 20; Herring Gull 50; Great Black-backed Gull 10. 


A Red Kite flew north on the 10th, whilst two drifted west on the 22nd - the same day that the regular male Marsh Harrier put in its only appearance of the month. A Barn Owl was seen one evening and a Peregine or two put in a couple of appearances, whilst Buzzards, Sparrowhawks , Tawny Owls and Kestrels were regularly encountered of course. 

Passerines etc...

There were no rare or scarce passerines but, among the common resident species, lingering winterer's (that sometimes stay to breed) included several Jays, one or two Coal Tits, several Cettis' Warblers, a Nuthatch, several Treecreepers, two Stonechats and a few Grey Wagtails. The only spring migrants seen were, not unexpectedly,  Chiffchaffs and they just about reached double figures by the months end. 

Chiffchaff © Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography

So there were a few good birds in March but the first few days of April have already proved to be even better so watch this space!

Thanks to Charlie Wheeler for the use of a few of the above images.