Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Spotted Flycatcher family at local site near Charmouth - 15 Aug 17

Canada Geese, Abbotsbury, Dorset - 13 Aug 17

Incoming squadron of Canada Geese, Abbotsbury, Dorset.

White Stork and Common Redstarts, Charmouth / Stonebarrow Hill - 12 Aug 17

Firstly, a bit of a curiosity. A White Stork has been seen on several occasions recently near Langton Herring on the Fleet, Dorset. It had a green ring on its leg and it would appear to be of Polish origin having been rescued and taken into care in this country before being released. On Saturday morning at 9.20 I received a message from Mike M. that Alan B had just seen a White Stork on the move and heading westwards along the coast past West Bexington. I wasn't optimistic that the bird would hug the coast all the way to Charmouth but thought I would give it a go anyway. So how long does it take for a White Stork to fly from Bex to Charmouth? Well the answer seems to be about 1 hour! Around 10.25 the local Herring Gulls went up and at 10.27 I grabbed a couple of hasty shots (cropped below) as a White Stork overflew my garden heading NW inland without stopping. I called the local birders and quickly tweeted out the sighting but the bird was not seen after leaving Charmouth. Amazing that such a huge bird can disappear so easily and literally into "thin air". [Since writing the blog there have been probable sightings in North Devon (see www.devonbirds.org sightings feed on 15th August)]

So the timing would seem to be perfect that this was the same bird which had been tracked in and around the Fleet and passed West Bexington an hour earlier - the sick bird originally from Poland. As such it is not truly wild. Shame. It would have been a first for me in this country and a Garden tick aswell!!! Tskkk!


Autumn migrants are showing in increasing numbers now. We've had a lot of unsettled, wet weather though late July and early August but Saturday evening was warm, still and sunny. Perhaps there would be some migrant birds about locally? I decide to take a quick walk up on Stonebarrow Hill. I'm so pleased I did as approaching a sheltered, sunny mixed hedgeline of hawthorn and blackthorn a flash of red showed a beautiful male Redstart. What a superb bird but there was more! A quick darting movement further down the hedgerow and a second bird flew out from cover into the paddock to take an insect  from the ground flying back to perch conspicuously on an electric fence. A male AND a female Redstart. What a treat! I haven't seen Redstart around that area since the spring so I assume that they are migrant birds who have finished breeding and are resting and feeding up before moving south.

... and a short video of the male bird.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Garganey, West Bexington, Dorset - 24 Mar 17

I popped over to West Bexington late morning following the report from Mike M. @Bexbirder that a drake Garganey had been seen on the Mere. After 5 minutes walking westwards from the car park I had a decent view of the mere and quickly found the bird on the north shore. Always distant, I managed a few record shots of this beautiful spring migrant drake Garganey. About the size of a Teal, Garganey are relatively small ducks which appear in small numbers regularly at this time of the year. I didn't manage to get a shot of the bird with Teal but the first photo shows its comparative size with the much larger Shoveler in the foreground:

Garganey: a very handsome scarce spring migrant ... 

 ... showing unmistakable crescent above each eye and drooped back feathers.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Charmouth - Fri 10th March - Dunlin, an early site record

A winter plumage Dunlin which paid a visit to a fog-bound Charmouth river this morning:

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This record is a very early date for the site and is the first Dunlin I've seen on the river. They are by no means common here. My previous sightings have been small flocks at the low-water mark on the beach and much later in the year (May).

It was quite content feeding in the soft mud at the waters edge, 20 metres upstream from the footbridge quite unconcerned by passing walkers, even spending some time preening and roosting.

This individual has a long bill tapering to a downcurved tip and dark legs, white beneath and in the overcast/foggy conditions appeared grey brown but with small areas of browner tones visible around the crown and neck. The bird was not heard to call and I didn't see it arrive or depart so did not see it in flight. I believe alpina race birds have the longer bill length but there is much overlap. Amazing to think that in a few weeks this bird could have travelled NW up along the shorelines of Scandinavia, Northern Europe or even as far as Siberia.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Iceland Gull - Abbotsbury Swannery - Tues 21 Feb 17

Here's a video of the 1st winter Iceland Gull I found at 4pm today before it flew off to the seaward side.
Thanks to @SwannerySteve and Alan Barrett for help with ID and ageing.

And a still.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Charmouth - Buzzard eating worms - Mon 20th Feb 2017

Seadown Caravan Park located just inland from the beach and alongside the River Char is closed for the winter break. The grassy area alongside the reed bed is very quiet and undisturbed during the winter. At 07:45 this morning I was amazed to see this Buzzard strutting around feeding on the ground about 100 metres from a busy footpath. I assume it was eating invertebrates, maybe worms. It was successful but at distance I could not see the food items. I watched it for 5 or 6 minutes before it flew off. Here's a shaky video which is not great quality I know but I think merits posting because of the interesting behaviour.