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.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Swannery Bird News - September 2015


Two Cattle Egrets appeared on Shipmoor Point briefly on the 7th ... 

A distant record shot of the two Cattle Egrets (left) with two Little Egrets on Shipmoor Point 
© Charlie Wheeler

...And there were two further brief sightings of a single Cattle Egret on the 26th and 30th. 

Much more cooperative though was the Grey Phalarope which lingered on Meadow Pool from the 15th to the 18th...

The Grey Phalarope

And now the rest of the news... 

The drake Scaup was still present all month (although it did occasionally go missing) and a white Mandarin (or Wood Duck?) clearly of captive origin, arrived early in the month and was still present at the month's end... 

The white Mandarin or Wood Duck © Charlie Wheeler

Commoner wildfowl numbers continued to rise and peak counts of wildfowl were: 

Mute Swan 790; 

Black Swan 2; 
Canada Goose 90; 
Mandarin 1;
Shelduck 3; 
Wigeon 250;
Gadwall 6; 
Teal 500;
Mallard 370; 
Pintail 100;
Shoveler 20;
Pochard 50; 
Tufted Duck 150;
Scaup 1.

Other Water Birds... 
Apart from the aforementioned Cattle Egrets there were no noteworthy sightings and peak counts of the commoner species were: 

Cormorant 37; 
Little Egret 6; 
Grey Heron 3;
Great Crested Grebe 32; 
Little Grebe 26;
Moorhen 9; 
Coot 460.

In addition to the aforementioned Grey Phalarope, other noteworthy sightings were of a Little Stint also on Meadow Pool from the 12th to the 15th and even rarer in a Swannery context, a Spotted Redshank on the 2nd (the latter frustratingly missed by me!).

The juvenile Little Stint (top left) with Dunlin
And a more heavily cropped shot of the juvenile Little Stint

More expected were Ringed Plover on the 23rd; a Curlew on the 30th; single  Black-tailed Godwits on the 1st and 18th; single Greenshanks on the 12th and 15th and Sanderling on the 15th; while there were regular sightings of Lapwings (with a peak of eight on the 30th)Turnstones (with a peak of five on the 29th); Knots (with peak of four on the 14th); Dunlins (with a peak of eight on the 15th); Common Sandpipers (with a peak of four also on the 15th); Redshanks (with a peak of three on several dates) and Snipe (with a peak of only two on the 21st).

Terns & Gulls...
Two juvenile terns that were either Common Terns or Arctic Terns were glimpsed briefly on the 15th as they headed off west and two Sandwich Terns were present on the 17th...

One of the two Sandwich Terns seen this month

Mediterranean Gulls were regular and peaked at fifty on the 13th; an adult Yellow-legged Gull was present on the 21st while single first-winters were seen on the 5th and 22nd. Only a single Common Gull was noted and no more than singles of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen at any one time.

Peak counts of commoner species were:

Black-headed Gull 650;
Herring Gull 50;
Great Black-backed Gull 180.

At least one Osprey was seen regularly from the 4th to the 29th...

Above two pics are of one of this month's regular Osprey sightings © Charlie Wheeler

... Three juvenile Marsh Harriers were seen on the 1st with singles then regular through the month and an adult male was seen on the 28th and 29th. Single Hobbies were seen on five dates through the month and single Merlins on the 15th and 29th and single Peregrines were regular too as of course were SparrowhawksBuzzards and Kestrels. A few 'heard only' Tawny Owls were the only owls reported.

Other Non-Passerines...
A late Swift was seen on the 6th; whilst at least two Kingfishers were seen regularly. Other species noted in varying numbers were Feral PigeonStock DoveWood PigeonCollared DoveGreen Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

In what is proving to be a very good autumn for Goldcrests there were also at least three Firecrests with one on the 12th and two on the 29th.  It also proved to be a good season for Whinchats with a marked passage from the 1st to the  21st including a peak of ten on the 3rd. As the Whinchats tailed off towards the end of the month Stonechats began to reappear again with a peak of five on several dates, whereas Wheatears were seen throughout with a peak of seven on the 1st. As there were none in the spring the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was seen on the 5th with another on the 17th. Yellow Wagtails were regular all month but peak counts were of only of around ten.  Swallows however peaked at around a thousand on the 25th with House Martins peaking at only around fifty on the same date and Sand Martins peaking at about ten on several dates. As to be expected Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were fairly equal in number early in the month but the former tailed off rapidly later, with the last seen on the 25th. Blackcaps and a few Whitethroats were seen throughout as were several Cetti's Warblers of course but the last Reed and Sedge Warblers were seen on the 17th. Siskins and Meadow Pipits were a fairly constant overhead feature but counts of a hundred plus of each weren't recorded until the end of the month. Linnets and Skylarks were also on the move but in fewer numbers as yet and there was only one Rock Pipit on the 15th. 

Other species noted in varying numbers were MagpieJackdawRook, Carrion CrowRavenBlue TitGreat Tit, Coal TitLong-tailed TitTreecreeperWren, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Reed Bunting.
And that's it for this month except to thank Charlie Wheeler wheeler-photography for the use of the Cattle Egret, Mandarin and Osprey photographs.