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 12 October 2023

Abbotsbury Swannery Bird Sightings - May 2023...


Disappointingly, after April's excitement, there were no national, county or even any site rarities in May but there were nonetheless a few noteworthy sightings...

The over-wintering Common Scoter that lingered until the 23rd was the only Anatid of any note.

Female Common Scoter (2cy), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2023, Steve Groves.

Of the fifteen species of wader seen, most notable were three Ruff, with a male on the 17th and single Reeves on the 3rd and 30th; also, single Knots on the 27th, 29th and 30th; and regular double figure counts of Sanderlings, peaking at over 100 together on the 31st.

Male Ruff, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2023, Steve Groves.

Peak counts of the other waders were... Oystercatcher 6; Grey Plover 6; Ringed Plover 12; Whimbrel 2; Curlew 1; Bar-tailed Godwit 2; Black-tailed Godwit 3; Turnstone 10; Dunlin 15; Common Sandpiper 3; Redshank 15; and Greenshank 3.

Turnstones, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2023, Steve Groves.

Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit (2cy), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2023,
Steve Groves.

Grey Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2023, Steve Groves.

There were no gulls or terns of any real note except for a few Little Terns, with a single on the 6th, and three on the 18th. Unfortunately, nowadays, this species is a bit of a novelty on the West Fleet.

As for Raptors, single Ospreys were seen most days from the 9th to the 13th and again from the 21st to the 28th; one or two Marsh Harriers were around from the 2nd to the 10th; and Red Kites were seen virtually daily, with good counts of 10+ on the 3rd, 80+ on the 12th and 50+ on the 21st. One, occasionally two, Barn Owls were seen regularly too, but the only Hobby sightings were of singles on the 7th and 27th.    

Noteworthy passerine migrants and their ilk included single Cuckoos on four dates, single Garden Warblers on the 2nd and 3rd; a single male Lesser Whitethroat on territory from the 7th to the 13th; a comparatively good passage of Spotted Flycatchers from the 21st to the 30th (with at least three together on the 23rd); a Whinchat on the 13th; single Yellow Wagtails on the 6th, 12th and 26th; a White Wagtail on the 2nd; and at least four Corn Buntings for much of the month.

Corn Bunting, Chapel Hill, above Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2023, Steve Groves.

And that's it for this post except to thank my colleagues, Joe Stockwell, Charlie Wheeler and Kev Butler for their sightings

Abbotsbury Swannery from Linton Hill, May 2023, Steve Groves.

June 2023 highlights to follow soon...

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